Generally, Mrs. ROB and I are somewhat financially healthy. We have money in investments, our home will be paid off in 10 years (if not sooner), we generally have more money coming in then going out, but we also live paycheck to paycheck like most Americans. Part of this is because Mrs. ROB’s income is a little unusual because she works at multiple campuses. Mine is more steady, but I do make more money during the summer doing extra duties, which can also offer a great windfall, but it usually gets used up by January and June which we don’t get that extra money so I need to sock it away to pay for expenses.
Like most American families we also have traditional expenses. We have a car payment, mortgage, student loans, gas, electricity, etc. We also pay for food, like most families. The average American family spends about $500 a month on food per year. In the ROB household we don’t spend that much.
It is worse.
Yes, you read that right $1300 a month for the two of us.
That is how much money our mortgage is (and I am not kidding).
I know that we spend too much money on food. And I know that we need to get it down more. I would like to get it down more.
The truth is Mrs. ROB and I like to eat too much. We go out to eat too much and we don’t cook at home enough. And when we do cook, well Mrs. ROB is one of the finest chefs there is around. I would put her against anyone, but the ingredients can be expensive.
That is why I am trying to figure out multiple ways to reduce our food bill. I just want to get it down to $1000.
Some Steps We Can Take:
- Only eat out once or twice per week. The problem is that we will often go for convenience instead of cooking at home. That convenience (ordering food) will cost us at least $20 to $30 more than a conventional meal.
- We need to meal plan more. This is probably the thing I would like to do the most, but for us it is the hardest. It is the hardest to plan. I am a planner, but I am not a good cook (I can barely make scrambled eggs). Mrs. ROB likes the spontaneity of cooking and isn’t much of a planner.
- Grocery store take out instead of restaurant. I have found that if we do get take out and I get it from the grocery store it is actually 1/2 of what it would be at a restaurant. That would help us cut out down our food bill.
- Start bringing lunch to work. This is something I am bad at and trying to get better. I need to stop going out and getting small things (e.g. chips or something) when I am at work because it can add up. $10 here, $5 there. Before you know it we have blown our budget.
- Find cheaper, but good restaurants to eat it. Mrs. ROB and I are not totally foodies, but we love good food and wine. We just went out at for our anniversary, did a 7 course tasting menu, and it was divine. THe problem is that if we go out we want to try to new restaurants that can run $100 per time. We need to stop. Maybe Groupon some places.
- We need to stop buying extras when we go out. When Mrs. ROB and I go out we go out, but we also add appetizers and sometimes desert to our dinner. Not only does that cost an extra $20 or so per meal, but it is calories we don’t need (particularly me).
- We probably need to buy more food stuffs, instead of snacks in our groceries. A lot of times for quick fixes, we will buy protein bars, snack items, etc. These snack items, again, add up quickly. We probably add $40-$50 on our grocery bill for stuff we don’t need. We need to stick to either making snacks or just cutting them out (it will also be better for our health).
The Bottom Line: We spend too much on food. I know it. We also treat it as a bit of entertainment, but we need to stop on this, particularly the take-out. We need to cook more at home. It is better for us, healthier, and that is a good thing. By the way, we already shop at the cheapest grocery store in our area (which is great).
So now you know our secret and our struggle. Every month I say I will keep this budget under $1000, but it doesn’t happen. Any advice is helpful, but I know that we need to cut back, just for the sake of our health and not only our wallets.