Ever curious how much I spend on groceries?
I don’t usually like to share the specifics of numbers any more when it comes to budgets, especially with groceries. Why? Because grocery prices are not apples to apples (see what I did there?) from one part of the nation to another. Plus I have international readers. Plus I have readers with young children, readers with many children, readers with no children, readers with adult children…just all sorts of readers. We all live in different places with different food sources and different situations.
So talking about grocery budgets and comparing numbers is not always beneficial.
Still, people are often very curious about how much I spend on groceries to feed my growing family full of teenage boys. I don’t blame them. Whether it makes sense or not, it is kind of fun to talk about grocery spending and compare notes about what works for people. Especially if any of us can gain insights on more ways to save money on healthy food purchases.
So here’s the big fat truth about my real food grocery budget as I feed a houseful of growing teenage boys. There is a comma in this monthly line item. I used to feed the six of us for less than $500/month. Then our boys doubled in size and so did the amount of money it takes to keep them fed.
The truth about how much I spend on groceries
Our current monthly grocery spending ranges from $900-$1,200.
Ouch. But not.
I mean, that’s a lot of money every month on food. But it’s food. The really good kind. My family is eating it heartily and staying relatively healthy. Because we homeschool and work from home, we typically eat all three meals at home each day, every day of the week. When I average it out, I see that we are spending between $5-$8 per person per day to eat very well.
Could I cut back on our grocery spending? Yes, but not by much. I’m not just throwing food into my cart at random. I’m carefully price-matching each week, strategically buying in bulk, cooking from scratch – doing everything I can to spend wisely and frugally. We just eat…a lot. Plus, we love to have people into our home for meals. Our grocery money is money well spent, and I’m thankful.
Last week’s grocery run cost $78. Most of this food was price-matched. Not bad, eh?
Yeah well, the week before that I spent about $500 between Bountiful Baskets, Azure Standard, and Amazon.
Now let’s not even talk about car insurance for teenage boy drivers. That is a whole ‘nother conversation and it isn’t pretty, nor is it fun like strawberries and beef roasts. Boo, hiss, car insurance. I curl up into a ball at this subject. Please, let’s go back to talking about happy things like green beans.
So speaking of green beans, and gardens, and other ways of saving money on groceries – which we were so obviously talking about…
The verdict is still out on whether or not our budget will see a big difference with our oldest son moving out and eating most of his meals in the college cafeteria. So far there’s not been much change – but I do predict that our spending average will go down a little bit. I mean, just last week I only had to double our pancake recipe instead of triple it, so that right there was a $1 saved. I think I’ll start saving for a cruise. Or just apply that dollar to his college tuition.
Below is a list I posted about a year and a half ago about ways I save on real food groceries. I can’t imagine what our budget would be if I didn’t continually work to save money in these ways. There would definitely be a 2 in front of the comma. Have mercy.
Ways I Save on Real Food Groceries
- Make as much food from scratch as possible
- Price-Match at Wal-Mart – mostly on produce
- Buy ingredients in bulk to cut cost
- Avoid eating out unless we are traveling – and then I try to pack as much food as possible
- Do freezer cooking
- Find great deals online
- Shop through our co-op
- Take advantage of Amazon Prime/Subscribe and Save
- Eat less expensive real foods like rice, potatoes, beans, and pasta
- Grind our own grain to make whole grain flour for our baked goods
- Drink mostly water instead of purchased drinks
- Avoid wasting food (as if there are ever any leftovers to waste)
- Watch for sales on items we buy at local stores, then stock up
- Grow what we can in our garden (and then get a cat, which is was a whole thing you should read about, and shucks if we haven’t found that the bunnies are actually disappearing and the green beans are growing back, thank you, Wiggams)
I’m working on some posts which highlight some of our lower cost, real food meals. But while my goal is to save money where I can and to be wise with my spending- my bigger goal is to nourish my family with good food. So bring on the wholesome goodness! In large quantities. Frequently. (said the mother of many teenage boys)
Want to share your grocery budget numbers? Have you seen your grocery spending increase as your kids got older? For those of you on the other end, have you found it difficult to adjust to buying less once your kid leave home? I will not even know how to cook in small quantities a few years from now. An 8×8 inch dish? Yes, I think I have one of those in the back of my cupboard.
I still spend a significant amount on groceries every month because of all the very starving teenage boys at our house. But to my surprise, I’ve noticed significant grocery savings while following our Simple Meals plans. I love this so much. I mean, I knew it would save money, but this much?