Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Much Grocery Spending, Part 3

It's not the most common Google search that lands visitors at IYM, but it's close:

How much do families spend on groceries?

Well, I can only speak for one family, and that's mine. We're two adults and one 6-year-old daughter. Over the last three months of 2008, we spent an average of $451 per month on groceries. Here that info, plus a little more, in a more-spiffy package:

Our Average Spending / 4th Qtr 2008

Curious souls might be interested in a few definitions here:

Food - Groceries: Pretty straightforward. This is how I categorize all unprepared food purchased from outlets such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sam's, our corner store, and so on.

Food - Dining: Restaurant and prepared meals, including workday lunches.

Household: Most household consumables, really. For us, this contains things like cosmetics, hygiene products, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and so on.

Utilities: All monthly utility items, including water/trash, electric, natural gas, cell phone, telephone, basic cable and internet, and such.

(My previous posts on this topic can be found here and here. Interesting that as my income has increased substantially over the last several years, so has our food spending.)

Luscious Consumer Data

According to the 2007 Consumer Expenditure Survey (PDF), American households matching our characteristics (2 adults; 1 child between 6 and 17) spent an average of $336 per month on "Food away from home." They spent roughly $426/month on "Food at home."

Just some more stats to chew on, Google Searchers!


— Posted by Michael @ 8:47 AM


I probably spend about $300/month just on myself. I need to eat less. Does your spending include just dinner? Or lunch as well? Because I make lunch and dinner everyday, but don't spend money out.


The spending above includes all meals. Sometimes I eat lunch out -- perhaps once or twice per week. That spending falls under "Food: Dining."

Food for the lunches I take to work falls under "Food: Groceries."


I've talked to people who spend as much as food as they do houseing. I think single people spend more per meal than do families because it's not cost effective to buy in bulk. Supermarkets charge more per unit price for single serve items. On the other hand when I use coupons, I can usually get the smaller items almost free. It's great when I can pick up cereal for 25 cents. My daughter and her friend ate the whole box in one night. I have to stock up and use several coupons so that I have 4 or 5 boxes for my family. My brother who is single would have breakfast for a month for a $1 plus the cost of milk. I'm lucky if it lasts 2 weeks.

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]