Money Help: How to budget for food and how we do it
A reader asked how we budget for food, and my initial answer was:
We don’t budget for it at all… It’s kind of open-ended.
We buy whatever we want.
… then I thought more about it and kind of got scared. I almost didn’t want to do this post and face reality, but here it is.
We don’t budget at all for food, and it is obvious I stuff my face outside a lot more than I should.
My justification for all of that, is once winter hits & it is freezing cold, I won’t be going out to eat at markets any more with Baby Bun, so the MOST I’ll spend is maybe $15 for just myself once a week, or $120 a month, plus treats, so $150 instead of these ridiculous numbers I am about to show you.
But first, numbers!
With my handy budgeting tool, I can see that up to this year, our grocery budget has looked like this:
MY INITIAL REACTION: WHAAAAAAAAT?
I knew it would be ugly.
On average, I stuff my piehole with almost $1000 a month.
Only $600 of that can be called “family food”, that includes all the expensive goat milk Baby Bun is drinking, which makes up about $130 of that $600 total.
The rest of that budget, which is $470, is mostly vegetables, grains, bottled water, stocking up on pastas, etc, and our special dinners that happen only twice a week.
Our only saving grace is our budget would be at least $200 more per month if we ate meat everyday, which we don’t. I’m also considering asking my partner to cut out chicken from the budget every week unless he makes it that day and we eat it then and there.
It doesn’t taste as good unless it’s fresh.
Our special dinners are usually expensive French cheese, baguettes, and whatever we can find that happens to be interesting that week.
It DOES get pricey when you think about it being at least $10 per person, or $30 a meal, about 3 times a week or $90, which is about $360 a month or half of our budget.
…which makes sense. We eat mostly vegan / vegetarian during the week so the rest is vegetables.
Baby Bun eats like a moderate adult, so don’t discount his tiny toddler size….
Baby Bun looks small, but he eats big.
Where I really feel utterly guilty is in the personal eating department.
I spend on average $320 a month just eating out.
I would like to note that Baby Bun DOES eat half of my food.
So technically, since we are together 24/7, I am eating out with him, and he eats about $160 of that per month on average. :\
That’s why I think the budget has been so high as well, I am feeding him as well as myself when we go out (otherwise he gets really grumpy when he sees me eating without him).
So each time we eat out, it’s at least $40, because each meal is about $15 plus taxes, and I need to buy 2.
(I don’t go to McDonald’s…)
We used to go to open markets to eat at food trucks / stalls, sometimes I’ll pick up some homemade French fare when I am craving something like boeuf bourguignon at the local caterer… and then the rest it’s treats like croissants, pain au chocolats, and just.. SNACKS.
I also ate a lot of sushi with Baby Bun, and those bills run at least $60 a meal with our eating habits.
UHH.. HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A PF BLOGGER?
You know, I’m starting to wonder about that myself.
That said, I do track what we eat and what we spend, and since I do that, I KNOW what we spend and overspend.
It’s obvious I’ve been in denial about my spending on food thinking it’s an essential, which it is, but not stuff like cakes like this every week:
I need to start making these cakes at home so that the work involved, deters me.
So now that I am finally facing the music (I should do this more often, like quarterly), I am going to have to scale back.
My new budget for going out is $150 a month for personal eats, and for family eats, we will leave it as-is because it ain’t broke.
SO WHAT ARE YOUR BUDGETING NUMBERS?
So, starting in October (I don’t have our final September numbers yet from my partner), it’ll be this:
Family Food: $600
Personal Eats: $150
$750 total. Not as good as $500, but still better than $1000.