I eat my paychecks

What is wrong with me? How is it possible that I spend so much money on food and drink month after month? How is it possible that I’m not 450 lbs? In January I spent $756 on food and drinks. That’s almost as much as my rent. That’s more than a quarter of my take home pay. And that is typical, if not an improvement, to my monthly budget. I honestly don’t even know. The problem is, that even though this number sounds astronomically high, when I break it down (almost) everything seems reasonable. Help me!

I spent $387 on groceries in January. I rarely buy anything packaged and I don’t eat meat, so I don’t know why it’s such a struggle to get this number down. Each week I  spend around $90 on breakfast (yogurt), snacks (fruits, veggies, nuts), lunch (sandwiches) and ingredients for 1-2 healthy dinners for Kurt and I that always have leftovers. February goal: $320.

I spent $33 on coffee in January, down from $80 in October. Since that wake up call, I’ve started making coffee at home or work instead of picking one up every morning, but almost all of January’s coffees (and teas) were sipped over great conversation with friends or at important off-site meetings. February goal: $25

I spent $52 going out for drinks on 4 separate occasions. Given I used to drop this in a night, twice a week, it’s an okay number. I’d like to keep my monthly “out for drinks” budget around $50, but it’s going to be hard in February as it’s one of those birthday heavy months. February goal: $75

I spent $19 on wine for at home consumption. This is way down from the  $100 I spent on wine in December. I drank a lot of water and tea, except for that one time when I just needed a glass of wine. You know how it is. February goal: $12

I spent $51 out at restaurants, kind of. I had one $22 brunch. And I also spent $29 at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on traditional meals for Kurt and I–perogies, borscht, sausages, cabbage rolls. The prices here have gone up over the years, but it is their monthly fundraiser, so…. February goal: $75 because birthdays

I spent $82 on take out. Yeah, okay, I sucked at this. There were days I didn’t bring enough food to work and I had to grab lunch. And Thai food is my favourite, so I did treat Kurt once or twice. I guess it’s a lesson (that I thought I learned last month) that I need to make sure I have food at home. February goal: $30 and only because I already spent $11 on fish tacos 

I spent $14 on treats. Again, too high, but sometimes you just need a treat. February goal: $8 which is the price of two cronuts in case you were wondering

I spent $83 on wine and food that I brought to friend’s homes. I guess it’s high, but what else do I do? Not ask if I can bring anything? Say no to a games night because I’m too cheap to pick up an appy or a bottle of wine? No thanks. I don’t buy expensive wine either, my friends don’t need to be impressed. I think this was so high because my restaurant and drinks numbers were quite low, so I’m thinking February will be reversed. February goal: $40

So that’s where I’m at and where I want to be. If I’m able to meet all these goals I’ll be down to $585 on food and drink in February, which is still totally a bonkers number! What am I doing wrong here? Or is this normal? What is a good number to be spending on food and drink monthly?

**Just so there’s no misunderstanding here around me keeping my boyfriend fed, we have a loose guideline of providing one another 2 dinners each a week. For the most part, I cook for him twice a week and he takes me out to eat twice a week. Our relationship with food is very give and take.

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15 thoughts on “I eat my paychecks

  1. I could say that is hight but I’m not one to talk. I spent about 350 on food just for me, but I rarely eat out/get takeout/drinks/etc. And I buy very cheap wine for home (Two-buck chuck). I would say just try to make some small changes (like with the coffee). If you meet your friends for coffee can you bring your coffee in a to go mug from home so you have something to drink while you’re there? If I’m dining some place in walking distance I’l have a glass of my cheap red wine at home so I don’t order a drink from the restaurant. Just little tricks like that.

    • $350 is sooo good!! In my defence, I’m Canadian and the cheapest wine I can get is $12…but really that isn’t even it. Haha. That is such a good idea about bringing coffee/wine in a togo mug. I will definitely be trying that!

  2. My January food/drink cost ended being 286 dollars. But I guess that would look a lot different if I was in a relationship. Now I hardly ever to never eat out anymore, and I only paid for 2 coffees the entire month.
    I think it’s a great idea to look into things so detailed, though, especially when you want to lower the expenses. You’ll find a way to make it happen!

  3. Food is hard to budget for me, because the way I see it, a girls gotta eat!! If you are cutting back on going out to eat, then the fridge has gotta be stocked, right? Probably wrong, but I am a work in progress, When returning from traveling abroad, where food was plentiful & fresh, but not as much variety available, I spent $166 at the grocery store!! In one trip- for me that was pretty high. In February I haven’t done the math yet on my grocery spending so far, but the winter blues make it hard not to want to chow down.

    • I totally agree!! For me to spend less then $80 on groceries in a week, is a very good (and rare) week. I’ve definitely done $166. I’m just wondering what all these grocery shopping all stars are buying? I wish I could see their shopping lists and learn a lesson!

  4. I’ve written about my $30/week grocery list a few times (http://www.lesliebeslie.com/2013/07/29/another-look-at-30-worth-of-weekly-groceries/) though I live alone so that’s just for me (and in nyc so prices are a bit wonky).

    Looking at January, I spent $50 on booze, $63 on groceries, and $273 eating out which means $385 total on food/drink for the month. I normally spend more on groceries and less on eating out, but either way it usually comes out the same. Honestly, I find grocery buying a lot easier in the summer time when I have fresh produce and can just make a lunch salad every day.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your grocery list! The first thing that stands out to me is that I eat waaay more than you. Haha. And the second thing is that I spend way too much on yoghurt–$20/week! It’s almost embarrassing…

  5. Pingback: Continued: Paycheck Eating | The Love of Gadgetry

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