What is a reasonable grocery budget?

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  JazzyL1 3 years, 4 months ago.

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    I keep hearing grocery budget budget budget! LOL. Now, DH is finally saying budget, too! He wants a couponing budget because he’s afraid I’m spending too much money on couponing. *Roll eyes*

    But I figured, “Hey! Anything that gets him in favor of a budget works for me,” so I said, “Well, how about instead of a couponing budget we just have a grocery budget and as long as I stay within it– regardless of coupons– we’re fine.”

    He agreed.

    So now I need to get an idea of a reasonable grocery budget WITHOUT COUPONS. I want it to be a non-coupon grocery budger for three reasons. First, I’m not very good at couponing yet. Second, I don’t want to choose a budget limit that FORCES me to keep couponing because if I get busy when school starts back up again I may not have as much time to devote to it. Third, I want him to be impressed with how much I save off of our “regular” grocery budget instead of just taking it for granted that that’s all that groceries cost the average household.

    Now I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve been married THREE YEARS and you don’t know how much you spend on groceries?”

    And the sad answer is no, I don’t. See, he’s worked at a restaurant our whole married lives, so he eats two meals a day five days a week there, and he usually skips breakfast.

    I have VERY bad eating habits and more often than not I’m just nibbling on candies and cereal and drinking milk all day, so not a whole lot of real grocery purchasing going on there either.

    And finally, the bane of all Americans, eating out. When we’re both home and we really want to eat, we usually order food or eat out. We shouldn’t and we’re trying to change, but that’s one reason I have no idea what a reasonable grocery budget is.

    So, what’s YOUR opinion on a reasonable NON COUPONING grocery budget for 2 adults (one nursing woman) and a two month old baby (no formula)?



    [QUOTE=Corganiacs]I dont have a grocery budget. I spend and spend on my stockpiles. And all in all, when it comes down to end of the month, I average $200 in groceries each month, if this helps you any
    I total all my grocery trips (including the dreaded trip to the Oriental Store where i spend upwards of $70 (with no coupons to redeem). and then that cuts me down to $130 in spending after coupons at the regular grocery stores.
    p.s. this is for 3 adults, 1 teenager and 1 adult dog.[/QUOTE]

    That’d be a couponing budget, right? So how would a NON-couponing budget stack up to that? A little more? A lot more?



    Where I live (northern Indiana) we used to spend 75-100 a week on 2 people and a baby. This is spending frugally! This was my grocery budget, not including diapers and the such…. Which a 2 month old probably goes through 5 packs a month. Meat and veggies are the most expensive, and unless you get winetags (we don’t) you will spend more money on these. Veggies will go bad after a couple of days, so if you buy some, USE THEM! Find something that could be used in more than one meal…. Stuffed green peppers, green peppers in chili, beef pepper steak… etc. If you don’t want to be frugal about it, then about 500+ a month would probably be good.

    With couponing, I spend about $300 a month. This is with 3 adults and 3 kids, one in diapers, one in pullups, no formula. I stock up on sales, and when my store has superdoubles!! With my (small!) stockpile, I can go a few weeks without major grocery shopping. Just going to the store for milk, bread, meat and veggies… I am fine. I hope that helps!



    well, my old budget was $100 a week for two working adults.

    Some weeks I would even go over that! We both eat breakfast at home
    (or bring something from home), we both bring a homemade lunch to work
    and we only eat dinner out 1x every two weeks. I used to be such a grouch
    after grocery shopping b/c so much of our budget went to food!

    After one full solid year of couponing my budget finally dropped to
    about $50 a week and now I am in the $30-40 range. However this summmer I am stopping at the farmers market for produce (yeah!) and I only
    go to the grocery store for my deal items (have lots of meat in freezer).

    I still buy my chicken, TP, eye glass wipes at BJ’s. I don’t have the energy to hunt down deals. we only use scott tp so i use my coupons at bj’s.



    Before couponing I use to spend $400-$500/month on groceries for 2 adults and 3 children of my own and a brother and sister that ate atleast one meal a day here. This included everything I would buy at grocery stores/walmart/drug stores for the house. I now spend about $250 a month. I buy a lot of fruit/veggies/meat/milk which accounts for probably most of that and no winetags here in PA :( .



    I was reading this month’s Budget Living (free subscription!) and there was an article about this couple trying to get by on a budget after declaring bankrupcy. Well, they had some advisor help them budget and their food/fun allotment was $805 a month!!! Holy ****! No wonder they went bankrupt! This is for just 2 adults!

    It got me thinking. Before I use to coupon, I would spend $65 every other week on groceries. We ate practically no meat, lots of “helpers” and PB sandwiches! Now that I’ve been couponing for several years, for a family of 5 (kids are 5, 4 and 1), I rarely go over $20-25 a week. Plus, I have 2 freezers full of meat, a pantry full of cereal/granola bars/snacks, a 6 month supply of diapers, etc. We eat like kings, rarely eat out and I feel liberated! My DH is making good money now and we could really afford to be non-couponers, but why?



    For me and DW and Four Cats:

    Before couponing about $750 (Yes, that is right, Scary, isn’t it! :x ) monthly food budget. About $120 are eat-out.

    I also included money from yardsale, rebate (all rebates, Try Me Free, or Fatwallet deals such as peachtree accounting and other $$ making deals) in the grocery spending monthly total.

    I started couponing start of this year. I think I am still ahead by $1,000 so far this year after couponing and two yardsale so far. And two freezers in the basement is nearly all full. And we rarely eat out becase we have so much at home and it saved time and gas. :dance: Eat-out will really take a big chunk of the food budget so that is important piece to watch out for the monthly budget.

    The only thing we buy without coupon each week is milk and newspaper. But often times we have overage to cover them as well. I am fortunate to have access to lots of winetags for cola, produce, meat and seafood. So that really helps a lot.

    The monthly trip to oriental grocery store with no coupons is the saddest moment for me. Spent about $40 each month. :cry:



    When we were all over at that other site (FW) someone once posted a link to a site that listed the national averages for groceries for the avg American family. It listed the # in family and had 3 different averages. Like frugal, avg, and above avg. I was amazed at the #’s for frugal (at how high they were). I don’t remember where the site was, maybe you could do a search at FW and it still be there. I’ll try to google it and post if I come up with anything.



    Before coupons I used to spend about $100 a week, that was for everything. Since I started couponing I spend around $30! We get very few WT’s here so unless I trade for them I have to buy meat every week!

    When Krogers runs their triples I sometimes spend around $50 to $60 but that means that I don’t have to go to the store for 3 or 4 weeks. Unless there is some great freebie deals!




    [QUOTE=leannabanana]Since you eat out alot and you have a baby you should probably budget at least $150 per week. This would be all eating out, all food items, convenience store purchases, HBA and drug store purchases. But my suggestion for you first is to write all of your purchases down for a month. Don’t start planning a budget until you know about what you spend on everything.
    So, for one full month (at least) write down every penny that leaves your hands. Then set a budget based on that.


    *Wicked gleam* Quicken is my friend! Those of you who know what a Natzi I am about my sales and coupon database will not be suprised to know that I track EVERYTHING through Quicken, and will sometimes spend half an hour just sorting our spending by different categories. LOL. This is how I know that we spend WAAAAY to much eating out. (Okay, not more than the average American family, but as we all know the average American family spends WAAAY to much eating out.) So I know that I have spent 324.99 on groceries this month, which includes diapers, HBA, and coupon handling fees.

    Okay, I’ve also learned from this thread that it was probably NOT reasonable to think that I could feed us on 200/mo WITHOUT couponing. LOL. No wonder I’ve been blowing that part of the budget.

    I also think that I will probably create two different grocery categories in Quicken: one for regular grocery shopping and one for coupon grocery shopping. That way I can say to DH “okay, this is how much stockpiling actually cost us.” I think he still sees ten boxes of cereal and thinks, or at least feels on some emotional, classically conditioned level “lots of money,” rather than understanding “five dollars.”

    And who knows? Perhaps I AM spending too much stockpiling. If that’s the case, then this new system will reveal that too.



    What the government thinks you should spend on food:



    [QUOTE=liz34]What the government thinks you should spend on food:

    This is a wonderful tool! Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to find it! I really appreciate it.



    I actually found it on grocerygeek’s website. (thanks grocerygeek!)



    [QUOTE=liz34]What the government thinks you should spend on food:

    I spend about $200/month for our family of 4 (2 adults, 4 & 6 yr old) and according to this site I should be spending more than this on just the kids. I don’t know if we could ever eat the amount of food that is suggested for our family (about $700 worth)



    Everyone’s idea of “groceries” will be different.
    your baby may be just eating mommy milk for now, but in 4 months, there will be baby food and that’s expensive! and if you’re in school, making your own is not easy! also, do you consider buying baby cups at the supermarket part of your groceries? baby wipes? diaper rash cream? baby tylenol (a must for teething babes!)… the list goes on and on… lots of health and beauty items get thrown into the grocery budget :S
    my husband is japanese and we want our kids to experience japanese foods so we shop at the japanese store often and its very expensive! but i can do that with all the money i save at the regular grocery store and i do include my baby items and drug store items in my grocery bill. i aslo include things that i buy for ebay on my grocery bill. Hub is always getting on me to keep better track of how much spend and how much i make on ebay and i just can’t! with 2 very young children, its hard enough to keep up with the coupons and the buyers, let alone anything else. (most of the ebay stuff is free and i end paying tax, but there are ebay fees, paypal fees, and shipping costs to consider.)
    But i do not consider the cost of eating out as part of our grocery budget. That to me is entertainment and one night out could cost as much as entire month of groceries!
    and i’m a vegetarian. i love those morningstar farms burgers and they are not cheap! neither is tofu! But tofu is cheaper at the japanese store so i do save on at least one thing by shopping there!
    if i had to guess how much i spend on my family of 4 with no pets every week without coupons i would say about $100, including diapers, HABA etc, but NOT including eating out.

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