M asked on Twitter yesterday:
“What is a “normal” weekly grocery budget (and for how many people)?”
We have gone back and forth on our budget for weekly and regular expenses. It took a (very) long while to formulate a good plan and budget. But I’m pretty set these days, and I thought I’d share it here. I’m sure you’ll skip this post if you aren’t interested.
Our weekly grocery/household items budget is ~$150, which is $600 per month. This includes:
- food for six meals (that will include leftovers for lunch)
- snacks for adults
- toddler snacks
- alcohol for the week
- dog food, cat food, cat litter
- toiletries, makeup
- cleaning supplies
We have a separate budget for eating out, which we do minimally, but regularly.
To some of you this budget may seem high, and to some of you it may seem low. It’s what works for us. We spend a significant amount on food, but we eat good food. We eat healthy, I make most things myself (rarely frozen or canned), and I cook at least six nights per week. We eat leftovers, we rarely throw out food. Once we have a larger apartment we will have room for our deep freeze, and I’m super looking forward to being able to double or triple meals for freezing. I know I will be able to cut back a bit by buying some in bulk.
An example of a regular meal:
Cheeseburger Salad! (The brown stuff on top is a homemade dressing.) Recipe derived from Home Sweet Sarah‘s Instagram account, a.k.a. where I get many new meal ideas.
Example of a weekly menu:
- Emily’s Taquitos with black beans
- Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Warm Asparagus, Gorgonzola & Steak Salad over Spinach
- Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes with sweet potato fries
- Korean Beef Bowls
- Naan Pizza and Buffalo Chicken Thighs (every Friday since Eriana started asking for pizza every night)
- Dinner Out
I plan meals every Sunday afternoon, and plan our grocery list against ingredients needed for meals, plus extra stuff we need or like to keep on hand (example: snacks for Eriana, cheese snacks to keep at work for if Jim and I get hungry so we don’t buy lots of food, coffee, etc.).
After I have a plan I go grocery shopping. Usually I go to Target first, because sometimes the meats I need have random $1 or $3 off coupons on weekends, then I go to Trader Joe’s. Anything I can’t get at those two places I head to Fred Meyer (a super store not unlike a Super Walmart or Super Target in that you can buy anything there) later in the week.
I post my meals on a special Google calendar to share with friends and glean ideas. I usually cook one new meal a week, two if I’m feeling adventurous. I get my new meal ideas from my friends’ calendars, Pinterest, and Instagram. Lucky for me a lot of my friends also love food, so they post pictures of meals a lot.
That’s… about it. Sorry I suck at being brief.
How do you plan your meals? Do you have a strict budget, or are you pretty lenient?