Stay at Home Moms

Help! How much do you spend each month on groceries/eating out?

Hi there - I was wondering if you guys could help me out! I have been tracking our expenses for about 4 months now and I keep finding that I spend about $450/month on groceries, and this is not including diapers or cleaning supplies. Then on top of it probably another $100 a month on pizza and takeout, and then probably another $150 a month of actually going out to eat. I am not too concerned about the eating out and take-out, but the groceries are killing me!

There are only 3 of us, me, DH, and my 14 month old son. I already shop sales when I can, try to shop at Aldi, use coupons if it is food I would normally buy, etc. The only organic I really buy are organic milk and yogurt for DS. I think my problem lies with all the fresh produce I buy, I buy lotstons of fresh fruit, veggies to snack on, and salad. I do buy a lot of frozen veggies for dinner though. I also try really hard not to buy a lot of processed foods (which are cheaper most of the time).

So, with that being said -

* How much do you spend on groceries each month and for how many people?

* How much do you spend on take-out foods like pizza, and then eating out as well?

* Any advice or tips beyond what I already do?


Re: Help! How much do you spend each month on groceries/eating out?

  • Its just us DH and me w/DD but we never eat out and that has saved tons. We spend on average $350 a month.
  • Honestly, I'm completely sure but . . . if we ate out very much, we'd never make it.  We cook all the time.  Sorry.  Maybe others can eat out and do okay, but we can't.  ???

    I do know that I spend about $150- $200 / week, but that usually includes diapers and "extra" purchases that aren't every week stuff.  Hope that helps.

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  • I would like it to be $250 and about $60 eating out but it has been closer to $300 a month plus $60 for going out. I'm very pregnant and sometimes just get whatever I want.


  • I'm not sure exactly, but a good guesstimate would be $300 for groceries, $200 eating out (we eat out lunch once a week, dinner once a weekend, and lunch almost every Sunday after church).

    ETA: There are 3 of us, but DH easily eats for 2 & DD is almost 17 months, so she's eating a good bit now too.

  • It varies, but around $450 with groceries and eating out (including DD's formula, diapers, cleaners, etc.).  Now that we are closer to summer, you can do really well at Farmer's Markets on produce.  Also, consider canning your own veggies and fruits for summer.  You'll save tons of money and you can partner up with a neighbor and trade (I find it's easier to make big batches of one thing, like green beans and someone else will make the peas).  Only if you have an issue with canned or frozen, although it's push with sale frozen.  Organic co-ops are great for summer veggies and fruits.  Try an Asian market in your nearest downtown area, you can save tons of money on produce.  I also find produce to be the biggest budget buster on our groceries as well, and I almost never have coupons for them.  I do try to limit myself to whatever is on sale, to help.  HLH. 
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  • There are 5 of us and I spend $300 per month at the grocery store, another $50 per month at the drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, etc) and that includes all toiletries and diapers for 2 kids, and then like $150 per month on takeout. We don't ever eat out.
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  • We spend about $500-$600 on everything per month except eating out.  That includes diapers, cleaning supplies, etc.  It's also for a family of four, all of whom eat three meals a day of "real" food.  For eating out, pizza, fun stuff in general, we have an "allowance".  We get cash out every week (or try to) and then that's our spending money.  That's helped a ton on eating out and just generally spending silly money.  You think more about spending it when it's cash rather than a cc.  I mean, it's a great deal to get a ton of clothes for the girls for $80 at the outlets so you lay down the cc.  If it's cash, you start putting things back and maybe spend $30 instead.  Having the "allowance" has helped us a ton with those kinds of things including lunches out (DH at work or me with friends).  I do buy a lot at Costco.  We have a deep freeze so I generally only buy meat - chicken, steak, ground beef, pork chops, etc. every two or three months at Costco.  I also get snacks, paper goods, etc. at Costco and we have shelving in the garage for the extras.  My biggest expense is fresh fruits and veggies, which we get at least once a week.  I also spend a lot on organic milk, yogurt, etc. for the girls.  I'd love to get them on organic meat too because of the hormones, but it's a cost issue.  Plus neither of them eats a lot of meat as it is and I just can't see spending the money knowing they aren't going to eat more than two bites of it.
  • There are three of us.  I spend around $125 per week at the grocery store, and I'd estimate we spend on average $250 per month on eating out/takeout.  (I insist on at least one break per week!)  This doesn't include DH's lunches at $7/day but does include diapers and other toiletries.

    Like some PP's have suggested, I pretty much only buy produce on sale, and only *just* what I need to cook and for snacks. 

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  • My budget is grouped together as $550/month.  That includes all eating (in, out, takeout), diapers for two, formula for one, dog food, cleaning products, toiletries, medicines, etc.  Everything one would buy at the grocery store, drugstore, petstore, giant club store (BJ's), etc.  I break out out as $150/month for formula/diapers/wipes and $100 a week for everything regarding food/cleaning/etc for the rest of us.
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  • Groceries are between 300-400/mo for DH & I & a 2yo.  We only eat out maybe once or twice a month. We have gotten into making homemade pizzas which are cheaper & taste better. When we do eat out, I usually have a coupon or gift card. $100 on take out or eating out sounds like alot, is that like once a week?
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  • When I was still pg, DH and I were doing some budget analysis to see what we could cut out when I became a SAHM.  We were SHOCKED to see that we spent around $800/month on FOOD alone (groceries and meals out, which were quite frequent).

    Now, I am one of the few people who will say that I think it can be just as cost effective to eat out as to cook meals at home sometimes.  A nice meal at home can add up, and a good meal out can be done on the cheap.  We order light, cut out the appetizer and dessert, and drink water (that is huge--saves around $4-6 over each of us getting a soft drink or juice).  Pizza and fast food (which doesn't have to be completely unhealthy--we do grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, turkey subs, etc), can be really inexpensive.

    As for grocery shopping, I think it is like most things--you get better with practice.  Once I started really committing to making most meals at home, I got a lot better about price comparisons.  I know what a good price is for meats and produce, which can vary a lot from store to store and by season.  I pay attention to the grocery circulars in the paper and only buy when stuff is a good price (unless I really need a specific ingredient).  I plan meals around good prices.  If red peppers are .88 apiece, we're having stuffed peppers for dinner!  If I want stuffed peppers, but they're $2 each, I'm not making those.  If meat is a good price, I stock up and freeze it.  Buying at the meat counter is often cheaper than buying pre-packaged.  We have switched to mostly ground turkey in place of beef, because it is healthier, but also a lot cheaper.

    We used to buy all organic, and we paid heavily for convenience (like pre-cut cantaloupe vs. whole).  I don't do that anymore.  My one exception is bag salad--because that saves me a lot of time, but I try to buy whatever is on sale.  I'm much more selective about what I buy organic.u

    We get some items at Costco, which CAN help, but only if they are non-perishables.  I've gotten burned too many times by buying something like strawberries at a great price, only to throw half of them out when we don't eat them fast enough.  But frozen chicken breasts and frozen veggies are a good deal there.  And milk is super cheap!

    Meal planning has helped a lot, and we also usually do a couple dinners per week of leftovers, as well as use leftovers for lunches, so we throw out less food and make it stretch.  I set a goal of spending no more than $150 per week on groceries and eating out, and I think we are pretty consistently under that.  I used to spend more than that on groceries alone, and now I sometimes walk out of the store with a week's worth of food for $65.


  • Meggie,

    I spend very similarly to you on food/groceries each month, maybe even a bit more as we buy kosher meat and cheese which costs double. ?When I see in posts on here how much less some people spend, I am incredulous. ?I don't know how people spend so little. ?We also are just 3. ?I also buy tons of fresh fruit/veggies, nothing canned. ?I do live in the NY metro area, so I guess prices can be a bit more expensive, but we are still talking about a huge discrepency. ??

  • cfitz16cfitz16 member

    My staying at home was due to being laid off, so we are in a slightly different situation, but we never eat out.  The occassional pizza I have also been trying to cut out by either making the pizza or getting a good frozen one (which is half the cost of a take out pizza.)  I never shop without coupons, or I go to Costco. 

     Do you buy already cut up veggies and fruits?  For example, if you buy carrots in a bag for about a $1, you save a ton over the baby carrots that are already peeled in a bag.  Just one example of how to cut some costs. 

     The other thing I do is challenge myself several days a week to make dinner out of just whats in the house and resist the temptation to go to the store.  There is always plenty for a good, healthy meal.

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  • We buy all of our meat and many veggies and other products at Costco. We have an executive membership and get 2% back on all our purchases. We've saved a ton on diapers & wipes by shopping there, too. Our membership is always free after we get our rebate check at the end of the year.

    I spend less when I shop at grocery-only stores instead of places like Super Target. Less impulse buys!

    You might try going meatless one or two days a week. It's a big expense.

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  • Hi Meggie!  :)


    * How much do you spend on groceries each month and for how many people?

    There are 3 of us: DH, Me and 2 1/2 year old Emily and for the past 3 months I did an entire Meal Planning Challenge and averaged $525/month on groceries, with approximately $125 of that being spent buying in bulk at Costco and the other $400 was $100 per week on fresh produce and any other absolute necessities needing that week.  The $525 included breakfast and lunch for all three of us HERE AT HOME (packed lunch for DH) and dinner 6 nights out of 7 each week that I cook here at home.  We eat out 1 dinner per week.

    * How much do you spend on take-out foods like pizza, and then eating out as well?

    We budget only $35 per week for our 1 dinner out each week because we mostly just order pizza/take-out... we rarely go to a restaurant.

    * Any advice or tips beyond what I already do?

    I'm no expert but maybe read my Meal Planning Challenge in my blog - planning, making my weekly list and sticking to it no matter what has really helped us in so many ways!  I bulk up on ALL meats (and other things) every month at Costco and I don't purchase meat throughout the month... period!  I only buy fruits that are in-season at local Farmer's Markets or what is on sale at the grocery store and we have a "leftovers" night once per week that we are going to increase to twice per week so that we don't throw away anything!  I have also learned to cook for just the three of us with about 1/2-3/4lb of meat at each meal as well as only 2 cups of pasta vs. the entire box we use to use!  I also make my own pizza dough and never purchase boxed, prepackaged items like cookies because I love to make them at home.  

    Hope this helps!!!

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  • I'm trying to get much better about what I spend our money on, and I just looked at what we spent on groceries/eating out/take out in the last 30 days.  It is embarrassing.  It was close to $1000 (DH eats a lot of lunches out, and I make a lot of quick little trips to the grocery store). 

    This month I told DH that we are only going to eat out if it is with friends or for a date night.  No more picking up take out on a random weeknight.  I'm really going to try hard to plan meals weekly and use up food that we already have.  I've also gotten really into coupons.  I'm hoping to cut our spending way down to about $125/week for everything.  I'm not sure we could do it on less than $100/week, especially if that includes cleaning supplies/household stuff.  We want to be comfortable, but not wasteful. 

    One thing that really helps is leftovers.  It is just me, DH, and DD (she's only 3 months and I EBF).  I will make a huge (healthy) meal, and we'll eat it for two nights.  I use a lot of ground turkey that I buy in bulk when it's on sale, and a lot of salmon that I buy at Costco.  I try to keep the pantry stocked with black beans, cornmeal, salsa, canned tomatoes, whole wheat pasta (stock up when it's on sale), brown rice, etc.  I also keep a large bag of shredded cheese, eggs, milk, and frozen veggies.  Having a well stocked kitchen keeps me from having to run out every night. 

  • Wow, I'm surprised I thought I was a good... apparently not.?

    $100 per month on diapers & wipes
    $80 per month on formula
    $400 on groceries (includes laundry soap & cleaning supplies)?
    $100-$150 on eating out
  • Last month we spent $820 on groceries & eating out.

    That is $544 on groceries & $276 on eating out.

    Our budget is supposed to be $600 on groceries & more like $160 on eating out.

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  • I budget $500 a month for groceries and $120 for eating out.
  • Hi,

    I'm new on here. But anyway, there are 3 of us, my DH and I & our 2 yo DD (with #2 on the way). We spend about $200/month on groceries and about $20/month on eating out. I know it probably sounds like we don't eat at all but I'm a major couponer and we have only allowed ourselves to eat out twice a month, which is usually pizza (cheap). If I find a good deal on things or really good coupons, I stock up.

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