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Old 04-05-2016, 04:22 PM   #21
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That's why we continue to replenish. :-)
So what's your favorite now? Not the stuff you break out to celebrate, but your everyday go-to vin?

I'm kind of liking Rioja's recently if I'm drinking red. And if white, anything from Burgundy.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:26 PM   #22
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I suggest looking at it another way. Do you enjoy all your meals out and do you find it worth the money spent?

Years ago, we used to eat out a lot. When we started tracking our spending, we realized that we weren't getting our money's worth when eating just the "normal" weekday dinner out. That would include fast food, chinese, the local diner etc. So, we cut back on that. The other food/wine expenses remained the same though groceries probably went up to compensate.

We now cook a lot at home since we both enjoy it and have become quite proficient. We eat out for social reasons and tend to eat food that would be hard to prepare at home. We don't skimp on the quality of groceries or booze.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:09 PM   #23
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When working we would always brown bag it, (froz tv dinners or leftovers as they are better than sandwiches).

So now RE, we go out mostly for a lunch 2x a week and perhaps pick up some takeout for some other lunches. Suppers are cooked at home normally.

Lunches are cheaper at restaurants and if you go at 1pm , there is no lunch crowd, and no traffic from workers on the road, vs go a suppertime, and you have higher prices and rush hour traffic, and crowded restaurant.

Since we are very light drinkers that is about $45/mo or less.
Restaurants are about: $328/mo

We could eat out more, but restaurant food often has a lot of hidden calories, which is why it often tastes good.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:37 PM   #24
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So what's your favorite now? Not the stuff you break out to celebrate, but your everyday go-to vin?

I'm kind of liking Rioja's recently if I'm drinking red. And if white, anything from Burgundy.
Getting off topic, for sure! Everything is subject to budget/comfort level, of course. Thus, we don't have much of the "name" wines.

My favorite is irrelevant. "Our" favorite (aka, DW's) is pinot--either sonoma fruit bombs, or Willamette Valley food friendly, with preferred age varying by the particular wine. That's 5-6 nights a week during winter. Sunday nights are for grilled tenderloin steaks with 5-10 year old (or more) california Cab, Chateauneuf, or Bordeaux (last weekend, a 2004 Napa cab, with only one left of that case....).

Occasionally rotate in a Brunello or Rioja, or South American red. Summers, we'll still mainly have Pinot, but will include some Torrontes, unoaked chards, or Sav. Blancs. I would like to have more of nicely aged Spatlese, but of limited appeal to her. (good news is that it makes it easier to get to 7-10 years!).

It will be quite different when we start traveling in earnest. No way to duplicate what we can do at home in this area.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:58 PM   #25
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Actual spending for the young wife and me for the last two years.

2014

Groceries: $8,063.93
Wine: $3,609.83
Restaurant meals $11,243.71

2015

Groceries: $8,159.10
Wine: $3,797.70
Restaurant meals $10,247.04


NB - The "groceries" item includes essentially everything bought at the grocery, including paper products, cleaning supplies, etc. But it is mostly food.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:58 PM   #26
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I think this is one area where family budgets widely vary. My sister and her husband eat out often and spend thousands per month dining out. They had no idea how much others save by buying healthy groceries and cooking most meals at home.

My family of three spends $600 -$700 per month on groceries, another $60 per week for Blue Apron meals (feeds three of us for three restaurant quality meals each week), and maybe another $60 per month at the farmers market for organic meat and produce. Then we eat out for dinner once or twice per month ($75 each time).

So for three of us we spend about $1200 per month max.

I have an espresso maker and we make cappuccino or lattes or a pot of bold drip Starbucks Cafe Verona at home daily. We get free Starbucks drink offers quite often also.

And we eat well. Often I am grilling steaks, burgers or salmon Etc.


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Old 04-05-2016, 06:04 PM   #27
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I think this is one area where family budgets widely vary. My sister and her husband eat out often and spend thousands per month dining out. They had no idea how much others save by buying healthy groceries and cooking most meals at home.

...
For sure. We can't believe how much people spend on eating out so many nights--while they can't believe how much we spend on wines and on our 4-6 splurge restaurant visits each year.

To each their own--although prudent to save a healthy percentage before going nuts on groceries/restaurants/booze.
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:42 PM   #28
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I could happily feed myself on $75/month, but I could live on variations of rice and bean burritos three times a day forever, snacking on melons and other cheap fruit in between. Call it an even hundred if I wanted a few dollar menu hamburgers and a cheap bottle of bourbon.

Since I'm living with a girlfriend now, it's almost impossible to keep the budget under $400 a month; usually it's closer to $550-600.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:44 PM   #29
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I average a little less than $200/mo for a single 30-something male. That includes toiletries. I don't drink wine and rarely eat out.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:08 PM   #30
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"Our" favorite (aka, DW's) is pinot--either sonoma fruit bombs, or Willamette Valley food friendly,
Talking about pinot, Willamette, and fruit bombs . . . David Hill Vineyard's Black Jack knocked our socks off when we visited their estate some years back. It's supposedly harvested from some of the oldest vines in the valley.

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It will be quite different when we start traveling in earnest. No way to duplicate what we can do at home in this area.
No. We sadly lack a wine cellar. Or even a rack.

But the nice thing about traveling is that great wines are dirt cheap in Europe. Not the first growth stuff, which is expensive everywhere. But plenty of awesome local stuff that doesn't have a huge export market is just lying around for pennies on the dollar.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:31 PM   #31
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My entertainment budget has surprisingly fallen since retirement, and I believe it's because I've cut out those $5 cafe mochas (actually, coffeehouse I used to get them from closed and I refuse to *@)*) money away at Starbucks).

Utilities are up, as I'm home more. OTOH, gasoline costs have fallen through the floor as I use the car only once a week (I live in a "walkable neighborhood", where almost everything is within walking distance, or very short driving distance). I eat out only socially, and refuse to waste money on "fine dining", as I have no real interest in food.

Last Saturday was the first time I've paid to see a movie in over a year, and that was only because the friend I saw it with loves movies. For the $16 I spent for the movie, and $14 for popcorn/coke, I got to wade through a mass of humanity in the form of endless tourists blocking every inch of the 15 feet wide sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard (walked in the street to go around at one point), watch 1/2 hour of "Screenvision" (commercials), and another 1/2 hour of previews before the movie even started. I told this friend she is the only person on earth I would do this for. Usually,Youtube and Hulu Free are my go-to movie sources.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:32 PM   #32
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Looks like approximately $10500 in groceries and $5500 in restaurants for me last year. Restaurants are usually split 50/50 with my girlfriend so I wouldn't be surprised if as a household there's another $4k in restaurant expenses. Not sure what her share of grocery expenditures were last year, we alternate paying but I tend to pay for them more frequently. Food is the one area I wonder about being able to create a bunch of extra savings, but then I really like going out for sushi...
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:55 PM   #33
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As my boys have entered the teen years (read that - bottomless pits) our grocery budget has ticked up. We're averaging $1100/month for groceries (that includes wine and booze, toilet paper and shampoo, and pretty much anything I buy at Costco, Vons, or Sprouts.)

We don't eat out as much - When we're not travelling we average about $120/month... Most months are < $100 - but then there will be social occasions where we eat out more. (Friends or family visiting for example).

All of this was for a family of 4... 2 of whom are the aforementioned walking eating machines.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:09 PM   #34
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$250-$750/week is a lot more than what we spend. According to Quicken we spend about $3k a year but we are no longer working. This is just dining out, not groceries.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:22 PM   #35
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That seems odd. Do you have an explanation ?

I don't have an explanation. I need to look closer at my bill. I was surprised that utilities went down. Gas went down from $50 to $25. Water bill is down, perhaps because I swim at the local pool and use the shower there.


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Old 04-05-2016, 10:05 PM   #36
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Everyone has made me curious about accurate numbers, so I've downloaded an app for my phone to track expenses.

I figure if it's on me, it's easy to enter as I spend, rather than get a pile of receipts that just don't tempt me to enter into excel.
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Old 04-05-2016, 10:29 PM   #37
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Pre-retirement, no kids:

2014
Groceries: $4281
Eating Out: $7110
Alcohol: $849

2015
Groceries: $4843
Eating Out: $6934
Alcohol: $991

Groceries, Eating Out, and Alcohol spec out to about 1/3 of our core spend (which we define as everything except travel). We kind of eat out too much: work lunches 2-3 times a week, food cart type snacks, and a restaurant meal maybe twice a week. Most of our restaurant meals don't top $80 and are generally sub $40 but the $5-10 lunches and snacks add up. We try to justify it bit as our entertainment which we don't spend a lot on and since we're somewhat foodies.
We also travel about 6 weeks of the year and categorize meals on the road under travel except for daytrips.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:09 AM   #38
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I don't track DW's finances, and she buys the groceries. But as far as eating out post retirement:

2016 Jan- Mar
$1356 Restaurants
$229 Alcohol

2015
$4823 Restaurants
$437 Alcohol
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:56 AM   #39
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I budget several hundred a month on groceries for two. These days I usually shop at discount stores like Grocery Outlet and only shop at the retail stores for loss leaders, which cut our bill in half compared to when I shopped at stores like Safeway for most of the groceries and didn't watch the sales.

We eat out a couple of times a week, usually ethnic food like Vietnamese, Thai or Mexican, often with some kind of special, a Groupon or coupon. It usually doesn't cost us too much more than eating at home, so that is maybe $100 extra over the cost of groceries a month.

For entertainment,we do a lot with comp ticket subscriptions and nonprofit / reciprocal membership programs so other than the annual or monthly membership charges for those, most of our weekly events are free or fairly low cost. Plus there are a lot of free parks, festivals, outdoor concerts and other events in our area. A person who calls himself Johnny Funcheap keeps an online list which has been a great find for our ER budget.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:53 AM   #40
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$150 per month. I rarely spend money on alcohol. 3-4 bottle of wine a year. Nor do I go to nice restaurants.

$150 per month on food? This seems remarkably low. I am impressed. Do you mind sharing more information? Where do you shop? What type of ingredients do you buy? Do you shop at Costco etc.? And buy bulk, eat some now and freeze the rest? Please share. I've never heard of anyone with this low a food budget.
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