Grocery Budget

It's no spend July, and I'm working on all things money related this month. In much the same way a person tries to reset their eating habits by doing Whole 30, I'm doing a financial "diet" to reset some of my spending and saving habits. I'm not buying anything except the necessities aka groceries...and maybe a dinner out with adults because #sanity.


Taking a look back through the year, this is how much we have spent on groceries each month in  2017.

January $741.10

February $774.43

March $667.60

April $954.67

May $1,160

June $919.83

Average =  $869.61

These numbers include household items, alcohol, and the occasional takeout meal.

To my surprise, we are way within an appropriate range for a family of 6.

According to the USDA recommendations (calculated in this blog post), $750/month is considered the thrifty plan and $1454/month is the liberal plan for a family of 6 with young children.


Since it's no spend month, I set grocery budget goal for $600. We were out of town the first week in July and ate at my parents house. I have lots of food in the freezer. I'm cutting back on wine (more on that later). I think we can do it. I think $600 is a reasonable number and the challenge gives me a little thrill.

Even though we are steadily within range of recommended spending I know I could improve my numbers in future months with more careful planning and less impulse buying at Costco....and less wine.

So, what do you think about the USDA guidelines? What are the holes in your grocery spending, where you overspend or just plain blow it? Or, are you happy with how much you spend on food?


  1. Looks like an awfully delicious meal there!!

  2. When I had a full house -me, hubs, son and 3+ homestay students, I'd go to Costco every three weeks. Staying on task and only buying from my list was always a challenge there! SJ in Vancouver BC

  3. The USDA guildekines serm high to
    me, assuming it doesn't include alcohol or takeout)
    For our family size we are about $50 under the thrifty margin, and I think we eat quite well. We do only have meat about 1-2 times per week, which might make a difference, though we substitute seafood for meat several meals per week.

  4. I've been tracking our expenses for a few months - thanks to linking to those numbers. I've been keeping it lower than the "thrifty" plan, I see. Maybe I should do a post on our numbers, too (but confusing, because I put alcohol in our "fun" budget and toiletries with clothes). I like this kind of financial transparency.

  5. Interesting. Thanks for the transparency. I always feel as though we are spending WAY too much but we are falling in the moderate to liberal amounts for a family of 5. However, I could easily cut that back with less convenience type food purchases. Love this series, can't wait to read more.

  6. I am loving your posts! I too have been on Daves plan for 3 years now and have been bad slacker over the last 9 months. I decided Monday it was enough and I was tired of letting money rule us and us not RULE the money! We are a family of 4 and I am going to do $600 a month for us. Now my question to you is. Is this amount for FOOD and grocery only or does yours include toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo etc? Keep the post coming. :)

  7. I meant to add, I keep everything in Quicken to see exactly where money is spent. I am anxious to see when I get home how much we have spent the last 6 months. Dining out, grocery, etc! I am tired of throwing money away in WAL Mart :(

  8. I'm late to the party. Love this post! We are a family of $ and fall between thrifty and liberal. Our budget includes food, toiletries (we are still innpull ups at night) and the occasional takeout meal. I'd really like to curb our food spending and I think with better planning and more effort on my part we can do it. (We are about to tighten the screws - I love a challenge and being united with the hubs in our efforts!)

  9. Haha. Oops. That was supposed to say we are a family of 7.


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