Oh boy… how to budget for groceries. Where to even start? It’s a necessary evil so you might as well conquer it like the mom boss you are! Let’s do this!
How much money to budget for groceries
I don’t like fluff, so let’s just get right to it. Your goal should be to budget $100 dollars per person in your family, per month, on groceries. The exception to this rule is if you live in a major expensive city (think San Francisco, Manhattan or Honolulu) then you should be budgeting closer to $175 per person, per month.
$100 dollars, per person, per month. Period.
So now your homework is to actually go through your bank statements and see how much you spent on groceries in the last three months. If you haven’t been trying to stick to a budget buckle up, the amount might blow your doors off. As “poor” newlyweds we were spending over $500 bucks a month JUST ON GROCERIES. #insane
Also, I should point out that groceries (in my head) are anything you would buy at the grocery store. So hairspray, medicine, dog food, toilet paper, lotion, etc. are all groceries even though you don’t eat them. They need to also fit into that $100 dollars per person per month.
What about pets?
I include my dog as a member of the household and add $100 bucks for her. Not because I love her as family (yet…we’ve only had her 11 days and I’m ready to send out an S.O.S….) but because she basically costs as much as one right now.
With all the food, treats, toys, poop bags, etc. she definitely needs to be budgeted for and not just “squeezed” in right now. But if you have single goldfish, you definitely aren’t spending as much on pet supplies. So just take a look at what you’ve spent on them during the last three months and add the average to your monthly budget.
create a savings account For food storage
Remember that time you walked into Costco and saw that baby wipes were on sale for an absolutely screaming deal? Remember how you didn’t buy any because they were “out of your budget?” Never again my friend.
Having an extra savings account designated to food storage (or food deals… whatever) is the secret to only spending $100 dollars a month per person on groceries. You can’t plan when you’re going to run into an awesome deal. And if you don’t have any spare change that pay period, you are ALWAYS going to miss out on those chances to stock your pantry for the tighter weeks.
So create another savings account (you can have oodles of secondary savings accounts fo’ FREE if you bank at a credit union) solely for food storage.
The beauty of this account is that it doesn’t have to have thousands of dollars stocked in it. It literally can have $20 bucks and that would be enough to snag some extra peanut butter when it is on sale. In fact, mine usually has less than $100 bucks in it and I just use it periodically to stock up on things that are on sale.
So before you read another word, add that extra savings account RIGHT NOW. It’s seriously a lifesaver.
Buy in bulk and store or freeze!!
Buying in bulk when you are able and freezing or storing the rest lowers your grocery bill in the long run. It is more expensive to buy in bulk, but when you actually look at the price per ounce it is cheaper.
But spending your grocery budget on bulk is like shooting yourself in the foot if you haven’t set up that bank account dedicated to food storage. For example, Oatmeal is perfect to buy in bulk. It is waaaay cheaper per ounce and stores well.
But if you spend $28 dollars on 50 lbs of oatmeal from your grocery budget and not your food storage savings, you’ll be eating only oatmeal until payday. Which is contrary to the goal. The goal is to stock your pantry for those tighter days. You need a food storage savings account!! Do it now! 🙂
Meal plan (it saves your grocery budget + your sanity!)
You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again! It must be important! If you have a meal plan, you won’t buy random, expensive junk, which will save. you. money.
Sit down, open that Pinterest App you spend so much time on and meal plan. I’ve meal planned so often now that if I end up at the store without it I feel naked. It’s absolutely terrifying. Get a free meal planning sheet here or for heaven sake do it on your phone so you don’t forget it at home.
I like to meal plan dinner and lunches because I get so sick of peanut butter sandwiches and can’t afford Chic-Fil-A every other day.
Eat Similar Meals During the Week
Often times, there are items on sale at the grocery store that could be used in many different, but similar meals. Instead of meal planning a bunch of different things, plan meals that overlap ingredients that are on sale.
For example, I just hit the grocery store and snagged a weekend deal on chicken for $1.57/lb and scored a pineapple for only 99 cents, as well as avocado’s, tomatoes and peppers on the cheap.
That knocks out the buying in bulk requirement as well as eating similar meals making it super easy to save money.
The Law of the grocery bill
Alright, here is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let me start with a little story. My husband and I have had our fair share of financial trouble. One time, in 11 months, my hubby went through 5 different jobs. Fired twice, one seasonal and two career shifts. All self-inflicted, but still it stung nonetheless and didn’t help the finances much.
However, we have never, EVER gone without. We have been amazed over and over again when somehow, SOMEHOW ends meet.
But I know why. We have always had enough money for our needs because of this one and only thing. We pay 10% of our income in tithing to our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. God promised in the scriptures that if we did, He would bless us with so much, we wouldn’t even be able to receive it all.
So we have decided to stick to this “challenge” from God and see where it takes us. I don’t even make sure we have enough money to cover our bills before I pay tithing. I just do it and know the best will come and it always has.
So I challenge you to try it. Do something good with 10 percent of your income each month. Donate it to something that will help others, and then actively look for the blessings to come. For us, a low grocery bill has definitely been one of those blessings.