Average food budget for a family of 3
Grocery shopping for three can be challenging. You need to understand how much food each person needs for every meal, and stick to a budget. Here’s a simple guide to get you started.
How much should I budget for three people?
Three-person households across Aotearoa spend, on average, $182.40 per week ($730 per month) on food (excluding beverages and restaurant meals), according to Stats NZ.
But how much do you need to spend to ensure the whole family eats well?
The Department of Human Nutrition at University of Otago estimates a minimum weekly food cost for New Zealanders in the four main cities to meet basic dietary and nutritional needs.
- For three adults, this sits around $192.37 a week ($770 per month), based on an average of adult men and women across the country.
- Based on this, a weekly food budget of around $200 is plenty to ensure a proper, balanced diet.
If you’re after a bit more variety, a moderate shop is estimated at around $249.75 per week ($1000 per month).
Meanwhile, a liberal shop incorporating convenience foods and imported produce is likely to cost around $299.25 per week ($1,200 per month).
Of course, many three-person households will include a little one. Expect to budget less for food when accounting for kids, as they’ll typically eat less than an adult. Try reducing the budget by about $20 per child per week .
What can I buy with these budgets?
Using the average of $182.40 per week ($730 per month) from Stats NZ, we’ve put together an example food budget and shopping list below.
Ultimately, the way you’ll spend your budget will depend on the make-up of your household. With a kid in the home, you might be more likely to include easy grab-and-go school lunch options like muesli bars.
Get recipe inspiration with our Budget Meal Planners
When you’re cooking for three people, your best bet is to plan your meals a week in advance and do plenty of meal prep.
You’ll probably want to introduce convenience foods to your budget to save time. Try not to go overboard with these as they can quickly add up.
Shopping list for a family of 3
We’ve put together this example shopping list to give you an idea of what foods you could buy with your budget.
Download the list and take it with you to the supermarket. Or use it as inspiration to make your own.
*All prices are indicative only, and may vary according to seasonality, sales and demand. Product, price and limits may vary between store.
Looking for more ways to save?
Check out our tips on food budgeting or take a look at our other food budget guides.
- Food budget and shopping list for one person
- Food budget and shopping list for two people
- Food budget and shopping list for family of 4
- $20 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $30 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $50 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $100 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $150 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $200 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list