We have a lot of expenses in our lives, some we can avoid and others not so much. One expense that isn’t going to go away is groceries. We all need to feed ourselves and our families, but the cost of doing so adds up, especially when trying to eat healthily. Is the price of this necessity naturally increasing or can we do even more to save? What is the average grocery bill?
What Is the Average Grocery Bill
Analytics company Gallup Poll released a study in 2012 that stated that Americans spend roughly $151 on groceries per week on average. In the same study, they found that younger adults and those with higher incomes spent the most. For young adults, they were spending $173 per week on average, and those with incomes of $75,000 or more were spending about $180 per week. Individuals with incomes of $30,000 to $74,000 were spending $144, and lower incomes were averaging $127 per week on groceries.
As of May 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the average low-cost plan for a family of four with children ranging in age from 2 to 5 years is $165.30 per week and $195.40 with kids from ages 6 to 11. For couples from ages 19 to 50 years old, the average low-cost plan per week is $113.80, and $108.90 for couples ages 51 to 70.
The average grocery bill for a family of four with older kids in the moderate price range is $243.80, while a liberal plan is $296.50.
What It Means
Paying roughly $700 to close to $1,000 per month on food as a family is certainly a hard pill to swallow, but are grocery prices really rising or are there other aspects to consider?
According to the same 2012 study from Gallup Poll, increases in weekly food spending actually reflect inflation. Although the final estimate in 1987 for weekly groceries was $106, the $151 Americans were spending in 2012 was down from the “inflation-adjusted $157 to $214 range” that Gallup Poll found starting in the mid-1980’s.
At the same time, however, Gallup Poll mentioned environmental factors are also to play when it comes to the cost of food. At the time of the survey results, the drought in the Midwest affected crops, causing a concern for the rise in food prices. Even though it did not appear to affect consumer spending during that time, such circumstances continue to cause worry.
Millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 1996), though, are naturally spending less on brick-and-mortars, including grocery stores, Gallup Poll reported earlier this year. Much of this decrease in grocery spending can be attributed to the efforts millennials make to save by buying generic and store-name brands. Not to mention, poor consumer engagement does also play a large role, Gallup Poll added.
What You Can Do
Taking a note from the millennial book, you can save more by buying more store-name brands. However, you also do not need to sacrifice healthy eating for a cheaper grocery bill.
In a May 1, 2013, article by Nancy Hellmich on USA Today, Detroit Registered Dietician Bethany Thayer said you can eat well on $146 a week.
“But you can’t do it without planning,” she said in the article.
In addition to buying more store-name brands, some quick tips you can do to save on your grocery bill include buying produce in season, using food items like chicken in multiple meals throughout the week, and reducing your consumption of meat as it is the most expensive items to buy. You can replace your meat with other sources of protein that are less expensive such as beans and eggs.
Another way to save on your grocery bill is to eliminate sodas from your purchase list. You can also limit the amount of times you buy juice and opt to make your own with fruit you bought that may be on the verge of going bad. This reduces the amount you waste. Bottled water adds up as well, and, as shared by Reader’s Digest, often is not any better than tap water. Instead, buy a filter device that you can reuse over and over if you feel uncomfortable drinking water straight from the tap.
As with most things in life, saving money on your groceries is possible with work and dedication. It may also require a change in diet or weekly meals, but by doing so, you may not also improve your household cash flow but your health.
What are your thoughts on the topic?