Do you ever feel like you’re spending way too much on groceries? Today, I’m helping you answer the question, How much should I spend on groceries? with a detailed grocery budget guideline for 2018.

I never appreciated how controversial the subject of grocery budgets could be until I shared my $170 grocery budget challenge.

In it, I reflected on the experience of telling my son I didn’t have any bananas or peanut butter to give him. As I noted in the post, of course I provided him with a variety of other healthy foods, but I also didn’t run out to the store to restock on his favorites in an effort to keep our grocery budget down.


All of a sudden I was no longer just a mom trying to save money on groceries to get out of debt faster. In a moment, there were two camps of Facebookers entrenched on either side of my parenting decision.

On one side were those aghast that I would dare to deny my toddler a simple banana when he asked for one. One commenter put it something like this, she should go get a second job instead of making her child suffer for her irresponsible spending and debt.

On the other side were those who thought even my $170 grocery budget wasn’t low enough. Well, they said I feed my family of ten on less than that!” (Ok, I may be exaggerating just a little.) And on and on it went.

Luckily, my husband happened to be home sick the day the post went live, so it was much easier to stay lighthearted about it all.

What I learned from the whole experience was what an emotionally charged subject our finances, and especially our grocery budgets can be.

I believe the reason for the controversy is that deep down each of us moms desperately wants to feed our family’s the healthiest food possible, but for the most part, we feel completely unequipped to do it on our real-life budgets.

Today I simply want to start by answering the question, How Much Should You Spend on Groceries?

How much should I spend on groceries?

Each month the USDA puts out a report about the cost of groceries, so I use this as my starting point.

In the table below, you can see grocery costs calculated for a range of family sizes and make-ups for the Thrifty Plan. This number is essentially the average minimum for grocery spending in the continental United States. There is also a

I’ve also included a low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal plan, each costing progressively more than the thrifty plan.

Keep in mind this chart is an average grocery bill, and of course, prices will vary depending on your location and which stores are available to you.

This table has been updated based on the data for 2018. (source) Prices have been creeping up this year, but only $2 to $10 per month for most families

However, I find that my Grocery Savings Made Simple students can often feed their families a very healthy, even pastured and organically grown diet, on the Thrifty Plan listed below.

The table is calculated assuming adults are 19-50 years old living in a two-parent household.

The variation of grocery costs is due to a range of ages and genders of children.

In theory, at least, older children eat more than younger children, and boys eat more than girls. Use the lower end of the range if you have young children, and the higher end if you’re feeding hungry teenage boys.

Monthly Grocery Budget Guideline

Family Size (Total)USDA Thrifty Food PlanUSDA Low-Cost Food PlanUSDA Moderate-Cost Food PlanLiberal Plan
Grocery Bill for 1 Low197248359442
Grocery Bill for 1 High207287306391
Grocery Bill for 2 Low384491609763
Grocery Bill for 2 High384491609763
Family of 3 Low465600731911
Family of 3 High5477219031098
Family of 4 Low5467038541061
Family of 4 High69392811661398
Family of 5 Low6217979721204
Family of 5 High817110713901660
Family of 6 Low75197911901463
Family of 6 High964130216441955
Family of 7 Low851111213681666
Family of 7 High1053141917972132
Family of 8 Low991129816081946
Family of 8 High1176159120042378
Family of 9 Low1141148118302218
Family of 9 High1274171421562563
Family of 10 Low1289166520512491
Family of 10 High1508202325383022
Family of 11 Low1436184922732765
Family of 11 High1451194524262894

If you’re looking for some simple changes so you can feed your family healthy food on a budget, click to download my free grocery savings guide that has a couple quick tips to get you started. 

How much do you spend on groceries each month and how many are you feeding? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Ever wish you knew how much you should budget for food per month for two, or for a family of four, 5, or 6 or more? Check out this chart of average food costs per month to help you budget food based on family size, ages, and genders. If you’re trying to save money on groceries, you’ve asked yourself How much should I spend on groceries ? Here you’ll find the answer to your grocery budget quandary!

Ever feel like you're spending too much on groceries for your family? Check out this chart of the average monthly food bill in the U.S. to find out. Whether you're budgeting for four, for five, for six or more see how your grocery budget stacks up.
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