An essential part of managing the monthly budget is calculating how much to spend on groceries, but it’s not always that easy. Making a list before going shopping can help you stick to the budget and avoid buying things you don’t really need. But how much exactly should a family of four spend on groceries?
How Much Should a Family of 4 Spend on Groceries?
Setting a limit for grocery shopping isn’t that simple. First of all, every family is different; some may have special diets; some tend to eat out while others prefer home-cooked meals. And then there’s the matter of the income. But overall, the general opinion is that a decent amount to buy groceries for a family of four members is around $900.
An average family of four usually spends about $1000 on monthly groceries. To be more precise, and decide what amount is right for you, consider your view on spending money. If you are thrifty, your budget will go even lower than suggested. If you are a moderate household and you also eat out once in a while, the calculations will be different.
Fortunately, you can do things to reduce the cost of groceries: you can track your weekly purchases and eliminate the unnecessary elements, stick to the shopping list, avoid prepared foods, buy in bulk whenever possible, plan and pre-cook for the entire week.
As for eating out, you must reduce it if you want to cut down on expenses. Cooking your meals is much cheaper, especially for a large family, even with the inherent food waste.
How Do You Calculate the Grocery Budget?
To calculate the grocery budget for a family of four, you must consider each member’s different necessities. Children need smaller quantities than adults, but it also depends on each child’s age. You must also consider how many meals you have at home, as lunch is usually at school or work. If any of you has an allergy or a special diet, that also influences the budget.
Using a rule of thumb, you should calculate the monthly grocery budget by adding at least $250 for every adult and $150 for every child. That means a minimum of $800 per month. However, you will probably have to add more if you want some organic products, for example. If you use coupons or buy in bulk non-perishable foods, you can also fit a few meals in a place with reasonable prices once in a while.
Overall, it’s a good idea to assign at least 10% of your monthly budget for groceries and eating out. Of course, that percentage can be adapted, depending on how many wages go into the family income and what is the total amount. If you don’t have to pay rent, you can increase the grocery budget and indulge yourself.
How Much Does a Family Spend on Groceries per Month?
The amount you need to set for groceries per month depends on what type of spender you can afford to be. If you plan to set money aside, you may have to keep the grocery expenses under control, even with a higher income. Here is the amount a family of four should be spending, depending on the monthly budget level:
- Thrifty: about $650
- Low-cost: up to $850
- Moderate cost: around $1,000
- Generous cost: up to $1.300
If you want to keep the groceries cost as low as possible, you can avoid pre-packed foods, not buy anything that’s not on the list, use a credit card that offers cashback, choose farmer’s markets, but also buy frozen vegetables, cooking at home and with less meat. Planning is crucial, as it will save a lot of money and avoid take-out and deliveries.
To avoid the extremes and be as realistic as possible when planning your monthly budget, an amount between $900 and $1100 is more than sufficient. Of course, a reasonable cost of groceries is one that fits into your overall budget, so all calculations must start from the net income.
What to Do if You Need Extra Money for Groceries this Month?
In an ideal world, you will have no problem sticking to the budget every month. Unfortunately, you cannot always plan everything with precision. If your family income doesn’t allow you to set some money aside as a reserve, an unexpected expense can render all your calculations pointless.
Unanticipated events happen all the time, especially when you aren’t financially prepared. A dental care bill, a car repair, or your PC breaking down, all these can put you into a hot spot. How can you cover the emergencies and the basic expenses as well? Even if you cut the grocery budget to the minimum, you still may not have enough until the next paycheck.
There is a simple and hassle-free solution to such situations – taking a loan to cover short term expenses. Even if you try to avoid borrowing money in general, when you have to make sure you can pay for the groceries your family needs, you can make an exception. The good news is there are better ways to get a quick loan than from a bank. Private lenders are much less risk-averse and have requirements you can easily meet.
iCASH a trusted Canadian lender where you can apply for a short term loan 24/7. You will have the advantage of reasonable terms, a speedy and simple online application process, and no minimum credit score limit to qualify.
You can apply whenever you want, without having to go there in person. The best part is you will know immediately if you qualify, and if your loan is approved, the money will be in your hands that very same day. It’s like taking a cash advance on your paycheck that you can use to make sure your grocery list doesn’t have to get significantly shorter.
Joggling with monthly expenses is not easy when you have a limited income or want to set money aside for retirement or other projects you may have. But groceries are an essential part of the budget and cannot be ignored. It can, however, be adjusted or supplemented with a quick loan when necessary.