Background: We eat all meals at home, except for any we eat with friends (and then we usually contribute a portion of the food), while vacationing, or when husband works a weekend day (he may eat there). So what I am saying, is that for the most part, this budget accounts for nearly 100% of our meals. We have a family of 4. We have 2 young children, but I would say that all 4 of us are active and have larger than normal appetites. None of us eat delicately. Seriously, people are amazed by how much my children eat. Nonetheless, we don't mind simple food, as long as there is plenty of it :)
Total: our grocery budget is $600 monthly (precisely $133.33 per week). I have an additional $50 allocated for household and medical items. Sometimes this $50 goes towards toiletries, sometimes it goes towards other items like trash bags or bed sheets or a bulk purchase of coconut oil (every 6 months). Preferably, I like to squeeze toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, shampoos, etc.) into our $600 grocery budget, but sometimes I use the $50 household and medical allocation to cover these things. Each month can be a little different, as I'm sure you know. A little wiggle room is useful.
$600 is what our grocery budget goal has been ever since we started eating paleo. Over the past year, sometimes we have been over-budget, a few times we have been under. $600 seems like a lot to me when I compare it to our no-kids, non-paleo grocery budget from several years ago. As we reassess our monthly allocations in the coming weeks, I hope to keep the grocery number the same, as it is already a challenge to remain within it. I continually remind myself that you get what you pay for. I'd rather spend my money on food than prescriptions, if given the choice. When I look at it as feeding a hungry paleo person an entire week's worth of food (that is 21 meals plus snacks) for less than $35... then it doesn't seem bad at all. Any less seems unreasonable to me without growing some of the food myself, which trust me, you do not want me to do.
Since most of my shopping is done on a weekly basis, that is how I am going to do the breakdown. It will be more beneficial for myself that way, to see if I am on track. Here we go.
These numbers include the approximate 9% tax rate on food in our area.
store-bought meat & fish
produce (fresh, frozen, & canned)
butter, sour cream, & cream cheese
coffee & beverages
herbs & spices
As you can see, we don't eat perfectly paleo all the time (if you didn't already know that). This is what works for us right now. I don't buy everything listed above every week. For example, I don't buy $2 worth of olive oil each week. But I figure I buy about $8-9 of it each month. I'm not really sure how much we spend on store-bought meat, I just picked a number. If we don't spend that on meat, I'm sure it gets spent on fruits and vegetables. Since I've never made an itemized grocery budget before, I'm sure it will receive some tweaking!
Some weeks I may spend more than $133.33 :) But I try to balance things out by the end of the month so it all comes out OK. I will keep you posted for the rest of March and let you know how it goes!