Americans Spend $302 on Groceries Monthly — Here’s How to Cut the Cost

Photo by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

About how much do you spend on groceries each month?

For the average American, the answer is $302, according to a recent GOBankingRates survey of about 1,000 Americans. This easily makes groceries the second-biggest basic need we spend money on each month.

Spending can vary considerably based on gender, income and age.

Women in the survey spent an average of $323 per month on groceries, a little more than the average of $290 spent by men.

As you might expect, people who earned the most money ($150,000 or more, in this case) spent the most on groceries ($450, on average). And those who earned the least ($24,000 or less) spent the least ($271).

Looking at age brackets, the biggest spenders were 35 to 64. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Ages 18 to 24: Spend $237 per month on groceries, on average
  • Ages 25 to 34: $283
  • Ages 35 to 44: $348
  • Ages 45 to 54: $353
  • Ages 55 to 64: $339
  • Ages 65 and older: $267

GOBankingRates notes, though, that millennials tend to eat out and order takeout more often than older generations. That could account for their spending less on groceries.

Americans’ second-most expensive basic need

No matter how you look at these grocery spending statistics, one finding is indisputable: Groceries are our second-biggest necessary expense.

GOBankingRates breaks down basic needs into five categories. The website found that the average American spends the following on average in each category:

  • Mortgage or rent: $682 per month per person
  • Groceries: $302
  • Car payment: $166
  • Household necessities: $61
  • Clothing: $50

This breakdown is in keeping with statistics released earlier this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau breaks down spending into eight categories, which include needs and wants. But it still found that two of the three costliest categories last year were housing and food.

Saving at the supermarket

Given that food is among the most basic of needs, it’s easy to write off your grocery bill as an expense you just have to swallow each month. But it’s always worthwhile to take a closer look at your supermarket receipts to see if you can find another way to cut costs.

As I recently put it in “The 3 Biggest Expenses Stopping You From Retiring Sooner“:

“Every dollar you spend on expenses like food, housing and transportation is another dollar you didn’t invest in a retirement account. So, such expenses stand between you and retirement: Technically, the more money you allocate to them, the further back you push retirement.”

There are seemingly countless ways you can save money on food — take “25 Ways to Spend Less on Food” for example. I recently discovered a new one to me: Never allow your husband to go to the grocery store unattended.

If you think you’ve already tried every tip out there, check out “15 Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill You Probably Never Considered — Estate Sale, Anyone?

For more options, check out:

What’s your favorite way to save money on groceries? Share it with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying
7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying

Saving money doesn’t always mean drudgery and sacrifice. These tools make it easy — sometimes even fun.

7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

These items can end up costing you more if you try to go the cheap route.

7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money
7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money

In the digital age, new ways of earning cash crop up all the time — and some require next to no effort on your part.

7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree
7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree

Downsizing your home offers many benefits, including some you may not have anticipated.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change
5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change

Here’s where Biden — as well as Trump — stands on the future of the Social Security retirement system.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.