Grocery Bills

Updated on March 11, 2010
L.H. asks from Livonia, MI
21 answers

Hi fellow mom's! I was wondering how much everyone else spends on average a week for groceries? I have a growing 2 year old boy who is a GREAT eater, eats a lot, and my husband and I. I do buy some organic foods but not all. I generally stick to organic beef, baby food, milk, yogurt and some fruit and veggies. Everything else is pretty generic. I feel like I spend a lot of money on food but I also feel it is an important expense because it is what you are putting in your body to nurish it for life, but what is a normal amount to spend and what is too much? Just curious what other mom's like me spend on groceries?? Thanks!!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone who responded!! I got some great answers and I 'm sure some of you helped others out too :) I spend an average of $100 - $120/week on groceries, toiletries, diapers, etc for a family of 3 with minimum. With all of the different responses it seems somewhat average but with a little more time and coupon clipping I feel I could save more! I do plan my meals out weekly but not based on sales just based on what we feel like :) I don't get the newspaper anymore so I really don't get any ads so I am going to sign up again so I can see what's out there. Thanks again!!

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answers from Kansas City on

HA! Funny.. I was thinking about posting a similar question! So, THANKS!
I spend about $200-250/wk! I have 3 boys (15,12,10..ond one girl almost 3) So that doesn't really seem to be enough to last a week. I'm considering "upping" my food budget but GEEZ! Nezt thing you know, I'll be spending more on food than I pay for car and house...combined!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Mom, Dad & 7 yo boy. I spend about 125-150/week on everything. Maybe a few extra $50 trips to Target for paper goods, HBA, etc., so I'd say $750/mo for everything but I do very little couponing but I do try to do store specials and try to buy organic.

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answers from Rockford on

Our family has me, hubby, and two teenage boys (yikes!). I really try to stay at $150/week, but it is hard. We easily go through a gallon of milk a day. We have to buy bananas nearly every day. We go through several of the big cereal boxes a week. I buy a lot of produce which is ridiculously expensive. We buy very little processed food and junk, and I still have a hard time. I make most meals from scratch and we have next to nothing for leftovers by the time the boys are done eating. I hate spending so much, but I do know what I am putting into our bodies and feel good about what I do buy, so the expense is worth it.

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answers from San Diego on

You're going to find a lot of differences geographically. When milk in one area is $2 per half gallon, but in MY area it' $4 (and we're talking el cheapo milk, not $6 or $8 organic milk)... it's pretty safe to say that my grocery bill is going to be nearly to over twice as much as a person from a different area.

That said: We currently (for the past 18mo) have a $150 hard line budget every week, including all cleaners, toiletries, alcohol, etc.... so $600 per month for 3 people & a Labrador... which is HARD HARD HARD to be able to keep within. When I can spend whatever I want within reason (no caviar, or cheeses, or fine wines, sigh, because I really like all 3 ;)... it's a little over $1000 a month. So essentially double what I currently spend... but that's also because when I have an open grocery budget it means we can have people over for dinner. Which we currently can't. Even potlucking is very hard right now.

I shop at 7 different stores/markets on a biweekly basis in order to stretch $ (one local farmer's market for veggies, and the other a local rBst free dairy -because I out and out refuse to pay $4-$8 on a half gallon of milk- a 3rd is a bakery for the most fabulous day old baguettes/bread for a buck, 4th is an asian market, and then it's 3 national brand stores) , and believe me... the gas is worth it. I save on average $500 a month by driving and buying. Wheras I lose about $10 in gas. Essentially the driving keeps the ramen and ravioli to a minimum. We also grow a lot of our own food, & are about to start raising city chickens... which will pay for themselves in time if we don't end up with vet bills... because we DO eat a lot of eggs. Because we're only allowed to have between 3-5 for our property size, it's not like we'll have an actual flock to cull from, so no meat from this venture, just pets who lay eggs).

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answers from Austin on

We try to do organic, and our bill is huge! We're 2 adults and 2 babies, and w spend $600-$800 a month on groceries. But we are now trying to figure out how much of that is food vs the other stuff you get at the store. Basically, we spend too much (it's the biggest portion of our whole budget) and my husband is convinced we can do organic for less.... I'm waiting to be convinced. We are looking into a CSA (community supported agriculture) -- it's like a club where you pay a monthly or weekly fee and get a box of whatever's being harvested that week. There are some pros and cons to this, but it's an idea....

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answers from Seattle on

My family consists of my husband and two boys (4 and 7). I also nanny a little girl who eats breakfast and lunch with us. I probably spend between $80 and $100. I cut coupons a lot! I get lots of fresh fruits and veggies...but only if they are on sale. I check all the ads that come to the house during the week and plan my shopping and meals accordingly. We often buy a lot of chicken and then barbque it up on Sunday so we can chop it up and use in salads, wraps, tacos...ect. I find that I rarely shop the middle of the store, but mostly the perameter(I think I spelled that wrong!). Anything that i DO get in the middle (canned goods, cereal, spices) I only get if I have coupons. If they are good then I stock up and may not have to buy them again for the rest of the month!

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answers from Grand Rapids on

OOH let's see, one week we spend close to $200, then the following we spend about $100, then the other 2 weeks of the month around $120-$150. So on average, about $120. My family consists of 2 parents and 4 kids, ages 7, 6, 4 and 1. I try to buy as much organic as possible, but that really ends up being only potatoes, salad, and once in a while apples and oranges. I buy a lot of canned, LITE fruit (lite meaning fruit, water, sugar only for ingredients) and frozen veggies, and frozen fruits. We bought a 1/4 cow last fall and my husband shot a deer, we then stocked up on pork from a good sale. I find it helps to have a menu planned and to go around what is available first in the house, then what is on sale at the store. I make most of my family's meals. But we do get fish sticks, 100% natural chicken nuggets and mac and cheese... I have a one year old, who has time to cook a big lunch and dinner?? Not to mention we homeschool. I do what I can for now...
Check out for tips

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answers from Detroit on

Hello L. ~

I have a family of 5 (myself, hubby, 16 yr old, 5 yr old & 15 month old) and a kidamal (dog). I spend over $400 a month...I like to think we eat I cook fairly healthy lots of fresh veggies, fruit...not a lot of snack stuff....I do use coupons...I've decided & I'm very determined to get our grocery bill down to $150 a month w/o sacrificing healthy foods & still buying name brands...although I do buy some generic/store grocery store of choice is Meijer b/c they always seem to have good produce...anyway I recently went to a coupon class...LOL! everyone asks why do you need a coupon class....check out Laura's blog (she lives in Livonia) ..... for however many number of people in your family buy that number of newspapers (Sunday) for the coupon inserts or have friends, family members save their coupons for you if they don't use them...that sounds crazy right...I bought 4 newspapers this past Sunday...yes I was overwhelmed...(I've organized my coupons into a binder & filed away what I may use later) Laura & the other blogs that she links from her page tell/show you how to match store sales w/your is another one...I believe she also blogs sales for your area. One of the "coupon queens" has been couponing for 2 years she was spending 500-600 month on her family of 5 & 11 pets...she got her grocery spending down to $150 a month (there are months where she doesn't have to do any shopping b/c the household needs have been met so she has been able to save what she would have spent) she averages less than that every month.....I'm a SAHM and would love nothing more than to lift some of the financial burden off of hubby...we live paycheck to paycheck (it was a choice) so that I could stay home w/my kiddos.

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answers from Detroit on

I'm right there with you... I have myself, my husband (who is 6'4" and eats A LOT), a 3 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. Our bill tends to come close to $700-800 per month... We do organic baby food and most of our veggies and fruit are organic. Then I do rBST free milk, meat, yogurt, cheese, etc. It's slightly less expensive than doing organic for those foods. I try to get as much as I can from Trader Joes - their prices tend to be MUCH better than the organic or rBST free food from stores like Meijer or Kroger. Also, if you have a membership to Costco, they actually carry quite a few things that are organic which is a good money saver.

I have found that when I really monitor what I buy, I can bring the bill down by as much as $100 or so per month. But that takes a lot of pre-planning and staying away from some more expensive "treats" at the store (like steak or these all natural fruit snacks from Whole Foods that my daughter LOVES, etc). I also shop at Whole Foods which I LOVE as a store but they're pretty pricey. On the positive side, they DO have good sales on fruits and veggies quite often (I don't think Trader Joes really has sales because their normal prices are pretty low). I haven't tried a local farmers market yet but I've heard that's a great option to save money on organic produce and will begin trying that this summer. What it comes down to is time... I work full time outside the home and have 2 little ones so I try to spend as little time grocery shopping as possible (to maximize my off time with the kids). But I end up spending more money when I don't take the time to shop...

While I feel that my grocery bill is on the high end, I did hear an interesting fact on an Oprah show recently (I DVR them and watch them after the kids are in bed) - she had a show on food and the importance of really paying attention to what we put in our bodies (stemming from looking at the documentary Food Inc). This is a quote that was given from journalist Michael Pollan (he is featured in Food Inc): Although "real" food is often more expensive, Michael says you either pay for real food now—or pay the doctor later. In 1960, Michael says 18 percent of our national income was spent on food, and only 5 percent on healthcare. Today, he says 9 percent of our income is spent on food and a whopping 17 percent on healthcare. "The less we spend on food, the more we spend on healthcare," he says.



answers from Grand Rapids on

We have a family of 5 and I also run a day care business in my home. We always have at least 5 kids and 2 adults at every meal, which I cook. I try to stay away from processed foods most of the time, usually 2 times per week for lunch I do mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. I always buy organic when I can, and anything that is processed, I get the brands with the all natural or organic ingredients in it. I always make sure everyone gets fresh or frozen veggies and fruits with every meal, as well. Our food budget is no more than $125 a week, and I make it work. Yes, it takes more planning by cooking instead of eating out, by using coupons, and by planning a menu off of the ads in the paper, but we have stuck to this budget for a couple years now and everyone has a full tummy!



answers from Detroit on

We budget $315.00 a month for groceries and I usually spend slightly less than that. I usually buy things only when they are on sale and stock up and use coupons. This is for my husband and I, a 2 y/o and nursing 3 month old



answers from Provo on

Family of 4, Mom Dad 4 yo and 2 yo. We spend $300 per month, and I use the coupon mom system. It helps a lot. I totally agree with you on the importance of eating healthy! Spending money for quality food is important. I think it's different for every family, because each family has their own needs as far as nutrition goes. We try to eat fish at least once a week, vegetarian once a week, beef twice a week and chicken the rest. I wrote out a list of our favorite meals and pick which ones I will make that week, and then buy ingredients accordingly. To spend less, you have to plan more which is a pain sometimes, but keeps me on track budget-wise, and cooking at home-wise.



answers from Kansas City on

Two adults, 8 kids, and sometimes send food to my adult son (and his wife and child). What we spend weekly varies, but I will estimate between $600 t $700 a month. This does not include pet food, cleaning supplies, hba's, nor the cow we have butchered. The only organic I purchase is produce that at times, is actually cheaper than the alternatives due to sale cycles.


answers from Dallas on

Family of 3 (mom, dad, 15 yr old daughter). I have no idea what I spend. I am at the grocery pretty much on a daily basis buying fruits and veggies. I have bought from places like Sprouts but you have to eat the produce in a day or so or it starts going bad. My grocery store of choice is Market Street...a little pricier but qood quality.

I buy all of my meats from my local butcher because he carries the best quality cuts. I will not purchase beef in a grocery store. I go to the butcher about once every 6 weeks or so and spend around $200. My weekely grocery bill is around $100+/- We try to make healthy choices with our food.

We also eat out fairly often.



answers from Detroit on

Hi L.!
Family of 3 ... We spend ~$100-115/week. Buying almost exclusively organic. Better Health Store really helps, they give out 15% off your entire food bill coupons. I also spend a bit of time searching for coupons online.



answers from Victoria on

South Texas family of 4 kids are 4 & 5. I spend about $500 a month and I get veggies & fruits from a local organic farm. I try to stick to real food not pre packaged as well. hope this helps you.



answers from Hartford on

Hi L., We are a family of 3 mom, dad, and a 7 year old boy. I use to spend around $150 a week. Now I'm closer to $200 because we are trying to stay primarily organic and we are not eating out anymore. In this total includes all my toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet food ect. One of these days I will have to really break it down so I have a better idea. I asked a similar question to this a few weeks back and was shocked at how varied the answers were.


answers from Charlotte on

I have a family of six. A 6yo boy, twin 4yo boys and an 8mo girl. The boys have very healthy appetites that get bigger and bigger as they grow and I don't have to tell you how expensive formula and diapers are.

I make one big monthly trip to the grocery store spending around $250. I get all the big, nonperishable items then like canned goods and detergents. I also go to the store about once a week to fill in with perishables like meat, dairy and bread. Each week I spend about $50-$100. So total in a month I spend $500-$600 on grocery.

I try to by store brand, generic wherever possible. I use coupons and buy on sale. I buy nonperishable in bulk. Anything to save a buck. So, I guess I spend $100/mo per person in my house. So, I guess if I had a family of four I'd spend around $400.

Great question! I don't know if that's good or bad. I'm curious to see how others answer this question



answers from Las Vegas on

We are 3 adults and a 4 year old. My oldest daughter doesn't always eat everything I buy, although she does have her share. I spend anywhere from $80 - $100 per week. I usually shop at Fresh and Easy, using their coupon and buying their sale items.

When fresh veggies are on sale, I buy them. When tomatoes are too ripe, I toss them in the freezer and chop 1 or 2 of them up and toss it in almost everything I cook. If you run cold water of the frozen tomato and twist the skin it pops right off.

Bell peppers, celery, and onion, I chop ahead of time and put it in a zip lock and toss it in the freezer, separately. When I need it, it is already chopped and I usually pinch off a section and toss it in the pot. If they are on sale, I buy all 12 of them, chop and freeze. I pay next to nothing for them!

If I have a coupon from Fresh and Easy, that means shop. One never knows when the they will stop sending them and they do from time to time. If I don't need $30 or $50 worth of groceries, I buy bottled juice, chips, ketchup, etc. As long as it stores, I buy it and we eventually eat it.

While I used to throw away all the ripe tomatoes, I now almost never have a need to buy canned tomato sauce ~ savings!

I have always preferred Del Monte or Heinz Ketchup. I tried the Fresh and Easy brand for half the price and thought it taste like Del Monte. Then tried a Tomato Vine brand that was just as good ~ saved even more!

I have found that many off brand laundry detergents don't suds up and don't seem to work, but I have found Roma detergent found at Big Lots works just fine. I tried to look it up to see if it was a generic for a name brand, but didn't find anything. $2/bag. I keep a name brand detergent on hand for whites and blacks, as soaps can leave a bleach stain on the blacks if you are not careful. If nothing else, the off brand will work well for towels, rags, sheets, and play clothes, provided there are no allergies.

I have seen people try to stretch the dish soap by adding a little bit of water. Big Lots has a dish soap for $1. It is orange like the Ajax. Once half the bottle of Ajax is used, I add the $1 dish soap and mix them. The $1 soap works just fine, but is a bit more runny and it is not so bad when mixed.

Costco now has a business center. They sell a lot of the same items or industrial items, but in bulk. If I can buy it in bulk and use it before the expiration, I buy it. As long as you can afford the bulk price, it is almost always the way to go. They also sell a liquid dish soap in a bottle, for much less than the Ajax or Joy in the sqeezy bottle.

My husband is a smoker. It is nearly $5/pack. I buy a carton at a time at Costco and pay $4.30/pack. $7 savings!

As well, Costco prices gas at $0.05 less than surrounding gas stations within a 5 mile radius. I work near one Costco and live near another. The one closer to my work is cheaper, that is where I fill up. I save about $8 per fill up, every 8 days.

I can see approximately $30 savings per week, with the examples I provided. That would be $1,560 for the year, less the $100 executive member Costco annual membership fee.

Every little bit does count!


answers from Spokane on

I have a pretty big family. My DH and I have 4 kids (ages 18,6,4,2) living with us and then 3 others occasionally- 1 stepson we only get on weekends and the 2 nephews who we feed at least 3 dinners a week and after school snacks daily. My youngest is still in diapers but eats what we eat. We generally spend $150-$175 a week at the store. That is for food and misc. paper products and soaps. I buy almost all generic or store brand (it's sad, I know) except for the certain things we have figured out aren't as good, like Kraft Mac n cheese :) I buy mostly organic snacks and milk and eggs but that's about it.

~I must say that I work for a grocery store and my BIL is the meat guy, so we are given the heads up on all an employee, I also receive 15% off all store brand food, so this saves me quite a bit of $



answers from Austin on

I try to stick to a budget of 80$ per week. We have 2 adults and 2 preschoolers. We eat out once a week. I would say about half of the budget goes towards fresh fruit and veggies. I write out a menu for every day before I take my weekly grocery trip. I try to keep breakfast simple (cereal, oatmeal) and dinners are a protein, grain and veggie. I'm lucky, my family prefers their veggies raw so that saves me some time.
Anyway- I planted a square foot garden this year so hopefully we will have some semi-free veggies soon!

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