The Average Cost of Groceries For a Family and How to Save On It
The family budget is complex and often unpredictable. You never know when your car might break down, your kids' shoes might be torn, or you'll have to spend money on dry cleaning because of a stain on your suit.
Of course, we can save on things: postpone purchasing new clothes for the next month or dine at home instead of in a restaurant. But buying groceries is something that always stays the same. Only the price changes, it grows every year, and sometimes, it seems, it grows from one trip to the grocery store to another.
In fact, groceries have become more expensive since March 2021. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, food prices in March 2022 were overall 8.8% higher than in March 2021. And this is the largest annual increase since May 1981.
Average Groceries Cost Per Family
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a monthly meal plan for Americans based on nutritious dietary recommendations at four cost levels - Thrifty Plan, Low-Cost Plan, Moderate-Cost Plan, and Liberal Plan.
According to USDA, on average, a family of two people aged 19 to 50 will spend between $93.2 and $185.50 per week. So Thrifty Plan is $93.20 per week, the Low-Cost Plan is $119.90, the Moderate-Cost Plan is $148.40, and Liberal Plan is $185.50.
For a family of two between the ages of 51 and 70, grocery plans will cost slightly less, from $88.60 to $172.90. The Thrifty Plan is $88.60 per week, the Low-Cost Plan is $114.80, the Moderate-Cost Plan is $143.00, and the Liberal Plan is $172.90.
The larger the family, the higher the food costs. For example, if the couple has two children ages 2-3 and 4-5, the Thrifty Plan will cost $136.10, the Low-Cost Plan will be $174.30, the Moderate-Cost Plan will cost $214.90, and the Liberal Plan will be $265.90.
For a couple with two children ages 6-8 and 9-11 years old the Thrifty Plan is $156.20, the Low-Cost Plan is $206.10, the Moderate-Cost Plan is $256.70 and the Liberal Plan is $311.50.
How to Save Money on Groceries?
It is good to start saving from the very beginning. Keeping a budget in the family helps keep all expenses and incomes in sight, save money for vacations or emergencies, and manage money wisely. Besides, if you don't really know how much you are spending at the moment, then how will you save?
If you have figured out the budget and know how much you usually spend on food, then the savings will be more noticeable. Here are some ways to help you cut down on groceries.
Rethink Your Relationship With Dinner
Many people think dinner should be the most sumptuous meal of the day. People prepare several dishes, a big salad, and desserts. And, of course, dinner hurts the budget the most. But even nutritionists do not recommend a hearty meal before bedtime; this does not reflect very well on the figure and health. Limit yourself to simpler and lighter meals, and make your dinner simpler, lighter, and therefore cheaper. You will be surprised how much you can save.
"Do I Really Need It"?
Every time you go to the grocery store and your hand reaches for the next product, ask yourself: "Do I really need this?". We often tend to buy something on a fleeting impulse, but our wallet usually doesn't appreciate it. If you still have enough cereal at home, but exactly the ones that you usually take at a discount today, you can take them. But if you just see a product at a discount and think that it would be nice to buy it just in case, feel free to pass by.
Make a List
First of all, lists help save time. You roughly figure out what you want to cook, you know what products you need, and make a list. So there is less chance of forgetting something. Plus, while you're at home, you can check how much salt, pasta, or other ingredients you have left. In addition, the lists will help you control yourself and not buy too much, even at a discount.
Staying on the list can be tricky, but trust me, it really helps save money.
Don't Go Shopping Hungry
This advice may seem strange, but trust me, it works. When you are starving and find yourself in a grocery store, it seems to you that you are ready to eat, if not all, then half. And so fill the basket with goods that you do not need. If you've already had a bite to eat before going to the store, it will be much easier to stick to the list of products that you have made for yourself.