Where is that sweet spot for your family’s grocery budget?
Your grocery budget is does not have to be on the excessively frugal side as many other people write so often in posts like these. Some of you may not even have a grocery budget. Creating a well-balanced frugal grocery budget isn’t always easy, but it will help you to live more comfortably within your means, which is priceless! We wrote up some tips toward creating a frugal grocery budget below.
What is a reasonable grocery budget?
Well…..that all depends. There is no “right” amount to spend that applies to every family. There are too many variables that come into play such as the number of people in the family, allergies, type of diet (vegetarian vs. heavy meat eaters), coupon use, geographic location, amount you eat out, shopping options, etc.
Some experts say $15 per person per week is a very frugal budget. Others say more like $20 per person is reasonable. In a survey by The Dollar Stretcher (a fabulous resource for frugal living ideas), the average family of 4 spent $121 per week – $30.25 per person.
My budget is $100 per week, which includes food, cleaning, health and beauty and paper products. For our family of 4, that’s $25 per person.
There are so many shopping options and fabulous deals every week. Most families of 4 should be able to spend much less than $121 per week by using couponing, store promotions and meal planning techniques.
The first place to start, when determining how much to spend on groceries, is to take a look at your current grocery spending. How much are you spending right now to feed your household each month?
**Important: Track how much you spend per week for at least a month. If you have receipts from the past few weeks, use those. If not, track your expenses for the next 4 weeks. Include all those trips through the drive-through and any meals eaten at restaurants for a true picture of how much you spend on food each month. Don’t forget vending machine expenses and money you give the kids for school lunches and trips to the mall food court.
Do your homework on Step One and you are well on your way to saving lots of money on groceries each month.
The result of Step One is that many of you will be SHOCKED! All those trips to Starbucks, Taco Bell and the vending machine add up quickly. Until you have an accurate account of how much you spend on food each month, you won’t be able to make the kind of dent in your grocery budget that you want.
Look at your expenses to see where the money is going. Are you spending a lot on fast food, expensive cleaning supplies or lunch at the nearest deli? You may find some surprises. Look for ways to target those areas where you know you are overspending. Bring lunch and snacks from home, only buy cleaning supplies on sale with coupons or make your own. Examine where the money is going with a fine-tooth comb.
Slowly lower your grocery budget each month for the next 6 months by utilizing couponing, store promotions and meal planning techniques. Lowering your budget by 5% each month is a good place to start. The ideal weekly budget for your family should allow you to eat well-balanced, frugal meals without having to spend every waking moment searching for deals. The less you eat out, the lower your bills will be and the healthier your meals will be.
Like all things worth doing, setting and sticking to a grocery budget involves discipline. Set your goals and stick to them every week. By the end of the six month period you should have found a comfortable, realistic grocery budget that allows your family to eat well and to be good stewards of your hard earned income.
With these tips above and the enhanced price-tracking abilities that Budget Cart PRO offers you, your family can both save money and eat well!
Please check out the grocery category diagram provided by below for ideas on how to organize a healthy and frugal shopping list for your family.