Curious what I spend on groceries each month?
I decided it was time for me to write an updated post sharing details of our family’s average monthly food budget. It’s a lot bit different than it was when our kids were little. Our sons are now 19, 17, 15, and 12. (Matt and I are 43, but that’s entirely beside the point.)
This post is not for the faint of heart.
Can you handle the truth?
Please, take a seat.
Maybe the numbers won’t astound you. Maybe you’ll see my budget and say, “Eh. Is that it?” Yes. That’s probably what you’ll say. I’m just sure of it.
Why am I sharing our grocery budget numbers? Because I’ve been seeing a lot of posts recently shared by women who feed their families for just $50 per week. I’m happy for them, and it’s all well and good that those women are able to feed their families for such a small amount. But you guys? That’s how much it costs to feed my family PER DAY.
Well, not quite. Just almost. I exaggerate. Only a tiny bit.
Good thing they’re worth it…
Here’s the truth about my grocery budget: I could cut back here and there. I could feed us beans and rice more often. I could spend less each month by making a few changes in what I purchase. But I’m not going to do any of those things at this point, and here’s why…
- My teenage boys would not get full if I fed us differently (they are athletes and they need food with substance)
- I believe strongly that food is meant for nourishment (and that it should taste amazing)
- I feel that it is very important to offer a high volume of fresh fruits and vegetables (I probably spend $100/week on produce alone)
- We love sharing our food with others (and find that we often have extras around our table)
- We prefer eating whole foods as much as possible, in balance (but sometimes I buy take-and-bake pizza because a girl’s gotta live a little)
I wondered how our budget would change once our oldest went off to college a year and a half ago. Turns out, nothing changed. If anything, it increased (someone please hand me a tissue). I think it’s because our other boys keep getting bigger and eating more. It’s also because, even though Asa lives on campus and eats most of his meals at the cafeteria, we feed extra college kids when Asa brings his friends home (and I love it so much that I would feed the whole campus if he brought them to our table).
I buy food from about 7 different sources, so adding it all up and averaging it all out is a bit of a challenge. For instance, we recently bought a half beef and a whole lamb. We’re hoping that will last us an entire year, but I don’t have my hopes up. For the sake of budgeting though, you’ll see when I crunch the numbers below that I’ve divided the total meat amount by 12 months.
I go to Lincoln for a doctor appointment about once each month, so while there I hit Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market (my absolute favorite!). We have one local grocery store (not a chain, not great prices) and a Super Walmart that I hit in town each week (except for the week I go to Lincoln).
I order online at Amazon. I order from Azure Standard, our health food co-op. I order from Vitacost (though most of that is free credit, thanks to many of you!) I order from Tropical Traditions when they have free shipping mixed with great sales.
We get eggs, milk, and beef/lamb from local farmers.
So that’s about all I can babble about before I share the actual numbers. (Though raise your hand if you skipped all the blah-blah-blah and went right to the bottom of this post to see that part already. That’s right. I’m on to you.)
But one more thing.
This is not about comparing, feeling better than or less than or anything in between. We all have different budgets based on needs, family size, prices where we live, grocery store options, and on it goes.
And can I just say that I’m very thankful my boys don’t like drinking milk? I think it keeps us from the poor house that they don’t drink it and we only use one gallon each week for cooking.
One more thing (last one, I promise). Our family schools at home and works from home. Therefore all three meals every day for every person in our family (except our oldest son away at college) are eaten at home.
My Grocery Budget Break-Down Average for each Month
- Local grocery stores = $150-200 per week x 3 weeks = $450-$600
- Lincoln grocery stores (I go to Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market about once each month) = $250 total
- Local farmer for milk = $20
- Local farmers for eggs = $30 (we are spoiled with great egg prices!)
- Azure Standard = average $150 per month
- Amazon subscribe and save = average $100 per month
- Local 100% grass fed meat purchased once each year (1/2 beef + whole lamb) = $1,300 per year = $108 per month
Grand total of what I spend on groceries each month:
If that isn’t enough to make a mama pass out.
And no. That doesn’t include our toilet paper.
This is why we rarely eat out. This is why we make so many foods from scratch. This is why we rarely go to the movie theater. This is why we drive older, so-so vehicles. This is why we don’t buy many pre-made processed foods.
And yes. This is what keeps us healthy.
That’s what it’s all about right?
A huge perk —> We have Christian Healthcare Ministries as our health insurance and we pay very little per month. (Read more about that here, because CHM is amazing.) Since our monthly premium is so very low, that helps us afford to pay more for quality groceries (and keep our athletic sons in good shoes – I can’t even).
I Challenge Myself
Couponing is no longer worth my time. But I do want to challenge myself in the coming months to see if there are any other ways I can come up with to save a little on our budget. I don’t have my hopes up. I won’t negotiate on quality. But stay tuned. I want to try to document my shopping trips with pictures and receipts to share with you. Interested?
Want to share your grocery budget numbers with us? We promise to keep it fun and encouraging! We’re all friends here.
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