Last year, Mr. BFS and I caught ourselves spending around $700 a month on just food early in the year, so we instituted our food fight. We started keeping track of our food spending as it happened so we would stay around $500 a month instead. It worked great but thanks to a bunch of holiday parties, we made the decision to put the logging to the side for most of November and December. But we’ve started once again.
How We Track
We like to keep things simple, so we just have a sheet of notebook paper on the refrigerator where we log every food expense when we get home. It has two columns, one column for restaurants and fast food and one column for groceries. We are attempting to keep the total at $500 or less for January 13, 2013 through February 12, 2013. Our main credit card statements run from the 13th through the 12th, so we just base our main budget month on those dates to make tracking super easy.
You may be thinking that $500 a month is still a lot of money for food for just two people. I sort of agree, but here is how I see it:
- Some people eat to live and some people live to eat. We are in the live to eat category.
- Even though we are not dieting hardcore right now, we are trying to eat healthier overall as a permanent lifestyle change. Per snack serving, healthier options like fruits and vegetables are actually more expensive than the crappier options that I used to buy during sales (like anything on the cookies/snack aisle at Kroger…). For example, baby carrots have sort of become an addiction and can cost anywhere between $1 to $3 per pound…
- Food is our main monthly fun expense. We host at least one potluck a month for 15-25 people (we provide a main dish) AND we have 2-5 friends over for dinner at least once a week too. So we do spend extra on food for others. But that would only account for a max of $100 a month, so we still spend more than necessary and we know it.
Overall, we are happy around $500 a month and more than that is completely unnecessary – that is how we chose our target.
To keep us accountable, I’ll once again use all of you. I’ll be posting the monthly results here between the 13th and the 20th of each month. If we are successful at the $500 mark a couple of times in a row, we may try for a lower number later. Let’s just see if we can stick to this target first, lol.
Are you trying to keep your food expenses within a certain range every month too?