For years I’ve told people the average grocery expense per person each month is $150. So, if it’s you, a spouse and you have two kids, that means you likely spend $600 per month on groceries.

I’m a pretty good saver yet I have to tell ya, I think that number is darn near impossible. Especially if you value eating healthy food.

For Michael and me, eating healthy is far more important than saving a few bucks by stocking up on Ramen. In the grand scheme of things, eating healthy saves you money. Sure your monthly grocery bill may be higher, but over the course of your life, you’ll see long-term benefits like lower life insurance premiums and fewer medical expenses.

I know that, yet, I always have this “$150/person/month” number in my head, so knowing we spend twice that is sometimes hard to ignore.

So when I came across this new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I was relieved to see numbers based on a healthy diet. After all, I’m pretty sure the meat, fruits, and vegetables cost a little bit more than boxed macaroni and cheese.

The report calculates different costs for a healthy diet at home for a 4-member family:

  • $146 per week for a thrifty food plan
  • $191 per week for a low-cost food plan
  • $239 per week for a moderate-cost food plan
  • $289 per week for a liberal food plan

Seeing a range of up to $289 feels far more reasonable and in line with our grocery buying habits. It’s possible to buy healthy food and still maintain a reasonable grocery budget. You’re never going to spend less on healthy food that you will cheaply-made, highly-processed food. But that’s ok. The best reason for buying healthy food is being healthy. And you can’t put a price on that.

For more ideas on how to shop healthy and save money check out this post – 8 Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store.