My Food Expense Analysis

After one week of documenting what I spent on supermarket trips, convenience store stops, restaurants and fast food meals, my one-week food expense journal is complete. Here’s my analysis chart:

WeeklySpending

In one week, I spent $159 on food. I spent the least amount of money on fast food (10%). I guess that’s a good thing because I’ve heard it’s not all that healthy (ha). It’s also cheap, so it makes sense that fast food comprises the smallest category of my spending.

Next came supermarket spending (23%). Going forward, I’d like to see a higher percent spent on cost-efficient supermarket shopping than on restaurants and convenience stores.

At convenience stores you pay for just that – convenience. I’m sure this category (25%) was made up of my least cost-efficient choices. Finally, restaurants take first place in my spending experiment at 42% of my weekly food food budget (or lack thereof)! This probably has a lot to do with the higher cost of restaurant meals in general, combined with the need to tip, and perhaps my frequenting them too often.

But what’s a foodie to do? I won’t give up dining out. Homemade is great, but it doesn’t eliminate the need (ok, desire) for professionally prepared and served meals. Restaurant coupons and discounts are out there, but often hard to find right when you need them and where you need them. Websites like cravor.com make it easier. For instance, instead of paying full price two nights ago at Cheesecake Factory, I could have had Cravor search the web for deals at this chain.

So, that’s one of my goals: use more restaurant deals. Another goal is to cook more and become supermarket savvy. Over the next few weeks I’ll work on revamping my spending habits. I’ll check in with stories, recipes, and tips for dining for less. One thing I know is: I’m going to keep craving, but hopefully I’ll start saving! See you soon…

Foodeloo!

Dining In and Dining Out

Checking in on day three of my food expense activity. Last night we made chicken quesadillas at home. I have to say they came out pretty well, and I’ll definitely add them to our dinner option list. Ta-da!

Quesadilla

Today I made my usual stop for coffee on the way to work. I alternate between Einstein Bros, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Dunkin Donuts. Surprisingly (or not), all four are on my two-mile drive to work. Starbucks, the most expensive of the group, is the one I visit the least. I’d like to say that’s due to the cost, but the parking lot is also hard to turn into from my direction. McDonalds, while not my favorite coffee, is the fastest and I tend to leave home with just enough time to start class (and college students quickly learn that they don’t have to show up on time if their instructor doesn’t).

Anyway, McDonalds made another few bucks off of me today. I do this thing where I plan to order a small coffee ($1) and grab a breakfast bar from my stash at work. But when the drive-through attendant asks for my order, I make this game-time decision to upgrade my coffee to a medium (+$0.49), add a sausage & egg burrito ($1), and sometimes – if I suppress the voice inside reminding me to eat healthily – a hash brown ($1). I know it’s pretty cheap, but it adds up day after day. It’s still no Starbucks “that-came-to-twelve-dollars?” at the register experience.

For lunch, I found a frozen meal I left in the faculty room freezer last week (score!) and dinner was dine-in again. Burgers. Tomorrow I told a friend I’d meet her out for dinner and drinks. I’ll check back in later this week and post my analysis at the end! I hope the results of this experiment are enlightening (and not just depressing), ha! Until next time…

Foodeloo!

A Delicious Meal Pho Real

It’s day one of my food expense journal and I’ve already added a restaurant meal to the list. Since moving to South Florida last year, Brian and I have been looking for a good Pho place. A coworker of mine recommended a place in the beach area just north of us. We both had the beef noodle soup and agreed about the excellent quality. The broth was aromatic and quite tasty. The beef was tender and the rice noodles were perfectly cooked. The damage was $10 a person, which I felt was well worth it for a Saturday lunch. I marked it down in my expense journal, along with this morning’s homemade breakfast. Not bad for weekend day so far. Oh, and relaxing on the beach after lunch in December was priceless!

Pho

Can I Save More Money on Food?

I always wonder how much money I spend on food every week. I really have no idea; not even a ballpark guess. Maybe it’s more that I don’t want to know, because I’m sure it’s more than what the money-saving experts recommend.

For a while I’ve thought about figuring out what I actually spend in a week. You know, collecting restaurant and supermarket receipts, or keeping some kind of food expense journal. But I haven’t done it. It could be laziness, or lack of time, or a whole list of excuses. What I think it is – like I said – I just don’t want to know. I don’t want to know about all the money I threw away, or how much I could have saved instead.

But I’ve finally decided it’s time to face the facts. It’s time to admit (to myself) my poor spending habits and find out exactly how much damage has been done. Only then can I turn a new leaf, and become a savvy food-shopper and diner.

So, if you’d like to follow my experiment, check back for updates as I document one week of food purchases. After I collect the data, I’ll do an expense analysis and ultimately decide: Can I be saving more money on meals? And if so, how?

That very question – how? – will be the inspiration for the rest of this blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first post, and more importantly, I hope you hold me accountable for my one-week food expense journal (if you don’t, who else will?) For those who follow along, I’ll share my findings, new goals, and money-saving tips! Please feel free to share your own tips or comments!

Foodeloo!