Answering a Reader’s Question: How the Maxwells Handle Groceries

“How do you handle groceries with all your children now grown. Does everyone put in an amount? Does everyone buy their own, or do the parents pay for it all?” Blog Reader Question 

First, thank you to all those who left comments with blog content suggestions. We’re excited about your ideas.

Steve and I pay for the basic groceries for our family, even now that they are adults. If they want extras that wouldn’t be part of our normal meals, they buy their own. They buy their coffee and coffee supplies and snacks they prefer. Sometimes when they are at the store, they will pick something up that we need. 

We are grateful that the Lord has provided the finances for us to be able to manage our food this way. We know that each one would pitch in with food expenses if that was necessary. We would also likely have a different approach if they weren’t wise in what they did with their money.

For those of you who have adult children living with you, how have you chosen to deal with covering the cost of groceries?

Trusting in Jesus,

“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall
continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). 

39 thoughts on “Answering a Reader’s Question: How the Maxwells Handle Groceries”

  1. All 9 of ours are still at home, though 5 are adults. Those with jobs pay rent. It’s not much, but it covers what their groceries cost plus a bit more. I wish we didn’t have to charge them at all or could put their rent into a savings account in their name, but our finances just can’t handle it.

    Like you, if they want anything special, they pay for it themselves and often grab something I forgot during the weekly shopping while they are there anyway.

  2. Our oldest is just about to graduate high school but for the last two years, I have bought enough groceries to cover his basic needs. But he chooses to eat out often and buy his own snacks. He’s not the wisest with his money though. He does pay for his own car insurance, maintenance and gas. He is taking a gap year so he can earn money for college, and we don’t plan on charging him rent or changing our structure with groceries. He pays for his phone bill too. It’s a blessing to provide shelter and food at this stage. If he’s still here at age 30 because he has not been smart with finances, that will be a different situation. I think we all contribute to the household in some way. What a blessing you are to your adult children!

    1. We have heard of parent who do what Mrs. Betty T. said – charge their children room and board, but put it in a savings account if they aren’t, on their own wise with their finances. Then in the future if there is maturity in dealing with finances, they plan to give the child that money, but if not, it remains with the family.

  3. My husband and do the same as your family. We still have 6 out of 14 children living full-time at home…one daughter who would make up 7 of the 14, is at a Christian college in South Carolina during school year. Their ages range 23 to 15…..they all have work full time, except our 15 year old. Each has offered to pick up or pay for grocery items. They also buy any extra they want beyond our usual grocery shopping. Like your family, circumstances would be different if they were not wise with their finances.

    Thank you for sharing!!! It was such an encouragement!

  4. We currently have 4 adult children living at home, plus two non-adult. We provide for the basic food cost for everyone. Two of them who go to work everyday buy their own food for their lunches. And it has been interesting to watch them make choices to stretch their money as far as possible.

    1. That makes sense. At our house, Jesse likes to have extra protein because of his weight lifting workouts so he usually has a stash of chicken or beef that he has purchased and then prepared so that he can easily heat it up for his lunch.

  5. We would do things exactly like you described. The key is that the adult children are using their own money in the ways that please God. Our adult son has been in a state of transition, attending out-of-state college for the past 3.5 years, coming home for Christmases, etc. He finished in December, and has now relocated to another state. We never asked for grocery money when he came home, and also paid when our family went to restaurants. He has worked hard to earn money both to pay his college expenses, and also to put in savings. If this had not been the case, we would have taken a different approach.

    1. Interesting, most of the comments say they do it like you and we are doing, except for the family that needs the extra finances to cover the food costs. And, of course, if we needed that, our children would happily pitch in too.

  6. You really love your children! This is very refreshing and extremely helpful for us to learn. What a protection and provision you have faithfully provided for each child. Blessings!

  7. I don’t have adult children living with me, but when I was an adult living at
    home, things were handled the exact same way. I lived alone for year, and then got married so my husband and I are still experimenting with meal planning. When I did live alone, I found that eating out was about the same as me buying groceries for myself, just with less waste.

  8. Hi Teri
    I’m a widow, and also on disability with one daughter, she is 22 years old. She just starting working full time last summer at the college where she is still part time student, working on her second Associate Degree, we split the household expenses, and she buys her own groceries, and anything that she may need. and she is also able to put back a little bit in savings every month. She has had to work a part time job since she was 16 years, we lost her dad when she was 14. Things have been hard at times, but the Lord has watched out for us and blessed us.

    1. What a sweet testimony for Lord the from one who has suffered loss and hardship. Thank you for sharing. I know it is a blessing for you that your daughter chooses to live at home and is able to share expenses with you and then save some as well.

  9. We buy the groceries for our two adult daughters living at home. They buy their own coffee and snacks. They also do a lot of gardening so in that way they help out too and sometimes hunt for deer as well. Sometimes they will pick things up at the store if I need them, just like your children do.

  10. I am a single parent of 10 with 5 currently at home-4 adults and 2 teens. I am thankful I can pay for the groceries. The 3 employed adults happily add to our needs and wants. One of the adult sons cans our produce (most aid in some ways) to help out as well and has raised our poultry/eggs too. We trade services sometimes for direct food from family farms.

  11. I have two adult children living with me. I buy the groceries. I love to cook and cook from scratch, so at least I know they’re eating healthy. They pay their own bills and also buy any food that they want. They have the money to live on their own but they choose to live with me. I don’t mind. The company is nice and they do a lot around the house. I am a single mother and am blessed that I don’t have to worry about money because I make a good living, so I don’t charge them to live here. But if I did charge, they would happily pay. My daughter lives a plane ride away because she is getting her Master’s degree. I miss her terribly but I raised my children from when they were young to make their occupation God’s choice. I stayed out of that and they have all made great career choices that will help others. You can’t go wrong when God chooses your career path! Her goal is to have a government position at the federal level. We need more Christians in government. It’s none of my business, but I was just wondering what your daughters will do if something happens to you and your husband. Do they make enough to pay the monthly bills on a house? Being a single mother, that was a big worry for me. I was worried that if anything happened to me, they would not be able to make it on their own. But thankfully, my children are all hard workers and make a good living.

    1. So great about your adult children, their decisions, and how the Lord is using that. I think Sarah will do a blog post about she and her sisters and what they do for work. Yes, they each make good incomes and could live on their own if they chose to do so – likely because like your children, they are hard workers and good learners.

  12. Thank you for posting this. We are approaching having our first young adult at home. We still plan to provide for basic needs, while he provides for eating out, extras, etc.
    I lived at home until I married and my parents paid for everything as able. I was always glad to pay when needed.
    My husband’s family was different. He has been entirely on his own since 16 (through no choice of his own)

  13. Our boys are 20 and 24 years old. My husband and I buy the groceries for the menu I plan for the week. If they want something different they will buy it and often prepare it themselves (at least the 20 year old will. LOL). They are responsible for buying their necessities, paying for car repairs, etc. and saving for future homes/families. The 20 year old is engaged and set to marry in 2021.
    The 24 year old is working diligently to repay his college loans (so could’ve done better with more scholarships) and recently began a courtship.

  14. We have six children, three graduated high school. Those three adults work part- to full time, with the goal of full time weekly.
    Ours each pay $200/mo room & board plus they pay their portion of driver’s insurance (required by law in NC even if a driver doesn’t own a vehicle). And if they eat out or want special snacks they buy and store those on their own.
    We have an extra car that they share between them without additional cost. They put in gas, but we maintain the basic costs of the vehicle.
    We also live in town, within a mile of men’s jobs so they often walk to work and our daughter drives to her more distant job.

    I suppose that we could cover their costs as before but we feel that they should contribute and pay this small amount. It is far cheaper than rent, utilities, groceries, etc (+appliances and furniture) on their own at just about $6.50/day.

    1. That sounds like a workable, reasonable solution. And you are right. It is much less expensive than living on their own, and the income to the family helps with the cost of them living at home. That’s great.

  15. For the one and a half month we had an adult child living at home, we bought basic groceries. If he wanted something different he bought it. If we went out as a family, we paid. If he wanted something when we weren’t planning on eating out, he paid for his own. He worked in the summer to cover expenses throughout the year. He would have been 27 tomorrow.

  16. We do exactly as you do but we also charge those that are working some room and board. Not a lot because they save so well. But to be honest we need it. My husband had to change professions during the recession and has not been able to make what he use to.
    Thanks for sharing. God Bless.

  17. We plan on a similar approach as our oldest is now 18 and living at home while attending college in preparatiom for law school. We feel that if our adult children are living at home and in school, working, or being productive at home, then paying for the household expenses ourselves including groceries is a big way that we can be a blessing to them.

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