WMFW: What’s your Grocery Budget?

My husband and I have always had a grocery budget in place. Some months I spend under it and some I spend over it, especially those months when I need to stock up on bigger items we’ve run out of. An example of that was at the end of January. We needed paper towels, soda, Lysol wipes, cereal, yogurt, all things that had coupons at Costco that month. Well many of those things will last us several months.

Is it fair to take it all out of January’s budget? My husband has suggested that I divide it out amongst upcoming months and it will just carry over and in a sense, be in that next month’s spending. I think it works pretty well for us.

What I’m challenged by lately is all this hype about people who spend so little week-by-week at the grocery store. Ex: “I spend $25.00 a week on my family of four!” So you listen, to find out more of course, and come to find out that in addition to the $25.00 that is spend weekly, they get items out of their stockpile they’ve accumulated in their pantry, garage, and/or freezer. Shouldn’t that count in your weekly spending then?

I don’t mean to sound mean, but where does one’s stockpile money come from then?

I am looking to find out averages that families spend on groceries per week or month, keeping in mind their stockpiles (including personal hygiene and cleaning products). I think our budget is high, but with the cost of food and taxes, it all adds up. I use coupons, I use ads, I do all I can to save, but would love to save any more.


What is your grocery budget, if you don’t mind sharing, keeping everything you use in mind?

For more of WFMW, see We Are That Family.

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “WMFW: What’s your Grocery Budget?

  1. Amy

    I’m at $660-1000 a month, depending on the exact month. I have 3 teenage sons, 3 single young men renting our garage apartment who come over to eat at least once a week, I host parties several times a month – neighbors, my son’s football teammates, church small group. I also have overnight guests who use me as a B&B, at least once a month- a family of 8 stayed for 6 days at Christmas. I spent an extra $300 on groceries for that week…Keep in mind that I supplement my budget with picking up food from Harvesters when I can, and wild game given to us by friends.

  2. I am with you with all of those questions! We average about $100 a week for a family of three, which (usually) includes a few things like toiletries and cleaning items that we purchase at the same time. We try to stay within $600 a month for groceries, cleaning, toiletries, pet food, stamps, office supplies, medications, clothes, photo prints, etc (basically anything besides rent, utilities, and gas). It is always a bit difficult to stay within, but on the other hand, that number always seems so high when I hear about people spending $25 a week on groceries. Who are these superhuman people? Well, part of the problem may be that we buy organic dairy and a lot of whole, unpackaged foods which don’t often have coupons.

  3. I kept track of my grocery spending in 2010 because we don’t have a budget as such, and I knew the cost must vary between months when we stock up and months when we mostly eat from the stockpile. We averaged $320.90 per month for 2 adults and a kindergartner. Click my link for details and some tips about how to save. One of the big ones: less meat, more beans.

  4. My husband gives me $100 cash every two weeks, and I usually go $20-$30 over (on the debit card). Key- always shop at the Aldi/Save-A-Lot type grocery stores, make a list, and stock up (big time) when items are on sale! 🙂

  5. Lisa

    I spend $800-$1000 on my family of 9. I could do better, if I tried. I have a friend, with 8 in their family, she tries to spend no more than $400 per month. But they also stock up from time to time on big food storage items.

  6. My family of 5 spends usually around 4-5oo/month, but that’s with Canadian prices and according to a recent shopping trip performed both north and south of the border, Canadians pay about double for their groceries and we have much fewer opportunities for coupons. I build my stockpile by buying as much of the really good sales as I can each week. There might only be one item that’s worthy of stockpiling, but over time that does add up to savings. So in fact, my stockpile is built completely out of my regular grocery budget (which also includes diapers and all other household products like toilet paper and shampoo).

  7. We spend about $350/month on groceries–that’s food only. All household items, even those to deal with food (Ziploc, parchment, etc.) are in a different budget category. I track my grocery spending over 3 months to help account for Costco-type stockpiling; I may spend $600 one month, but by month 3, groceries should add up to $1050.
    Family of 4: 2 adults & 2 kids. I cook just about everything from scratch; we rarely buy prepackaged food. If you look at what those with $25/month budgets actually buy, it’s usually tons of processed food bought with double/triple coupons.
    I was able to add over $100/month to our grocery budget by learning how to shop at Rite Aid & Walgreens — I don’t pay for toothpaste, shampoo, etc. and put that $$ saved toward organic and higher end food.

  8. I do feed my family of four on $25 a week. I use that $ to stockpile and add in fresh fruits and veggies. The only thing that isn’t included [anymore] is dog food (we now have three huge dogs). Once a year we buy a half a cow which we pay for out of our taxes. So I guess, really our budget is about $30 a week, budgeting in for the cow as well.

    I don’t pay for tolietries – in fact, the last time I bought 5 JUMBO packs of TP, Rite Aid paid me to take it. Shampoo, deoterant and toothpaste is all free after coupon. We could get a lot of food free after coupon too. We make alot of things from scratch, that lowers our bill too – we don’t have as many ingredients to buy.

    The foods in my stockpile I have bought with my $25 a week. Ex.- this week cheese is on sale at Giant, after coupons and sales it will be $0.80 a bag. I’ve bought strawberries and grapes to last us a week, totaling $8. I’ll apply the rest of the budget for the week to the cheese to stock up on that. (We use ALOT of cheese) So should’y my stockpile “be able” to be counted in as my grocery money? Since I used my grocery budget to buy it all.

    http://www.savingthosedollars.blogspot.com

  9. Steph

    It’s so interesting to see what works for different families (and different parts of the county). We spend $100/ week for 5 of us (two adults, three small children), plus I spend about $50/month on bulk/stockpile purchases – so $450/month in all. That includes groceries and household/toiletry items. We’re in the south, don’t coupon much, and cook mostly from scratch.

  10. beth

    Not used to the new blog site yet….

    As for grocery spending…I think we are around 200 if I cook a lot, if not, its more like 80. It also depends on if I need to buy paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap and that sort of thing.

  11. My budget right now for myself, my boyfriend (who is a big eater), and my 15 month old son is about $300/month, but I try to keep it closer to $200 now that I’ve learned some tricks.

    I used to spend at least $400/month, but you have found many moms in the blog world who have shown me how to get items for free by playing the drugstore game, which cuts out on paper products, laundry items, toiletries, etc.

    Some tips that have helped me tremendously are coupons, researching sales at a few different stores, and meal planning. It seems crazy that some people can get away with spending $25/month for a family of 4, but I follow a few moms who are able to do so and it’s quite inspiring. They cut costs by growing their own veggies (which my bf also does in the spring/summer) and planning budget friendly meals.

    On stockpiling (which I haven’t totally learned yet) – You can stock pile on something one week (say using $15) because you have multiple coupons and use it later, but you wouldn’t count that again in your budget because it’s already been pulled from a previous week. Real life example – Harris Teeter is having a super double coupon week this month and I have multiple coupons for pasta $1 off – they will double that this month, making every box of pasta I get FREE. Awesome.

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