One of the categories I have in my budget is "groceries." I'm also going to discuss another category I have which is "cleaning/toiletries."
I have read that you should budget $50/person in your grocery budget. This figure is doable with a little bit of work on your part such as meal planning which we discussed yesterday. I currently budget $300 each month which is $50 over this figure for our family of five. However, I have a 14 year-old growing son who eats A LOT and I also use any money left over at the end of the month to build up my pantry items or to stock up on any good deals on meat that I can then use during the next month of meal-planning. So, you need to sit down and figure out how much you want to spend per person. And you may have to do some trial-and-error in the beginning for a few months until you figure out what works for you. I'm only into my second month of working with a grocery bugdet that is half of what it used to be, so I'm still in the experimental phase.
I also budget $50 total per month for cleaning/paper/toiletry expenses. I have used this amount for several years and have found it to be doable for our family. This category includes things such as toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, cleaning/laundry products, and self-care products such as shampoo, soap, mouthcare, and deoderant. Some people choose to include this figure in their grocery category, but I like mine separate.
And if you don't currently have an expense budget, I highly advise you establish one. It's very comforting to know how much money you have alotted for the different expenses you have each month as well as some unexpected ones such as car repairs or clothing for teenage boys who are growing like weeds. :)
But if you don't have a detailed monthly expense budget, start with a food budget this coming month. You can find a ton of resources available for free that help you set up a monthly budget. Here is a site I just found this morning that is pretty brief and basic, but it gives an introduction to setting up a budget. I have also found Crown Financial Ministries to be a great, Godly resource. And my husband and I have read several of Dave Ramsey's financial books that have really helped as well (check your local library for Dave Ramsey books; that's where I got mine from.)
Next time we will discuss another big step in saving money at the grocery store, probably the biggest, paying with cash. Paying with cash will help you stick to your grocery budget!