Wow again, it’s been over a year since I last posted. Catching up on updating my Food budget totals for years 2015 and 2016. Here goes!
Oct 2014-Nov 2015
This was a year to be proud of. Yes, my food budget was increased, but I knew I wanted to spend more on healthier choices and it looks like I accomplished that! My groceries vs dining out ratio was excellent. It’s exciting to see 21% of my spending was for local farms and farmers markets. It was only a $157 difference between farms and Whole Foods!!! This was a good year!
Total Food: $5347
Dining out/Junk Food: $1124 (21%)
Grocery Breakdown by Store:
Market Basket 1449.3 (34%)
Whole Foods 1048.05 (25%)
Local Farms/Farmers Markets 891.05 (21%)
Trader Joe’s 524.42 (12%)
Amazon 116.36 (3%)
Ocean State Job Lot 70.8 (2%)
Misc 122.64 (3%)
Total Groceries $4222.62
Oct 2015-Nov 2016
2016 was not as inspiring. I stuck to the budget fairly well, but the groceries vs junk food/dining out ratio is definitely not as good as 2015. Ugh. And what really saddens me is my local farm spending was almost cut in half! Although I am not a Whole Foods fan like I used to be years ago (and the disillusion getting worse every year), I’d rather see more spending there than dining out.
I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, as our dining out standards have changed. We started making more of an effort to make better choices, supporting a higher caliber of local restaurants instead of chains, but I still need to cut back.
Total Food: $5365
Dining out/Junk Food: $1750 (33%)
Grocery Breakdown by Store:
Market Basket 1520.45 (42%)
Whole Foods 773.42 (21%)
Trader Joe’s 599.83 (17%)
Local Farms/Farmers Markets 476.3 (13%)
Amazon 141.13 (4%)
Ocean State 58.96 (2%)
Misc 44.67 (1%)
Total Groceries: $3614.76
So far this year’s budget is shaping up well. My annual total is $5300, divided by 365 days, it calculates to approx $14.50 per day. Depending on how many days in the month, my monthly budget could be as low as $406 or as high as $450.
I’m keeping a running total, so if one month is over or under, then it flows over to the next month’s budget amount.
So far, my dining out/junk food budget is 34% of the total food so far. December and February were far too extravagant but other months were more balanced. (It’s such a temptation to desire a yummy pub bacon burger with fries than to start cooking.)
When I really think about it though, 30-35% is really not an unreasonable allowance to pursue, but I’d be much happier with 25-30%, which nets to $25-$30 per week. Definitely doable, but it will take some willpower, especially when life gets crazy and take out is easier than cooking.
Trader Joe’s is helpful. No, I’m not saying their quick, easy, convenience food is always healthy, but compared to a greasy burger & fries from the pub downtown, it’s better. Orange chicken, breaded chicken tenders, veggie lasagna to name a few.
So, my May budget starts in a couple of days and I am inspired to really try harder to keep it healthier and on budget!!! But I’m admitting this now. If I go over my budget with healthy whole foods (farm season is coming soon in New England) but I can keep my dining out/junk food allowance under 30%, then I will consider that a success!