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

Woman examining food label in grocery store.
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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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