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What Does $100 Get You at the Grocery Store?

angelawatson
Angela Mae Updated: July 5, 2023 • 7 min read
mom at grocery store

If you’ve been to the grocery store in the past 6 months or so, chances are you’ve noticed a difference in your bill at checkout. Thanks to inflation, many products have become more expensive – including food.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of groceries has risen by 6.7% in the past 12 months. This is a significant drop from the previous year, but it doesn’t change the fact that your total grocery bill is likely to be higher than it was in recent years.

Since groceries are an inevitable part of life, you may be wondering how far your money goes today. If so, here’s what you can buy for $100 today versus 6 to 12 months ago, as well as the average prices for some key grocery staples.

What Does a $100 Shopping Cart Look Like Now?

The cost of many food staples has fluctuated over the past 6 months or so, but certain items have gone down in price. This is good news if you’re heading to the grocery store with $100 in your pocket (or bank account) and want to stock up on the staples at home.

Here are the top things to spend $100 on the next time you’re out that can make your money stretch further.

*Note, the below prices are estimates, based on credible third-party government sources. The prices of groceries vary widely according to geography, retailer and more. Shop around and compare prices to find the best deals near you. 

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1. Milk: $4.34

An important staple on anyone’s $100 grocery list is milk. Regardless of the type you prefer – whole, skim, 1%, etc. –, milk is essential for things like cereal, baking, and cooking.

On average, a gallon of whole milk costs $4.34. But in January of this year, that same item cost closer to $4.43. This is a slight price reduction, which is good news for anyone with a budget grocery list.

2. Bread: $1.95

Bread is another essential as it can be used in many different things, including sandwiches for lunch or toast for breakfast. A typical loaf of white bread currently costs around $1.95. In comparison, that same loaf of bread would have cost $1.87 last December, so the price has slightly increased.

3. Eggs: $2.67

Egg prices spiked around January 2023 when a 12-pack carton of grade A eggs went for around $4.82. Prices have recently fallen, though, so you can now pick up a carton of eggs for closer to $2.67.

The price can fluctuate widely based on where you go and what type of eggs you’re getting. For example, Walmart carries Great Value eggs for $1.17 a dozen. But a 12-count of organic Marketside Cage Free Large Brown eggs is much more expensive at $4.17.

4. Chicken: $4.24

Chicken is a multipurpose source of protein, making it a staple in many meals. You can use it in things like casseroles, soups, pastas, or on its own. Over the past 6 to 12 months, a pound of boneless chicken breast has slightly declined. Currently, it averages out at $4.24, whereas it was closer to $4.30 at this time last year.

Keep in mind that these prices are based on a pound of chicken. However, many manufacturers will sell packs of chicken that weigh more than a pound, so you could end up spending more.

5. Ground beef: $4.95

From hamburger helper to grilled hamburgers, ground beef is an essential grocery list item for many families. A pound of 100% ground chuck currently averages out at $4.95, which is $0.19 higher than it was in December of last year.

With ground beef, another major factor in the price is the fat percentage. At Walmart, for example, a pound of 80% lean 20% fat ground beef chuck costs about $5.92. You may be able to cut costs a little by purchasing the ground beef that’s sold in a tube.

6. Rice: $1.00

Rice is a major staple in many pantries, largely due to its versatility. A pound of long-grain white rice (uncooked) currently costs around $1.00, on average. In December 2022, that same bag would have cost $0.97. This is a fairly negligible increase, making it a must for anyone’s budget grocery list.

You can also save money by buying rice in bulk, since it lasts a long time. At Harris Teeter, for example, a 5-pound bag of white rice is $3.99. This breaks down to about $0.80 a pound.

7. Pasta: $1.46

Speaking of versatility, pasta is another major staple, and a great thing to add to your $100 grocery list. The average price of raw spaghetti and macaroni noodles is $1.46 per pound. The cost of pasta has barely moved during the last six months, so it's a great inflation-proof staple.

8. Cheese: $5.84

As of May 2023, a pound of cheddar cheese costs around $5.84, on average. A year prior, it would have cost $5.65, so prices of cheese have moved up quite a bit.

However, prices can vary immensely based on the brand and type of cheese. For instance, deli-style sliced mild cheddar cheese costs $2.22 for 8 ounces at Walmart, or $4.44 a pound. This could lead to some great savings on your next grocery run.

If you have a credit or debit card that offers cashback rewards, you can use that to help offset the cost of groceries.

9. Breakfast cereal: $3.98 to $8.95

When it comes to breakfast staples, cereal definitely makes the list. But it might not fit onto everyone’s budget grocery list. That’s because it can cost anywhere from $3.98 to $8.95, depending on the type of cereal you get. 

10. Fruits: Varies

Apples, bananas, oranges, and other fruits are essential for their nutritional value, but prices vary widely. For example, a bag of navel oranges currently costs $1.52, whereas it was slightly higher at $1.55 last year. Last December, a pound of bananas cost $0.63, on average – it hasn’t changed much since then.

When shopping for fruit, check what’s in season and look for deals. Certain types of apples, for example, cost less than others. Organic fruits, meanwhile, cost more than non-organic options.

11. Vegetables: Varies

Vegetables are also a grocery staple, one that can be used in a variety of dishes. What’s great about vegetables is that you can also purchase many of them in bulk for a lower overall price. Make sure you properly store or freeze the veggies you don’t use so they don’t go bad, though.

In terms of inflation, pricing comparisons are limited for vegetables. You can, however, buy a pound of romaine lettuce for $2.83. A year ago, that same item was $2.99, so veggie prices have slightly decreased.

12. Canned goods: $3.18

Soups and other canned goods like vegetables have increased in price due to inflation. For example, a 12-ounce can of orange juice was $2.856 in May last year. It’s gone up since then to $3.18, on average. 

13. Peanut butter: $2.87

If you want to make budget-friendly lunches for yourself or the kids, peanut butter is a must. The price varies, though. SKIPPY® peanut butter, for instance, costs $2.62 at Walmart. Jif® peanut butter goes for $3.12. Peanut butter prices have remained relatively stable throughout the last year, so it's a great buy as well.

$100 Grocery List Total

If you add up each of the above staples, your total grocery bill would be roughly $41.50. However, this is assuming you only buy one of everything for the entire trip. If, for example, you included a few different types of fruits, canned goods, and meats to your shopping cart, you could easily start creeping up to that $100 mark.

Another thing to keep in mind is how long each item lasts. For a family of four, for instance, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a box of cereal might only last about a week – if that. In that case, you might need to buy four of each of these items to fill out the entire month.

Whatever the case, it’s entirely possible to get cheap groceries on a $100 budget. You’ll just need to plan accordingly.

Money Saving Grocery Hacks for Inflation

Looking for more ways to save money at the grocery store during high inflation? Here are a few strategies to implement:

  • Create a meal plan: A meal plan makes it easier to organize weekly meals and ensures you only buy what you need. Plan based on your budget and stick to the list.
  • Buy in bulk: Certain grocery items, such as rice and canned goods, can be purchased in bulk since they have a longer shelf life than other perishables. 
  • Avoid excess meat: Meat can significantly increase how much you spend. Stick with cheaper options or avoid using too much meat to cut costs.
  • Take advantage of rewards and loyalty programs: If you have a credit or debit card that offers cashback rewards, you can use that to help offset the cost of groceries. Many grocery store chains also have loyalty programs that come with built-in discounts on food.
  • Use coupons: There are many different types of coupons, including ones you can get on digital apps like Ibotta or Rakuten. Certain stores, like Target, also have their own app with the current deals or discounts displayed. Use coupons and cashback rewards to save even more.
  • Consider where you shop: If you’re on a tight budget, shop at places like Aldi. These locations may have fewer brand options, but you can typically get the staples.
  • Buy generic: Generic brands, or those offered by the store itself, tend to be cheaper than brand names. For example, a jar of Great Value peanut butter is around $1.84 – that’s $1.28 cheaper than a jar of the name-brand equivalent.
  • Get help if you need it: If you’re struggling to afford the cost of food, see if your state or city offers food assistance programs, food pantries, or similar programs.

Conclusion

Although inflation has slowed down, the cost of groceries is still on the rise. However, some staples are at a similar price point to what they were 6 or even 12 months ago. A few – like eggs – have actually decreased in cost. What this means is that, if you’re grocery shopping on a budget of $100, you can still find cheap groceries to fit into your budget grocery list.

angelawatson
Written by Angela Mae

Angela Mae is a personal finance writer specializing in loans, debt management, investing, retirement planning, and financial literacy. She comes from a journalistic background and pulls from hands-on experience and deep-dive research to breathe life into her stories. Her goal is to help others achieve financial stability and independence. When not writing, she can be found traveling, honing her yoga skills, hiking, or exploring new means of healthy, sustainable living.