How Much Should You Spend on Groceries?

Our groceries budget has fluctuated over the past couple of years. It started high, then went down pretty low, and now it is up again. I want to ask you, the readers, how much you spend on groceries so that we can all learn some valuable tips!

Our Grocery Budget Story

When my wife and I got married, we knew we had to start a budget. To be on the same page in our finances, a budget was something we could both look to for guidance when we were out and about shopping. It was an exciting time figuring out our income and expenses (although both looked pretty grim).

Looking at my pre-marriage expenses, I found that I spent just a tad too much at Burger King and KFC (understatement). And Starbucks was on my wife’s list of regular stops throughout the month. So, we realized that we were spending way too much on food – especially eating out.

I estimate I alone was spending about $400 to $500 on eating out. Yikes! Something had to change.

So we set up our “fun money” envelopes to be designated for anything including eating out. We also grabbed an envelope for groceries to keep those expenses in line.

If I remember correctly, we started out around $600 which was designated for groceries and worked our way down to bare bones over the next couple of months. Our grocery budget went down to about $300.

But then I read a book by Jack LaLanne on nutrition and fitness. Uh oh, now I had to spend more on whole foods. I realized that saving money wasn’t really worth losing my health to diabetes.

So our grocery budget went back up. Right now, we budget $460 for groceries for the two of us. That’s $230 per person per month. This seems like a good amount that can stay the same over the next few months if food prices don’t adjust too much.

Keep in mind that all our grocery money goes toward food – not any other items you’d find at the grocery store. We have separate categories for household items like toilet paper and toothpaste.

How Much Should You Spend on Groceries?

It depends. What are your goals? Are you looking to just scrape by so that you can follow a plan to get out of debt? Or are you looking to improve your health and spend a little more on your grocery budget?

Another thing that affects how much you spend on groceries is how you pay for groceries. We pay cash because it’s a great way to see quickly how much money we have left for the month.

Others spend using a debit card. If you’re going to take this route, you can save some money by getting a cash back debit card!

Where you live also has an affect on how much money you should spend on groceries.

As you already know, there are so many variables that go into determining how much you should spend on groceries. I think the answer is going to be different for everyone, so that’s why I’d like to ask for your input in the comments.

Share Your Grocery Budget Below!

Okay, here’s the deal. We can all benefit from learning about each other’s grocery budget, so leave a comment below with the following information:

  1. How much you spend on groceries per person per month in your household.
  2. Share how you typically pay for your groceries: the envelope system, a card, or another means?
  3. If you’re in the United States, share what state you reside in.
It’ll be interesting to get feedback from so many of you. If you’re reading through the comments, do us a favor and leave your own comment! I’ll meet you there and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

This article was originally published on ChristianPF on November 6, 2011.

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  1. Briana @ 20 and Engaged

    We spend about $75 on groceries per person per month, so around $300 a month. The bad thing is we eat out a lot. I’ve started eating more fruits and vegetables so I’m hoping I can cook more and eat out less.

    We pay for our groceries using our debit card. I just opened up an account with Ally so I’m hoping I can get some perks when shopping for groceries.

    We live in California. Orange County to be exact, so you can imagine food can be pretty expensive. It’s truly time to start a new method.

  2. Bree

    I live in Denver, CO. My husband and I spend roughly $400 per month on groceries, but that includes eating out 1-2 times a week too. (We live downtown and hit up inexpensive happy hours a lot, or Wendy’s, Subway — nothing very expensive.). I usually pay with a debit card and just today looked into and signed up for the Perks card you recommended.

  3. Jessica

    It’s hard to figure out monthly how much we spend since I do weekly budgets. I budget about $95 a week for my husband and me. I do things a bit differently than the author because I do buy toiletries with this money. I clip coupons and a lot of those coupons are for toiletries that I buy at the grocery store. I don’t want to be the person with two different transactions, so it all gets lumped together.

    To pay for it, I use our debit card. I used to use credit card until we got over our heads. Now everything is either cash or debit.

  4. Ash

    We spend $25 per person (excluding the infant) per week, or $300-$400 per month.

    We break it down by week because we’re using the envelope system–one envelope for each week. Other wise I spend most of the budgeted amount in the first two weeks and we’re scrounging for food during the last week.

    We’re a family of 4 in Nevada.

  5. Crystal

    We live in Virginia, and we spend $37-$50 per person per month with our card, including a thirteen month old and a three year old. Which puts our monthly grocery bill at about $150-$200 a month. I do not buy boxed foods, unless its such a good deal that I can’t pass it up, and ingredients. Therefor, I make just about everything from scratch, excluding bread. And I coupon, which helps a lot.

  6. Kathleen K

    We strive to spend under $200 per person each month, feeding a family of 5 (two almost teen boys). This includes all food, whether at home or restaurants. We eat mainly whole foods, pastured meats and eggs, organic dairy. I try to buy bulk when possible, but with limited storage I can’t do much. We figure it is better to eat well than to pay for the doctor later, and so far, it works.

  7. Jennifer Zupp

    We took Dave Ramsey’s FPU class, and he suggests $100 per person. We are a family of 5 and spent about $420- $450 a month. Some months we spend more because we now buy our pork and beef from farmers instead of grocery stores.

  8. Cheryl

    We take out two amounts from the ATM on Sunday mornings: $80 for groceries, $50 for eating out (we have two times during the week that we have to eat out due to our schedules, and then there’s a bit extra in there in case). Anything we don’t spend by the end of the week gets saved to go towards Christmas gifts at the end of the year (change too!) We have separate accounts-within-a-savings account to keep track of toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. I am not an extreme couponer by any means, but I have gotten better with coupons and sales and stockpiles, which has helped a lot. We are a family of two+furry kid in Oklahoma.

  9. Margaret

    There are three of us living in southwest Ohio. We spend about $180 a month per person. We mostly buy whole foods. I pay cash. The only paper products I buy are toilet paper and tissues which I buy once very two months or so along with toiletries and a few cleaning supplies. I use a debit card for those items that gives me 5% off my purchase.

  10. Pam w

    We are a family of six living in Montana. I spend $170 a week and that includes toiletries, diapers and household items. I also pack lunches for three of our kids almost every day. We eat fairly healthy. We also use game meat as much as possible ( often donated to us from friends.) I pay with a debit card.

  11. Joel V.

    We spend $150pp/month on groceries (2 people, =$300/mo).

    We use the cash envelope system.

    We are in Seattle, WA.

  12. chicago

    I live with 3 roommates (all young, post college, working) We share groceries and so spend about $125-$150 a person, but we also eat out a fair bit, and entertain guests which is included in our regular grocery budget. It’s definitely worth it to share groceries as roommates, we save a lot of money. We did a crop share box this summer, which was great–when we used the vegetables! It was unfortunate how much we had to throw out just because out schedules do not accommodate cooking as much as we would like.

  13. Lacey

    Thanks for the article 🙂

    I’m a stay at home mom and we’re a household of 4. We spend about $60/week at the grocery store during my husband’s slow months (winter). In the spring/summer we spend close to double that. I am at the local farms/farmer’s markets 1x a week and stock up on produce to freeze/preserve for our slow months. Those amounts don’t include meat or milk, which we buy from local farmers in bulk. We go thru 12 gallons of milk every 3-4 weeks ($44) and 25lbs of meat each month ($75). So, in total we spend anywhere from $359 – $599/month. We do eat as much organic/natural food as we can and I make a lot from scratch.

  14. Family of 7+

    There are 7 of us – almost 8. The 5 kids are between 16 months and 9 years of age. Our budget is $1 per meal per person. That’s 3 meals per day, 7 days per week for 4 weeks per month – or a total of $588 for the 7 of us. The kids are homeschooled and I work from home – no family in the area either so we really do eat all of our meals here.

    $40 per month of that is reserved for going out to eat. That’s either two medium-priced restaurants (we use coupons, drink water, don’t order dessert) or one nice restaurant (eg. Olive Garden).

    So, $548 for groceries, $40 for restaurants per month. 2 parents and 5+ kids.

    • Angelle

      Love this! i also have a family of 7 nearly 8 and my monthly budget is $600. I am going to start meal planning, something I have never been organized enough to do but my growing family and limited budget has warrented me to do so. Where do I start?????? AAAAAAHHHHHH!! lol

  15. kit grabbe

    About 220/person/month.

  16. Heather

    1. appx. $250 a month per person (2 person household – my husband and myself)
    2. We pay with a Debit Card
    3. CT
    – I buy organic and natural foods (mostly) and rarely eat out. I use coupons when possible, many are not printed for the foods that I buy

  17. Lynn

    We are at $580 for the two us us ($290 each), and around $100 for dining out. This amount does “not” include household items or toiletries. My husband is 100% in charge of this new fandango thing he calls a budget, but I am 100% in charge of the food, and I’m not willing to cut the grocery bill, thus preferring to sacrifice dollars in other areas (like entertainment, transportation, and sadly, my wine, so I can continue to buy organic and whole food groceries/meals. We budget via an envelope style system (on a rather complicated spreadsheet that my husband put together) – though we are fairly new to budgeting after incurring some significant debt. That said, we use a debit card for everything. No credit cards at all. Rhode Island…

  18. Kathy

    WE FORAGE: Our family of three, living in the Central Valley of California, spends about $60.00 per month on groceries. We attend not the fancy farmer’s market, but rather, the downtown farmer’s market, where one can purchase $1.00 per pound Roma Tomatoes for 0.35-cents per pound, direct from the grower, most often totally organic. Many of the other fresh produce at the farmers’ market also costs far less than even in the discount grocery stores. We rely on plenty of bulk dried goods that can be re-constituted with water from a large discount store. Instead of grass, we planted alfalfa for our back-yard lawn to feed our city-okayed pet chickens fresh healthy nutrition. Consult your city’s municipal code and your county’s ordinance code. Many cities allow up to 5 chickens in a back yard, and the city animal control department just comes by to check out that you have a sanitary weather-worthy, protective set-up for your chickens. Some cities even allow miniature farm animals like milk goats in the back yard, as long as the people contact the city authorities first. We grow many of our own groceries. Due to the water crisis, we dig cross-cut shred non-glossy matte paper into the ground to hold in more moisture to combat the water crisis, and it also decomposes and turns the hard soil in to better, easier-to-cultivate soil. We do not eat many meat dishes, but rather, flavor our rice, noodles, barley, beans, etc… with bits of meat. We make our own salad dressing with real extra virgin olive oil, instead of the cheaper canola oil or soybean oil, because it is healthier. Canola oil comes from the Canadian rapeseed plant which was used as a pesticide. A large number of the human population do not have bodies that manufacture the specific enzymes necessary to metabolize soybean oil, which, for many, has blown out their thyroids and caused them to gain weight they have a most difficult time trying to lose. Oprah Winfrey blew out her thyroid by eating too many foods with soy in them, because at first, she believed the popular hype and thought it was healthy. We found every community food bank in the area, learned its schedule, and attended as many distributions as we could. Sometimes, the distributions include meat. Times remain so hard, that we are still doing this. To cut down on the gas getting to and from food distributions, we fixed up our old bicycles and added baskets to them to carry the food home. That way, the cost of gas to get to the food distributions does not cancel out the cost of the food we would bring home. In the Fall, early Winter, Spring, and early Summer months, we make a more nutritious salad out of the dandelions that freely and automatically spring up from the ground, naturally choosing the most fertile soil areas of the yard in which to grow. The “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FOOD AND NUTRITION” shows that in comparison with healthy spinach, the dandelions have far more nutrition with regard to vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. We use coupons to purchase what we cannot grow or obtain at the farmers’ market. When we got our home, we obeyed one of the 613 Jewish laws that directs followers of that religion who obtain a home with a little land around it to plant vines and fruit trees, which do not take as much trouble to cultivate. As city-dwellers, we consulted with our neighbors on 3 sides who share our back yard fence, on what kinds of fruit trees and vines each of us has. Then due to small city back-yard spaces, we all planted different kinds of threes next to each other’s fences. We then share with our neighbors the fruit from our trees that hangs over the other side of the fence. In that way, we all enjoy sharing a much greater variety of fruits and protein nuts with each other. We plant other foods right around the outer perimeter base of our fruit and protein nut trees so that the water for the trees also flows to the vegetables. We grow medicinal trees like camphor and eucalyptus in our front yards, so that our kids riding their skateboards and bicycles who fall off and get scrapes have easy-access to disinfectant antiseptic camphor balls to squeeze on their owies. We save a few potatoes that grow extensions, and then plant them in the ground, or in raised beds, that we call “lasagna gardening” and each buried potato, in turn, grows many more potatoes, multiplying what we started out with. We save seeds from vegetables we buy, plant them in the ground, and need to buy as many vegetables. If we get too many fruits or vegetables to eat before they would go bad, we dehydrate them, vacuum pack them, freeze them, or can them so that we will have them for later. If we want to go out to eat, we have a glass quart-sized jar that collects our extra change, and when we get $10 worth of change, the three of us plan a special outing at a place with a dollar menu. We save the twigs and the branches of the trees that fall down, and use them to cook our food on home-made “Buddy Burners” made of empty #10 cans and empty paint cans, so that the preparation of our food saves money on gas and electricity. Another way we save on the energy cost of preparing our meat meals, is by wrapping the meat up tightly in thick foil, place it on the manifold of our cars under the hoods, secure it with wire, and cook our meat while we are driving, doing errands around town. Then we can stop at the local parks, and enjoy sitting down to ready-cooked meat. The banks have hurt us so badly, but by applying these austerity measures to how we save on produce and groceries, we have been able to hold on to the roof over our heads so far. We struggle financially, but we are blessed to eat relatively health-fully.

    • Mike

      I’m VERY impressed. Most Americans are on food stamps and are FAR to lazy to make such an effort. You are a beacon to us all! Keep up the fight!

    • bobbi

      LOVE your story! It is filled with extremeness and joy at the same moment. A bit radical but I am that way. love the idea of sharing the trees with neighbors. i want to convert our front lawn to an edible landscape but my husband likes to mow.. now that he is working harder and needs a vaca and i do not have a job outside the home, due to a child who has troubles in school, I think he is wanting us to do more. We have five chickens. We eat out but our weight is bad so we are trying to not do that.. well, I AM..

  19. Michelle

    We have a family of 5 ( 3 kids 10 mos, 3, & 5) in Indiana. We raise our own beef and barter for pork, as well as eat game, this year our personal cost was ~$300 for 1/2 a beef & a whole hog. I’m still figuring out how to work that into the budget.

    We have grocery only budget for $160/month, I take $80 out of checking 2x/mon when I get paid. I find that I spend less when I use cash, Dave Ramsey claims up to 12% less. We try to eat fresh fruits and veggies as much as possible, and hope to have a bigger garden next year. I do some couponing, watching sales and stockpile. I also buy in bulk. Right now I also buy paper goods & tolietries with that cash.

  20. Matt

    We are a family of 6, and we budget $600 per month for all groceries including cat and dog food. We use the envelope system and coupons. We almost always have money left over at the end of the month in the grocery envelope.

  21. Tim @ Faith and Finance

    My wife and I aim for $250 per month for groceries and usually hit it. (I wrote about it here: How we keep our grocery budget under $250 per month We live in Missouri.

  22. Marva

    We are a family of four (hubby, wife, twin 5 year old boys) with a dog and a fish, from Alabama. I farm with my parents and brother. We get a lot of frsh fruits and veggies from there. I also can and freeze much bounty for the winter. We eat mostly whole foods. Our grocery bill including toiletries, cosmetics, gifts, cleaning and paper supplies, pet food and supplies and regular grocery items is about $350 per month. We use cash and debit card.

  23. Joan VanCourt

    We rarely eat out, so I feel that I can buy a selection of healthy foods without feeling guilty. But, I don’t shop extravagantly. I’ll buy a cut up chicken and use it for several meal (soup, dinner, and a little left over for lunch). I cook for 3 adults, so I try to meet everyone’s palate. Oh, we do eat many leftovers for lunch, which eliminate buying the expensive over processed deli meats. I make a lot of homemade breads and desserts when needed. It’s just all comes down to cooking and not buying premade items.

  24. Minda

    I budget $260 in total for food. This includes eating out one a week and eating at the school cafeteria four times a week. I try to eat healthy foods I like. I usually pay with debit of check, sometimes with my credit card or cash (really whatever I pull out of my purse first). I live in South Dakota.

  25. Melissa

    We live near Milwaukee, WI and spend about $75 a week on groceries for 2 people. I feel like i really have to meal plan in order to make this happen. We both love to cook, so it’s hard to reign in our taste buds and follow a strict budget. Sometimes it means forgoing a few herbs or making substitutions. We also do most of our grocery shopping at ALDI, which i find has the cheapest prices with descent quality goods. Occasionally we’ll make runs to the local market to find more obscure items on our list. I definitely scour the grocery ads and try to find in season produce on sale. For example, this means I’ll forgo the tasty out of season asparagus for cheaper winter squash that’s on sale.

  26. Sherchap

    I live in Tennessee. I spend approximately $200 per month for myself. This is groceries, toiletries, cleaning, etc. i shop at Kroger and buy everything there so i can stay OUT of Super Walmart. I usually use cash but for the past 6 months i am using a reward credit card that gives 5% cash back at supermarkets. This ends this month however. I dont eat real healthy, just a little healthy and a little junk food and a lot of Dr Peppers. 🙂

  27. gail

    we live in rural SW WA. i drive an hour each way 2x a mo to shop at the lowest priced grocery store in the area. we have just switched over to cash envelopes and its working really well. for the 3 of us (which includes one teenage boy!) we spend 380/mo(including all paper goods) and 140/mo for eating out. we try to eat well and i cook alot from scratch. we don’t do organic food. i’m working on lowering our groc allotment down to 350 or 325, but food prices keep going UP! not down.

  28. Johnlyn

    I’m guessing we spend $125 per person per month for food. I have a weekly budget of $100 and we buy 1/4 of a cow every year.

    We live in South Dakota. Our grocery budget used to be $260 monthly for four of us until we decided to support local ranchers/farmers (costs more than buying at the grocery store.)

    • Minda

      It’s great how you are supporting our ranchers and farmers. I intend to do more of that next season.

  29. Karl

    I’m single and spend about $160/mo on groceries and $75/mo eating out. The eating out is more about time with friends and I reserve a portion of my budget for that. If left to my own devices, I’d eat out much less (i.e. there are very few fast food runs in that $75/mo number). Groceries I’m working on bringing down just to moderate my spending more and start using up stuff in my very full pantry. And I pay for my groceries with a cash-back credit card.

  30. Sarah Cousineau

    We have 3 girls and we spend about $500/month. We eat out some, so this takes care of at least 5 dinners at home, as well as breakfast and lunch for 3-4 of us. I am frugal at the store, and buy the sale items. The kids ask what’s for dinner this week, and I say, whatever is on sale. I also make a list for the week, so I only go to the store once a week for $125. That saves a lot of money. I also make sure to only buy groceries at the store–other drugstore items are too expensive there.

  31. Budgeting is really important especially in a family that is starting to organize finances in the whole family. There are some time that we are being wasteful but let us always remember that we need to save what God is giving us. Let us all monitor all the expenses that we have. And one thing that God is letting us know is that when we bless our church rest assured that God will be blessing us through the church.

  32. Jenn M

    Finally some realistic numbers for grocery budgets. We are a family of 7 and spent $1,000 per month on food. Sure I COULD get down to $600 or $700 by having a grain based diet supplemented by canned veggies and fatty meat……..and feel sluggish and unhealthy. No thanks. I have always felt bad that I spend so much and amazed and how little some claim to be spending. We never hardly eat out at it costs our family $100 for a decent sit down meal with tip. Crazy! I am concerned with feeding my family whole foods, making my bread with quality unbleached flour, easy on the carbs and heavier on the fresh fruit and veggies. I rarely buy organic but do splurge now and then when the price range is sometimes not a huge difference. I try to buy decent meat, but stick to real portion sizes. I do not consider myself frivolous in the grocery stores at ALL and it amazes me how much we need to spend. What a choice.

  33. Jenn M

    Oh I am hoping to get a couple raised beds for veggies going this summer. That should help if it can be productive! I also try to buy quality yogurt and nuts.

  34. Jenn M

    Last comment: sorry, I tend to act fast and read instructions later. …!

    We are in WNY and we pay using our debit card weekly.

  35. Jenn M

    Ok I just wrote our monthly food budget out very detailed. This is where we are at:
    Dinner for 7 people at $2 per person= $14 per day x30 days comes to $420 per month just for the family dinner.
    Lunches at $1.50 per person comes to roughly $10 total for 6-7 people times 30 days comes to $300 monthly just for lunch.
    Breakfasts for 6-7 people at $1 per person for 30 days comes to $180-210 per month
    snacks at .50 per person for 6-7 people twice per day making it 1.00 person daily for 30 days comes to 210.00 for the month.
    whew! I need to figure how I can slim this down without sacrificing health. Maybe in the dinner area?

  36. Reed Morgan

    I am single and buy groceries only for myself. Due to severe chronic depression and PTSD, I can no longer really cook. Consequently, I eat out too much and buy too many prepared (unhealthy) foods. I spend about $300 a month on food, including eating out. I pay with a debit card. Northwest Oregon.

  37. Tenjo

    We live in Orange County California, where the sunshine also makes everything more expensive! Shouldn’t it be cheaper, since food needs sunshine to grow ?!? We both have food allergies (he can’t have milk/corn/barley, and I can’t have potatoes/tomatoes/eggplants/peppers) and have to eat gluten-free, MSG-free, preservative-free, chicken-free, so I have to shop carefully.

    Our monthly budget is $500 for 2 people, and that includes toiletries + household, no alcohol, no eating out. We eat out once or twice a month (usually lunch, so ~$30 for two of us as a treat, and that has its own budget).

    The gluten-free is the hard part with the GF breads being sooooo expensive. So I’m back to cooking Chinese/Taiwanese/Vietnamese/Japanese/Korean/Singaporean/Malaysian, that way we don’t subsist on $5.49/loaf GF bread! Also I shop mainly asian markets for fresher and cheaper fruits & veggies, and better quality meat and seafood, Target for household stuff. And I bought cookbooks!

    Our apt has a small kitchen, so no room for an extra deep freezer. Our freezer is stocked with meats on sale, frozen seafood, and GF breads on sale.

    To maximize our food costs, I’ve been shopping in our local Japanese market that’s been giving me back $40.00 coupons per month (I have to spend $200 min.) that’s good on fresh fruits/veggies/meats/seafood anything in the market. Also I have 1 credit card that’s just used for markets, and I get back ~$300.00 per year from it (and I pay it off every month). This older rewards card is better than the cash back rewards these days because the APR (@ 10%) is a lot better and you can still choose cash back. These help out with the costs.

    • John Frainee

      I used to live in California, and I’m pleased to see that your grocery budget can still remain pretty low these days! Thanks for your input Tenjo!

  38. jim

    We have 5 young children, so you could imagine our grocery bill is significant. we live near New York City, so things cost more. Question: i’ve read some articles that buying in bulk at places like Costco, BJ’s, or Sams Club actually don’t make sense financially. However, it seems like for a family of 7 like us, it actually could make sense. Any thoughts/advice from people ? thanks

    • Tenjo

      Once you have 4 or more people, bulk buying at Costco and such really is a savings, simply because you WILL use it all up before it expires. I had to learn the hard way, and one month I ended up throwing away close to $150 worth of foods that spoiled before we can use it up, and also because we don’t have enough freezer room, and most of those didn”t freeze well. I learned not to buy in bulk — for us it didn’t make sense. If nothing else, buy household products in bulk is better than food — at least soap/detergents/toothpastes/toilet paper all have a MUCH LONGER shelf life.

    • Kathleen K

      Jim, it just so depends. Years ago, we shopped at Sam’s. Mainly because we had children in diapers and it was cheaper there than anywhere else. We continued buying there after potty training until I realized impulse purchases were cancelling out all savings. Do you have the discipline to avoid impulse purchases? Do you have space to store the bulk items? (A case of toilet paper doesn’t spoil, but it does take a LOT of room!) Would the potential savings be worth the extra time/cost of going to another store? And if you are a couponer, you need to factor in the price of sales less coupons when considering the savings at the discount clubs. For us, it was no longer worth it.

  39. Laraba

    We are a homeschooling family of 10, but the youngest is a baby and mostly using formula and baby food which, along with diapers, is a separate catagory in our budget. And yes, formula is expensive! I encourage moms to try to breastfeed for monetary reasons alone :-). In this case, I dried up when he was only a couple months old. Anyway, we budget $1100 a month for groceries and another $200 a month for eating out, which works out to about $145 per person per month for the older nine people in the family.
    We buy grass fed hamburger and have our own chickens that give us eggs. We were buying organic milk but have made the reluctant decision to switch back to “cheap milk” for monetary reasons.
    This summer we have tentative plans to raise a pig. We have had a garden for many years which provides lots of tomatoes (which we freeze) and other produce in the summer months. I have grand plans to expand our garden this year, get the kids more involved, and raise more of our own food.
    I am not super careful about buying sales or using coupons. We make most of our food from scratch and obviously don’t eat out much as $200 doesn’t go far for 10 people :-). I COULD cut the grocery budget down but have not made the time to do so as life seems very busy and we can afford what we are spending.
    We buy a few organic items (apples, primarly, as the pesticides on the normal ones bother my husband.).
    We always use a credit card, which is paid off in full every month.

  40. Miriam

    We spend around 400.00 a month for a family of 5, which includes young adults. I don’t buy a lot prepacked meals. We don’t eat lots of red meat, mostly chicken, fish, turkey meat, mostly for health reasons( I believe what you eat matters, I want to be a good steward of this body God has given me). I scan the local grocery ads, then price match at Walmart, it saves us lots of money. I also shop at Sprouts, (California) which is a health food store, they have really great prices on their organic fruits and veggies. I buy whole grains, flour, noodles, etc., in bulk at Winco (grocery chain), they also have fantastic prices. I don’t go to each of these stores every week, even though they are literally a block away from each other. And we only eat out once every couple weeks.

  41. Sally

    After reading previous responders’ comments, I’m almost embarassed to tell you how much we spend.
    First let me tell you, this amount includes ALL toiletries, etc. Everything we need for the house including dog food, but no clothing. I also plan a menu with inclusive shopping list (to prevent “oops, I forgot something” trips) and I take a calculator on my shopping trips. We buy organic quite often and only purchase grass fed beef and free-range organic chicken. I also try to buy fish at least once a week and the means only wild caught.
    A few years ago, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer and since he is so young for this disease, we started active survailance methods which included educating ourselves for whole foods and healing through our diet. (I will not go futher into this, but 3+ years later and his PSA #s continue to shrink as well as his tumors)
    One last note here; I LOVE to cook and am excellent at it, so I try many recipes (I am in the process of getting a food blog off the ground). I cook almost exclusively from scratch and we only eat out once a month as a splurge, if that.
    Sooooo…. for 3 people (one being our 10 year old son), we are currently spending $1,200 per month. $400 per person, per month 🙁

    • Sally

      I pay through a cash debit “household” card. We live in Utah.

    • emily

      Sally, I would love to know what you do for your husband’s health. We have had a precancer scare and want to be proactive.. Is your blog up and going?

  42. Regina

    I live in NC and budget/spent about $80 a week for me and my son. I use the cash envelope system and clip coupons.

  43. Regina

    I am trying to eat somewhat healthier but it is expensive. I am also on a tight budget as a single parent. We only eat out about 1-2 times a month and the grocery budget of $80 includes toiletries, etc. The last week of the month is tough.

  44. Valerie

    1. We spend about $500/month on groceries for the 2 of us.

    2. We pay with a debit card, we rarely have cash on us. (but I like that idea)

    3. New York

    And let me say, that the prices of fresh produce in NY right now is outrageous!! Asparagus is $5.99/lb (never seen it over $2.99) 2 bunches of thin asparagus came to $14.20. Apples are about $1.50 each (and we live in apple country). Cucumbers are $1.29 each, and they are tiny.

    We are trying to eat healthy, but it’s not very affordable. I do use coupons and match with store sales and get a lot of our everyday necessities free (like soap, shampoo, toothpaste) but you can’t live on that! Food prices are insane.

  45. Cindy A.

    A while back we had a family member living with us and their contribution was to purchase grocery gift cards on a monthly basis. This worked similar to the envelope system in that, when it was gone, there was nothing left to pull from. It was a great way to allocate money for groceries and household products and to budget.

  46. Olivia

    We budget $300 a month (my husband, me, and our 15 month old). We usually spend $320 though. Household items found at the grocery store such as toiletries are included in the $300. Diapers have their own category though. We eat pretty healthy, but I’d like to eat even healthier. My son eats very healthy. I use a few coupons, but mainly shop the weekly ads for deals and meal plan. When we were paying off our house, we spent about $250-280 a month for just us two. Now we’re on one teacher’s income (I stay home) so we still have to keep it low.

    We eat out quite a bit, but budget around $120 a month for dining out. We use coupons to 95% of the restaurants we visit.

    We pay with credit card, as we do all our expenses, but we pay our card off diligently each month. Use the card for benefits and money back. We live in Texas.

  47. Michelle

    I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I budget for groceries each check, every two weeks, because the amount fluctuates. I spend about 250-300 per month on groceries, for myself and my two sisters. I wait until my bills are paid out, savings put away, gas in car, check that the fridge and pantry are empty, then buy groceries. I buy main meals first, snacks second, any non-grocery item third, when we have the extra money. I use a debit card, because I am afraid I will lose cash, if I carry it. I add each item’s amount to my phone’s calculator, so I know the total before I reach the register. It helps me avoid pressure checking out. Coupons are great when I can find ones the grocery store will accept. Most organic foods are out of my budget range. Eating out is a rare $10 per month category. My boyfriend, Robert, spends $50 per month, cash, on groceries for himself. I am interested in learning how to spend wiser, not necessarily less on groceries. Thanks for the blog.

  48. Meg

    Well, I feel like we fall into a comfortable middle range. We have a family of three, with our son being 17. I budgeted $450 this month though I think I spent 550 in December with Christmas and our other college-age son home. I use an envelope with cash, and this includes cat and dog food, toiletries and paper products. We also budget $40 a month date money, and sometimes use our fun money for eating out. We cook from scratch, and eat our lunches from leftovers. My husband traded a cord of firewood for 50 lbs of ranch raised beef recently, which was really nice. Of course, now I crave chicken. I shop the sales at Raleys, and stock up on lower priced things at FoodMax or Grocery Outlet. When something you regularly use goes on sale, buy alot of it. Don’t buy meat priced over $2 a pound if you can help it. Make alot of comfort foods like chicken and rice soup, or beef stew, or creamy winter squash soup with homemade croutons. Homemade pizza is always popular. Granola is easy to make, and better than storebought.
    We live in northern CA.

  49. Stacy

    We usually spend about $200 per person or $800 a month. We live in Pa and we pay with cash. There are so many places we could cut back on more. We do over-shop, but we also eat breakfast and dinner at home and pack lunch for work.

  50. Cathy M

    We have 3 young adult children still living at home – two are college age & 1 is job hunting – we spend about $150 per person per month. We keep eating out to a minimum, which means packing lunches to take to work. We usually pay for groceries with a debit card.

    We live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

  51. Lisa V.

    Family of 5 in New Jersey. We spend between $600-$700/per month on groceries. I’m still struggling to get that number down because I think it’s too much. We normally just pay from our bank card.

    • Mike

      Just curious, how much of that is taxes, ie sales tax?

  52. Elizabeth

    I’m going to own up to it, there are three of us (daughter is almost three), and we spend $1,000 a month on groceries… but that number includes medication, toiletries, diapers, and a few household goods.

    I pay with a credit card to get cash back, and in my 10+ years of having a credit card, I’ve paid the balance every single month.

  53. Elizabeth

    Forgot to say I’m in Texas, and that includes sales taxes….

  54. Julie

    We’re covering this exact topic on my site. We’ve switched from eating out 5 or more times a week to top quality whole foods paleo diet (no rice and beans here). Our grocery budget hasn’t changed one bit. We’ve lost weight and feel better. Now that I’m learning how to cook I’ve found which stores carry our staples and how much they regularly cost. This allows me to recognize decent sales. We’re also getting grass fed meat and eggs straight from the local farms which has saved a lot. It is doable and I expect to save even more money over the next couple months.

  55. Mike

    There is a real likely probibility that with a collapsing dollar from QE 1, 2, 3, 4, and soon 5 only those who can raise their own food will have any to eat. The day of a days labor for a days sustinance is very close.

  56. Kim

    We spend about $22.00 per week per person. That is for my husband and myself. We actually budget $50.00 per week for everything including toiletries, paper items, detergents, shampoos, health products, birthday cards, food, etc. I figure on average, out of that $50.00 per week, approximately $44.00 goes for food. So that is $88.00 per month for one person or $176.00 for two people per month. I cook almost everything from scratch. I use a few coupons, but buy alot of fresh vegetable and fruits and bulk grains, so there is not a lot of coupons that I have come across for these things. If we eat out, we usually pay for it out of the grocery budget money and use coupons. We rarely eat out. We do the envelope system and pay cash. We also live in the state of Maryland.

  57. Jamie

    I live alone and have to be on a gluten-free diet; I spend $400-500 per month on groceries. My mom, who also lives alone, is diabetic and also spends $400-500 per month on her groceries.

    • Jamie

      Forgot to add that I’m in the Metro DC area; Mom’s in rural MO. I pay using debit card, and my grocery budget does include toiletries and other household items like toilet paper.

  58. Michelle

    We are a family of 5 (3 teen/nearly teen boys), plus two cats, a dog & 3 chickens.. and we live in New Zealand. We spend no more than $730 per month feeding all of us including the pets & all toiletries etc. We have switched to the envelope system after reading Dave Ramsey’s book a few months back. We buy half a beast direct from a farmer twice a year, which is included in this monthly amount. Fresh eggs from the chickens is great, and we make most things from scratch, and eat loads of fresh fruit/veges, and don’t buy processed food e.g biscuits/chips except for special occasions. The boys do bake once or twice a week to make something nice for their lunchboxes.

  59. Mike

    Taxation on the trade of food is ilmoral.

  60. Lisa

    I normally spend between $100 – $120 for just myself on groceries + I also buy fresh greens for my 11 rabbits every few days and purchase extra rice and oatmeal to supplement the chickens’ feed each month in the cold weather (I live in New England and we currently have 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground so the chickens and ducks cannot get to worms and grubs and such). Anyway, this jacks the grocery bill up to $200 a month. However, I am currently unemployed and forced to accept SNAP (formerly food stamps) and receive only $120 each month; this has forced me to get creative with my shopping. Recently, an Aldi’s supermarket (I am in no way affiliated) moved into my area; they seem to have the best prices on almost everything and most of the food is good, quality food…including some organic brands of produce. I’ve also learned to make more from scratch (though I confess I buy baking supplies at another supermarket as Aldi’s only stocks bleached white flour and refined white sugar; I don’t mind paying a little more for wheat or at least unbleached flour and pure cane organic sugar…it’s better for you), plan meals and use the freezer more often for leftovers. The saving grace is my Mom is one of 11 children; I learned on her apron strings to be thrifty by making larger meals/portions and freezing the extra. This saves on the grocery bill in more ways than one: I have some quick meals in the freezer for those times when I’m late coming home from somewhere (for those employed this means work); I can just pop something into the oven or into a pan to heat on the stove to heat so I’m not tempted to order take out anywhere (I often take something out the night before so it’ll be thawed for dinner the next night) and, if you do a lot of your cooking all at once, you can save on your electric bill (or if you have a gas range, your gas bill) as most ovens are large enough to bake more than one entree at a time. I.e. you make a lasagna, some scalloped potatoes and maybe a green bean casserole. Each requires the same temp or within 25 degrees. You can choose the lower temp and simply cook the item with the higher temp a little longer. You put it all in the oven together so you’re only running the oven for, say, an hour instead of an hour for the lasagna tonight, 1/2 hour tomorrow for the green bean casserole and another hour Wed. for the potatoes. The heat up time during the week is significantly less–usually no more than 20 minutes.

  61. Nan

    We spend approximately $300 per month on groceries or $150/person. We are trying to eat healthier in 2013, so they has been more like $200/person. We pay for groceries with cash, do not use credit/debit cards for them, keeps us on budget too. We live in Ohio, and we is me and my 87yo mother.

  62. Grace

    For my family of 4, I spend on average $650/month on groceries (but this includes a large pantry reserve). I bake bread and pizza from scratch, and buy in bulk from Costco and Azure Standard. I also prepare dry beans (purchased in a 25 lb. bags), by soaking and cooking them. I then portion them by 15 oz. and freeze them in a reusable Ziplock freezer container. I do the same thing with the #10 cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I also make my own plain, non-fat yogurt. The price of Greek yogurt is ridiculous. These strategies save quite a bit! I try to get to the Farmer’s market since it’s fresh, organic, and half the price of conventional produce sold at the store. I prepare all lunches at home. We rarely eat out, but I don’t really miss this since most restaurant food is disappointing.

  63. David

    Not sure this will work for everyone, but we budget $1000 a month for a family of 4. In addition to groceries, this encompasses other household expenses that wouldn’t appear elsewhere on a monthly bill (gas, restaurants, clothing, etc.) At the beginning of each month we purchase 2 $500 visa gift cards at a local supermarket (using AMEX Blue Cash Back Preferred for 6% back on up to $6,000). A smartphone app helps us track what we’ve spent and the remaining balance on each card. At the end of each month, we transfer some money into an account that we can use when special needs arise that would take us outside the $1000 set aside for each month (car repairs, big-ticket purchases). Has been working well for us, allowing us to pay down the car loan and set aside some savings.

  64. Christine McCarthy

    $125/wk for 2. but that includes the $20 taco tuesday we partake in with our girlfriends.

  65. Jeannie D.

    I live in NE PA and my grocery budget is approximately $160 a month ($40 per week). I recently bought a bread machine, so hopefully can save a little by using that. I use my debit card or cash (envelope system) only and I am working towards having this amount include paper goods (paper towels and toilet paper), toiletries and cleaning products. I am trying to eat healthier, stick to a budget and I am doing the “debt snowball” (Dave Ramsey).

  66. Janie

    We spend about $520 per month for a family of five. We have three boys ages 9,8, and almost 3. This amount includes all food and household items for the month. We budget an extra $45 /month for date night for the hubby and me. 🙂

  67. Cass E

    Cost: $200-$300 for two people.
    Pay: Rewards credit card (pay off each month)
    Location: Louisiana

    Make lots of freezer meals. Buy ingredients in bulk at costco and try to eat around what is on sale at the grocery store. Lately I have been trying to make my freezer meals more healthy by excluding cheese, canned soups, etc and adding more veggies. So that has drove up the price just a bit. Still wouldnt trade the freezer meals for anything. Cooking one day a month is AWESOME!