How Much Money Should Your Family Spend on Groceries?

I am often asked how much I spend on groceries per month.  One thing is for sure, I know that if I don’t budget a fixed — and I mean fixed — amount, it will quickly become a black hole! According to most financial experts, families with the income range of $50,000 to $90,000 per year should spend approx 11 to 14 percent of their income on groceries after taxes and tithe. For example, a family of 4 to 6 with the income of $75,000 per year, should have a modest grocery budget of approximately $500.00 per month!  That seems nearly impossible, but it can be done!

At E-Mealz, our meal plans aim to feed a family of 6 for $12 per dinner! That totals $360 for the entire month for dinner groceries and leaves $140 for lunch & breakfast groceries. It takes careful and deliberate planning to find economical, delicious meals and to not overspend. For years, this problem overwhelmed me from week to week, but I knew it was a key factor to making our budget work.

For many, menu planning can be a daunting task, but even Dave Ramsey says it does not have to be! He says that signing up for E-Mealz is one of his top 11 “weird” things to do for 2011! Go here to see for yourself:

If E-Mealz seems like the “easy way out” to you, then take heart, because it is also now a weird thing to do to. Controlling your spending and living within, or even below, your means is not the norm! My family has gone through many seasons where we tightened the belt and did not eat out for months! Again, NOT the norm. If you think you are the only family that eats at home all the time, then take heart! There have been over 170,000 weird families sign up to be on the E-Mealz train!

It’s not rocket science, it’s pretty simple. Maybe Confucius already said it: Eat at home… Save lots of money. For 2011, if you fall off the E-Mealz train, it’s only a $5 dollar ticket to get back on. We are looking forward to a great year at E-Mealz serving thousands of families for 2011. Here’s to more financial freedom, more memories around the table, and lots of life, laughter, and love that stirs all year long in the heart of your home.

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16 thoughts on “How Much Money Should Your Family Spend on Groceries?

  1. Amy

    I’m not sure what our percentage actually is…but I know for sure that it’s going down.
    I signed up for emealz again just after the new year and went shopping for the first time last night. I spent $50 less for one week than I have been lately. Using emealz is going to save me about $200 a month!! I was so excited that I called my husband right after checking out at the store and said “Emealz is TOTALLY worth it!”
    Thanks for the great meal plans…and the money saved!

  2. Rosa

    How helpful to see a percentage that “should” go to groceries. However, what always gets me are the non-food items. Does that percentage hold for that? Do I keep a separate budget for non-food items? And what should that percentage be? And how to adjust the percentage for groceries when there are only 2 people? Those are the questions I’d love to see addressed in more detail.

    But GREAT post! I don’t use e-Mealz because I actually love the meal planning process … but I find this blog incredibly helpful for saving money!

  3. Danielle

    Since starting E-Mealz a few week ago, I feel like I have finally gained control of my household. I used to go to the grocery store 3-5x/week because I never had a plan and spent so much money. Now I look forward to making my weekly shopping list and going once, buying only what’s on the list…it’s amazing how liberating that feels. My family, who can be picky, are loving the meals too. Thanks E-Mealz!

  4. Cassie

    This is my first official month really cracking down on the budget, with my 2nd month on e-mealz. I have broken my wallet down into envelopes (like Dave Ramsey teaches) with money for my e-mealz, lunch/breakfast/snacks. Then one for toiletry type items/paper products/etc. Then one for stockpiling using my coupons. I have a few other smaller ones that might not apply to most but I am really hoping that at the end of January, I can see a big difference in my spending. I get $800 a month for EVERYTHING mentioned above. We have 6 kids so I’m keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks e-mealz for helping me bless my husband in the area of spending and staying within budget!! I hope to post a blog post soon on how much e-mealz has blessed my family!

  5. Carol Gunter

    I set aside $320 every two weeks, but that is for EVERYTHING including Food, Toiletries, and Cleaners. I use coupons and buy according to sales. I do not HOARD and everything fits into my cabinets. If we DO decide we don’t need an item, I donate it.

  6. Angela W

    Since I live an hour outside of town, meal planning and smart grocery shopping is a necessity. I only started EMealz a few months ago, but I am in love with it!! The meals are simple and delicious, the lists are super easy to use, and I love not having to come up with my own meal plan all the time. One of the things I do because trips to town are limited is to shop for the non-perishibles and freezable items two to three weeks at a time. I save all my weekly plans and “shop” them for the menus I want to use. Then I shop locally at our little market for the fresh veggies and/or other ingredients I didn’t get in town. Makes my life a WHOLE lot easier. With three kids and a traveling husband, I can use anything that does that. On top of that, my grocery bill stays a lot more in line.

    Thanks, EMealz, for making my life simpler and less expensive!

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  8. Melissa

    I have a family of 4 (and another on the way). Our bring home pay is a little under 24,500 a year. I have $360.00 a month to spend on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and non-grocery items (including diapers and formula – very expensive items). This website is a GREAT but if I follow a plan that allows $360 a month just for dinner, I have no money left for anything else. Do you have any plan for families that are not just on a budget but are at the place where they can only spend about $4.00 per meal – not per person but per MEAL???? Thank you!!!! I REALLY need help. 🙂

    1. Heather Brown

      Hi Melissa,
      How old are your children? If they are still small, you could use one of our plans for 2 that serve 2-3 and simply add just a bit extra if needed. That would
      definitely cut the dinner budget in half while allowing you to still shop on a strict budget. However, the plans for 2 only plan for 5 dinners/week and not 7. You would need to supplement the other two nights with something simple and inexpensive. You could even refer back to past meal plans and use meals you loved to cover the extra two nights. Oh, also use coupons
      and sales as much as you can. I don’t know what stores are local to you but the Publix for 2 plan with coupons may just work.

  9. Angela

    I haven’t signed up for emealz yet, but am planning on it. I would like to sign up for the clean eating plan, when looking at the grocery list for a week though, it looks somewhat expensive, do you have an estimate of how much someone would spend per week on the clean eating plan?

    1. Heather Brown

      Hi Angela,
      Thanks for your comment. Our clean eating plan and our natural and organic plans do tend to be a little more expensive because stores mark up those prices. In general these plans tend to run around $120 or so per week in groceries. You can email for more information.

  10. irma courtney

    I am replying to this because a close relative of mine is on food stamps, or Link as they call it now, The family consists of a father mother and a young teenaged daughter, They receive $450.00 a month in assistance for groceries, which actually is a little over $500.00 when you consider they don’t pay taxes on their groceries. What I didn’t understand is that they spend every penny of this EACH month and have nothing in the house to eat when it is all gone, I am a senior who lives with my two sisters who are also seniors and we live off out social security, we spend NOWHERE near that much money on groceries a month, and my relatives are telling us that this is not a lot of money for food, we buy staples that last several months. so that we Don’t buy the same things each month, The most expensive thing we buy are the meats even though we don’t eat too much of that, We never eat fast foods, and never buy things that we don’t need. We worked so hard for this money in which we paid our dues,I guess we are used to thriftyness, I would bet if these people had 500.00 in cash they would not plunk it down for groceries,

  11. Amanda williams

    I have been on the paleo diet for almost a year now. I was excited to see you now have a menus for more dietary needs. My problem is trying to figure out on average how much weekly expenses I will have for groceries on this plan. I go to sprouts on Wednesday and buy what is on sale and make my menus that way. It is only me and my husband but I take leftovers for lunch the next day;) we also are in the process to be licensed for foster care so not sure if we will have one or two kids in our home. Trying to come with a budget has been difficult! Thanks for your time and feedback.

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