The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.
Our biggest expense every month is no surprise – it’s our mortgage. Our second biggest expense is slightly more surprising – food. Mr. BFS and I live together, we have no kids, yet we spend between $400-$600 a month for groceries, restaurants, and fast food.
Our most expensive food category changes monthly depending on how well stocked our chest freezer is, but we spend about the same for groceries as we do eating out. It usually is a conscious decision when we are going to get home too late to cook or when one of us has a hankering for something specific.
Since we do spend more than we need to on food, I occasionally make plans on how we could cut back. These plans make me feel a little safer, like a “break glass in case of emergency” scenario.
Here’s my most recent plan:
1) If we ate out no more than once a week, that would come to $80 or less a month.
2) We already stock up on meats at Sam’s Club like steak, pork chops, hamburger, and chicken for about $40 a month.
3) We also stock up on fozen veggies like green beans, mixed vegetables, corn, and sliced carrots for $30 a month.
4) We “only spend” about $125 a month for the rest of our extras now, so we could continue this without any problems. That would cover bread, milk, butter, potatoes, fruit, Digiorno, hot dogs, fish, and any other sides.
5) We’d probably continue hosting a monthly gaming party unless we were really hurting, which runs us about $50 including food and supplies.
That would bring our monthly food bill to $325. It’s amazing what happens when you cut out a bunch of eating out…
I’m not sure if we’ll ever follow this to the letter, but it does make me feel better to have backup plans. Thankfully the school year has started, so Mr. BFS doesn’t eat out as much as he does when he’s off. We also have discovered several new recipes that are yummy enough to have kept us in our kitchen pretty regularly lately anyway. Who knows, we may just naturally end up saving more money in time. :-)
What does your food budget look like? Is it one of your biggest expenses too?