Ah food. We need it to live, yet most of us consume way more than we actually need to survive. It eats up a significant portion of our take home pay and our spare time.
There are so many choices when it comes to how a household eats, one of which, is how much to spend on groceries.
Now, I’m of the opinion that having a refrigerator full of healthy, filling food is a great way to avoid costly dinners out with friends, so I tend to want to spend a little more than the average person on groceries. Does that mean my grocery bill breaks the bank?
Heck no! I budget $400 per month between my husband and myself, and that more than takes care of our cravings every month. We eat very well, for a pretty reasonable cost.
So, how much should you spend on groceries?
Focus on the food
In order to determine what your grocery budget truly should be each month, it’s important to take a look at what you’re actually spending on food.
Most grocery stores have become one stop shops for tons of other stuff like pet food and cleaning supplies. The next time you make a trip to the store, take a look at your receipt, how much did you really spend on actual food? It’s probably less than you thought.
Focus on the REAL food
In the same vain, a grocery budget should be reserved for stuff that is actually, truly, food.
Indulgences like pop, chips, and other unhealthy treats aren’t really food. They don’t provide nutritional value and are typically consumed as snacks, not as part of a diet (or at least they shouldn’t be!), as such, it might be helpful to put those types of food into a second, “snacks” category.
Reduce food waste
Although you might be dropping $200 or more at the grocery store every time you check out, how much of that is going into your belly, and how much is going into the garbage can in the form of food waste?
I used to spend a lot more on groceries than I do today, and a significant portion of that was because I wasn’t organized well enough to not let food spoil. You can easily reduce your grocery bill and get a better sense of what you truly spend on groceries by simply making sure less food is wasted.
My husband and I are very happy with our $400 a month food budget. This doesn’t include eating out, or snacks, or pet food. Sure, it’s not the lowest budget in the world, but it gives us plenty of room to eat really well and have healthy, full meals every day.
We weren’t always this way. We used to spend a lot more than $400 per month on groceries, and we weren’t really eating that much better! Once we accounted for the stuff that really shouldn’t go into the grocery budget, and the food waste, our grocery budget shrunk significantly and we were able to get a true sense of how much we were spending every month on actually feeding ourselves.
So what should you be spending every month on groceries?
Try out a few of these tips to get a sense of exactly what your food budget should really be.