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How to Grocery Shop for Four

By David

July 10, 2024

If you’re struggling to figure out how to grocery shop for four, you’re not alone. It can be hard enough to shop for one or two, but balancing the grocery budget for a family of four against what everyone wants (and needs) can at times feel impossible. Fetch is here to make your life easier, and that includes helping grocery shop, budget and meal plan for a family of four.

Read on for our tips on meal planning for a family of four on a budget, including a starting grocery shopping list for four people.

Don’t have Fetch? Download our free rewards app today to start turning your family’s grocery hauls into free gift cards you can use to offset the cost of groceries for four people, which, as you’ll see, has increased substantially in the last five years.

Text reading, "Turn your groceries into gift cards -- get the app"

How Much Are Groceries for Four People?

According to the USDA, the average grocery bill for a family of four comes in at just under $1,000 per month ($976.60, to be exact) in 2024. That’s for a more thrifty budget; they recommend upwards of $1,500 per month for a liberal budget. If those number seem high, it’s because grocery costs have increased about 25% since 2020, and the USDA has updated their estimates to reflect this.

The USDA grocery budget for a family of four is just a recommendation, though, and we can work to build a budget shopping list for a family of four that works for you.

Meal Plan for a Family of Four

No two families approach meal planning for a family of four in the same way. Your kids might hate PB&J. Your neighbor’s family might be vegetarians. You might have more time for cooking and need fewer grab-and-go type items.

The important thing to remember is that a grocery list for a family of four needs items that do double or triple duty; for example, you’ll see berries in three different spots in our meal plan. This is how you commit to meal planning on a budget for four.

Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Yogurt with berries

Lunch

  • Leftovers
  • Quesadillas
  • PB&J sandwiches
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Egg salad sandwiches

Snacks

  • Berries
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Fresh veggies with hummus
  • Pretzels and cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Dessert

  • Apple Pan Betty
  • Berries with vanilla ice cream
  • Cookies
  • Berry cobbler “dump” cake

Dinner

  • Leftovers
  • Slow cooker meals (beef stew, pulled pork, chicken fajitas, chicken korma)
  • Beef stroganoff with peas
  • Quesadillas (cheese/chicken/beef) with chips and salsa
  • Homemade or take-and-bake pizza

In 2024, the average grocery bill for a family of four comes in at just under $1,000 per month

Grocery Shopping List for Four People

Learning how to grocery shop for a family of four comes with trial and error, starting with a grocery list. Here’s where we would start to grocery shop for a family of four on a budget:

Meats

  • Chicken breast
  • Ground beef

Dairy and Refrigerated

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Shredded cheese
  • Hummus
  • Cookie dough

Frozen

  • Frozen pizza
  • Frozen fruits and veggies
  • Vanilla ice cream

Produce

  • Bananas
  • Bag of apples
  • Berries (whichever are on sale)
  • Fresh veggies for dipping (baby carrots, broccoli)
  • Shredded lettuce

Deli

  • Sandwich meats
  • Ready-to-eat meals
  • Take-and-bake pizza

Grains, Sauces & Dry Goods

  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Black beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla chips
  • Pretzels
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly

Still trying to get your grocery list to come in under budget? We also suggest taking a look at the 6 to 1 grocery shopping method, which will help you prioritize the right types of food in the recommended proportions.

Printable Grocery Shopping List for Four People

Printable grocery shopping list for four people

Tips for Grocery Shopping for Four on a Budget

Building a budget-friendly grocery list starts with our grocery shopping list for four people above. Making a grocery list for a family of four on a budget means making smart choices on just what you’re buying. 

Here are some of our top tips for filling out a budget shopping list for a family of four and stretching your dollar as you do it:

  1. Open the Fetch app and build your shopping list from our available offers.
  2. Check the store ad. Many brands have sales that make them more affordable than the generic. Take advantage of “buy X get Y free” offers if it’s food your family eats regularly.
  3. Buy in bulk. Grocery shopping for a family of four means considering how long that box of pasta or bag of rice will last. 
  4. Shop at higher-volume retailers. Consider Sam’s Club when your bulk options at smaller grocery stores are limited.
  5. Shop less frequently. Trips to the store take time, and you can often get the most discounts by buying in larger volumes in one trip.

Remember, you can turn your Fetch points into free gift cards, so all the ways you can earn more points will help you come in under the average grocery bill for a family of four. Be sure to:

  1. Snap your receipts.
  2. Shop available offers.
  3. Do your online shopping with Fetch Shop.
  4. Play phone games to earn points in Fetch Play.

How to Grocery Shop for Four Using the Fetch App

Whether you have a frugal or liberal grocery budget for your family of four, using the Fetch app will make your dollar go further. Download the app, snap any receipts you have from the last 15 days to start banking your points, then snap your ongoing receipts. Shop the available offers to make more points, and then turn those points into gift cards to your grocery store (or for takeout, when you want to splurge a bit).

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Topics: Food and Drink, Shopping Lists


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David

David Fairbanks is a writer, science educator and Chicagoan fueled by coffee. He's written about everything from Ferraris to handcrafted pet urns to Superman, and he genuinely loves loyalty/rewards programs.