Here it is! Our current grocery budget for 13 people living in our house right now.
First, let’s talk about inflation.
As I write this, it is January, 2024. Grocery prices have been creeping up, but here’s what I’ve noticed:
The food that has more greatly been affected by inflation are processed foods. Restaurant prices? WOW. Items in the frozen prepared food section of the store? Those prices shock me!! Cereal? Yikes. I used to rely on some of these more often as back-up options on days I am too worn out to cook. But I find that I buy fewer of these now because I just can’t justify spending the asking prices.
But be encouraged by this:
Some ingredient and fresh food prices have gone up also, but not so much that I feel any sort of shock while I’m buying groceries. Truly, basic grocery prices are still very, very reasonable and many still cost what they have cost for several years!
- I can still buy Chicken Legs for $0.98/pound, just as they have been for quite some time.
- Boneless Chicken Thighs are still around $3.50/pound, no change here!
- Produce sales still give great savings – just take note of the sales and buy in season.
- Stores still have marked down items that need to be sold quickly. Watch for those and take advantage. (Remember the $5 hams I found after Christmas?!)
- There are still wonderful sale prices available at stores every week – giving us all great opportunities to buy our favorite foods at prices we feel good about. We just have to spend a little bit of extra time to watch for the sales.
But beyond inflation…
Have I been able to hold onto my $1,200/month grocery budget?
Sometimes. Oh how I’ve tried. The stubborn, frugal part of me has been so determined to avoid a budget increase. Some months I can easily stay under $1,200. Other months I go over quite a bit. I suppose it all averages out, but here’s what I realized:
It’s causing some stress and I’m overthinking.
Now, there’s a lot to be said for determination, hard work to stay under budget, and finding great ways to save money on groceries. But my head spins too much keeping up with our family as it is. I finally bonked myself on the head and asked, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”
Ultimately, I’ve been trying to stay within our 2017, family-of-six budget EVEN AFTER DOUBLING our family size and adding more adults to our household (three gals who rent our third floor suites). Plus, our little kids are getting older and starting to eat more.
And there’s more to be considered: The rent amount we charge our three third floor housemates includes food. They are welcome to eat any and all meals with us, pack their work lunches and snacks from the food in our pantry/fridge – what’s ours is theirs. It’s part of the package, they are a part of our family, and it’s fantastic! But one must wonder: Why it has taken me so many months to consider the fact that some of that rent money should be added into our monthly grocery budget amount?
I just really like keeping our budget number as low as possible, I suppose. I like a challenge!
But I’m tired.
I need to give my budget brain some freedom. We eat A LOT OF FOOD at our house.
2024 Monthly Grocery Budget for 13 People
I just drank a cup of coffee, so let’s look at this with fresh eyes and an awake brain. What if I took some pressure off and bumped our grocery budget up to $1,400/month?
This would feed:
- Six adults
- Six kids
- Lots of guests throughout the month
- One year-old baby who still struggles to eat solids, is mostly covered by WIC, but not entirely and wow, formula is expensive.
I just did some calculating and wait. This can’t be right. $1,400 divided by 13 people is just $108-per-person-per-month?? THAT’S IT? Why have I waited so long to figure this out?
We can absolutely increase our Grocery Budget to $1,400/month. We are still eating so well for so little. And with this, we can easily feed all the precious extra people who join us at our table each week! It’s one of our favorite things to do!
I’m going to geek out some more. Thank you.
- $1,400/month for 13 people = $108/person for the entire month
- $108/person/month divided by 30 days in a month = $3.60/day
- $3.60/person/day = $1.20/meal
Ok, Laura. This is a no-brainer. You should have made this move months ago.
Something important to note
There are two very significant items I need to point out about why I don’t need to increase our monthly budget amount even more:
- Our youngest four kids qualify for WIC because of their foster/adoption subsidy benefits. This blesses our family with some cheese, cereal, beans, juice, bread/pasta/rice, and produce – saving us around $180/month.
- We volunteer once a week at a Food Distribution and often bring leftovers home, which saves us a small, unknown amount, but saves us nonetheless. I haven’t had to buy bread, buns, or bagels for a very long time. This has been such a gift!
The Bottom Line
I don’t actually think much will change about how I grocery shop and buy all the food we need. But the grocery budget increase will relax my brain, and that’s what I need.
- I’m still going to watch for and take advantage of deals and sales and markdowns.
- I’m still going to buy the frozen pizza and other occasional convenience items we need so that I can give myself needed breaks as I feed all of us.
We have the money we need for this increase. —> If you’re curious, these are all the ways we don’t spend money so that we have enough money for groceries. We are so thankful for God’s provision!
Grocery Spending Total for January 2024
I decided to do the official calculations for this month since we just started a new year and because I wanted to see where I landed on our budget as January comes to a close. As it turns out, I spent:
- $639 at Costco
- $90 at Aldi
- $112 at Walmart
- $102 at for Amazon Subscribe and Save
- $182 at Sam’s
- and I ordered seven Domino’s pizzas once for $53
Grand total for January: $1,178
So after all that, I stayed under my old budget amount, and now I’m cracking up. :) :) :) Stay tuned for grocery spending updates as the weeks and months go by!
Care to share your household size and grocery budget? It’s always fun to see what works for other families!