How Much Should A Family Spend On Groceries?

familygroceries.jpg

 

It's been awhile since we've talked budgeting, so I decided it's high time to bring it up. With the summer craziness around my house it's been all I can do just to keep on top of my children and my home, so worrying over my grocery budget has gotten put on the back burner . . . anyone else feel that way?

 

But, deciding how much you should spend on groceries be is soooo important as a penny pincher, and a huge key in  changing your financial future. I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again and again and again), there is NO AREA IN YOUR FAMILY'S FINANCES THAT YOU HAVE AS MUCH CONTROL OVER AS YOUR GROCERY BUDGET. Did you hear me???  (If not, please read it again. I promise, I'm right on this one!)

 

We can't (easily) change how much we're going to spend on our house payment, electricity bill, phone bill or cable bill. Now, we can do smart things to make those bills smaller, but it's rare that you can slash them in half without some major work. However, every single time you walk into the grocery store you decide how much you're going to spend on your groceries. You can decide to check out the sales ads, clip a bunch of coupons, or simply skip it all and spend too much. It's totally up to you.

 

 

So, how much should a family spend on groceries?  That depends (a lot!) on you. Our family of five is sticking to about $85 a week and it seems to be working for us. (We've done it for less, but as I've worked more and my kids have gotten bigger, $85 is a reasonable amount for us, and gives us room to donate as well.)  Here are a few factors I want you to consider before deciding your grocery budget:

Update as of 2015 – we now spend between $85 – $100 each week as our kids are getting bigger.

  • What is your current grocery budget (if you have one)? How much do you normally spend each week at the grocery store?
  • How long have you been couponing (if you coupon)? Do you have a stockpile?
  • How much time do you (realistically) have for clipping coupons and shopping the sales ads?
  • What area of the country are you in? 
  • Do you have a store in your area that has good produce prices? (For us, having an Aldi, Fresh Thymre or Sprouts as well as a Dollar General Market really help us trim some of the more expensive items in our budget ~ if that's not an option in your hometown your expenses will definitely go up.)
  • Are there grocery stores in your area that have great coupon policies? Can you shop Amazon for items that you can't find good prices on in your area? (i.e. diaperspaper & cleaning products, allergy free foods)
  • Do you have children in diapers? Do you have teenagers who can't seem to get enough food? 😉 
  • Do you have special allergies in your family or eat a special diet? Or do you try to eat primarily organic food? (See suggestions on how to save on organics over HERE.)

 

To tell you a set amount of what you should spend is hard as it varies so much by family, location, and where you're at in your life. But, I will say that determining what you want to spend each week is so important, and can really help you trim down what you spend at the grocery store. If you want to reach your goal of saving more, you really have to decide exactly what you want to spend, or you'll simply go over your budget each week without a plan.

 

Here are a few interesting calculators that you might enjoy (for fun!), to see how your family's grocery budget fits. I'll be honest, I think these are waayyyyy high, but that's coming from a passionate penny pincher! 😉

If you're willing, I'd love to hear what your family's estimated grocery budget is per week (feel free to comment anonymously too!) And, if you have any extra tips on how to save at the grocery store, you know I'd love to hear them!

 

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Comments

  1. Now Laurie…there is a way to cut the cable bill!

    Cancel it…house is so much quieter 🙂

    • Agreed Jim! We went without it forever (I think the first 11 years of our marriage….) until we moved to Alabama which is SEC country and just about did my husband in. Now we pay for cable just so he can watch ESPN (ugh!!!) 🙂

    • My hubby would hit the roof missing his Phillies games and me missing Judge Judy and Suze Orman. However is it worth paying $121 for 3 shows, computer access and phone. Yes!

  2. Same here! We only have cable bc of the sports (you know how Derek is)! Kids don’t even watch cable tv. As for our grocery budget, (during the Summer) it’s about $100. Once school starts, it’ll decrease to about $50-$75. During the Summer, we’re constantly feeding our kids’ friends!

    • It does seem like we’re going through groceries like crazy around here this summer ~ glad we’re not the only ones! And yes. . . cable for sports is a necessity around here too, Alice . . . 😉

  3. Jennifer H says

    I had a question Laurie. In your grocery budget do you include all of the laundry/cleaning supplies also since they are at the grocery store or do you only count edible groceries? I think you have already answered this, I just can’t remember.

    • Hi Jennifer! I do include those in my budget ~ the only thing I sometimes don’t include is if I get a good deal on toilet paper at Amazon (maybe 2x per year I’ll order it for around $20?) Hope that helps!

      • Just to clarify again, your weekly budget of $85 includes everything (personal care, laundry, household, pets, and groceries)? I’m at about $125 week but want to shave more off. We have A LOT of pets though and I use coupons where I can. We were spending twice that before I found you. 🙂

  4. I get so frustrated when I can not print coupons from my IPad

  5. Janice Manis says

    Ummmm… our budget (and usually used) is $600-$650 every two weeks. I NEED COUPONS HERE!!!

  6. We spend about $30/week, counting paper goods for our family of three. But my budget gets a huge boost thanks to a trade arrangement I have with a local organic farm. I get a full share of fruit, veggies and a dozen eggs each week (saves me $45).

    • Wendy Briscoe says

      We are a family of 3 as well and spend $75 a week and we go to Aldi’ and Wal Mart. My son eats us out of house and home, and I use leftovers too. I don’t use coupons becausse Aldi’s is so low. I make my own laundry detergent as well so big savings there too. How would you find an organic farm in our area?

  7. Mary Hope Hodson says

    On the high end our budget (absolute max) for a family of 6 is $150/week including household items.

  8. Mell Martensen says

    We shop every two weeks with a budget of $40. I get $10-20 for couponing on off weeks depending on the paycheck and sales. Were a family of four with two in diapers. 🙂

  9. Nikki Long Milks says

    estimated $240.92 per week for your household
    estimated $1,043.91 per month for your household
    That was my guess and it's about what I use…
    and I DO use coupons occasionally and try to look at sales, but I don't always have a paper before I go shop. I do home daycare, so I have a lot of us to feed usually, so I included some of those children in this number and made them eat away for 11 meals (nights and weekends) so while I always feel like I spend more than those around me, I am also making food more than others too. This number includes everything I buy at the store, paper products, laundry detergent, pet food…

    • Nikki, I too have a daycare and spend about that per week, feeding the extra 6 kids a day (5), plus our family of their and multiple pets, and paper and personal products, home products but I’m still going to try to cut the bill down but 3-5 gallons of milk a week and fresh fruits and veggies are hard to reduce. I am going to try a different grocery store, who doubles coupons up to $1, and stop in an Aldi’ s and some new store in our area called valueland. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

  10. Janice Manis says

    We were feeding 5- but my oldest just got married, so we won't be feeding her & her honey (as much!) – so hoping this drops quite a bit.

  11. Jamie Marshall says

    I spend about 125/wk for my family of 6. We are gluten-free and my youngest and I are lactose free too.

  12. I have 365.00 for the month and try to spend 75.00 per week. I do coupon and any money left over at the end of the month from groceries goes towards Christmas gift. This year I saved enough to buy Christmas gift and go to Disney. Next year, 2014, I am going to set some goals and try to save more. I have a family of 6 and one grandson. We don’t do a lot of presents because the kids are 16, 20, 21, and 25 so I did more stocking stuffers. To keep track of how much I saved and spent, I downloaded a savings caluator from http://www.couponcloset.com It was great to see which store I save the most and what my monthly savings was. Check it out.

  13. I need some help 🙂 I’ve been spending about $150/week on groceries & paper products for just my husband and myself. We’re in Texas so I don’t think food is necessarily more expensive here. I meal plan and create shopping lists, so we’re using most of what I’m buying, but I feel like there has got to be a way to cook “cleaner” (ie less processed foods) and save money. I’m cooking from scratch every breakfast & evening meal – lunches are sandwiches and side salads for me and frozen lunches or leftovers for my husband. (He won’t eat sandwiches). I want to drastically cut our budget – like down to $50/week as we’re starting FPU next week but not sure where to find cheap & healthy recipes 🙂

    Any input would be MUCH appreciated!

    • Do you have an Aldi nearby Jessica? I think they are one of the easiest ways to save on fresh fruits and veggies, and you don’t even have to worry about coupons there. Also, if the produce at your Aldi isn’t that great, many Walmart stores will price match, which helps so much! (See more on that here – https://passionatepennypincher.com/2013/05/my-walmart-price-matching-trip-spent-6-93-for-16-63-in-fresh-produce/ )

      Then, religiously shop the sales ads at your local store. I (think?) HEB is in Texas as well as Kroger, so you should be able to find some good deals at those stores! Then, commit to really (really!) menu planning using only what’s on sale at the stores. I really think you can do it – you’ll have to stick with it (and it won’t be easy!), but I bet you can get down to that $50 goal!

      Here are HEB matchups –
      https://passionatepennypincher.com/coupon-matchups/heb-coupon-matchups/

      • We don’t have an Aldi, but we do have HEB, Walmart, and Market Basket. There’s a Kroger about 30 minutes away. I think I can do it, it’s just figuring out the “how”! 🙂 I use recipes from your blog, do you know anywhere else I can find frugal recipes?

  14. Mary Hope Hodson says

    This is gluten and dairy free, grass fed meat, almost all non-gmo.

  15. We are a family of two and two (70-80lb) fur babies. I would say we spend $70-80 a week on groceries, pet care products (not including vet visits/medicine), non grocery, and workout supplements. We eat healthy food, don’t drink soda, etc. Our dogs go through a lot of grain free food. I normally skip grocery shopping one week out of six to eat up what’s in the house. I also do a pantry challenge once every six months where the grocery budget it $100(not including dog food) for 4 weeks.

  16. I coupon but I’m not good at the budget part. Helllpppp…..please

  17. Melodie Smith says

    Oh My! Thank you for sharing this! The linkhttp://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/01/calculator-food-spending-budget-frugal really opened my eyes! Oh my word! I am spending waaaay to much and I thought I was a thrifty shopper. Obviously not. Couponing for 2014 is my goal.

  18. Stacey Combs Hoskins says

    I budget $300 per month for my family of 3 (with another one on the way), this includes my husband being extremely lactose intolerant and stockpiling diapers and wipes NOW while I have the time to bargain shop before baby number two arrives in June 🙂

  19. I have a household of 6, soon to be 7. We spend about $400/monthly.

  20. Barbara Hazelip Lambert says

    Our budget every 2 weeks for a family of 6 is $500. We have 2 boys age 12 and 2 teenage girls.

  21. Jenny Rawson de Venegas says

    We are a family of three. We spend $50/week. Additionally, I save $50/mo to buy bulk items at our case lot sale in the fall.

  22. Ronni Guglielmo Walsh says

    I have a family of 6 (one child is in college though). I use coupons and it can cut your spending. however, I could never get away with $85 a wk in NJ. It also depends on how and what you eat. I use organic milk as well as other organic products. Fruits and veggies are expensive. Healthy snacks are also expensive and come in smaller packages. We don't drink soda- we drink water and unsweetened ice tea. We buy one snack and it has to last a week for packed lunches – I was buying several different ones and they would go state before everyone got through them. I spend $600-$800 a month on groceries. We pack lunches everyday so this includes lunch foods. I have found many ways to cut and save but food in general is expensive – healthy foods even more so – and all packages are shrinking.

  23. Nan Tippie says

    This was very timely, we have been working on a projected budget for when our families blend, and the calculator gives me some idea of what we might need to spend on groceries. I'm going from having a family of 5, to a family of 11, so it's something we definitely need to know. We are both couponers who have fallen off the wagon in the last year, but we plan to get back to it…big time!

    • With a family of 11 that will definitely change your budget Nan – glad it helped (I love that you were both couponers – it’ll be fun to see how you do!)

  24. Amy Ellen says

    For sure Ronni, we are a family of five and I can't get away with less than $150/week. We're in NJ too. I try to buy snacks every other week in bulk at costco, which sometimes works but with ravenous teens they deplete quickly, lol. We actually just started back yard chickens. They won't lay for a while but looking forward to that. I would definitely say I'm upwards of $800/month on food. I use coups where I can and hit up cvs for rewards (when I can, like on Tide). I have two in braces and one going to college next year. Side note; if anyone has a child going into braces, see if they will deduct a certain % for paying in full. We did and between the two we saved almost $800.

  25. Ronni Guglielmo Walsh says

    I love the chicken/egg idea! I want to do a garden – that is next on my list. I have a free room in my house, for the past 2 yrs. I have not pd for or pd. very little for toiletries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies by rolling my extra care bucks and working my coupons with catalina's. I have 2 out of braces, 1 in and 1 that will need them. I pd, in full for the fist 3 and got a significant discount – was totally worth it. I have been with my dentist for over 20 yrs he does all dental and braces for my family. Given such I negotiated my 4th child – he will collect what insurance gives him and charge me 1/2 the going rate! i also can supply some good college advise – how to set yourself up to be FAFSA proof to increase your chances of getting some – stuff the guidance counselor does not tell you b/c he does not know and stuff you financial adviser either does not know or won't share with you if they can't make a profit. pM me on FB if you want to chat – I don't sell anything – just passing on some good info that was given to me and worked. Good luck with those chickens!!!

  26. Amy Ellen says

    Ronni Guglielmo Walsh thank you thank you for the advice..everything helps right? I've tried fafsa for myself and got nada, but hoping maybe something for eldest, we'll see. He wants to go to full sail university and it's a bit pricey. I told him he would have to take out some student loans..he didn't really care for that idea, lol. Wish we had the room for a cow, since milk is so dang expensive. Where in jersey are you? We're in lacey, south of toms river/seaside. I always love to hear when others save on medical/dental. Super couponers look away; I used to throw out the catalina because I had no idea what it was for. I know, bad bad. Now I separate my coups into ones that are over a dollar for walmart and under for shop rite because they will double under a dollar. I still feel like I spend WAY too much on food. I see some on here say they spend $40/week. Wondering what you all eat? We don't eat out (fancy or ff) and still after the $150/week I find myself headed back for something mid week.

  27. Ronni Guglielmo Walsh says

    Amy Ellen – i am in Central NJ – E. Brunswick. there is def. a trick to FAFSA – just like the coupons and most people fill out the forms and don't know how to set themselves up. If I did it without the knowledge I had – I would have gotten nothing. Take all $ out of child's name – if you have a 529 transfer it to another child or yourself. then when the child graduates transfer it back in their name and pay off the loans. there are more ticks these are just a few. yes tossing cats is bad! LOL most people have no idea why they got them and don't know how to roll them or use them effectively. Food is hard – esp. when the kids are teens and they all like different stuff. So hard to stay healthy and keep it low priced – you can't eat cheap food and expect to be eating properly. Yet it is hard to spend so much on food that is good. I find if I save on the other stuff, I have the money to afford the better food. It boils down to what works for your family. I like to play the game of how much money I am not giving you – yet still getting what I want and need!

  28. Amy Ellen says

    Ronni Guglielmo Walsh I have heard about taking the money out of the kids names..I will do that for sure. Now you've perked my interest on the rolling cats? Meaning if they expire? Interested. I wish my picky-poos would brach out a little lol. They love fresh fruit and veggies and I will be doing the gardening thing too. We repurposed the swing set into the coop and I REALLY wanted to do a compost for this summer however it sounds like it takes three plus months to get it really going. All those chicken poops needs to go somewhere 😉 We're definitely lucky in jersey to have such GREAT farmers markets, cheaper than the grocery store and some local markets (not a lot) have organic..win win

  29. Ronni Guglielmo Walsh says

    Amy Ellen yes, I have recently found a farmers market and I am happy with the stuff. Look at livingrichwithcoupons.com read her link for beginners and then the catalina info – you will see I am talking about. I don't give you a cat until I get one back – I play with them – rolling them means you get a cat – it says off your next shopping trip which does not mean you have to go home and come back other day.. to me it means put up the stick and do another transaction. If you have multiple coupons you take the cat you earned from the first tranasaction and use it along with coupons to purchase the second trans of same items – you keep doing this until you run out of coupons! you cna only use 4 like ones but you can go to different register or different shop rite and do more or come back the next day. plus it is 4 like coupons per transaction – howvever they will argue that point. I just go to self check out and do it 4 more times if I have 8 coupons! I don't empty the shelves – but I do try to maximize my visit. Most cats say you have to spend X to get one – but what most don;t know is that is calculated on shelf price not sale price. the manf. price. this makes a big difference b/c it usually means you don't have to buy as much to get the cat. If I am not rolling my deal, I use the cats to get my organic stuff.

  30. Amy Ellen says

    Ronni Guglielmo Walsh I like that..I've liked her page but haven't been on in a while so I will surely check it out now. Enjoy your summer!

  31. We spend $125 a week for our family of 5. You're really good

  32. Kelly Williams says

    Whoa. The first calculator said that my family of five should be spending $192 a week, or eight hundred a month. That's more than my rent. We spend $150-200 every two weeks.

  33. I have a family of 4: husband, 1st grade son, pre school daughter and my pregnant self. We eat 4 to 5 times a day and try and eat as healthy as we can. With that said i spend $500 to $600 on groceries a month. Im new to couponing and add matching so im hoping i can continue to eat as healthy and cut that a bit. Although i know when my son gets older he will eat even more which is very scary since he already doesnt stop!

  34. What do you consider the grocery bill? Just food? Or cleaning supplies, detergent, light builds…stuff that we buy at the store I lump together.

  35. Deborah Jett McVay says

    Please say if you are eating organic.

  36. I spend $150-200 a month for a family of 4. Wee have a backyard garden in which we grow enough potatoes and onions to put in storage for the year and I can green beans, pickles, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce. I freeze apples, pears, sweet corn, berries, zucchini and squash all from our garden. It’s our hobby in the summer and brings our family together. I also watch for sales on produce like baby carrots for $0.39/lb I stock up and blanch and freeze them, to buy them frozen is $1.29/lb. I do the same for broccoli & cauliflower. You get more florets instead of stems that way too. My husband and I hunt whitetail deer and use the venison throughout the year it is a good source of lean protein . We also have free range chickens we get get eggs and meat from. It was back to the basics for us when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and trying to eliminate processed foods and preservatives, it has served our family well.

  37. Looking at all of these posts… I spend a lot more money for our family of 5! We spend about $200 per week, including household items and 1 dog. I look for sales, plan meals according to what is on sale, shop Target, Walmart for their foods that are cheaper than the local grocery stores. I am slowly getting away from prepackaged foods, and making more from fresh foods. My kids are eating a ton more fruits (working on the vegetables…), and we all are eating better. My husband eats cold lunch during the week; and we go out to eat about once a month (usually breakfast or lunch). My husband is eating gluten free, and seafood/fish and chicken. (I tell him he has caviar taste; but gives me a pb&j budget) I have a teenager that has a hollow leg, and keeps growing like a weed! I hope by reading sites about how to save money, I’ll get my grocery bill lowered!

    • You can do it Christine! It’s hard, but shopping the sales ads can save you SO MUCH – it’s so worth it! Good luck as you get started – you really can do this if you just determine to stick with it. 🙂 Good luck!

  38. I’m doing something wrong!!! We spend $87/week on groceries for just my husband and I! We don’t have an Aldi nearby 🙁 How can I cut this down? Compared to other commenters this seems really excessive.

  39. 75$ feeds a family of 4 in the Chicago suburbs. A local market provides inexpensive produce (only what’s on sale/clearance and esp things that can be frozen and used later) otherwise jewel works just fine and only by what’s on sale and definitely hit up clearance section. Watch process per lb or oz just because the price is less doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

  40. Wow! I am definitely on the high end! I budget $250 a week for 3 of us. Includes all school lunches for my son. I try to buy mostly organic for him and I have to be gluten and dairy free. I know this high food budget is making things tight, but I just don’t know how to make it work on less without resorting to RMen noodles all week. Does anyone know of any sites or posts which give examples of how to get through a weeks meals on say $100 or something like this? I meal plan and do grocery lists, but rarely find coupons for anything we buy.

  41. Julie aubury says

    Can I ask what state you all live in to do your shopping list so cheap. I live in Perth WA.

  42. April Lykins says

    Family of 6, 2 of them in diapers we spend 300 to 350 a month for everything. Food, diapers, dog food, soaps. I have a pretty huge stockpile and we are looking for more ways to cut.

    Groceries can be pretty cheap in my area with milk at 1.99 eggs usually under a dollar.

  43. I spend about $300 every two weeks on groceries for our family of 6. We are about to buy a house and I am hoping to get that down even more by planting a garden and having chickens. If anyone really wants to know how I do that: I shop primarily at Aldi and Walmart and I make a lot of things from scratch. While I do by some convenience foods like chicken nuggets, if my husband wants it he buys it.

  44. Does this include eating out? We are a family of 3 and set 500 a month but that includes eating out…

Speak Your Mind

*