A food bill is unique among bills when compared to the rest of the required expenses within a household. Unlike a $70 cable bill or a $200 electric bill that a household pays on a specific day of every month, the amount of a grocery bill often fluctuates much more than other necessary costs, with a trip to the store for milk and eggs priced at only around $10, and a full-cart trip priced at upwards of $100 or more.
The Food Marketing Institute, which studies the grocery shopping industry and shopping trends, says the main types of trips to the grocery store are stock-up trips, when people fill up carts with items they’ll use over the next week or more; fill-in trips, when people buy items they run out of between stock-up trips; special purpose trips, when people have a party or special reason to visit the grocery store outside of regular household needs; quick food trips, when people buy just a few quick food items; and quick non-food trips, when people buy a few non-food household items like trash bags or toiletries.
In a more recent report, the institute also reports that shoppers are turning to a number of methods for their shopping: Some use online apps and delivery services, while others use digital services to help plan meals and other food-related tasks. Not only that, but many households are splitting the shopping between two or more people, with a shared shopping load.
Because people go to the grocery store so often and use different methods, determining exactly how much is spent from month to month is a kind of a pain. The average consumer visits the grocery store approximately twice a week, and of course, the bill on each of these trips is seldom the same amount. Plus, how many times has someone gone to the grocery store planning to spend $50 and then came out of the store $200 poorer with a cart full of food they didn’t plan to buy?
Most households also eat away from home at least on occasion, which adds to the overall food bill as well. With all of the trips to the store, both large and small, and all of the trips out to restaurants, an out-of-control food bill can send someone to the poor house. Do you feel like you’re spending too much money on food? Here are a 10 signs that you may be.