Average Monthly Grocery Cost?

Posted by Mrs Money on May 24th, 2010

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I’m not very good at traditional budgeting. Never have been; maybe I never will be. I figure as long as I have enough money to pay the bills plus some left over, we’ll be alright. I do have a loose budget with all of our monthly bills, and as they are paid, I turn them to green from red. It works for me.

That being said, I realized something today while at the grocery store. Not only did I spend $40 on pretty much one bag of groceries, but I also stressed about the total all while I was in the store. It was not a very good shopping trip. I was worried about how much money I was spending.

That got me curious. Would I be less stressed if I had a budget with a set amount, or would it be even worse? Right now I shoot for $200 a month in groceries (it’s just me eating most of the time) and I wonder if that’s too low. My husband works 60 hours a week and really doesn’t eat much at home except for breakfast and some dinners. I’m thinking I could raise it but I don’t really want to spend more than that on groceries.

How much do you spend on groceries per month and how many people are in your family?

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29 Responses to “Average Monthly Grocery Cost?”


  1. Kacie says:

    $200/month isn’t much. Is he paying for his meals elsewhere, or are they free since he’s a chef?

    We spend quite a bit — $400 minimum but lately it’s been closer to $500 and sometimes more.

    We go through 4-5 gallons of milk a week. We don’t eat a ton of meats but I’m trying to increase it (and buy the natural ones) because I do need my protein and it’s easier to get at least some of it from meats.

    Add a lot of mainly organic produce and we’ve just got a high bill. Plus the main grocery store we haev around here has terrible prices.

    It’s really frustrating to spend that much — especially when I used to spend so little ($40-50/week at Aldi) but the quality of thigns I bought was much less.

    So please, don’t feel bad for $200/month!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- He gets to eat any meals he’s working for free. 4-5 gallons of milk a week?!?! WOW. I blame Johnny. ;)

    I think I’d feel better about it if I figured in, say, $300 a month for groceries. That way if I spent less that would be great!

    [Reply]

  2. Kristy says:

    We spend $300-400/mo on groceries, and there are only two of us. It could be a lot less than that, but:
    We buy organic dairy and produce and pastured eggs. We buy organic/humane meat about half the time.
    We have a household ban on high-fructose corn syrup and ground beef for health reasons.
    We buy as many of our groceries as possible from the locally owned corner market than the chain supermarkets.

    So our ideals are expensive. But hey, I enjoy every meal.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kristy- I think your budget and plan sounds great. I think I need to up my grocery money and learn how to cook a little better. ;)

    [Reply]

  3. We spend $300 for the two of us. Eating out really only happens about once a week and we both eat lunches made from what we have at home. At the beginning of every month we each take out $150 and put it into our “grocery” envelop to then use for the rest of the month. It works out pretty well, either we’ll take the entire envelope along with us or we’ll grab a twenty for a smaller trip.

    Lately we’ve been slacking on this approach and for some reason it seems like our money has been leaving more quickly than usual. It could be that I’m trying to incorporate more organic foods into our diet, but I also think that we could be better at planning our meals and eating a vegetarian meal every once in a while.

    $200 seems pretty frugal to me, but it also depends on where you live and what you’re buying. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Chloe- That sounds good. I like the grocery envelope idea. I think I may do that. I have problems with wanting to make smaller trips to the store numerous times a week. That’s not good. ;)

    I think I’m going to increase my budget to $300. That’ll work better!

    [Reply]

  4. Kevin says:

    Me and my girlfriend spend about $260 per month for the both of us. We keep it down by buying things on sale and using a lot of coupons

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kevin- I think that’s a great amount! Thanks for sharing. :)

    [Reply]

  5. Deirdre says:

    I spend about $500 a month on food for just me – some of that is on food that my fiance eats, but he also buys groceries (not sure how much he spends) that he shares with me, so it evens out. Note that it includes *all* food – not just groceries, but eating out, going out for coffee, etc. So the amount you spend seems really low to me.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Deirdre- For some reason, I am thinking you are raw vegan- is that correct? I think I’m going to up mine to at least $300.

    [Reply]

    Deirdre Reply:

    Well, I *was* raw (though not fully vegan), but that’s been harder to maintain since I moved in with my fiance. But I still don’t eat wheat, any meat (except fish), corn, soy, dairy – so a lot of the less expensive meals are off-limits. One can only eat so much rice!

    [Reply]

  6. I have a $40 weekly budget for my family, which includes my husband who regularly works out and is a big, fit guy (6’0″, 200#), me (and I’m 35 weeks pregnant), our 3yo and 2 cats.

    In fact, for 2010, our average weekly grocery expenditure is $32 so we’re under budget. We out maybe once per month at a Chinese buffet for $20 total, and rather than get each other birthday/mothers day / fathers day / anniversary gifts, we go out for a family dinner instead.

    I live in Ohio and I do have a backyard garden in the summer.

    We are all healthy and eat a good variety of foods, including fresh produce, frozen veggies when fresh aren’t available, meat, dairy and whole grains. I am also able to donate quite a bit to local food pantries and unemployed friends and family. When I can “buy” free or nearly free food after coupons, I pick it up and set it aside for donation purposes.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Milk Donor Mama- We will have a good sized garden this year too, so hopefully that will help. And I am dying to get chickens for eggs!! I would love that. I think you do a great job if you can do $40 a week for that many people. I’d love to have you guest post about that if you’re interested. ;)

    [Reply]

  7. Stacey says:

    It really depends on where you live… we spend $160 a month ($40 a week) for two people, plus $40 to go out once or twice each month. We try really hard not to eat processed, pre-packaged foods, and I make out budget work by shopping the sales.

    We eat mostly organic, too – but it helps that we grow most of our own fruits (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, neighbor’s apples) and vegetables.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Stacey- That’s what I am thinking. It seems like sometimes our grocery budget is right on in comparison to people, and sometimes it’s low. I would love to grow a lot of our own fruit!

    [Reply]

  8. Little House says:

    $200 a month isn’t very much. My husband and I currently spend just above $300 and we don’t eat much or lavishly. If you used coupons and shopped items only on sale, maybe you keep it at about $200. This does depend on where you live. If you live in a large metro, your groceries will cost a little more versus a smaller city. (p.s. I love your cost of living per state series!)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Little House- I think where we live is pretty reasonable in terms of cost. I think I will up my grocery budget to around $300. :) Thanks so much! I need to work more on that series!

    [Reply]

  9. My partner and I spend about $275/month on groceries, pet food, toiletries, and household stuff. About 70% of our stuff is organic, no rBST in the dairy, no hfcs…Luckily we both love to cook from scratch, have a great farmer’s market nearby, and clip coupons like crazy, so I think that helps us stay in budget. Good thing, too – groceries cost a fortune nowadays!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Retro Housewife- It sounds like our budgets are similar! I am definitely going to increase mine. :)

    [Reply]

  10. akborn says:

    Lately we were budgeting about, or around 480, for 4 adults and 1 child. Which I will admit was tight- and honestly was not the “healthiest” (alot of cheap foods like Top Ramon *blush*, and other junk). but starting next month it will be just 2 adults 1 kid, and I am excited because I am going to “change” our life abit- starting with the food that we eat. (my brother-in-law and his wife was living with us since December, and before that we have always housed friends, and family, or been housed by family- this will be the first time in our 9 yr relationship that it will be just us) So I am excited and curious to see what changes in our food budget. and the local “farmers market” has opened up for the year, which its early yet so not much for veggies yet. but their are I just learned local meat people, and I am trying to see if we can fit that in one day, not yet prices are abit ouchy :-( but i would like to switch. Ty for your info, and if I got wordy my bad :-) lol I really enjoying seeing how other people are living and doing things in the life- and it motivates me to try different things as well :-)

    [Reply]

  11. H Lee D says:

    We spend $60-80/week for two of us. We eat all breakfasts and lunches and most dinners at home. No meat. A few convenience foods (cereal, bread, rice milk, etc.). He’s a big man and eats a lot ;)

    [Reply]

  12. There’s about 3 in my family, but only 2 people actually live here. We spend about 250 CAD every month (Food is a bit higher here.)

    Budgeting can be a bit of a redundant and arduous task. I like to consider myself fantastic with numbers and accounting, so most of my budget is more of an indy ploy than really mapping things out. Which is ironic, because I turn into Batman when put in front of the stock tickers.

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  13. Revanche says:

    *cringe* Right now, the grocery budget has worked out to be a shade under $500/month (2 months tracked so far) and that’s only for 2 people, and doesn’t include some meals out. It’s excessive as far as I’m concerned since we don’t eat out more than 2 dinners/week (if that), and we pack every single lunch.

    I’d like to reduce it to $400/month from now on, and $300/month by next year.

    [Reply]

  14. eemusings says:

    We spend around $500 a month for the two. Bear in mind we live in a really expensive city, and grocery coupons are non existent in this country. For an idea of what staples cost here, I did a post last year… http://eemusings.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/the-grocery-game/

    [Reply]

  15. Twin Mamma says:

    I have a family of 4 and my grocery bill runs $320-$400. I budget myself $160 a week for gas, groceries, health and beauty, etc. $60-$80 goes to gas so that $320-$400 includes food, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, etc.

    [Reply]

  16. My husband and I spend approximately $200 a month. This includes feeding two adult children a few times a week. Being really frugal with household bills like this is enabling me to get rid of all my debt quickly.

    [Reply]

  17. Michelle says:

    I don’t know anymore because I stopped keeping track when my family moved in with my mother-in-law to help her out financially. I think I am spending more than I used to and am feeding her other grandkids part-time when they are here being babysat. The mother-in-law also contributes to the groceries being brought in but I still think we are spending more than we used to. It’s been a year now and we are all going to be moving on within the next 2 months at which time I am going to make a budget for 2 adults and 2 children. My sister-in-law does something I think is pretty brilliant, she buys gift cards from her grocery store of choice once per week and does her best to make them last the week. I think I will start with a budget of $100/week, plan the meals and go from there.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Michelle- What a great idea! I think I’m going to try the gift cards too. That’s fabulous!

    [Reply]


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