In this post I break down our grocery budget for our family of five (*ahem* what we actually spend on groceries) and what we actually buy that is included in that budget. I share exactly what we spent in the month of January throughout various grocery trips as well as what we spent on dining out. I hope this post makes you feel a little bit more “normal” about what your family realistically spends as well. 🙂
It’s been super exciting to hear back from friends in real life as well as friends that follow along on Instagram who have been encouraged to eat more meals at home as a means to saving money.
A couple people have told me that being more intentional about eating dinner at home has made meal time way less stressful because they are deciding first thing in the morning what dinner later that day will look like. If there are steps they can take before work or during the day during some free time that help get dinner on the table later, they’ve been taking care of them.
Then, once dinner rolls around, it’s been a bit easier to sit down and eat a meal at home together. This makes me so happy!
I got the same question twice in the same day recently though that I thought was SUCH A GOOD QUESTION. It went something like this: “I understand eating at home might save money, but groceries are expensive too. So what does your grocery budget look like?”
Super valid, great question, right? It only makes sense that if we are eating at home more, our grocery bills are higher. And we all know that trips to the grocery store can get expensive quickly!
I’ve been in many conversations through the years about grocery budgets, where people are all swapping amounts that they generally stick to per month at the store. A common theme is that people generally try to stick around a certain figure but usually go way over.
That’s the case with my family too! In my head, $150/week on groceries seems like more than enough considering we shop online at Walmart. So why at the end of the month have we spent way more than $600 ($150 x 4 weeks)?
I’ll tell you why. One exercise Jamie and I have done many times in our marriage is pull up our bank account and itemize exactly how much we have spent in a month at the grocery store and dining out. It’s always SO EYE-OPENING. If you haven’t done this with your spouse, I highly suggest you do as a means to better communicate about finances and spending habits.
Because I’m an open book and all about sharing things that I personally would love to read on someone else’s site, I decided to pour through our bank account and share what we have spent on dining out and groceries this month.
GROCERY BUDGET FOR FAMILY OF FIVE
Some things to note:
- I make one online Walmart pick-up order per week.
- Jamie often stops at Kroger on his way from work to pick up things we need that we forgot to put on our grocery list from Walmart.
- Jamie and Hadley both pack their lunches for school/work every day. Hadley does buy school lunch (pizza!! her favorite) on Fridays.
- What we’ve spent on groceries includes all food, toiletries for all five of us, paper products, laundry/dish detergent, dog food, diapers, baby wipes, formula, wine/beer if friends are coming over, air filters, over-the-counter medicine, our protein powders/supplements, etc.
Amazon Subscribe and Save: $49.93
Walmart: $140.36 (weekly trip)
Walmart: $235.95 (weekly trip)
Publix: $44.89 (what Jamie spent on things to make my birthday dinner and get a cake)
Walmart: $107.42 (weekly trip)
Walmart: $198.74 (weekly trip + baby shower necessities)
Walmart: $192.52 (weekly trip)
I’m not surprised by this figure. There is SO MUCH rolled into this amount that I actually think we did pretty good for a 31-day month for a family of five.
PS: If you haven’t tried Walmart online grocery shopping, here is my referral link for $10 your first order.
We generally have a family motto that we only dine out if it’s with family or friends or for a special occasion or reason. This mindset helps us save money and keeps us from running out to get breakfast, lunch, or dinner out of convenience. We know that this doesn’t work for everybody, but it’s been one of the biggest ways we’ve managed to get by primarily on Jamie’s salary.
In our season of life with three young kids, dining out is not our favorite thing. 😉 It’s a lot of money spent on a situation that is often frustrating.
Chick-fil-a: $8.92 (triple family dinner date with friends; Jamie was on his way home from a business trip and I used a reward from the app to pay for my food. So what I bought was the girls’ meals.)
McDonald’s $13.98 (drive-thru dinner for the girls and me the night before Jamie came home from L.A.)
Chick-fil-a: $9.57 (Tuesday lunch with friends from Sadie’s dance class)
Char: $64.09 (my birthday lunch)
Rolo’s Cafe: $34.10 (family lunch after Jillian’s six month pediatrician appointment)
Goodland’s Pourhouse: $18.00 (triple date; drinks with friends)
Buena Vista: roughly $60 (triple date; paid with cash I got for my birthday)
Anniversary take-out dinner paid for with cash gifted from my parents
Panera: $19.43 (mommy/daughter dinner date with our neighbors)
Goodland’s: $82.25 (date night)
Chick-fil-a: $15.67 (Tuesday lunch with dance friends)
Jack’s: $7.28 (iced coffee for me and a snack for Hadley in between school and dance)
Marco’s: $14.57 (I cannot recall why we ordered this pizza. Maybe before one of our parents babysat? Not sure.)
2 trips to Starbucks and 2 trips to Atlanta Bread Co paid for with gift cards I got for my birthday or Christmas = roughly $50
= $287.86 (I did not include the meals we purchased with gift cards or cash since those were gifts and we may not have dined out without them.)
For a family that “doesn’t eat out often”, I admittedly am surprised by this high number. But when I look back at the time we spent enjoying meals with friends and family, this money seems more like “entertainment” money. We do a lot of life with people we love over meals shared together, so this money is super super super worth it in my opinion.
If you haven’t lately, schedule a time to sit down with your spouse and make your own list of January grocery trips and money spent dining out. It may lead to great conversations with your spouse about whether you are satisfied or not with this area of your finances.
PS: I just want to reiterate that I do not judge the spending habits of others and am the MOST FIRM believer that you never know about the financial matters/history of others (i.e. what situations they’ve had to overcome, maybe what they’ve inherited, as well as what their general priorities and enjoyments are).
I simply believe in the art of conversation and story telling and hearing/learning from others. If you know me in real life, you know that I’m the same way online that I am in real life. I love opening up with others and having those hard, deep, intimate conversations and soaking up wisdom that others may share with me. I feel no shame in sharing this area of our finances because everybody spends money on dining out and groceries, right? It’s just a part of life. 🙂
Take this #JanuaryLookbackChallenge and let me know in what ways your spending surprised you this month!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo