What is the average monthly grocery bill for a family of 4?
Each family’s preferences are different when it comes to food – some live very frugally, others splurge on high-end produce and delicacies. But if you don’t know whether your family spends too much or too little on groceries, there’s plenty of data you can use to compare your family’s grocery spending to that of an average American family of four. According to the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the USDA, the average low-cost grocery budget for a family of four is $731.20. In contrast, the liberal food plan for a family of 4 comes out to $1,093.
How do the low-cost, moderate and liberal food plans compare?
As you can see above, the cost of a low-cost and liberal food plans varies drastically. But how can you know which meal plan fits your family more closely and what these three food plans actually mean? If you really want to know the details, the USDA website has a publication that lists out what is considered to be a low-cost, moderate-cost and liberal food plan in great detail. In short, the three plans are quite similar to each other in terms of their dietary content and most of the difference lies in specific items. For instance, the liberal food plan has lots of high-end grocery items like artisanal bread and cheeses and organic produce, while the low-cost plan has non-organic produce and regular bread and cheese instead.
How to reduce your grocery bill?
If you feel like your grocery bill is too high for your budget or simply higher than the average grocery bill for a family in the US, there are steps you can take to reduce your monthly grocery spending.
Track food expenses to optimize your grocery budget
First of all, try tracking your food expenses by writing down how much you spend on each grocery category or item every month, including the money you spend on dining out and food delivery/take out. This simple step alone can help you identify the items you spend too much money on and allow you to reduce your family’s grocery spending.
Forego processed foods in favor of staple ingredients
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of processed foods and prepared items cost a lot more than the ingredients needed to make these foods yourself. Indeed, if you stick to staple grocery items in your shopping list, you can lower your grocery spending substantially and even start eating healthier as a side benefit.
Use coupons and cashback services to lower your grocery bill
If you don’t use coupons because you don’t have the time to go through newspapers and grocery store ads and cut them out, it’s time to change your habits, as in today’s age of digital technology virtually every grocery store chain has an app where you can browse sales and add coupons. You can spend a few minutes looking through the coupons and sales offers and cut down your grocery bill as a result. The same goes for cashback services, for instance, apps like Ibotta give you money back for grocery store purchases, online shopping, hotels, restaurants and more. Just remember the most important rule of using coupons – only buy items you were already going to buy to avoid unnecessary spending.