When most people ask me about the average cost of groceries per month, it’s typically so that they can begin to figure out their own grocery budget per month.
One of the best areas to reduce your expenses is in your grocery budget. There are so many options to save money!
There is a pretty significant range for the average cost of groceries per month, depending on a number of different factors. For a family of 4, the range can be between $675 and over $1300 a month.
In fact, there are so many factors that go into finding the average costs of groceries per month that I wrote them all out below to help you decide your own family grocery budget.
Ready to learn everything that goes into finding the average cost of groceries per month? Keep reading…
Factors to Consider
There are so many little things that go into deciding a grocery budget and they might change from month to month.
These factors can sometimes be out of our control, but the more we are aware of them, the better chance we have of successfully spending our money wisely.
Location, Location, Location
The 3 most important factors in real estate also play a huge part in how you will budget your grocery income!
When you start looking at the average costs of groceries per month, one of the biggest factors that is going to influence your grand total is your location.
If you live on an island, like Hawaii, the cost of food tends to be higher because of transportation costs.
If you are looking to find how much you should spend on groceries each month, look into the average number spent in your state first. This should help you discover the most realistic number to add into your budget.
Number of People You Feed
Before you look into setting a grocery budget for your family, you need to take into account the amount of people that you feed on a weekly basis. Sure, you might have a family of four, but does your daughter’s soccer team sleep over every Saturday night?
That’s a lot of extra mouths to feed! While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you want to make sure you can afford to feed those extra mouths.
You will also want to look at any special events for the month that might change how many people you are feeding.
Are your kids going to camp one of the weeks where meals are included? Maybe your partner has client meetings over dinner a few nights this month?
All of these things should be accounted for in making a reasonable budget for your groceries this month.
In most families, there is someone with a specific diet that you will need to account for that will modify the budget. Whether it is an allergy or a special diet, these factors will play into your budget in some way.
A few times a year, my partner and I decide to eat a strict paleo diet for about 6 weeks to help us develop some muscle and feel better. This is great- our energy increases and we just feel better overall.
The only downside? It seriously impacts the budget. The increase in quality meats and organic vegetables certainly impacts the budget differently than having boxed mac and cheese for dinner.
Time of the Year
When you are looking into the average cost of groceries, one of the most important factors to consider is the time of year. In the winter, for example, fresh fruit and vegetables tend to cost more because of their difficulty in growing during harsher months.
I love to visit my local farmers markets when the weather gets nice and try to find the freshest produce around. Not only does it feel great to support your local farmers markets, but you are able to get some great deals on produce!
Did you know that your family’s hobbies can have a large impact on your grocery budget?
In early elementary school, kids are growing and are typically in a lot of energy expending activities. While there are so many benefits to having your kids participate in organized sports, it’s important to keep in mind how that can impact your grocery budget.
Not only do these types of activities require hearty, filling meals, but you need to be able to grab and go.
I like to keep something like these kids protein bars in my car for busy sports days.
An important factor to consider that the average cost of groceries per month may not be is how often your family eats out.
Whether you order pizza every Friday night, visit the McDonalds drive thru, or visit an actual restaurant for date night, make sure it’s in the budget.
Eating out can actually add up those dollars surprisingly quickly and doesn’t encourage a lot of food eating in the home. This can cause a lot of the food in your kitchen to go bad, meaning you are wasting money! No one wants that.
If you’re really trying to save money, nix the eating out and just cook at home. It’s way cheaper and so much better for you!
Age of People Being Fed
This factor may seem obvious, but I want to make sure that we cover all of our bases. The age of people being fed in your home will alter your grocery budget significantly.
Think about when your child was an infant, half of a banana would fill him all morning! Now that they are a little bit older, they eat half of the fridge before lunchtime.
In opposition, if you live with your elderly parents of grandparents, you may find that they are eating much less. As you age, your activity tends to decrease and your stomach will shrink. Therefore, your grandma might eat less spaghetti than your partner.
This factor will have an impact on your monthly grocery budget.
Average Grocery Bill for One: The average grocery bill for one person is $200-$350. When I was single and living alone, I kept my groceries on the lower end, closer to $200 by being pretty frugal.
Average Grocery Bill for Two: The average grocery bill for 2 people is basically double the above – $400-$700. The boyfriend and I spend $500/month on groceries, but I have not been very frugal about it lately just due to some time constraints. You can definitely get it down below $400!
Average Grocery Bill for Four: The average grocery bill for a family of four is $800-$1200 for families with younger kids and $900 to $1500 for families with older kids. Kids can make it more difficult to be ultra frugal as we want to ensure they are getting good, healthy food and enough to fuel their growing bodies. However, you can still use many of the tips below to get that budget down!
Now, these are the average grocery bills per month. We can do better than this! I challenge you to reduce that average number by 20% and see what that does for your monthly budget.
Keep trying to reduce using the tips below until to get to the lowest number you can!
How to Save Money on Your Monthly Grocery List
The best advice I can give anyone looking to save money is to create a meal plan for a month. That means before you go shopping, you take the time to strategically create a plan for each meal.
This will help you intentionally buy what meals you will need for the upcoming weeks and help you avoid unnecessary shopping. There are, of course, tips and tricks to helping you get to the point where you are able to meal plan efficiently.
Only Buy Food When It is In Season
When it comes to saving a lot of money, you want to make sure that you know when food is in season. This means you want to know when produce grows so that you are able to purchase at its cheapest.
If you can, I recommend buying as much as possible and then freezing it (there are plenty of ways to accomplish that!).
Luckily, each month of the year has special produce for sale to help you save money. This not only will diversify your meals all year long for the freshest fruits and vegetables, but it will actually help you eat healthier with the freshest produce around.
Coupons are one of my favorite things ever. Why? Coupons are basically free money!
If you know that you go through 3 gallons of milk a week, why wouldn’t you use that $1 off coupon? Even better, they have coupons for just about everything nowadays and it is easier than ever.
In fact, you can easily start an account somewhere like coupons.com and have them delivered to your email inbox. Just become a member (it’s free!) and fill out what sort of coupons that you are looking for.
I will warn you- couponing can become seriously addicting. You might want to grab a cute coupon organizer now to help you stay your most organized.
Buy Store Brand
If you ask most people on a budget what their favorite trick to staying within a budget is, they would probably advise you to buy store brand.
In most cases, the store brand is identical to the competition, just cheaper. Look at the ingredients! You will be shocked to discover that some of the best brands have exactly what the other brand has in them.
This goes for just about anything- medicine, peanut butter, even dog food! Do your research and you’ll be shocked at the similarities in brands.
Cook The Meals Yourself
You know those prepackaged, super easy meals that are great for helping out on those super busy nights? Those are great- unless you are considering your budget.
More often than not, if you are able to cook those foods for yourself then you will be able to save a lot of money in the end.
Buy Food in Bulk
Any food that you cook a lot of should be purchased in bulk. I know, it might seem overwhelming, but if you want to save money on your grocery budget then consider heading to your local big box store.
For foods in bulk, I always keep dried goods in bulk like rice, beans, pastas, and lentils. This helps me have a meal ready no matter what and I save a ton of money.
One pound of rice, for example, is $1. Not bad, right? That is until I buy a 25 pound bag of rice for under $10- making each pound cost around 40 cents. That’s a big difference!
Choosing to shop around will help you save a lot of money in the end. Each grocery store likes to have different items on sale at different times in order to draw in their customers.
Some weeks it’s meat, other weeks it’s the freezer items… It just depends on the time of year.
Here’s the trick though- if store A is having a sale on meat, then store B will wait to have their sale on meat for another week and have a sale on breads.
If you want to save money, make a plan and visit both stores for the best deals. You can do this by getting the local stores’ apps and doing some quick research before you head out shopping.
There are plenty of ways to find the average cost of groceries per month when you are looking to plan your own grocery budget. There are so many factors, however, that can either hurt or help you when deciding that budget. Luckily, it isn’t impossible!
Sit down and realistically look at all of the factors listed in this article. They can help you make the best budget for you and your family for your groceries this year!
So tell me… what else do you consider when you are looking at the average cost of groceries each month for your family? Tell me in the comments below!