Updated November 18, 2020

Study: Average Grocery Bill for 2

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Food spending has increased dramatically recently. In just 2 years, the average household spends $400 more per year on food. Is it due to the recovering economy or are prices getting out of hand?

Read our report for more insight on this important topic.

What Are People Spending?

Eating at home or out both qualify as food expenses. Just how much are people spending? We take a look here.

  1. How much is the average grocery bill for two?
    The average couple spends an average of $625 per month on groceries. This totals $7,500 per year. These figures are according to the USDA's moderate-cost plan. Unless you live an extremely frugal or lavish life, you'll likely be around this amount.

  2. How much does the average couple spend eating out per month?
    The average couple spends around 4.5% of their income dining out. This totals around 43% of the average couple's food spending.

    If you're trying to eat out less, consider a meal delivery service such as Home Chef.

  3. What is the average household income?
    The average household income equals $69,629. This figure takes into account all family sizes, though. There's a big difference between a family of one and a family of five.

  4. What percentage of income do Americans spend on food?
    Historically, the average household spends around 10% of their income on food. This takes into consideration eating at home and out.

  5. How much does it cost for one person to eat per month?
    According to the USDA, a single person on the moderate-cost plan spends $262 per month on food. Couples need a little more than double that amount. Maybe they cook more lavishly when they feed someone other than themselves?

  6. What is the average grocery bill for four?
    Once your family grows, your costs increase. A family of four with infants through preschool aged children needs around $901 for food per month. A family of four with older children, however, needs around $1,075 per month. This means plan ahead for those growing teenagers!

  7. What does an average couple in California spend on food?
    The cost of living tends to be higher in California. The average cost of food for a couple shows it too. Topping the charts at $6,527, Californians spend more on food than many other areas.

  8. What does an average couple in the Midwest spend on groceries?
    In the Midwest, where people expect costs to be lower, food costs $5,587 per year. That's a difference of $940 from California.

  9. What does an average couple in New York spend on groceries?
    New York falls somewhere in the middle of the spending, with a total of $6,351 spent on food per year.

Budgeting for Food

Given the amount of money you need for food, it makes sense to budget for it. We offer some simple tips below.

  1. How should you figure out your monthly food budget?
    When it comes to food spending, no two people will have the same answer. The USDA's guidelines for the latest month available (July 2017) shows that a couple needs between $385 and $765 per month for food. Obviously, that's quite a range. Using the country average of around 10%, you should figure your budget based on your total income. Then you can tweak it from there.

  2. How many Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck?
    The unfortunate truth is almost one-third of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. Many Americans' expenses even exceed their income. This number even includes those in their 50s. Financial stress doesn't disappear with age, apparently.

  3. How much should you spend on groceries?
    There's no exact number on how much you should spend on groceries. However, if you want a guide, we suggest using the USDA's Cost of Food at Home chart. Here you'll find amounts for each family size, breaking it down by ages. For example, your 15-year-old likely eats more than a 2-year-old does. These factors are taken into consideration. It's also broken down into categories:

    • Thrifty
    • Low-cost
    • Moderate-cost
    • Liberal

    The average family falls under the moderate-cost. But, if you want to be completely cost conscious, you can stick to the thrifty plan.

  4. What are signs of spending too much on food?
    Trying to stick to a budget can seem impossible sometimes, especially with rising food costs. Here we compiled the top signs of spending too much on food. This isn't to say you belong on the thrifty plan. It does, however, help you realize that you might be going a bit overboard:

    • You are way over the average reported spending.
    • Your monthly expenditures include more eating out than eating at home.
    • You make grocery store runs multiple times a week rather than stocking up at once.
    • You don't make a list for grocery shopping.

Food Isn't the Only Personal Monthly Expense

Aside from food, you have to pay for utilities, entertainment, and clothing. Here's a look at what the average couple spends each month.

  1. How much does a couple spend on entertainment per month?
    On average, a married couple spends $2,273 per year having fun. This equals around $190 per month.

  2. How much does the average couple spend on clothes per month?
    The average couple spends $1,477 per year on clothing. This comes out to $123 per month.

  3. How much does an average household spend on utilities per month?
    The average household spends $323 per month on utilities. This includes electric, gas, garbage, sewage, and telephone services. Of course, this number could differ based on your family's habits.

  4. How much should you save each month?
    As a general rule, you should try to save 20% of your income. We like to use the formula 50/30/20. 50% of your income pays your fixed expenses. 30% of your income pays your variable expenses. You should then save 20% of your income. Of course, this is in a perfect world, but we offer tips on how to make this happen. One easy way to start saving more is to open a savings account with a high annual percentage yield, CIT Bank's Savings Builder account. Check to see if there's CIT Bank bonus available right now if you're thinking of opening an account.

Fun Demographic Statistics About Grocery Shopping

  1. Who does a majority of the grocery shopping amongst married couples?
    Grocery shopping used to be a "female job." Today, though, men do their fair share. In married couples, men take the primary role in 39% of couples. Many couples split the job down the middle or make a "date" out of it and do it together.

  2. How many households shop for groceries online?
    Today, savvy consumers look for ways to save time and money. One such way is shopping for groceries online. Whether they save money is definitely up for debate. But they can save time. Right now only 5% of shoppers shop online for groceries, we but guess that number will increase sooner rather than later.

  3. How many households still use a standard supermarket?
    Does this mean people have given up on the standard supermarket? It's not likely. The trend has decreased slightly - 2% since last year. But, 83% of shoppers still like the standard grocery store.

  4. How many average meals do couples eat at home together?
    On average, married couples with no kids eat 7.6 meals together. The largest reason cited for eating just one-third of their meals together is differing schedules.

  5. How can you save money on groceries?
    $625 a month can be a lot of money for many couples. Luckily, there are ways to save money on groceries. Here's a few simple ways:

    • Plan a menu so you don't impulse shop
    • Stick to the exterior aisles
    • Stick to the in-season produce
    • Buy in bulk

  6. How many average weekly trips do households make to the grocery store?
    There just might be something to sharing the shopping responsibilities. Couples with one primary shopper tend to make 1.6 shopping trips per week. Couples who share the responsibility tend to make 1.5 trips per week. It seems like two are better than one after all!

Bottom Line

Groceries are a big part of your life. You need to food to survive. But you also need a good budget to stay financially secure. Figure out your budget and find ways to trim your food costs. It's all about balance.

Sources and References:

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