Setting up a grocery budget isn't a difficult task and it's one that you should figure out ASAP! We're going to answer that age-old question of “How much should I spend on groceries?” today, along with some great tips to keep your budget as low as possible, saving you THOUSANDS.
I get hundreds of questions every week between emails, Instagram, Facebook, blog comments, and just being asked in-person. Answering them is one of my FAVORITE things about doing what I do! I love taking what I know and being able to help make it personally apply to Y-O-U.
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I get asked REGULARLY about groceries, sticking to a grocery budget, food, meal planning, and all things EATING. People often ask me, “How much should I spend on groceries?” What can I say, it's a hot-button issue for many of us! Aside from our mortgage, often times our highest bill each month is our groceries. Mind-blowing, I know.
I have so many different tips I'm happy to share with you! We're about to break down this whole grocery budget thang and answer that all-too-familiar question for you. Before we get into the nitty gritty, I want to make sure that you check out our Grocery Shopping Tips and Tricks page, food posts, and Shelf Cooking because they are a wealth of knowledge.
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Click HERE to watch online, or keep scrolling to see how much to spend on groceries per month below:
Okay, now on to a grocery budget recap! Let's start at the top, shall we?
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND ON GROCERIES?
As I've explained in detail in my envelope budget system post, the standard I've always suggested is $100 per person in your family per month. Whether it's a newborn, a teenager, or an adult – each living person in your house gets that same $100 every month. This starts at $300, so whether you've got 1, 2 or 3 people living in your house, you still have $300 for the month. If you have a family of 4, then your grocery budget for the month is $400.
HOW MUCH TO SPEND ON GROCERIES PER WEEK
Once you get that monthly amount figured out, I recommend to break that down by week, NOT by month. Take that $400 grocery budget and divide it by however many weeks there are in the month. If that month has 4 weeks, then you'd end up with $100 per week. Keep up with it on your envelope budget and you'll start saving some major buckaroos!
To some, that may seem like plenty. To others, you may have just broken out in hives and a cold sweat. Before you run and grab your pitchforks and start shaking your fists at me, just know that I've been blogging about this for YEARS. When people legitimately take my advice into consideration and do the work it takes to grocery shop and meal plan the frugal way, $100 per person is not only doable, it's reasonable. (Unless you live in Hawaii. Holy crud that place is expensive!)
HOW TO MAKE THE GROCERY BUDGET WORK FOR YOU
But I will say this, if it's NOT reasonable for whatever reason (you live in Hawaii, you have very particular health issues in the family, you live out in the boonies and only have one – very expensive – store within 50 miles of you…) then that's okay! Do your best to START with the $100 per person per month standard and try it for 3 MONTHS (yes, three m-o-n-t-h-s).
If that doesn't work, slowly add a LITTLE more to your budget each week to make it more reasonable. Then stop adding to your budget once it's working for you! Don't make it too comfortable, though. Saving all of that money is worth it to reach other financial goals in your life!
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR TEENAGERS
We may not currently have teens right now, but we host a LOT at the cabin and at our house, and usually we still stick to our same grocery budget. The best way to make your grocery budget work when you have a lot of people, or a few people who can put away the meat, is to make the expensive protein the sidekick, not the hero.
Rather than cooking up a bunch of chicken breasts or steaks and serving them whole, slice them up! Serve them over a salad, potatoes, pasta or rice. Serve them with homemade bread. Fix fruit and veggies that are in season. Take the focus off of the expensive meat. I don't mean to completely stop serving meat, just rethink how you serve it. You can make a casserole, wrap, soup, pasta or rice bowl for crazy cheap and they're not only filling, but delicious!
WHAT DOES THE GROCERY BUDGET INCLUDE?
Your grocery budget is going to include anything consumable that you use regularly and need to replenish. These are only things you would typically find at a local grocery store. We're talking food, shampoo, dog food, lotion, baby wipes/diapers, shaving cream, ziplock baggies, basic kitchen utensils and baking items, cleaning supplies, milk, basic cold remedy medicine, makeup, toiletries, and so on.
GET INDIVIDUAL HELP WITH YOUR GROCERY BUDGET
If all of this sounds amazing to you but you're needing even more help, then I've got the answer for you! I cover this in incredibly detailed, fun-to-watch videos in my Budget Boot Camp program. It's perfect for people who want individual help with getting their budget under control!
It's so fun, you won't regret going through the program! I'm so sure that you'll love it, I even offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
You've got nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off at checkout, just because. 😉
HOW TO CUT YOUR GROCERY BILL
Alright, let's see how low we can go! Here are a few tips to help you cut your grocery budget and keep it as minimal as possible:
- MEAL PLAN. Seriously, it's the only way it will work!
- Only go to the grocery store ONCE a week! It never fails that you need to run in for some milk and come out $50 later because you saw some other items that you “needed.”
- Order your groceries online and do grocery pickup instead of shopping in store! It's much easier to avoid those impulse buys and you can easily take items out of your cart if you go over budget.
- Make frugal meals. Save “fancy” meals (that include expensive meats and finer ingredients) for Sundays, rather than making them throughout the week.
- Don't waste a thing! Use, use again, then reuse leftovers again! Don't let anything go to waste. There are millions of ways to repurpose your leftovers into new meals if you're sick of eating the same thing day in and day out.
- Buy extra when on sale, as long as it fits in your grocery budget. If something is on sale, don't just buy one…buy several and store it! Pantry, freezer, keep it on-hand so you aren't paying full-price when you need something.
- Try a different store! You might be shopping somewhere that doesn't have the best deals each week. I use Deals to Meals to find the best deals for the week, or you can just look at the ads that come in your mail. Find the store with the best deals and shop there!
- Make extra and freeze it. If you're cooking something, double and freeze it so you have an inexpensive freezer meal for a crazy day when take-out looks appealing.
- Make sure your grocery budget is ONLY for consumables – don't include eating out. That might be draining your budget! Instead, include eating out in your “other” budget. You can read more on that HERE.
See, that wasn't so bad! No more asking yourself “How much should I spend on groceries?” now that you're a pro.
SHELF COOK TO KEEP YOUR GROCERY BUDGET DOWN
Have you checked out ShelfCooking.com yet? Our brand new site is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly meals for your family without slaving away in the kitchen!
Basically every parent's dream, right? Join our Shelf Cooking Community today!
Alright, well now that you know all about how much to spend on groceries, what are you waiting for? Get started on it and get that grocery budget under control. It may be a little hard in the beginning, but you will be so grateful once you do!
Looking for more great ideas to help with the budget?
- Start dividing up your spending responsibilities within your marriage. This will remove the burden from one person's shoulders and have you both working on your budget and finances together!
- Apply the 70% rule to your finances and discover that you can afford spending, saving and investing on ANY income!
- Still using the same bank account to house all of your money? Break it up into multiple bank accounts and it'll be much easier to manage your money!
Have a great week, Freebs!