I love seeing how other people budget, getting down to the nitty-gritty of their categories and numbers, but I don’t feel it is fair to gain value out of what others are contributing without contributing something ourselves. As promised, here is the sixth Budget Breakdown for the Enough Time Machine. This represents how much we budget per month, not necessarily how much we spend. This week we are looking at Food.
The food category in our budget is our Achilles heel. We spend totally ridiculous amounts on food; I feel so ashamed, I don’t really want to put this post on the Internet. It’s like losing weight – we know exactly what we should do to reduce spending, but we don’t. I think we might need a kick up the bum.
Did you know that the average 2 person household spends $281Ref on food and alcohol per week? We are spending nearly twice that amount!
The categories are very granular, because I wanted a true picture of where the money is being consumed. Literally. I think next year after we have done the analysis, I will broaden the categories, probably just down to eating out, groceries need/want and alcohol.
$100; Capped. This is for takeaway coffees or cakes, or buying the fundraising chocolates at work.
$150; Capped. Mr. ETT buys breakfast before work, although this has dropped in the second half of the year when we looked at the price of good store-bought yoghurt compared to the takeaway yoghurt from the café he was purchasing. He also buys smoothies after a gym session.
$150; Not really Capped because it goes over quite significantly every single month. I should have adjusted this to $250; instead, we move money from the other food categories to cover it. Mr. ETT buys his lunch every single day. I took advantage of a change in workplace nearly 2 years ago, using it as a trigger to stop buying lunch. We weren’t budgeting then, but I know I saved a lot of money by doing so, as well as eating smaller portion sizes, and healthier foods.
$50 Capped; oh, who am I kidding – we don’t cap any of these. As a couple, we are doing way, way better with this category than we were last year. We used to almost live on takeaway before I woke up to myself, decided I didn’t like the cost or the taste any more, and began meal planning, grocery shopping, and home cooking. However, it seems that if I am not home of an evening, Mr. ETT has a good chance of ordering takeaway dinner.
$150; We do like to go out for breakfast/brunch together on a weekend, and Mr. ETT will meet with friends or family on his Fridays off, or his group motorbike rides will stop in at a café or pub somewhere.
$100; Most of these are from group rides, or workplace get-togethers.
$150; we’ve pretty much managed to stay within this one for the year – it’s generous, but restaurant meals aren’t cheap, and if we are going out for something special, we will look for good restaurants.
$500; This is for all grocery staples (basically any ingredient that is needed for planned meals, lunches, breakfast, fruit, along with items like cleaning products, toilet paper and so on).
$100; This is for the junk! Biscuits, lollies, snacks, drinks other than juice or milk etc. I like to record this separately, as it is one category that could easily and instantly be cut if we needed to. I thought we were doing OK with this, but no, no we aren’t. We go over every month – we either need to get serious about staying within the budget for this, or we need to increase it to $150. I am happy to work on staying within the budget, because not only is his category costing us money, it’s making us unhealthy!
$150; Again, another one where we consistently go over, even considering it doesn’t give a good picture of the amount we actually purchase, because if we buy drinks with a meal at a pub or restaurant, that will be included in the eating category. I have subscribed to Naked Wines for $40/month; while I enjoy the model and think supporting the growers/vintners directly is a fantastic way to buy wine (and we have found some excellent wines), I have decided that I don’t value it as much as I value saving for my freedom, so I am going to cancel my subscription at the end of the year. Writing this, I don’t really want to do it, but I know it will be better for me, and I won’t miss it once it is gone.
All up, food represents 21.3% of our total budget, the largest category by quite some way. Watch and see how this graph changes as we investigate other Budget Categories.