The average grocery bill for a family of 4 mainly consists of meat products, vegetables, and beverages. Yet this number is difficult to pin down for several reasons. For instance, your three-year-old child will consume less milk and more chicken or beef as they grow up. Similarly, do you bring frozen food or sandwiches to work? Do you often eat at a restaurant during your lunch break? The answer to that determines how much canned products you consume. Packaged meals and fresh breakfast food roughly cost the same amount.
In light of this, the following list should help you figure out what the average grocery bill for a family of 4 is and how its broken up.
The Average Grocery Bill for a Family of 4
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a household with two adults and one child spends almost $4,000 per year (or $328 per month) on groceries. The BLS also note that an adult consumes twice as much as a child. Based on this information, we calculated what the average grocery bill for a family of 4 would look like. A household with two parents and two children consume $393.50 worth of groceries per month.
To put it another way, this equals about $130 per adult and $65 per child. Furthermore, we looked at how specific items (meats, snacks, beverages, etc.) influence your shopping bill. To illustrate, here is how much the average household of 4 pays for each type of product as a percentage of their total monthly grocery budget.
7. Snacks (7.8%)
Families spend $30.70 each month on potato chips, cookies, ice cream, and nuts. Keep in mind though, that this may vary based on the age of your children. For instance, an infant doesn’t consume any snacks, but a ten-year-old might eat more ice cream or cookies than an adult. Equally as important, this category doesn’t include homemade desserts, such as pie, cake, and brownies. It only covers ready-to-eat snacks, like potato chips and ice cream.
6. Canned and Pre-Cooked Foods (10.9%)
Frozen dinners, canned soups, and other packaged meals cost $43.00 per month. Again, however, your children’s age group may define how much you spend on canned products. Most K-12 students have lunch at school, but an adult may bring frozen or pre-made goods to work, especially because they don’t have time to cook.
5. Breakfast Food (11.2%)
While this should be your largest meal of the day, it certainly isn’t the priciest one. American households only spend $44 per month on eggs, cereals, and other breakfast foods. To illustrate, here are the main products that shoppers buy, alongside their average monthly cost for a family of 4:
- Eggs ($5.60)
- Cereal ($9.40)
- Cheese ($12.50)
- Baked goods ($16.50)
4. Beverages (13.6%)
Households pay $53.60 for juice, soda, milk, and cream. Just as with snacks and packaged meals, this expense is based on how old your children are. Infants will likely consume much more milk than an adult or an older child. Meanwhile, the parents probably use most (or all) of the coffee creamer. Similarly, younger children don’t drink sodas. Above all else, the beverages category doesn’t include beer, wine, and alcohol. These items fall under the entertainment/leisure budget, rather than the grocery one.
3. Sides and Seasonings (17.1%)
This expanded category entails bread, cooking oils, sugars, and seasonings. Families incur $67.30 each month for these products. To clarify, this adds up to over $800 per year. Having said that, your preferences control how much you spend on seasonings and side dishes. Spicy and ethnic food enthusiasts pay more for these items. The same could be said about households that often eat hamburgers, sandwiches, and other items that contain breads and cheeses.
2. Fruits and Vegetables (19.1%)
The second largest expense in the average grocery bill for a family of 4, fruits and vegetables cost households a monthly $75.10. It is important to note that this includes fresh and packaged products, alike. The ‘canned food’ category only covers meals rather than pre-cooked vegetables or fruits. Your eating habits could make this expense bigger or smaller.
Vegetables, such as potato fries and broccoli, are cooked alongside a main dish (steak, for instance). You eat fruit, meanwhile, in-between meals. Some people forgo the latter and only buy vegetable products. Others prefer to have fruit throughout the day and, in turn, eat smaller meals (with less vegetables). Therefore, their habits determine how much they spend on these products every month.
1. Meats (20.3%)
The average family spends one-fifth of their grocery budget on beef, pork, seafood, and poultry. All together, this adds up to $80 per month or $960 per year. Needless to say, since meat products contain the main nutrients and proteins that the body needs, they also cost the most money. Yet this cost is tied to your children’s ages. Unlike dairy products or snacks, people consume more meat as they get older. In other words, as your child grows up, they will need additional beef, fish, and/or chicken per meal. Your budget should adjust accordingly.
The Average Grocery Bill for a Family of 4: What You Need to Know
In short, a household that consists of two adults and two children pays the most for meats, vegetables, and fruits. Snacks, canned products, and breakfast food are the least expensive grocery items. To determine how your family’s budget compares, consider the ages of your children and every household member’s consumption preferences.
After all, the average amounts take into account society’s at-large spending. To figure out where you fall on the spectrum, you should evaluate things on the household level. The list above should give you a good place to start.