$500 Grocery Budget

This month, our family is budgeting $500 for groceries and household items, and I want you, dear readers, to come along for the ride.

There are several reasons I'm doing this. One, I went crazy last month and majorly overspent on groceries. Some of it was legit, but most of it could have been avoided with better planning and organization.

Another reason, I want to flex my frugality muscles. I've gotten a little too relaxed about our envelope system, and I have been known to rob Peter to pay Paul more times than I care to count. That loose-ness always leads to overspending.

Lastly, I want to do it to encourage anybody out there that needs encouraging and inspiration. I want to share some of my thought processes as I navigate grocery shopping, cooking, and feeding a family of five on a tight budget.


The timing of this "experiment" is good for our family as we have several non monthly expenses this month (school registration fees, medical, and some home repairs). Plus, February is a short month! So while a $500 grocery/household goods budget will be challenging, I only have 4 weeks to go.

So here's the stipulations...

The $500 is strictly for groceries and household goods. I have a few things (like diapers and wipes) coming in via my Amazon subscribe and save subscription, so I am not including those things as part of the $500.

Social obligations do not count. If we are invited to any kind of social event and asked to contribute to the meal or take food to someone who is sick or had a baby, I will use money from another fund. The $500 goes strictly to feed our family 7 days a week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This budget includes drinks (milk), but not alcohol or coffee. I've been wanting to try Buzz Box coffee and I'm ordering that online.

This budget does include going out to eat or ordering take out, so most likely we will not be doing that unless Stephen or I want to use our personal "spending money."

To my advantage, I have a nice stock of most household items and I have quite a bit of food in my deep freezer and pantry. I hope this will set me up for success. I also have a full supply of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and toilet paper. In my deep freezer, I have a couple pounds of ground beef, 1 pound of bacon, a bag of frozen chicken tenders, some chicken thighs, and I have a frozen meatloaf that is cooked and ready to be dethawed for an easy meal. Lots of meat! This abundance is all the more reason to set strict parameters on budgeting and spending this month. 

My hope is that I can pace myself by spending only $100 per week and that I will have about a $100 remaining at the end of the month to take advantage of some good deals and stockpile some groceries to roll over into the next month.

Wish me the best! Follow along. Send your questions.


  1. I'm going to try it! I'll have to wait until the next pay day, though. Can't wait to see the results. Great idea.

  2. My goal this month is $500 for food and household expenses for our family of 5 as well…including diapers (for 1) and Pullups (for 1 - only at night), alcohol, coffee, and "social obligations". It does not include eating out though, which comes from another budget. Since I spent over $700 on those things last month, I'm probably crazy, but I do have a lot stockpiled. One challenge I have is a child with some food allergies that limit some of the "cheaper" things I could buy. I also only do organic milk and eggs, which eats the budget fast! I am making all of our baby food for the 6 month old so far, so that is helping some. Should be interesting. I do know that I can't send my husband to the grocery store at all though - I swear they must double the prices when they see him walk through the door!

  3. you are a good fruit photographer.

  4. fascinating. I only have loose ideas about how much I spend on these things. We kept track of our expenses a few times to get a snapshot, but it's incredibly complicated to look at the whole thing. Perhaps I should just focus on the things you are keeping track of. . .


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