Can we talk for a minute about grocery budgets? There are a couple things I want to say about grocery budgets and why we need to stop comparing grocery budgets.
Having a grocery budget is important but no one can or should have the exact same grocery budget. Your grocery budget shouldn’t be the same as mine. We all need different grocery budgets and we all need to stop comparing grocery budgets to save ourselves money. I hope you know that, but if you need the reminder, here’s why.
My family looks different than yours.
My family eats differently than yours.
I shop at different stores than you do.
I live in a different area with different prices than you.
Even if we lived in the same town and had the same number of people in our family, our grocery budgets will still look very different for all these reasons above and more.
Here’s the thing about grocery budgets.
Grocery budgets are important. If you are looking to save your family money, a grocery budget is one of the first places I recommend looking to trim expenses. You can shop the sales and save your family a lot of money in the grocery store – whether you use coupons or not. And yes, you can still buy good food on a budget!
Here’s the thing about my grocery budget.
My grocery budget is low. As of 2017, it’s currently set at $260. This feeds our family of four – my husband and myself, a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old. My grocery budget covers food, diapers, toiletries and paper products. You can see what I purchase at the grocery store each week here. Since we live on my husband’s teacher income, keeping our grocery budget low is one way that we stretch our pennies.
According to the USDA food chart, my family (on the thrifty plan) should be spending $557.1o a month on groceries. I still think that’s high. Although, not as high as the liberal plan which says we should be spending $1088.88 on groceries each month! Really? Yikes! I encourage you to take a look at the USDA chart and see where your family falls. It’s really interesting to view.
How is this possible, then, that my budget is so low? Several things impact my grocery budget.
I like to grocery shop and so do my kids. I like to cook. I like to look for the best deals. I don’t mind going to two stores if the deals merit it. I have a grocery stockpile that allows me a lot of flexibility in what I am cooking and buying any particular week.
I have an extra freezer where I can stock up on good perishable deals, like meat and dairy. We don’t have any dietary restrictions in our family. I cook a lot from scratch but we do eat processed food.
I’ve been shopping on a budget all my life. I’ve been perfecting my frugal grocery skills over the past 13 years, since I graduated college and accepted my first teaching job on my own. I use coupons and stack deals with a coupon app.
I don’t share all this to discourage you but rather to encourage you not to compare yourself!
When we stop comparing our grocery budgets, it gives us the freedom to set the budget that works for our family at this particular season of life. Feel free to look at other grocery budgets if it encourages you to save money, but if it frustrates you, then stop! You don’t need that pressure to save money. You will save more money if you compare yourself to you and track your own progress.
I know that wives and moms are hard on ourselves. We want to do the best we can for our families. If we stay at home, we tend to be even harder, knowing this is our job and wanting to stretch our one-income as far as we can.
Give yourself grace! We all have to start somewhere. My advice is to take an honest look at your budget and set an amount for groceries that is right for you. Then, if you want the challenge, start working to slowly and gradually reduce that amount. Pick one area to focus on and start there.
Our grocery budgets need to be different for our families.
Once we stop comparing our budget to others, we have the freedom to tweak our budget as it works for our family. That’s what I want to remind you (and myself) of today.
Want to know more about shopping on a grocery budget? Here are some tips to help you.
- How to Set a Grocery Budget for Your Own Family
- 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Budget without Using Coupons
- How to Build a Stockpile that Saves Your Family Money
- The Best Coupon App to Use
- Everything You Need to Know about How to Stockpile
- Quick Ways to Save on Your Very Next Grocery Shopping Trip
I’d love to hear what your grocery budget is currently for your family at this particular time. Let’s encourage each other in the comments so we can see how we’re all saving even as we spend at different amounts!