money, money, munahhhhhh.

So I’ve got a question for you, dear imaginary friends:

How much money, per month, do you estimate that you spend on groceries/food/eating out?

What do you think is a reasonable amount to spend, per month, on food? An unreasonable amount?

I’m working to really nail down our family budget. When Ben and I first got married, we never really established a ‘budget’. I mean we figured out who would pay for what, and tossed a little in savings, but we never designated ‘x’ amount of dollars for food, savings, necessities, etc. About a year ago, we realized we needed to step our game up. So we sat down and really talked about our money, and where we spent it. We calculated what we were spending per month on bills, food, etc. We analyzed our ‘must’ money (must spend on bills, gas, childcare, etc) and our ‘might’ money (entertainment, food, etc.) We decided to take a portion of our monthly income and put it in savings, every month, regardless. So basically we pretend that portion of our income was never there to begin with. We don’t think about it, we just pretend it wasn’t there, and automatically stick it in savings every month. We categorized money that we ‘must’ spend each month (bills, gas), and subtracted that from our monthly income (minus to portion we put in savings). The leftover ‘might’ money is what we can work with.

The leftover ‘might’ money is where I’m trying to get creative. I realize that if I can save a little more ‘might’ money, I can put more into savings. For us, the ‘might’ money includes food (food is must, but how much we spend on it is up to us!), products (toilet paper, household goods, etc), and entertainment (eating out, shopping, people-watching at Walmart).

I’ve already cut waaaaay back on the shopping, tear, tear. I’m trying to buy (mostly) necessities now. I can still trim this though. Products can be trimmed more, too. Entertainment has been scaled back as well, though we didn’t typically spend much money on entertainment anyway. I guess we just laugh at ourselves for fun 😉

But food. My sweet frenemy food. We like to eat in my home. I married a man who likes to eat. He married a woman who likes to eat. We gave birth to a boy who loves to eat. So I’m curious (nosey) how much others spend on food a month. How much is too much? Too little?

I would roughly say we spend between $350-400 a month on food/groceries/eating out. I say roughly because every month I’ve been trying to shop more wisely, use coupons, and meal plan a little more, so some months I’ve been able to get by on $275-300 a month on groceries. So hit me with it. Are we pigs? Do I need to call Dr. Phil? Schedule an intervention? I can dig…..

Soooo, now, because I’m nosey curious, tell me about you! What are you spending on food/groceries? How much is too much? Let’s all share our food/grocery secrets and be friends for life!

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19 thoughts on “money, money, munahhhhhh.

  1. SOOO glad you posted this! I've always wondered how our grocery bill compared to others! I've got a two year old and I'd say we range in the $400. But we eat out way too much. I need to keep better track of our spending too!

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  2. Our grocery costs vary because some weeks I buy a lot because I cook a lot and other weeks I don't even step foot in the store. We try not to eat out TOO much but we do end up ordering out about 4-5 times a week because we flat out get lazy about cooking. Now my husband eats a LOT. He's a “bodybuilding hobbist” as I call it. He does not compete but he does what he can to at least look like them. So I buy our chicken in bulk from Sam's Club. I buy about four 5lb bags of chicken every 2 weeks. But on average, we probably spend about $300 a month on strictly store bought food AND household necessities. Probably $300 a month on eating out… wow. Now that I write that down, I'm so ashamed!

    I do try to coupon quite a bit and stack my coupons on top of items on sale. I also tend to buy stuff we need when they are on sale vs on an as needed basis.

    Now keep in mind… it's just Brad and I. So I would say you guys are normal and we are… er… abnormal! HA! But maybe both our families spend too much?? I don't know. I'll be curious as to what others put. 🙂

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  3. We spend about $250 a month ($50 a week on groceries and the occasional pizza or date night with gift cards). There's only 2 of us and we try to keep the “going out” to a minimum because we're on a very tight budget (school loans – BLECH). But we've MAJORLY cut back on the “mights” like we don't have cable or internet. I know. Also, I ride a dinosaur to work. Also I never shop. Ever. I went from shopaholic with thousands of $$$ in debt to actually having a savings account with money in it! Budget has always been so hard for me but my hubs is really good at sticking to the plan and every once in awhile (like birthdays or actual anniversary) we splurge and like buy steaks or something. Hahaha… yeah, we get excited about steak night. Okay I'm writing like a whole post on this so I'll just wrap it up… FFL (Friend For Life)

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  4. For the two of us, our averages over the past year have been $156 a month for groceries and $145 for eating out. Our average total spent on food is right at $300 a month.

    Now that we're budgeting based on just my income for next month, I'm hoping to be under $180 for our food total.

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  5. We range around $300-$400 for groceries in a month. Just writing that sounds ridiculous. Ugh. In my defense, I have been trying to make our actual spending go down by cooking more at home and using coupons on the items we regularly buy. I have been doing that for about 2 months now and we save about 30-40% each time we go to the store. Not too bad, in my mind. We do go out to eat a lot with friends and for date nights, which adds up quickly. And, that is a whole other budget of spending. I won't even tell you what we budget for that. Shameful. We will probably have to cut back a lot once we decide to have kids.

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  6. Wow. My husband and I budget $550 for food per month and we almost always go over. HOW do you people do it that budget $300??? Seriously. Leave me suggestions here in the comments. HOW?

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  7. Wow I am feeling very ashamed!! We spend soooo much eating out and on groceries! I would say at least 400 eating out and probably at least 300 on groceries plus Phoenix's lunch money ;-(

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  8. we recently cut down big here, we were eating out ALOT! and realized we could be buying twice the groceries for the fam at home for half the money we were spending for on the go food. we eat out maybe twice a month (im assuming thats about $40-50 dollars?) now on family dates and then try to get one date alone:) then our food budget is basically $50-60 for a week to a week and a half(so give or take …$240 a month). i am buying local fruit and vegetables and combining that with the weekly sales at kroger and food city, trying to match coupons to save some cash unfortunately as far as my grocery coupons go, im failing miserably.. i save maybe $30 a visit…(tips anyone?!) and then im working on stopping my obsession with household items at my FAVVVVV store ever, rustic country (tears) i have had a serious buying addiction for my home decor for the past two years and i had to get over it, i made a mason jar soap dispenser today that wouldve cost alot more from ben franklin i spent nothing i used an old jar i washed in the dishwasher and bleached afterwords and im more proud of it because i made it:) this is the way i have started things out.. its probably not the best way things could go and im sure i could save more.. somehow and i plan on reading every comment to pick up tips 🙂 thanks ladies!

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  9. The key is to break it out into a per meal amount. It also depends on what you account as “groceries” (ex. spices). A budget of $600 for all food (groceries/eat out/date night) for a family of two comes out to $300/person. At 3 meals a day, for a month that comes out to 90 meals/person/month. So that comes out to $3.33 per meal. Fairly reasonable when you think about it. $300 for two people for a month…VERY difficult. You essentially can't go out to eat ever. But cooking at home is the best way to save money on food.

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  10. I think we used spend about $400-$500 a month, but not anymore. Now we spend about $300-$400. We do a lot of shopping on the fly, meaning that when we need to think about dinner, my husband runs to the store to get it. I also think that personally, my stomach is too big lol. I coupon A LOT and look at store circulars now. I try to buy what's on sale instead of the name brand items that I like. It seems to be working! I also started writing down every single thing that we buy so that we can determine where all of our money is going. We'll see at the end of the month how we did! Good luck!

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  11. Y'all need to stop beating yourselves up! My hubby does the grocery shopping and is very disciplined about meal planning and watching what he buys and we spend about $300/month. Plus we do eat out but I don't know how much that adds up to offhand. We each have a little but if fun money and we usually treat each other to dinner out of that.

    And just so y'all can feel better about yourselves, I'll confess that I spend $250/month on home decor/improvement. That includes anything from fabric to furniture to nails and screws. It's my favorite thing and it funds projects for my blog so we made it a priority. The budget is strict, though, so if I go a penny over $250 it comes out of my fun money. Things like clothes, which I'm not that passionate about, don't even have their own budget category and just come out of my fun money.

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  12. Sean and I are really cracking down on our spending at the moment too. We absolutely love our food though and probably spend around $600 – $700 a month on food (just typing that makes me feel like a piggy!). We have worked out that we can get by on about $400 a month, but have yet to stick to it…

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  13. Ironically I just signed up for the mint.com this morning. My husband and I were talking about how we need to learn where our money goes so we can save for emergencies and things that we would like to do to the house. Just to let you know, just entering in our bank info it showed that we have spent 250ish this month already on eating out and groceries. Eek! Hopefully I will play around on the website because I have heard it is a great place to balance your budget and learn so much.

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  14. I think your doing great…I spend around 300 a month on food..That is for a family of 5. Find a coupon site that does your stores..I go to 1-2 stores(high end) and just buy the items on sale for free or close to it..I try and stock up if I can…Then I go to the local cheaper store when needed and grab everything else. You can get most shampoos, conditioners, shaving needs, soaps etc for free or close to it from the drug stores..Its work but the way I see it the money I save I can put into the house, kids clothes, kids activities etc. We also go to the local farm a lot! The kids think its so much fun and we are picking our fresh produce.

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  15. We budget $100 a week for food (groceries and eating out). I “extreme coupon” so that affords me money to buy organic meats and dairy products, fresh veggies and fruits. I highly recommend you taking a look at Southern Savers.com. A great couponing site. I wrote about Jenny today actually.

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  16. Honestly I have no idea! I would guess $500 a month.We rarely eat out but we like to entertain a lot and we like to provide good meals. We also buy as much organic as is available and reasonable here on the island, so it's just one of those places we try not to *waste* money, but we don't restrict our spending, either!

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  17. Kudos to you to doing the budget thing! We got diligent about it for a month, but after seeing how much we actually spent, it kind.of.fizzled…

    Honestly, I hate budgeting. But I also get stressed because I feel like we spend WAY too much on food too. But, we also love food, and cook every meal with deliciousness. I've been trying to coupon, but honestly feel like I am spending more on things I don't normally buy just because “I have a coupon!”

    We spend about $400 a month on groceries, which also includes diapers and misc. purchases, and we rarely eat out. It's hard to pay someone else to cook when you have way yummier food at home!

    It's hard, it's really hard. I'd love to see someone put up their budget, with a typical month of meals just to see!

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