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, 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 my 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 list a low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal plan, each costing progressively more than the thrifty plan.

Updated: This table as been updated based on the data for 2017. (source) The good news is, prices have actually gone down since I started tracking grocery prices. Unfortunately, they only went down a little more than 1% in the last year.

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 Low196247358439
Grocery Bill for 1 High206286305389
Grocery Bill for 2 Low382488607759
Grocery Bill for 2 Highn/an/an/an/a
Family of 3 Low463597729906
Family of 3 High5457178991091
Family of 4 Low5447008521055
Family of 4 High69192211601388
Family of 5 Low6197939691197
Family of 5 High814110013831648
Family of 6 Low75097311871454
Family of 6 High960129516361942
Family of 7 Low849110613641656
Family of 7 High1049141117892118
Family of 8 Low987129116031934
Family of 8 High1172158119952362
Family of 9 Low1137147318232204
Family of 9 High1269170321472546
Family of 10 Low1283165620442476
Family of 10 High1503201025273002
Family of 11 Low1430183922642748
Family of 11 High1446193324172875

It might be time to make some simple changes so you can stop struggling to feed your family the healthy diet you wish for them on your tight budget.

If you’re ready to make a change, check out the free grocery savings tips here at Affording Motherhood. Want 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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