Monthly Grocery Budget

Updated on January 22, 2013
L.J. asks from San Diego, CA
29 answers

I'm curious what others spend per month on groceries. I am trying to set a reasonable budget but I am having trouble deciding what is "reasonable". Thank you!

I should have mentioned that we are a family of 5 and we pretty much eat every meal at home. Looking for what is spent just on food.

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S.Q.

answers from Bellingham on

I budget $1000 per month for groceries, cleaning products, toiletries etc. we are a family of five. Groceries are relatively expensive where I am. We normally shop at Aldi.

2 moms found this helpful

L.L.

answers from Rochester on

I spend about $600 a month on just food. We are a family of 4, one child with CD and lactose intolerance, so that includes specialty foods when necessary.

1 mom found this helpful

J.O.

answers from Boise on

We are a family of 10. Mom and dad, 4 adult (barely) children and 4 little ones under 11.

We spend between $800.00 a month to a $1,000. Sometimes it will be even less then that, but that is all meals at home, plus I homeschool, and the older kids and husband take lunch everyday. It's also not unusual for me to be feeding the occasional friend or BF/GF.

1 mom found this helpful

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B.B.

answers from New York on

It varies based on where you live but I think I read that the average family (of 4) spends about 175 dollars a week on groceries and household supplies. We spend about 125 a week and that includes paper products, toiletries, and cat food/supplies. We are a family of 3 (4 year old) I would try to aim for 150-175 dollars depending on the age of your children...what do you spend now?

5 moms found this helpful

S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

It depends on the size of your family, the grocery prices where you live, and whether you include cleaning and personal hygiene items as part of your grocery budget. We spend about $350 for a family of four including cleaning supplies and personal hygiene.

3 moms found this helpful
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L.M.

answers from New York on

I'm sorry I'm not going to be of much help. Our grocery budget is all over the place. One month it could be $400, another month it could be $800.

We buy when it's on sale. For example, in our area it's the "can can sale" or whatever else they want to call it. Last week we bought 30 boxes of pasta and 5 cases of tomatoe products. In Sept. when cheese was on sale for $2.00/lb I bought 8lbs, which was great during the holidays and I was making cheese and cracker platters.

It also depends on the types of meals you choose to make. We have friends that eat mostly fresh organic fruits and veggies. The spend $75 per week just on fruits and veggies.

3 moms found this helpful
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M.P.

answers from Raleigh on

I try to keep our food expenses to around $100/week for a family of 4. Sometimes it goes over for the week, and usually balances out the following week. I'm also a coupon clipper and only buy meat when on sale.

2 moms found this helpful
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L.M.

answers from Seattle on

200-260 a week. Grocery are expensive where I live.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.R.

answers from Kansas City on

I have weekly meals and the only days that change for meals is Sunday & Monday. (hubby's off those nights) Our budget for 5 (2 adults, 12 yr old, 7yr old, & 5 yr old) is between $450 and $500 a month. I'm watching two boys almost daily now during the week, so that amount will be increased by another $50 to $100 now.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.M.

answers from Boston on

I spend too much. Abt $1k.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.T.

answers from New York on

Family of four. We eat a lot of organic and spend about $1k a month. That does include laundry detergent, tp etc though.

1 mom found this helpful
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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

Just on food is hard to say. We have 2 cats and include their food and litter in our generic shopping. DH and I swap weeks and I try to keep it down to $250/week or less in a major metro area for between 3 and 5 people (depending on who is home). DH's weeks can easily be $100 more (he earns more so he buys a few more things).

A difference in how I shop vs DH includes coupons, sales and no/little junk. I buy convenience foods for DD's lunch, but DH packs his. We skip sodas and chips as a routine. We buy things that will last (pasta, toilet paper, hand soap) in bulk when they are on sale. Look at the difference in the work to cook ratio of food and decide if you really need baby carrots or can just use big carrots you cut up. Plan a week of meals so you're not tempted to eat out and you already know what you'll have to eat for the week.

We have a leftover night, too. One night at the end of the week before shopping. Clear the fridge and get rid of anything that won't make it any longer if no one eats it.

I do agree that cost of living varies greatly and you have to consider what's average cost of milk or whatever in your area. My mom can go to an Amish market and get great deals that are impossible here. But everything is lower there, including annual salaries. As a single woman, my grocery bill doubled when I moved here.

1 mom found this helpful

C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

L.:

We budget $500 a month on food for a family of 4 with one dog.
I use coupons whenever I can. I plan my meals for the week off the coupons I have.

The problem with asking people here? Cost of living is different in each area...not just state...

For example - here
milk is $3.49 per gallon...
bread is $3.19 per loaf
hamburger is $5.79 per pound (93%)
chicken breasts (boneless/skinless) $6.49 per pound

Granted NONE of these are on sale right now. When they are on sale? I stock up and freeze them.

Look over your receipts for the last six months (if you still have them) and see what it is you have purchased and spent. Take out the other stuff (like magazines, candy, etc.) and you will have a better view of your spending habits.

We have designated Sunday night as leftover night at our home. So if we have leftovers from the week's meals - I warm them up (if necessary) and we eat that...

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful
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J.G.

answers from Cleveland on

We spend about $800-900 a month for a family of 7, but with that budget we also have stocked our pantry & freezer... we could more then likely eat most meals out of there (other then breed, milk & eggs) for atleast 2 months or longer. Personnaly, I think if I wasn't stocking the pantry, I could make it on about $600-700 a month... I would think about $100-125 per person per month would be reasonable if you shop smart, buy things on sale & use coupons.

Oh, also withthe way we do our shopping - we get fuel perks & haven't paid for gas in nearly a year :) Which now days is a HUGE help on the budget as well.

1 mom found this helpful

P.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

Family of 4. Both kids are young (1 and 2) so they eat smaller portions. 500-600 a month.

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

wow, you guys are good! i do a lot of my shopping at costco and an awesome mennonite grocery store where the prices are amazing, but i also get virtually all of my produce and dairy from a co-op that focuses on local and organic, so i spend a lot of my food budget there. since the boys moved out it's just the ol' man and me, and our bevy of furbabies. we do buy groceries for the younger kid twice a month. so we're probably in the $800 category and maybe a little more.
khairete
S.

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S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Wow! I guess I just don't have the gift of finding the deals. I don't know how these ladies do it! Karla spends $350 month? Really? I go to the grocery store weekly and could easily spend nearly $200.00. That puts me at $800 month. Now granted, this includes household goods (toilet paper, etc), toiletries (toothpaste, etc), and pet food. But still. Ugh! I guess I need to try harder.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

Reasonable is going to be very much dependent on YOU and what you eat. Financial planners say you should allot 14-15% of your total budget for food.

With that said, we spend roughly 8% on our food budget.

M.F.

answers from Portland on

Family of 3, we eat all organic and healthy.
For laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, body wash, gas for the car, school lunches for kiddo, trash bags, tooth paste,
AND groceries,
we spend about $400 a month.

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J.D.

answers from Cincinnati on

$80-100 per week for 3 people. i go to Aldis once or twice per month to get produce because its cheaper. I don't budget in fruit because I don't know what I want till I get to the store. I try to use cash when I can so I don't go over.

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C.C.

answers from Boston on

We spend about $800-$1000 per month including 1-2 trips to BJ's to stock up on toiletries, paper goods, etc. and then weekly trips to Market Basket for groceries for the week. I plan out all dinners and my husbands lunches for work and daughters lunches are included in our groceries because they bring from home. This feeds a family of 6 myself and husband and MIL (she has been staying with us to help with childcare for a couple months) 17 year old and 5 and 3 year olds :) I used to do so much better with budgeting this but I've gotten lazy.... Gotta get back on track! This post was a wake up call!!

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B.B.

answers from San Antonio on

Family of 4. We spend about $200/month at HEB (normal grocery store here in San Antonio/Texas), and then about another $100-$150 at Costco. That includes other household stuff (cleaners, toilet paper, etc). We use the envelope system from Dave Ramsey. I put in it $400 at the start of each month, and pay cash every time we go. We usually have $ leftover, which I put in a separate envelope, that I then use to pay for the birthday parties for the kids.

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K.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I try to stick as close to possible to $250 per month for large grocery shopping trips (family of 4) but I also spend approx. another $100 per month for Costco trips. We eat almost all meals at home.

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M.N.

answers from Missoula on

I have a family of four and I usually spend 200$ or less a month. We were blessed with family and friends that provided us with portions of a cow and a pig, so meat isn't an issue. We eat everything at home except once a week when he takes us out for a family lunch. My kids love fruits and vegetables so we always stock up on that weekly. We went through an 8 pound bag of oranges in a week. Kids couldn't get enough of them.

E.A.

answers from Erie on

We are so lucky to have a big-city type market that sells all of the basics really cheap, just not pantry type items. I buy bags of apples for 1.99, I rarely pay over $2/lb for beef or pork, and chicken always hovers around $1/lb there. Deli meats often go on sale for $2/lb, too. I rarely pay full price for anything including bread. I don't use Costco or those stores, I just shop smart. We are a family of 6, two teens, two adults and two kids over 10. I spend around $400 for food and basic essentials every month.

Just for fun, here's one of their weekly ads:
http://www.eriecountyfarms.net/weekly-specials/2

U.5.

answers from Wichita on

We are a family of nine. I typically spend between $280 and $400 once a month. That said, I have access to the military commissary and while the prices are almost the same there are no taxes included. It really makes a difference. Our meals cover four days a week of dinners and Saturday, Sunday lunches and dinners. During the week my Husband and I typically have power lunches at least three times a week and the other two days are commonly leftovers. I know there is room for improvement on my end but I rarely have the energy that I once did. I must add that if you plan your meals weekly and only buy those ingredients needed for those meals you will save hundreds of dollars. I did that when I was a stay at home Mom. Back then we also had two less family members. I was spending 150 to 250 at that time. Best wishes on this, it’s not easy. I make my meals last by purchasing a lot of meat, veggies, and canned goods. I can cook nearly anything with the last three ingredients in the fridge. I am very thankful for that. Cooking is a love hate thing for me. I love to cook when I WANT to but I am forced to cook more often than not. My splurge is Friday evenings when my wonderful Husband and I go drop off his kids at their mom’s. He usually takes me out saying I deserve a break. Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Las Vegas on

Our "food/grocery" budget is $950 for our family of 6. However, that also includes diapers, wipes, dog food, piano, preschool, toilet paper, laundry detergent and food. We eat out maybe 1-2 times per month, and if we do, it also comes out of that budget. Once I started actually planning out our meals, it wasn't too difficult to do. Of course, some months are easier than others.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

We spend about $700-$800 for 6 people. That's every breakfast and all but one dinner a week at home. The kids can buy 10 lunches a month at school and I probably buy lunch at work 10 times a month too and those are outside of that amount, so that leaves 20 lunches for 5 of us covered by the grocery bill. I have no idea what my husband does for lunches.

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C.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Family of 4...I used to pay about $32/week and it is now up to $45. That is with a coupon.

The 4 stands for a husband, myself, a 7 year old and an 29 year old. My little one and I pack lunches and bring our bottle of water where ever we go. The 29 year old buys a lot of her own food, however, picks at our food and usually has a small plate of our dinner.

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