How Much to Budget?

Updated on September 29, 2008
J.T. asks from Mansfield, TX
8 answers

What do you think is a reasonable amount of money to budget for these necessities: food, toiletries, diapers, etc. for a family of 3 per month (me, huband, and 18-month-old)?? I am currently re-evaluating my past expenditures on these items and am curious how my spending compares to what you smart mamas think is reasonable. Thanks in advance!!

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

We are a family of four with only one in diaper's and would say we probably spend around $250.00 a week. I think as long as you budget $200.00 you should be fine. If you are big on looking for the best deals and clipping cupons maybe you budget less. I figured that would include all expenses food, diapers, cleaning supplies, toiletries, dry cleaning and anything else you buy once a week.

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

I don't know what it's like with a kid, but for my husband and I, we spend about $125 a week on groceries and other household needs, without doing any aggressive price comparisons. ($100 on groceries & $25 on household things). If we try hard or buy in bulk or use coupons/in-store specials, we can keep it to $100 or less. I guess you could decide how much a child would add to that to figure out what our 3-person household would cost.

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E.W.

answers from Dallas on

We are a family of three, one 2.5 year old with two fluffy parents =). We budget $100 a week on groceries and are big GroceryGame people. It does take a lot of time to do the Grocerygame but it is worth every penny and as a SAHM that is my job. I am averaging about $30 an hour, more on some weeks =) We also base our weekly "menu" around things that are on sale in order to save money. So with a little help from the GroceryGame and a lot of planning I am able to cut my grocery bill in half every week. As far as budget we include EVERYTHING that we buy at the grocery store into our budget, that is toiletries, paper goods, etc. i have a Costco card but rarely use it because when I get things on sale it tops Costco prices. When my daughter was in diapers we budgeted $125.

The grocerygame is nice because you don't have to buy the generic food (not that anything is wrong with generic) but if you do it right you can get the name brand for a lot less than generic. Many people use Walmat but the bad thing about them is they do not do double/triple coupons..

If you would like I would be happy to show you how I do it, or walk you through it on the phone. Saving money makes me so excited, I would love to share!! Feel free to email me [email protected]____.com

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M.F.

answers from Dallas on

We are a family of 4. We've been out of diapers about 6 months now, but I think we spent about $40/month on diapers for an 18 month old. I rarely bought diapers without a coupon. We bought the big "value" box of wipes that lasted us a while. Groceries and toiletries come to about $120/week. We keep the two budgets separate for the most part, with the monthly amount for toiletries at $50, which includes paper products (bathroom tissue, paper towels, etc. too.

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J.R.

answers from Dallas on

We are a family of 6: 2 parents, one teen boy, 3 younger girls and I spend about $140 a week for groceries/toiletries. I price match at Walmart and plan meals around what is one sale. Just take competitor ads to Walmart and tell the cashier it is on sale at Kroger/Tom Thumb for whatever price and they will ring it up for that price. I sometimes buy meat at Sam's and divide and freeze, or I'll buy a few extra packages and freeze if it is on sale somewhere. I also coupon shop for only those things that we use. We eat out once a week, but only on kid's eat free nights, or when the restraunt is having a special, or if I have a coupon. I also buy our bread at the bread thrift store since we eat it so fast it doesn't go bad. I also hate Walmart produce and will spend a little extra to buy it at the regular grocery store.

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R.

answers from Dallas on

We are a family of 5 and we budget $100.00 a week for these things. HTH

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

I do not know how a family of 5 can budget 100/week. Some of these replies must do things I don't know how to do either! What I do is this: I live where all these stores are VERY close, so that helps, but I look at the sales papers that come in the mail every week. I go through and write down what sales are at what store that I would be interested in, and then compare to decide where I'm going (Albertsons, Kroger, or Tom Thumb). There is a basic inventory that never changes in my kitchen (milk, cream of whatever, onions, etc). Then using the coupons in my purse sized file (which you can get in the office section at Walmart--I made my tabs food, bath, cleaning, going out, baby, etc and put coupons into each section), I make a weekly menu, add a couple days "just in case". I make the menu according to what coupons I have, what we already have at home, and what's on sale. That makes the shopping list pretty basic and then I go to Walmart for the basic stuff (toiletries, cleaning supplies, and canned goods, etc). Then we'll swing by one of the grocery stores for meat (not just for the price but b/c the quality is better), and whatever else may be on sale there that is on my list.
DO NOT BUY PRODUCE AT WALMART. It's sometimes twice the cost, not a good quality at all, and goes bad way too fast. I've thrown money and fits at Walmart produce for the last time. I have to go to the doctor every Monday for bloodwork, and pass right by Sprouts farmer's market on my way home. I do my "real" shopping on the weekend, but my produce shopping I do on Monday at Sprouts: whatever is on sale that week. For example, grapes are $1.99 everywhere right now, but Sprouts has them for 77 cents! Apples are 1.29 instead of 1.99. We do not believe in doing without or eating foods that aren't good for you just to save money. We don't do without at all. But at least on my schedule, we don't spend extra money on gas even if it is 3 stores (just make them preplanned and go when you're going to be near there anyway): we have a 2 year old and 2 parents and we spend $120 every week on food and household items. This may be $140 one week and 100 the next, but we keep the cap on $480/week and we eat out only 1x/month (not included in the grocery budget-we put that in recreation). Another tab in my coupon file is for receipts, and I keep those each week to make sure I'm on track and not accidentally overspending. I empty it every week before going shopping again.
Edited: In all fairness, this does not include diapers, which is about $50/month for wipes and diapers (giant value box of wipes at Walmart, the biggest boxes for the best prices of diapers, at least Pampers, is at Babies R Us).

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

I'm on a really tight budget. I use cloth diapers and budget $300 a month for everything that may come out of a store besides medicine, gifts, and clothes. I keep those three separate. That is a budget for three. I've got another, but she's still nursing and I make my own baby food. It's a huge cost saver. With my first I spent about $40-50 for diapers, cream, etc each month. However at that point I was only spending about $250 a month on grocery items.

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