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42 cents under budget on food :)

July 30th, 2018 at 09:34 am

I've been trying to stay under $600 a month for food for a couple of months now. I failed in June. But as of today, after one last $21.11 trip to Aldi, July looks good.

I know $600 probably sounds like a lot to some people. However the Maptitude map linked below shows average household food expenditure in NJ is $8109, or $675 a month. And the National Standards the IRS puts out (for figuring out how much delinquent taxpayers can afford to pay) says $646 for two people per month. I'll link to that page, too. And it's a lot lower than we have been spending.

Quicken tells me we averaged $718 a month from July 2017 through June 2018. It was probably higher than that because I've missed recording a lot of things during chaotic periods. Right now it says I should have $785 in cash! It's more like $50, and I'm sure a lot of that unknown spending was on food.

I've been using an app called Daily Budget on my phone. It tells me every day how much I can spend without getting too far ahead of myself during the month. It's designed to budget everything, but I'm only using it for food spending right now. It's been a big help. I found it after reading about a similar app someone came up with to help Food Stamp users spread their spending out more evenly over the month.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employe...

https://www.caliper.com/featured-maps/maptitude-state-food-e...

7 Responses to “42 cents under budget on food :)”

  1. kashi Says:

    Great links, thanks for sharing! I'm checking out the daily budget app, too.

  2. crazyliblady Says:

    Congrats on your food spending. I also live in a two person house and we spend approximately $600 on food. I don't nail that down to the penny because I don't have that kind of time. I don't use apps, but a 4x6 index card with my budget for the pay period on it. It helps me to see what I budgeted for, how much I have spend out of that, and what I have left, and because it is portable, it enables me to know when I am at the store if I can buy something and what dollar amount. Sometimes, the answer is no.

  3. AnotherReader Says:

    I don't agree. $600 is an insane amount to spend on groceries for two people, even including paper goods. Are you buying a lot of prepared foods, soft drinks, snack foods and alcohol? I can easily feed a family of four on $600. No soft drinks, alcohol, or those disgusting snacks that are making people sick. Lots of chicken, other meats and fish when it's on sale. Produce in season and on sale. Rice, potatoes and some bread products. Eggs and oatmeal are great breakfast staples.

    For two people adults, $200 is not impossible. No luxuries, but it can be done. The IRS numbers are crazy.

  4. StressLess Says:

    Thanks for your comments. AnotherReader, I figured I'd be lambasted by someone, so thanks for upholding my faith in humanity. Wink
    It depends on a lot of things, but location seems to be a big one. I read some other message boards about living frugally, and I keep seeing people mention eggs being less than 90 cents a dozen. Around here, I'm lucky to find them for much less than $2, even at Aldi. Multiply that by higher prices on a bunch of other items, and wham, the total here is a lot higher than people in other areas can believe.

    The $600 includes restaurants. My mom is in an Assisted Living facility and I try to get her out at least once a month, sometimes twice, so she doesn't go stir crazy. She is 101 now and she won't be able to manage it much longer. Whether we take her out or eat with her in her dining room there, it's a minimum of $32 each time. Every other week my husband and I go out to our local diner, so WE don't go crazy. I budget $35 for each outing. So basically before I go grocery shopping, at least $140 is allocated for restaurants right off the top.

  5. crazyliblady Says:

    To each his own, AnotherReader. Due to health issues, I have to meat that is not laiden with hormones and antibiotics and also coconut milk instead of dairy milk. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Her tally does include eating out. Perhaps stressless has similar issues, so don't judge someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

  6. AnotherReader Says:

    Well, then you spend closer to $460 for groceries. I live in the Bay Area, where prices are very high. We don't have Aldi or Winco. I shop sales and buy what is in season only. I have a freezer for specials, especially meat. Eggs are $2.50 a dozen on sale. Milk is $5.00 a gallon, unless you go to Target and buy the store brand. We do have Sprouts, which is fantastic for boneless, skinless chicken and produce.

    I will bet if you plan your meals and food purchases based on what's on sale and what's in season, avoid prepared food, soft drinks and snacks, you could could cut your grocery bill by $150 a month. Challenge yourself to change the way you plan meals and buy food. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  7. Smallsteps Says:

    Interesting links Thanks for posting.
    It sounds as if it is about location and preferences.
    I have not tracked every purchase 100% but in general with a quick look at my bank acct. I fall well below what the map site put in for my state, but I can see where it might be a close for many.

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