Everyday Living, Money Saving Strategies, Where My Money Goes

Where My Money Goes

Looking at my spending report, I feel compelled to post a sign on my blog that warns people before they come any closer to reading the words I write about my debt reduction journey: This blog is written by a woman who is TERRIBLE with her money!

Here’s the lowdown and dirty … I average $150 a month in gas for my vehicle (this is probably going to go up since I’ve taken over the Tank). Everything else is pretty well in order – I don’t spend a lot at retail stores and I haven’t spent a lot on “entertainment” – $10 a month for my Netflix subscription and the occasional movie with my honey.

Food is where my spending gets ugly. One of my hobbies is cooking and while I’m good at sticking to a list to get the ingredients I need to try new dishes, I’m terrible at planning ahead for the rest of the meals we’ll eat during the week. This adds up to about $300 a month in groceries. This number is a little misleading because my spending tracker counts trips to Walmart or Target as “grocery” grocery trips. So say I spent $20 on groceries and the rest on incidentals, the entire trip is being chalked up to my grocery spending.

And did I mention that I live in a two-person household? I don’t care if my cat thinks he’s a human, $300 for groceries is extravagant.

And while my money is hemmorhaging out in grocery land, I also average about $100 a month on restaurant meals.

Why do I care? I was able to pay off my credit card debt while maintaining about the same level of spending that I’ve always maintained and now my money is my own outside of what I need to pay towards the mortgage and my college loans.

I care because I don’t need to spend money the way that I’m spending money. I need to exercise some restraint in both areas.

My immediate plan is to cut grocery spending. The way that I plan to do this is to try and plan out meals further in advance and to be more diligent about clipping coupons and shopping sales. My penchant for eating out is a no-brainer. I just need to be more diligent about packing leftovers or I need to invest in some frozen dinners.

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6 thoughts on “Where My Money Goes

  1. I just saw your post about where your money goes and I share your frustration. When I was single, I did a lot of once a week or month cooking because I didn’t like cooking a whole meal for one person, so I would make a whole pot or pan of something and freeze it up in serving size containers. I continue this method today but just for my lunches I take to work. If you are interested, here is a website to get you started: http://www.frugalmom.net/once_a_month_cooking.htm.

    Also, something that someone emailed me recently was about using The Secret to combat blocks to financial success using something called tapping. Here is a youtube channel with several videos about how to do it. Margaret Lynch is a successful author and success coach to business executives. I just tried doing some of this today and I already feel better! http://www.youtube.com/user/MargaretMLynch

  2. for me, $300 in groceries a month is an awesome month! I budget $120 a week for us (there are also two of us, plus a dog) and have found lately we have been going over about $10-$20 a month. (this does not include dining out or takeaway – i tally that in entertainment).

  3. You might take a look at brokeassgourmet.com, I just found it the other day and it looks like she has some really great food and breaks it down by cost. She has a bunch of soup recipes that you can make before hand and freeze to use throughout the week/month and just make a sandwich or salad to go with it.

    I have to admit my food spending is low but in a bad way. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but I’m trying to increase the variety of foods I eat instead of the same thing over and over again.

    Good luck!

  4. $300 a month for two in my neck of the woods IS frugal! (if you eat real not processed food)
    I live in the Bay Area (CA) and I shop sales and still hit $400 a month for the two of us (and 3 cats:) AND my husband is a chef!
    Each family has to make decisions based on their preferences, requirements and locale.
    I feel good about our numbers and our choices. But it’s still interesting to hear what others spend and what we can learn from each other.

  5. I would agree that $300 a month is probably pretty frugal – it costs money to eat healthy and cook good meals, even when you plan.

    I would guess that for me (and many) that all those little extras like convenience store pop and snacks, and eating out are far worse on the budget than buying groceries are – not necessarily that you spend more money per month on these, but that you get way less value out of those things – replacing convenience store and vending machine items with buying those same things in multi-packs at the grocery store and planning ahead a little saves a lot of $ (just compare $1.25 20-oz bottles of pop at Kwik Trip to what a 6-pack of those bottles costs at the store – no brainer).

    Taking a look at our monthly grocery bills, it’s probably double what you’re spending – and I’m ok with that, because we spend more time cooking at home, using quality and fresh ingredients, and getting enjoyment out of that.

    And while cats don’t need “human” levels of food, they still need to eat well and healthy 🙂

  6. I would say your $300 a month on groceries is probably fine. We spend a little less than that right now, but that’s because hubby works out of town during the week.

    What we have done to lessen the grocery bill is to pack away leftovers as lunches. I buy hardly any lunch items (like granola bars or individual yogourts) and bring leftovers, homemade baking, and a piece of fruit. I really never feel deprived. And I don’t miss eating out at all!

    We go out very irregularly for nice dinners as we often prefer to cook gourmet at home and treat ourselves to a nice less than $10 bottle of wine instead.

    Our game is to find the best bottles under $10 and evaluate them. We have several we choose regularly that we like better than some really nice $30 bottles!

    I wouldn’t worry about that budget line amount.. 🙂

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