Our Monthly Grocery Budget

by Melody on January 2, 2010

Our monthly grocery budget is $175 for a family of four.  Our monthly budget for 2009 was $220, so by couponing and deal-shopping, I was able to drop it by $45.  That’s a savings of $540 a year!   I do have to add that we get a significant amount of meat from my (very generous) parents who buy a portion of a cow and a pig and share with us.  If we had to buy meat, I would probably up our budget to around $200.  

Just in case you are wondering if we eat beans and rice for every meal, it’s not true!  By shopping sales with coupons and available rebates, I am able to stock up when items are at their lowest price.  Here are a few pictures of our food stockpile.  Keep in mind this is at the end of the month!


– All food items
– Paper goods (TP, paper towels)
– Toiletry items (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo,etc)
– Diapers and wipes
– All cleaning supplies
– Stamps for rebates
– Newspaper subscription for coupons

Every month, I will share my budget breakdown with you.  I use a Google Docs spreadsheet created by The Coupon Project (download your copy here) to track my shopping trips including, shelf cost, coupon amount, total savings and variance to my monthly budget.  This has been such a huge help to me!  The spreadsheet is so easy and keeps everything in one place for me.

Here’s a breakdown of what needs to be entered on the spreadsheet: 

  • SHELF COST: I enter in the amount I would have paid at the store that day, without coupon or rebate.  I don’t factor in the full price as I would usually never pay full price for ANYTHING!

  • COUPONS: Manufacturer coupons and catalina coupons

  • DISCOUNTS: I include store coupons here, to keep them separate from manufacturer coupons. 

  • REBATES: This is for any type of rebate I am submitting, mail-in or through Rite Aid’s Single Check Rebates program.

Everything else is calculated for you!  You may interpret each of the above entries a little different than I do, but the key is to keep it consistent.  If you don’t do the same thing every time you make an entry, your results won’t be accurate.

I love that it tracks my spending before and after rebates.  This will help keep me in line and not spend too much out of pocket each month.  Even if I am coming in under budget, if I spent all of our monthly cash on rebate items, it would go pretty quick.

Share your budgeting tips and tricks in the comments.  Let us know if you use any type of tracking system and how it works for you!

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