If you want an honest look at a grocery budget for an entire year for a family of 6, take a look at our frugal grocery budget.
2020 was a year for the books. Am I right? As much as I am a frugal shopper, 2020 threw my grocery budget through the ringer.
First, there was the month early arrival of Caleb before I had finished stocking my pantry and freezer. Little did I know that would be the least of my worries! Ha. By the time I came home from the hospital and we brought Caleb home from the NICU, everything was shutting down. We did a big stock up trip or two – not worrying about prices. I think many of us were in the same boat! I placed an online order or two, and Andy went out to do the grocery shopping. March was definitely over budget. I stayed lower in April because we tried not to shop as much.
Once May rolled around, we were still experiencing shortages and I knew I needed to increase our grocery budget. I had never raised my budget in the middle of the year but there is a first time for everything! I raised our budget from $400 a month to $425 a month. It wasn’t a whole lot but it helped me continue to stockpile and deal with the shortages.
Yes, my budget covers our food, toiletries, diapers, paper products and cleaning supplies. It did so before and after the budget adjustment.
In June, our vacation plans got cancelled and rearranged. We still managed to spend a couple days with my extended family at an outdoor camp. We all brought food and cooked in the camp kitchen, which is why our budget was higher. I did take some of the money out of our vacation fund for these purchases.
I hit my stride again after that. July through October found me staying with our budget again. There were still occasional shortages but not as much. When the holidays hit, I went over budget. It just seems to happen like that! I stocked up on some more special treats as well as bought quite a bit of meat in those months.
Still, when I went through the whole year, I was surprised by what the averages were. Here are my exact grocery totals for 2020.
2020 Grocery Totals
- May Total $451.34
- June Total $566.13 – $100 for Vacation = $466.13
- July Total $410.34
- August Total $420.87
- September Total $426.40
- October Total $417.19
- November Total $517.45
- December Total $445.19
2020 Yearly Total $5220.57
2020 Yearly Monthly Average $435.05
The first 4 months, I started with a $400 grocery budget. I stayed under budget 3 months and went over (by a lot!) 1 month.
The final 8 months, I raised our grocery budget to $425. I stayed under budget 3 months and went over 5 months. 1 of those months, the overage was only by $1.40 so it was really close, but still an overage.
When I averaged it all out, our monthly average for 2020 was $435.05.
I have spent a lot of time during these past months pondering my budget. I was fully planning on raising my budget again. However, I have decided to leave our grocery budget at $425 for 2021.
Why? Because I want to be more frugal again, and I know I can do it.
I recently read through Crystal Paine’s Slash Your Grocery Budget ebook. As I read it, I found myself nodding my head again and again. Honestly, I could have written this book! I’ve been meaning to write an ebook for years about what I do to save money on groceries – and Crystal (of Money Saving Mom fame) beat me to it. From using the buy ahead principle to becoming best friends with your freezer…Crystal covers it all! If you have ever wondered exactly how I do it, go get Crystal’s book! I guarantee you can quickly make your money back with all her tips!
After reading Crystal’s book, I knew I wanted to spend time this year on getting back to the basics. I want to put into practice all the tips I share here!
One final reason? We have some big savings goals this year and by keeping our grocery budget lower, that gives me more money to throw at these saving goals.
We have 6 people in our family now – 2 of which are still in diapers. I have a very tiny diaper stockpile so just keep watching the sales for the cheapest diaper deals.
My kids are starting to eat more, although at 6, 4, 2 and 10 months, it is nothing compared to those of you with teenagers, I know!
Yes, I am planning to still have my grocery budget include food, diapers, toiletries, cleaning supplies (ie laundry detergent) and paper products. I shop for all of these things at the same places so it only makes sense for me to include them all in one number. Some of you may do that differently and that is perfectly fine! You need to do what works for you.
I watch the sales and pair coupons to get the best deals. When there is a great deal, I stock up on enough to get me through to the next sale. I enjoy the thrill of finding a good deal. Grocery shopping is my favorite kind of shopping!
My stockpile is built up again and the shortages seem to be over (for now). This year also taught me the importance of always having a fully stocked freezer and pantry. It was worth going over budget a couple times to make sure I was restocked. Now, I can fill in gaps with my regular budget.
Finally, remember that I share my budget honestly to encourage and (hopefully) inspire you. Your budget does not have to be my budget!
I will share (most of) my shopping trips as they happen on my Joyfully Thriving Facebook page. I am also recommitting to getting back on track with a monthly summary here on my blog, for all my fellow grocery budget lovers!
It might be a bit more of a challenge this year than in years past but I am excited to get back to my budget shopping.
So, tell me – if you are willing to share. What is YOUR grocery budget this year?