What to Do When You’re Frustrated With Your Grocery Budget


Are you frustrated with your grocery budget? Read this for encouragement!

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Grocery Budget Frustration

I recently received this question from a reader:

“I have a family of five. Why oh why can’t I stay on our grocery budget? We budget $750 per month and I see that you do it on $70 per week. I just don’t understand what I’m doing wrong! I’m frustrated down to my toes about this issue. I shop the markdowns, I portion control, I buy bargains — and yet I still go over every single month. I just don’t understand!” -Christy

I get this question pretty often because a lot of people see my $70 grocery budget and get frustrated and feel like they must be doing something wrong.

Here’s what I want to encourage you to do…

1. Stop comparing.

Comparison is the thief of joy. If you spend your life comparing yourself to other people, you’ll always come up short.

You’ll miss out on embracing your life right where you’re at, because you’ll be so busy worrying about what other people are doing.

We all come from different backgrounds. I was raised by parents who were very frugal and modeled excellent money management for me every single day of my life. A lot of people didn’t have that modeled for them growing up, and that makes a big difference!

Don’t beat yourself up over what you’re not doing or what you’re doing wrong. Instead, focus on what you can do! (More on that below.)

Kroger Grocery Shopping Haul

2. Remember your limitations.

We are all different families in different situations!

  • Maybe you went into your adult life knowing nothing about saving money, since it wasn’t modeled for you.
  • Maybe you have food allergies or sensitivities, so you can’t buy just anything and have to be more particular.
  • Maybe you don’t have many store options in your area.
  • Maybe you don’t have an ALDI or Kroger with markdowns.
  • Maybe you have a time limitation because of your work schedule.
  • Maybe you have a house full of teenage boys who are eating you out of house and home.
  • Maybe you have kids in diapers, and that adds to your grocery budget.

My parents modeled great money management for me, our family doesn’t have any food specifications, we have tons of store options in our area (including 3 different Krogers and an ALDI), and I work from home in a job that’s all about saving money. Therefore, I have a lot of advantages when it comes to our grocery budget!

We all have different limitations. It’s important to give yourself grace!

big grocery trip

3. Ask yourself what you can do.

Don’t be a defeatist and just give up, but be a realist about what you can do within your limitations!

Make sure you have a grocery budget — even if it feels way over the top compared to others. Know how much you’re spending.

Challenge yourself to examine the stores in your area and figure out your options. You might have to get a little creative! Maybe you have a small local grocery store, an Asian market, or farmer’s market. Or maybe ordering off Amazon or having a produce box delivered will be your best bet. Perhaps you have a friend who gardens and you can offer your time to help in exchange for some of the produce.

My advice is to try to shave 1-3% off your grocery budget every month. One simple change can shave a little bit off your grocery budget each month. And over time, that will add up to a big grocery budget cut as you increase that each month!

I bet there’s something you can do right now. Get creative, think up ideas, and don’t give up! (Need something to get you started? Check out these 25 ideas to cut your grocery budget and these 18 other ideas submitted by readers.)

4. Celebrate your success.

Focus on what you’re doing right and celebrate that!

Make a little bit of headway each month, and you’ll start recognizing how amazing you’re doing. And I bet you’ll get excited about it instead of discouraged!

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I’d love for you to leave a comment telling us your very best tip for saving money on your groceries!

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