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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.

Plus, I’m taking a look at how low you can possibly go with your grocery budget, while still feeding your family pastured and organically grown foods.

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!

I never appreciated how controversial the subject of grocery budgets could be until I shared my $170 grocery budget challenge over at The Humbled Homemaker where I’m a contributor.

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, I of course 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 make 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 my table below, you can see grocery costs calculated as of January 2015 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. For reference, they also list a low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal plan, each costing progressively more than the thrifty-plan. (source)

Updated: This table as been updated based on the data for December 2015. (source)

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.

Grocery Budget Guideline

Family Size (Total)USDA Thrifty Food PlanUSDA Low-Cost Food PlanUSDA Moderate-Cost Food PlanLiberal Plan
Grocery Bill for 1 Low198252364448
Grocery Bill for 1 High209290312396
Grocery Bill for 2 Low387497619773
Grocery Bill for 2 Highn/an/an/an/a
Family of 3 Low468609742923
Family of 3 High5517299161111
Family of 4 Low5497128661073
Family of 4 High69893611811413
Family of 5 Low6248079841216
Family of 5 High824111514061676
Family of 6 Low75699112051476
Family of 6 High973131216621973
Family of 7 Low858112513831680
Family of 7 High1063142918162151
Family of 8 Low999131116251962
Family of 8 High1188160420252398
Family of 9 Low1150149618492236
Family of 9 High1285172721782584
Family of 10 Low1299168120742513
Family of 10 High1521203825633046
Family of 11 Low1447186722992790
Family of 11 High1463196124512917

If you’ve been struggling to feed your family the healthy diet you wish for them on your tight budget, it might be time to make some simple changes.

If you’re ready to make a change, check out the free grocery savings tips here at GrowingSlower. If you’re ready to save even more, consider joining us for my Grocery Savings Made Simple eCourse.

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!

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