Feeding a family isn't cheap these days, and it only gets more expensive with each additional mouth. Saving money at the grocery store is a great way to give your budget a break and there are many different ways to do so. Some recommend shopping in larger batches only once or twice per month, because studies have shown that quick trips to the store tend to result in overbuying due to impulse purchases. These extra items can add as much as 30 percent to your monthly grocery bill, not to mention the time and money lost by making more frequent trips. Some people cut coupons and look out for items on special to save money. Buying in bulk at membership shopping clubs can also save you some money in the long run if you're good about eating what you buy.
Eating healthy is also more expensive than eating processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients and sodium. In fact, following the government's recommended dietary advice can add 10 percent to your monthly bill. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always more expensive than canned or frozen foods, and if you want to go organic, you can count on spending even more.
So, how much does the average American spend on groceries each month? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics charts a wide variety of areas including employment, inflation, average pay and benefits, as well as consumer spending. In 2009, they found that the average American spent $6,443 annually food. This works out to spending about 13 percent of the annual household income on food, and a little more than half of that goes to the grocery store. The rest of your hard-earned cash lines the pockets of restaurants and delivery people. If you divide the annual number by an average of two visits to the grocery store per week, that comes to roughly $60 per trip. Of course, some people make more frequent trips, while others stock up in larger amounts once or twice a month.
In a hurry? Not so fast, that short checkout line may not actually be better. Increase your odds of getting out of that store at HowStuffWorks.
- Chatzky, Jean. "Shave $150 a week off your grocery bill." Cnn.com, January 9, 2006. http://money.cnn.com/2005/12/20/pf/grocerybills_startmoney_0601/index.htm
- Dunleavy, MP. "Take a big bite out of grocery bills." Msn.com. October 12, 2011. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/FindDealsOnline/TakeABigBiteOutOfGroceryBills.aspx
- "How to Feed a Family of Five on a Low Budget." Livestrong.com. October 12, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/195925-how-to-feed-a-family-of-five-on-a-low-budget/
- "Study: Healthy Eating Costs More." Webmd.com, August 4, 2011. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20110804/study-healthy-eating-costs-more