What we Spend on Groceries for our Family of 5

Staying within budget when it comes to groceries can be extremely difficult. Today i want to share with you how we shop, what our bill looks like, and how we save.  This post is going to be all about what we spend on groceries.

save money on groceries

First of all, before I start giving you numbers, let me say that this is Canadian dollars.  That doesn’t mean it can’t apply to you.  No matter where you live, this information can help you discover new ways to cut back on your grocery bill.

Also, while we can find multiple ways to save here, our coupon system is not nearly as good as if we were in the US. While I use coupons sometimes, I often don’t just because I haven’t been able to find any good coupons for what I usually buy.

But- when I do use coupons, I like to use my favorite app, Checkout51.  You download it to your phone and you get cash back on certain groceries you buy after uploading your receipt.  It’s very simple to use.  However, if you prefer the old-fashioned paper coupons, be sure to check out my post on where to find more coupons.

The average Canadian household of 4 spends about $230 dollars per week on groceries. That works out to roughly $920 a month.

That’s a lot of hard earned cash!

My shopping changes from time to time, but my goal has been to work on doing a major shop every two weeks, and then making a stop or two in between that at our local store that is closer to our home to buy produce.

I’ve always liked the once a month grocery shopping idea, but I’ve discovered that it just isn’t ideal for our family. We eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and they can go bad very quickly.

For our most recent two week shopping trip, with the extra trips in between to get more fruits and vegetables, another loaf of bread and some butter because we ran out, the total was $270. That works out to $135 per week.

Now, a few things about that.

First of all, when I’m doing my grocery budget and bill I always include toiletries in that. Some people calculate them separately. So, when comparing and figuring out numbers, keep that in mind.

Also, because we are homesteading, there are a few things I don’t shop for anymore. The two main things I don’t need to buy are eggs and milk.

Before I went shopping I did have a couple of packs of hamburger meat in my freezer which usually run me $4.99 a lb.

So, I would say, if I had to buy the ground beef, eggs, and milk, I’m probably looking at $150 per week as opposed to $135.

Also, we are a family of five with kids almost 12, 10, and 7. I think sharing ages is important. If you have teenagers they are going to eat more than my kids (but whoa, can my kids put it away already!) and if you have younger kids they will probably eat less.

Just like most people, when we grocery shop, we still have certain staples at home.  Coffee, tea, sugar, flour – things like that.  Those are things we don’t need to pick up for every grocery shop.  A lot of those items allow me to bake within the week to produce more snacks from the ever hungry bunch that lives here.

And Most importantly, if you are looking to cut back on your grocery shopping, remember that it can be difficult to truly compare.  Food prices vary all across Canada and the US and so you may not be able to get your bill as low as someone else’s you see posted online.  The goal of this post is to just share some things we do to save money so that you can maybe apply it to your shopping trips and cut down your grocery bill.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s talk about our most recent grocery shopping trip and how we save money.

WAYS TO SAVE ON YOUR GROCERY BILL – WHAT WE SPEND ON GROCERIES

The first thing I’ll point out in this picture is that there is a lot of “yellow” products. These are store brand products and are usually the cheapest options. They still taste so delicious.

You’ll also notice discount tags on the meat. Often meat that is set to expire that day or the next day will be marked down. I can take these home and put them in the freezer until I need them. Our store usually marks them down at 30%.

 

They were selling shampoo and conditioner for a dollar so I was sure to stock up a bit on that.

I also grabbed these fruit cups for snacks for the kids because they were 50% off!

A lot of the produce was produce that was on sale in the flyer, but I do always buy staples like lettuce and bananas regardless of price. Thankfully both are generally really cheap.

I always buy a couple boxes of cereal (whatever is cheap or on sale) and then when they run out we switch over to things like oatmeal and toast.  I keep saying we are going to give up the cereal, but it’s just so convenient.

I tend to buy more bread in the summer months because it can be so hot that baking my own bread regularly heats up the house just a little too much for our liking on those hot and humid days. Come fall and winter I will bake bread more regularly.

This specific grocery trip alone was $220 dollars, but like I said, we had another two stops at the store to pick up some produce which totalled another $50. I have been doing an “eat a salad every single day for 30 days” challenge and I ran out of lettuce a couple times!

EVERY GROCERY TRIP DOESN’T LOOK THE SAME

Just like anything in life, sometimes we’re sailing along and it’s all going well, and other times, not so much. We have times where we are sticking tightly and firmly to our budget and are hitting up all the deals.

There are other times where our grocery bill is more than I’d like.  While this particular grocery trip worked out to $135 per week for two weeks, if we are on the high end we are looking more at $170 per week, though those weeks are few and far between thankfully.

But when that happens we always know that we are capable of cutting back on our grocery bill if need be, and so we try to do that when we need to.

OUR GARDEN WILL SAVE US MORE

In just a month or two our garden will be producing vegetables and that will cut our grocery bill down even farther. If you’ve never gardened before, or think you aren’t capable, I encourage you to try it. This is our second year gardening, and our first year with a bigger garden as we expanded our very small plot from last year, and I just can’t even believe how amazingly it’s all working.

While this last trip I needed to buy things like lettuce and cilantro, in another week or two I won’t have to buy anymore for awhile. After a little more time my garden will be producing beans, peas, tomatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, cucumbers, onions, kale, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, basil, and dill. That will add up to some significant savings at the grocery store.

You don’t need acreage to be a gardener. You can garden on a very small plot or you can always do container gardening. Container gardening can be done in as small of a space as a balcony for an apartment!

HOW YOU CAN SAVE MORE ON YOUR GROCERY BILL

If you are reading this post and are thinking, “I need to save money on groceries,” here are some tips you can use to cut down on your bill.

Buy generic or store brand products

Purchase discounted meats and other foods

Look at the flyer and shop the sales

Make a meal plan based on what’s on sale

Stock up on items that are on for a really good deal

Buy in season 

Shop at the cheaper grocery stores

While our shopping trips vary, we have been budgeting for cheaper groceries for years and so now it just has become second nature to us.  We have created a routine at the grocery store and so we know how to get good prices on a lot of things.

Another tip on saving money at the grocery store is to go shopping by yourself if you can.  Now, I know this isn’t always possible.  Sometimes I have to take my kids or my whole family, but when I can I will go shopping alone.  I generally spend less if I am doing it on my own. 🙂

I would love to hear how you save money at the grocery store, and if you are willing, what you spend on groceries every week or month.  Leave it in the comments below.

 

9 thoughts on “What we Spend on Groceries for our Family of 5”

  1. You do very well. We are a family of two older adults and we average $200 a month. I use very few coupons because they are just not available on most things we buy even here in the USA. Coupons are far less available than it seems you think. We did our weekly shopping today and I only saved $4.20 with coupons and iBotta. We save money by buying ahead and buying almost everything on sale.

    1. hmm, yes I could very well be incorrect about the coupons. I am just going on all the bloggers or authors of money saving books from the US that have always talked about saving a ton of money with coupons. I know America’s Cheapest Family, The Economides,(not sure if you have heard of them, but if not, google them – they are amazing!) always used a lot of coupons in their segments they are in on on the news channels. 🙂 But, that could be the exception to the rule I guess. 🙂 Sounds like you guys know how to budget and keep your grocery bill down like pros! 🙂

      1. Over the last year coupons have become less and less available. Most don’t even bother to buy the Sunday paper for them anymore and coupons dot com used to have 80 to 100 food coupons at any given time and now it averages around 35. The $4.20 I saved this week was about average and is often less. Gone are the days of hauling home bags of food for almost nothing. We live in an area of high competition between stores or we would not do as well as we do. We keep our budget down by shopping the loss leaders at 2-3 stores every week and buying enough to get us through until the next good sale. We don’t pay full price if we run out but rather wait for another sale unless it is fruit or veggies which we eat a lot of too.

        1. Oh and the other thing about coupons now is they are limited. Many have a limit printed on the coupon and sometimes it is only one of the coupon per day! I used to order coupons from the clipping services and buy ten of an item but stores and coupons do not allow that anymore. Some stores limit sale items to 4 , some 5 and another one 8 and that is high. Also most stores used to double coupons up to 50 cents and most don’t anymore. The ones that do are so high priced that it negates the savings.

          1. Man, that stinks. 🙁 Though, it sounds like you are a pro at saving at the grocery store. I could probably learn a lot from you. 🙂

  2. Hi Amanda.
    So glad I found your site. I’m a Canadian, I live in BC, and it can be very expensive to live here.
    Love your ideas, girl.
    Karen

    1. Oh my, I ADORE BC. I wish I lived there but I know it is so expensive. We took a trip out there 6 years ago and it was the best trip of my life. We plan to do it again in the next few years, because, the mountains! I am in Ontario. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

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