The Consumer Price Index shows that the average cost of eating at home increased by 11.4% in 2022 compared to 2021. As a result, grocery budgeting has become more difficult as you account for higher prices on necessities.
Where you shop, what to buy, how many mouths to feed, and whether you grocery shop in-store or online are just a few of the variables that affect your weekly food bill. If you need help deciding on a figure, use the following as a starting point.
Determine What You're Currently Spending on Groceries
Discovering your actual grocery spending is a more practical and efficient approach to creating a budget. Filling out a spending form will allow you to examine your expenditures throughout multiple pay periods.
The total will provide a snapshot of your typical weekly food budget. You may need to make some dietary changes if you discover you spend way too much to help you cut back spending.
Apply The 50/30/20 Rule
According to Jack Prenter, CEO of DollarWise, 50% of your household income should be spent on “needs,” 30% on “wants,” and 20% on savings.
Food is a necessity, but not everything that you buy at the grocery store is a need. You might say that the candy and chili cheese fries you purchased were a “want,” so you can account for that under the 30% of your income that goes towards “wants.” Outside of food staples, your housing, minimum transport, and healthcare costs would all be “needs.”
Given the average housing, transport, and healthcare costs, Preter suggests spending at most 10-15 % of your household income on groceries.
He illustrates, if your monthly household take-home pay is $4,000, you could divide it like this:
- $2,000 for necessities like housing, transport, and basic groceries
- $1,200 for wants like gym memberships, hobbies, meals out, and travel
- $800 for saving toward your future
The USDA Food Plan
The USDA's food plans provide another resource for determining an appropriate grocery budget. You may check out the newest blueprints on their site. They break down the weekly and monthly costs of four plans: thrifty, low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal. A breakdown by age and gender of the totals is provided. You only need to focus on the sum of each family member's total.
Let's assume your family consists of three people. Your baby is a year old, and you want to adopt the thrifty plan. The current plan estimates that your son would consume $109.80 every month. And the monthly consumption for Dad is $304.40, and for mom is $243.50. Adding it all together, that's $656.70 per month or $151.70 per week spent on groceries.
Sticking To Your Budget
Here are some tips to help you stay within your grocery budget.
Set a Realistic Budget
If you want to know your typical grocery cost, start keeping track of it for a month or two. The next step is to create a workable budget for your family based on your needs and current financial status.
For instance, dietary constraints experienced by a member of the household can have an impact on the household budget. These specialty foods can be substantially more expensive than regular groceries, so plan accordingly.
Plan Your Meals
Plan your meals for the week ahead. Carefully check the ingredients needed for each of your recipes and what to serve with each dish. This will help you create a shopping list with only the items you need, making it easier to identify how much you spend on necessities versus treats.
Shop The Sales
Monitor sales, discounts, and coupons at your local grocery stores. If you have children, their favorite foods, such as frozen chicken nuggets, will be more affordable when on sale. Plan your meals around sale items, and stock up on non-perishable food items when discounted.
Buy In Bulk
Purchasing items in bulk is often more cost-effective, especially for non-perishable goods like rice, pasta, and canned goods. However, make sure to store them properly and keep an eye on expiration dates.
Embrace Generic Brands
Many store brands offer similar quality products at a lower price than name brands. Consider trying generic or store-brand items to save money, particularly for commodities like rice and pasta, with minimal taste differences.
The rising prices of food products have left many families struggling to balance their budgets and provide healthy meals for their loved ones. As a result, grocery budgeting has become a challenge for households of all sizes. However, with some planning and strategic budgeting, families can buy groceries and not break the bank.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like Buttonwood Tree and FinanceBuzz in the past and currently writes for Wealth of Geeks.