How Much Should I Spend on Groceries? Money-Saving Tips

I am a working mom, in charge of the family grocery shopping. Each month, I shop for groceries, and I realized that I spend so much in my shopping.

The quest to be more economical in my spending urged me to do one thing I learnt over time. I set up a realistic budget to track my monthly grocery spending.

Then, I realized that the amount I spend on groceries depends on my family size, city of residence, income, diet preferences, the existence of pets or not, etc.

Considering all this, I had to be intentional about my monthly spending on groceries.

Maybe you’re in the same situation as me or you are facing the challenge of sticking to your budget.

No matter your situation, you probably want to know: How much should I spend on groceries a month? How do I save money on groceries?

Keep reading to learn how to create and customize a grocery budget for your family in 2023.

How Much Do You Spend On Groceries a Month?

Before you pay attention to making a budget for your grocery shopping, you need to know how much you spend monthly on groceries.

I will use myself as a case study.

Last year, my monthly grocery expenses were between $1,300 to $1,500. The groceries involve foodstuffs, toiletries, detergent, dog food, and other items that my family needs.

My family has two adults, three kids and three dogs.

Surprised about the number of dogs!

You wouldn’t blame me, both I and my Husband loves dog. My neighbor always tells me, you spend so much on groceries in a month.

It wasn’t until COVID 19 outbreak; we had a massive drop on our income. At that point, I saw the need to plan for my grocery. I started by making a major cut down on the amount I spend every month on groceries.

I started by selling off some dogs that were too much liability to us. Then I tracked eating out at restaurants because it was part of my grocery budget.

All thanks to the outbreak, we didn’t eat outdoors for 6 months.

After cutting down some of these expenses, I realized I could meet our needs with a $800 monthly budget.

That was amazing to me!

By knowing how much I spend on groceries every month, I could figure out where the major expenses were coming from, then I made a good budget.

If you find yourself in a similar situation or otherwise, you can also do the same if you really want to work on your spending on groceries.

Now, let me show how to stick to your adjusted budget.

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Learn to Stay Within Your Grocery Budget

Making a new budget is not always the case, the problem is staying within your budget.

I faced this challenge within the first two months of my budget planning.

It was easy for me to make the budget for groceries, but staying with my budget was the major issue.

Until I came across a book a friend recommended; “Organizing for Dummies,” by Eileen Roth, I became enlightened on how to stick to my monthly budget.

The book gave an excellent suggestion which I applied and surprisedly; it worked just fine.

First thing first:

#1. Create a Shopping List:

Eileen Roth, the author pointed out to make a shopping list before going to the grocery store. For instance, if you want to stock up your refrigerator, let your list contain the items that are two third gone.

Don’t include items that could still last for a month on your list. So, if you often buy jam and mayonnaise every month, always buy it when it is two third empty.

Doing this can help you save a lot of cash on groceries every month.

#2. Create a Grocery Shopping Routine:

Roth specifically addressed the case of those who shop every day.

If you’re in the habit of dropping by your regular grocery store every day after work, then you need to stop it.

You should only shop when it is necessary than shopping every week. This will help you save the money you spend unnecessarily every week.

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#3. Plan Your Meal Routine:

Another way to watch your budget is to plan your meal routine.

You should draft what you eat daily to track any grocery likely to finish on time.

For instance, you can plan “Every Wednesday meal will be spaghetti dinner. Every Sunday is chicken. Every Monday is fish night, etc.”

By doing this, you will know what to buy every week or month. This will help anyone keep track of their grocery budget within a predictable range every month.

Monthly Grocery Budget Guidelines

As a crazy spender I was, my monthly spending on groceries was above the official U.S. Department of Agriculture food at home guidelines.

The agency states that the monthly cost for food for every family of four ranges from $857 to $1,300. Then, the average cost of food per month for one person ranges from $150 to $300, depending on age.

Initially, my grocery budget was over their estimated budget, but as I followed their guidelines, the situation changed.

The USDA breaks down the cost of food at home in four categories:

  • Thrifty Plan
  • Low-Cost Plan
  • Moderate Cost Plan
  • Liberal Cost Plan

Each of these plans includes the cost of organic foods, snacks, and meals. However, the cost of grocery budget varies by location and shop. Wherever you live, this information will be so useful to you.

After following these guidelines, my life experience around grocery changed. So, I trust if you follow these guidelines, you will set a realistic budget.

Additionally, you can plan your budget online and compare prices to find the best alternatives.

Recommendations for Monthly Grocery Budget Spending

For your family to enjoy nutritious food and without overspending, you need to find the best monthly grocery budget.

From my experiment within the last eight months, I found out that an average family spends $250 on groceries per month.

This stat can also be right for families with little children too since supplies like diapers, baby wipes, and formula are very costly.

It all depends how you plan your monthly budget.

Here is a breakdown of an average monthly grocery budget recommended spending for different families in the US and across the world. This cost is very much applicable.

Family SizeEstimated Weekly BudgetEstimated Monthly Budget
1 person$60$251
2 people$125$553
3 people$172$722
4 people$224$892
5 people$254$1,060
6 people$278$1,230
Estimated Monthly Grocery Budget Spending

From this table, you can stick to your budget, by making sure you don’t exceed the budget that applies to you.

How to Save Money on Groceries

Now you have seen the data stated above showing you the possible grocery budget, it is time to create a grocery budget unique to you.

I’ve outlined the tips that can help you reduce your grocery spending in a month based on some different scenarios.

Before I state that, let’s show you the best way to save your money on groceries, what to do when you are overspending and how to cut it down.

#1: Audit Your Current Spending

If you don’t know your current spending on groceries every month, it will be difficult to figure out the areas where you could overspend.

Take out time and study your grocery spending and get an idea of how much you spend each week and month at the grocery store. If you eat out at restaurants, also include that.

Thay way, it will be easier to get an accurate picture of your spending habit, where you spend more, and which area you need to cut down.

Only you can identify what’s right for you for your monthly budget. So, it’s important to find out what makes your spending so you decide the plan to choose.

#2: Create A Food Budget

While making your new food financial plan, your aim ought to be to take advantage of each dollar you spend, particularly in this case you’re attempting to scale back.

Recognize some particular spending or sparing objectives that will influence your major shopping. Record it. Don’t simply focus on spending a specific sum or spending not as much as what you are present.

By having a particular financial plan spread out, you’re more averse to stray and succumb to financial plan busting spur of the moment purchases.

#3: Make a Plan

Going to the supermarket with a list will assist you with controlling hasty purchases, if you stick to it.

Abstain from perusing the store and just go shopping for food after you’ve eaten. As we all know, shopping while hungry can make you buy items, not on your list.

Despite the fact that it’s not generally possible, it can likewise be useful to go shopping for food without the children close behind. Children are exemplary drive purchasers; they see a thing they like and they must have it.

In such a situation, you can go shopping while they’re in school or with a babysitter.

Tips for Reducing Your Grocery Budget in a Month

The primary purpose of a budget is to help control your spending to save more money. And your grocery budget is not an exception.

There are a few different ways to reduce what you spend without stepping down the quality and taste of your food.

Managing your grocery spending plan can assist you to save money, at the same, get the groceries your family need.

#1: Shop with Coupons

Getting coupons from grocery stores is a great way to save money while doing your grocery shopping.

These days, you don’t have to get it out from newspapers. Coupons are very easy to find in malls, in-store, and even in Google search.

For example, most grocery stores are turning out couponing apps where you can just select the coupons you want to use. Then at the checkout, they will automatically apply them.

While one coupon probably won’t give you an enormous discount, you can save a lot when you have different coupons.

#2: Plan a Weekly Menu Ahead of Time

Planning your meals early will help decide the food items and amounts you need before you head to the market. This way you’re bound to purchase the specific things you require and can get ready for breakfast, lunch, and supper.

Also, it would be best if you had meals with the recipe in your weekly plan so you will have to purchase less.

Instead of randomly planning your meals each week, check the sales at your local supermarkets, and shape your meal plan based on them.

For example, if chicken laps are up for low sale at your local grocery store, plan some meals that contain chicken. If there are apples on sale, it could be a wonderful week to bake the apple pie you’ve been craving!

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#3: Shop at a More Affordable Store

To reduce your grocery shopping, you can local farmers’ markets that will all offer various items at an affordable price.

Look at the grocery shops in your general vicinity to locate the best that will offer you low-cost and quality items.

A few stores may offer items in bulk, you can purchase from such stores. Picking less expensive staple goods like milk and yogurt can also have a gigantic effect after some time.

#4: Refrigerate Your Food

Freezing your new food before it turns sour helps your wallet and saves a lot of money for you.

You can prepare and freeze your food to spare time for weekday cooking, or if last week’s food remained, you can freeze them before looking to buy another.

Sometimes, frozen vegetables are incredible in soups and stews, and you can use fruits you preserved for sound breakfast smoothies.

Final Thoughts

When you’re working to create your own grocery budget, it’s best to follow the guidelines and averages as suggestions rather than hard and fast rules. Go in with realistic expectations and remember that you’re the expert when it comes to keeping yourself and your family fed.


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