What Is the Average Grocery Bill?

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Do you ever wonder whether you’re spending too much money on groceries? While everyone is different, there is data to help you determine if your grocery budget is near the national average.

In this article, I’ll look at the latest numbers on grocery bills in the United States for one person, a couple and a family of four. Then I’ll give you some tips to lower your grocery costs.

The Average Grocery Bill Is …

The data comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which publishes a monthly food plan for Americans based on guidelines for a nutritious diet at the following four cost levels:

  • Thrifty Plan
  • Low-Cost Plan
  • Moderate-Cost Plan
  • Liberal Plan

Here’s the USDA’s latest food plan chart featuring weekly expenses as of this writing.

How Much Is the Average Grocery Bill?

Age/Gender
Groups
Thrifty
Plan
Low-Cost
Plan
Moderate-Cost
Plan
Liberal
Plan
Single Male:
19-50 years$44.90$58.40$72.90$89.40
51-70 years$41.00$55.10$68.70$83.00
71+ years$41.10$53.90$67.20$83.10
Single Female:
19-50 years$39.80$50.60$61.90$79.30
51-70 years$39.50$49.30$61.30$74.20
71+ years$38.50$48.50$60.50$72.90
Family of 2 (Male & Female)
19-50 years$93.20$119.90$148.40$185.50
51-70 years$88.60$114.80$143.00$172.90
Family of 4 (Male & Female age 19-50)
Children
2-3 and 4-5 years$136.10$174.30$214.90$265.90
6-8 and 9-11 years$156.20$206.10$256.70$311.50

Let’s take a closer look at the moderate-cost plan figures.

What Is the Average Grocery Bill for 1 Person?

Single woman shopping for groceries.
Image Via Dreamstime

The average weekly cost of groceries for one adult is:

  • $67 for those ages 19-50
  • $65 for those ages 51-70

Example: Let’s say you’re between the ages of 51 and 70 and your weekly grocery bill falls under a moderate-cost plan. A male would spend $68 a week. Meanwhile, a female in that same age group would spend just $61 a week, according to the USDA.

For one child on a moderate-cost plan, you can add anywhere from $34 to $65 more a week onto your total depending on the child’s age.

What Is the Average Grocery Bill for Couples and Families?

Couple eating food together after grocery shopping.
Image Via Dreamstime

The average weekly grocery bill for two people between the ages of 19 and 50 is $148, according to the USDA. For couples ages 51 to 70, you’re spending $143, the agency says.

If the couple has two children ages 2-3 and 4-5 years old, the household’s weekly grocery total is $214 under a moderate-cost plan. If the two children are 6-8 and 9-11 years old, the total is $256, according to the USDA.

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Want to know what you’re personally spending on food each month? Try this free grocery budget calculator.

How To Lower Your Grocery Bill

Food is an essential piece of every person’s budget, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save. Here at Team Clark we want you to scrutinize your spending to see if you can keep some of that money in your pocket.

If you’re interested in lowering your grocery bill, here are some ways to do it.

1. Read the Store Sales Flyer

Planning to grocery shop soon? Many retailers will include a sales flyer near the front of the store or in grocery baskets.

Better yet, visit the grocery store’s website to see the sales flyer before you get to the store. That way, you can get a better idea of how to plan your grocery list based on what’s on sale.

2. Compare Unit Prices

Before you put a food item in your basket, take a look at the unit price and compare it to a similar item or another brand. Just because an item may come in a larger quantity doesn’t necessarily mean that the cost per unit is cheaper.

Along with comparing the unit prices of different sizes and brands as you shop, make sure you also:

  • Compare the table of nutritional facts located on the side of the box or package.
  • Look at the “good-by” and/or expiration date.
  • Examine the condition of the package (damaged or dented?).

If you bring the damaged container to the attention of a manager, you may get a break on the price of that item.

3. Use a Cash Back Credit Card

Money expert Clark Howard says you should always use a credit card, if you can pay your balance in full every month. When it comes to groceries, you can save money by using a cash back credit card.

Clark says you should read the fine print to find out how card issuers classify certain retailers who sell food as well as the cash back limits.

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“Each card issuer has exclusions and limitations on the type of cash back you get. It’s in the mice type, which is completely different from the colorful brochure you get from them,” Clark says. 

Ready to reduce your grocery bill? Here are 20+ more ways to save money on your groceries.

More Grocery Resources From Clark.com:



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