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. diapers, paper & 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! 😉
- Official USDA Food Plans Cost (I thought this was crazy high? Would love to hear your thoughts!)
- Spend Smart Eat Smart (I thought this one was really high!)
- Calcuator: Is Your Food Spending Normal?
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