Climate change and weather variability pose serious threats to food and nutrition security as well as ecosystems, especially when livelihoods depend heavily on natural resources. This study examines the effect of weather variability (shock) occurring up to three planting and growing season prior on per capita monthly household expenditure in rural Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana. The analyses combine monthly temperature (1950–2013) and precipitation (1981–2013) data with data from several rounds of household surveys conducted between 1998 and 2013. Substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity is documented in the incidence of shocks, with effects dependent on both the study and lag period considered. Analysis of short panel data shows the cumulative effect of above-average precipitation on expenditure to be negative in Uganda -while positive in Tanzania-, but the relationship does not persist when pooling survey data spanning over a decade. The evidence from pooled data suggests a positive association between above-average temperature (heat wave) and expenditure in (historically cooler) Uganda, with the opposite effect observed in (the relatively warmer) Tanzania. For Ghana, the association between heat wave and expenditure is positive. There is no evidence of heterogeneous effects along several dimensions, except by agro-ecological condition. Further research into the effects of shocks on more direct outcomes–such as agricultural practices, yields, and dietary intake–is therefore recommended to shed light on possible impact pathways and appropriate localized adaptation strategies.