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Cost of groceries per month: how much Americans spend on average

Food money is non-negotiable; we must eat. And you are probably used to buying groceries and eating at home after the outbreak of the pandemic. However, if you don't plan your purchases ahead of time and instead just buy what you need - and what you want - at regular intervals throughout the month, you may be overspending. Edition GoBankingRates has collected facts about the average cost of groceries per month in the United States and ways to determine how much you should spend.

Photo: Shutterstock

Average cost of products per month

How much does a U.S. household spend on food per month on average? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2019, the average cost of eating at home is $ 4 per year, or about $ 643 per month for U.S. households. But this figure will vary depending on the type of food each family buys, the amount consumed, the price of the food, and whether you use one of the grocery delivery services that charge additional fees.

People with higher incomes spend more on groceries

How much you earn also affects how much you spend on groceries each month.

Unsurprisingly, higher income opens up many options. For example, people with higher incomes can afford to pay more for organic foods, prepared foods, and gourmet foods.

However, not only does low income have to count every penny to increase your food budget, it can also affect your overall choices. Low-income households buy fewer fruits and vegetables than higher-income households, according to a 2019 food shopping survey.

How much should you spend on groceries per month

While the average amount that U.S. households spend on food is around $ 387 a month, that doesn't mean that that is exactly what you have to pay into your own grocery bill each month.

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Instead, consider the USDA meal plans that detail the monthly cost of eating at home for May 2021 based on four levels of spending: frugal, inexpensive, moderate, and liberal.

You can use these plans to estimate your monthly food budget based on whether you are single or have other people in your family, and what budget you are working on.

Expense plan for each family member

Below you will find the breakdown for one person, a family of two, and a family of four. If the number of family members is different, you need to adjust the numbers.

Food costs for one person

For single women between the ages of 19 and 50:

  • Economy: $ 175,60
  • Inexpensive: $ 222,60
  • Moderate: $ 272,20
  • Liberal: $ 348,80

For single men between the ages of 19 and 50:

  • Economy: $ 197,70
  • Inexpensive: $ 256,10
  • Moderate: $ 320,70
  • Liberal: $ 392,70
Food costs for a family of two

For a family of two between the ages of 19 and 50:

  • Economy: $ 410,60
  • Inexpensive: $ 526,50
  • Moderate: $ 652,10
  • Liberal: $ 815,60
Food costs for a family of four

For a family of four consisting of two adults aged 19 to 50 and two children aged 2 to 5:

  • Economy: $ 599
  • Inexpensive: $ 766,40
  • Moderate: $ 944,50
  • Liberal: $ 1

For a family of four, with two adults aged 19 to 50 and two children aged 6 to 11:

  • Economy: $ 687,40
  • Inexpensive: $ 907,20
  • Moderate: $ 1128,20
  • Liberal: $ 1370,10

Budget for groceries

Not having a grocery budget is dangerous and leaves you open to temptation when you visit or order at the grocery store. Without knowing how much you should be spending each month, you risk overspending, spending too much on the wrong items, and even wasting groceries by throwing away perishable foods like meat, dairy, baked goods, and foods you buy and don't use.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

To create a grocery budget, subtract 50% from your net income, and then subtract non-grocery needs from that number to see how much you have left to spend on groceries. If that's not enough, adjust your spending in the Desire Category to compensate.

How to stretch your grocery budget

Planning your grocery shopping carefully can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual grocery bill. Meal planning apps like eMeals take the guesswork out of menu planning by preparing meals for an entire week at monthly prices ranging from $ 5 to $ 10. And if you choose carefully, you can prepare light, inexpensive meals that will last an entire week.

Print a customized shopping list to buy ingredients, or send the list to Walmart, Kroger, or other participating stores to pick up what you need and avoid impulse purchases. The menu is tailored to your eating style. As a free alternative, the What's for Dinner website lets you browse recipes and create your own shopping list.

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