What Is the Average Monthly Grocery Bill for One Person?

By Laurel Tincher · June 24, 2024 · 6 minute read

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What Is the Average Monthly Grocery Bill for One Person?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average single person can spend between $238.46 and $434.33 per month on groceries. Many factors will impact a given individual’s expenses, such as location and eating style.

Nevertheless, looking at averages across the country can help one figure out if they are within the range of other people in their region, age bracket, and household size. Learn more here, including advice on trimming your grocery budget.

Grocery Bills and Inflation

Inflation can have a big effect on the price of groceries, making it harder to stay within your budget and reduce one’s bill. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, food prices rose 3.4% between April of 2023 and 2024.

That’s not a negligible number, but compared to the 10.8% increase in food prices between April of 2021 and 2022, it’s somewhat less challenging. That staggering increase was partly due to inflation and partly due to food shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average Monthly Grocery Budget Bill for One Person or More

There are several factors that determine how much a person might spend on groceries each month. These include age, gender, how many people live in the household, and monthly budget. Another major factor is the region one lives in. Some areas have much more expensive food than others.

The most expensive city for groceries is Honolulu, Hawaii, where the monthly average grocery bill was $556.76 in one recent year. The least expensive city is Manchester, New Hampshire with an average of $183.00, according to Zippia. As you see, cost of living can really make a difference. Other expensive states include Florida, Nevada, and Washington, while less expensive states include Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

In addition to groceries, one’s overall monthly bill for food can include any snacks and meals eaten out. The averages below are based on an individual or family cooking all their meals and snacks at home, they don’t include meals eaten out. Averages look at foods many people commonly purchase, such as eggs, dairy, meat, bread, and produce items.

Here are some numbers from a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report:

Family Size

Average Grocery Bill

1 For a single person, the average grocery bill can range, depending on age and gender, between $238.46 to $434.33.
2 For a household with two people, the average grocery bill is $5,635 per year, or $469.58 per month.
3 For a household of three people, the average grocery bill is $6,862 a year, or 571.83 per month.
4 For a household of four people, the average grocery bill is $8,012, or $667.67 per month.

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Buying Groceries vs Dining Out

It’s up to each individual and family to decide how often to eat out or get takeout food and how much of their money to spend on dining at restaurants. In general, eating out tends to cost more than cooking at home, and it’s a good idea to keep track of and budget for or it can add up quickly.

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests the average American spends as much as $300 a month on food outside the home, which is a significant number when budgeting. That doesn’t mean it’s the right number; just an average.

Another suggestion by many financial experts is that food costs (meaning groceries and food outside the home) account for no more than 10% to 15% of one’s take-home pay, regardless of which type of budget method you use.

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9 Tips for Reducing Your Grocery Bill

In looking at the average grocery bills above, one might start to think that they are spending too much on groceries, if they didn’t already feel that way before. Here are a few tips for lowering one’s monthly grocery bill.

1. Make a Budget and Plan Ahead

Allocating funds for groceries in a monthly budget planner then making a plan for what to buy can help reduce one’s grocery bill. Meal planning and shopping lists can help you stick with your budget.

2. Look for Discounts and Sales

There are many discount apps and coupons available for those who are grocery shopping on a budget. They are free and can help with reducing one’s grocery bill. However, some coupons can be tricky and actually cause additional spending, if they ask one to purchase two or more of an item to get the discount or they result in buying an item that wouldn’t have been purchased otherwise. Some stores also have sale days, especially after a big holiday, so those can be good days to go shopping.

3. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach

Avoiding impulse buying is another way to reduce one’s grocery bill. Studies have shown that shopping on an empty stomach leads shoppers to spend more and to buy high calorie foods that may be less healthy.

4. Consider Meal Kits

Although meal kit services may appear expensive, and some are, if they reduce the amount that one eats out at restaurants or the amount spent on groceries, that is a plus. Meal kits provide pre-portioned meals, so they prevent buying extra ingredients that go to waste.

5. Pay Attention to Delivery Fees

Having groceries delivered can be a great way to save time, and since it can help with sticking to a plan and grocery list, it can also help prevent impulse buys. However, delivery fees and tips can add up, so it’s important to factor those into monthly budgeting.

6. Shop at a Different Store

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of shopping at a certain grocery store due to convenience or their offering of foods one likes. But if that store has higher prices, it may be worth considering going to a different store for some or all of one’s groceries.

7. Create a Routine

Another way to stay on top of grocery budgeting is to create routines. This can help with sticking to a shopping list and making sure extra food doesn’t get purchased. Habits like these can help you avoid impulse buying or purchasing food that winds up going to waste.

8. Buy Generic Brands instead of Name Brands

Many stores carry their own brands of food that are cheaper than big name brands. These items are very similar in taste and quality but have a lower price point. This can hold true at wholesale clubs, too, further increasing how much you can save.

9. Shop More Often

It may seem surprising, but going to the grocery store more often can help people spend less money than if they go on mega runs. The reason is that it avoids food waste because it’s easier to think about what will be eaten within the next few days than the next couple weeks.

Recommended: Building a Line Item Budget

The Takeaway

Since there is more flexibility in buying groceries than other expenses such as rent and other bills, cutting back on grocery spending can be a great way to save. If you’re looking to start making a budget, setting savings goals, or paying off debts, you might benefit from a money tracker tool.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

How much should you be spending on groceries a week?

According to the USDA’s food plans, a couple could spend between $92 to $183 per month, depending on which food plan they follow, ranging from Thrifty to Liberal.

What is the average cost of groceries per month?

One recent study put the average cost of groceries per month at $475.25, put of course much will depend on household size, age of household members, location, and eating style.

What are examples of popular discount grocery stores?

Popular discount grocery stores include Walmart, Aldi, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s.


Photo credit: iStock/andresr

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