monthly grocery budget

Monthly Grocery Budget: How Much Should You Spend?

One area of your spending budget that is unavoidable is your monthly groceries. Sure, we all have to eat, there’s no avoiding that. However, saving some money on your monthly grocery budget doesn’t mean you have to starve.

Let’s be honest, your grocery bill can rack up fast. Pre-dinner snacks, luxury food items, and some packaged foods don’t come cheap. 

And even though it’s more affordable to eat from home rather than getting takeout, that doesn’t mean there isn’t further money you can save.

So the question remains, how much should you spend on your monthly grocery budget?

Read on to find out.

Let’s Crunch Some Numbers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during 2018 the cost of “at-home food” increased by 2.5 percent. With the average American family spending around $7,923 USD on at-home food annually. That’s about $660.25 per month.

Similar studies conducted in the UK showed that the average family spends £572.60 on weekly living expenses, an increase of 9.1% between the years 2012 and 2019. £60.60 of that was spent on at-home food, £242.40 per month, or 16% of their overall annual income.

That’s a substantial cost to many families. 

Therefore, getting your monthly grocery budget under control can take some practice but it certainly isn’t impossible.

Let’s take a look at how you can achieve this.

Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Grocery Budget

There are many ways you can cut back on your monthly grocery budget without sacrificing the quality and taste of your meals. And, hey, trimming back your grocery spendings can allow you to save money for your other financial goals. Perhaps, with the money you save, you could start sticking it into an emergency fund. A great way to ensure you have a little extra cash when you need it in a hurry.

So, if you want to cut back your monthly grocery spendings, check out these below tips.

1. Use Food Coupons

Grocery stores and food outlets often offer discount coupons on popular food items. You can find these food coupons online, in the mail, on the back of store receipts, have them granted to you by loyalty cards, or even have them sent to you through an email subscription.

And if you are an online grocery shopper, using stores like Amazon Prime Pantry, there may even be discount codes that you can apply to your shopping cart before you check out. You can often find these online codes on third-party websites or, again, through email subscriptions.

2. Shop At Multiple Close By Stores

Every supermarket or food store has specials on certain food items every week. They use these item specials to draw you into their stores. The money they lose on one or two items they make up when you do the remainder of your shopping with them.

The thing is, not everything is as cheap as those few items that were on special. You know, the products that brought you there in the first place. Therefore, if you live in an area where there is a heap of food stores close by one another, like in a mall or shopping center, take advantage of all of their specials.

Sure, it may involve you having to do a little more walking than usual. But it’s great exercise and an excellent way to stick to your monthly grocery budget.

3. Make A Food Plan Each Week

By deciding on the meals you wish to prepare ahead of time, you can more precisely plan exactly which foods you are likely to need for the week. A great way to do this is to, of course, create a shopping list.

That way as soon as you arrive in the grocery store, you have already honed in on exactly what you need. Without a good plan of attack, you are more likely to whack items in your shopping trolley you don’t necessarily need. Cheeky snacks and unnecessary fruit and vegetable purchases are more likely to occur.

Packaged snacks are often expensive and wasting fruits and vegetables that have gone off is like throwing money down the drain.

4. Shop At Local Food Markets

Local food and farmers’ markets are another great way to save a bit of cash. Consider this also, not only are you saving money but you are also supporting local farmers, local food producers, and local people.

The best part, some items, especially fruits and vegetables, are often much more affordable at local markets. They are produced and sourced from your local area, meaning the cost to produce them is much lower. These lower costs are, of course, passed onto you, the consumer.

And as an added bonus, not only is the produce more likely to be fresher than goods from a big supermarket chain but you are also more likely to be reducing your carbon footprint along the way.

Well done!

5. Buy Store Brands

Stores have now taken up the charge and started to produce their very own food products. Good news for you as these items are often less expensive than their name brand counterparts.

While the savings may not be huge in comparison, every little bit counts, and when added up can make a huge difference to your overall monthly grocery budget.

6. Shop Seasonally

Shopping seasonally is also a great way to save a little extra cash on your overall food costs. Buying fruits and vegetables that are out of season is counterintuitive and an easy way to increase your grocery spendings.

Another factor is, out of season fruits and vegetables may not even taste good. They have likely been shipped from interstate or overseas well before ripeness. Therefore, they often won’t be fresh and you’ll likely be disappointed with the flavor and freshness. 

Wrap Up

Another great way to ensure you track your monthly grocery budget accurately and identify the usual suspects is to use and app like Emma.

Emma is a money management app that connects to all your bank accounts to track your monthly spending and subscriptions. Emma will help you visualise and take control of your finances, make sure you aren’t overspending on your next grocery shop, and show you practical steps to start budgeting effectively.

Emma is available for download on both the App Store and Google Play Store.

Edouard Daunizeau

I look after all things Growth here at Emma. I come from France and have spent the last few years scaling consumer tech startups in the UK and beyond. 🚀