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Old 04-06-2016, 10:06 AM   #61
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I am single, my monthly groceries in 2015 averaged $500/mo, this year so far average $445. This includes very moderate wine, both as to amount and quality. Almost all French wines bought from Trader Joe, as are 80% of my groceries. I have my girlfriend over once or twice a week for a home meal, and she invites me about the same. Paper products are de minimus and included in groceries.

Eating out I spend maybe $100 to $150, and she often matches this. I feel more comfortable paying, but one must compromise, right?

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Old 04-06-2016, 10:07 AM   #62
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Our eating out budget is about $3,000 per month. Running a little over that YTD but will get back onside once we get up to the Lakehouse where there are no good restaurants nearby. We view this more as entertainment since we really enjoy going out, good conversation, bottle of wine, and the ambiance of a nice restaurant. Often pay for family when they join us. Only lunches and dinners as DW never eats breakfast. Probably eat every second meal out in Arizona, almost all meals in Toronto, every third meal in Alberta, and hardly any at the Lakehouse. Maybe average every second meal (lunch and dinner).

Include regular groceries and liquor in cash expense caption. These are not very significant.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:40 AM   #63
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$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.
Well, to be perfectly honest --

1. I eat approximately 12-16 lunch/dinner meals a month at my mother's house. I'm not picky. Whatever leftovers or lunch meat she has is fine by me. At 87 years old, she still makes a sit down meat-potatoes-vegetables dinner every Sunday and I have a standing invitation each week. Likewise for Saturday lunch which is just sandwich/soup. Then I usually stop by 1 or 2 times on weekdays to check up on her which I usually do around lunch time.

2. I eat no-name cereal for breakfast.
3. I shop at Aldi's.
4. I don't eat particularly healthy. On the other hand, I rarely buy chips, snacks, cookies, or ice cream. (I do eat that stuff at Mom's though.)
5. I don't cook. Mainly eat sandwiches -- grilled cheese, tuna fish.
6. I eat at Wendy's about 15 times a month. Mainly their grilled chicken sandwich.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:57 AM   #64
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<snip>My question for those of you spending larger on food and drink, how does this impact your weight? When we turned 60 we found weight control becoming a problem and eating at home makes it easier for us to control that.
I thought it started become difficult to manage weight once I turned 30.

I wouldn't necessarily say it's impossible to control weight while eating out a lot. When I was getting in shape for my wedding, I still ate out regularly but I was more focused on portion size (can't try everything, have to save it for another visit) and type of food (mainly no deep fried foods, save for the odd cheat day ) but combining it with cardio and weights. My problem is that I fall off the rails after coming back from a trip.
I also had to be focused on my home meals (like no creme and butter recipes even though I love French dishes ).

The other problem I find is liquid calories, particularly beer. I'm not that big of a beer drinker but I like having a beer socially with the team after hockey and softball and it's all bad calories.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:05 PM   #65
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Always take a homemade lunch to my volunteer 'work' if it is over lunch time or dinner, no coffee shops, don't drink so figure doing pretty well. DW is still working a bit and has a coffee shop habit and maybe a bottle of wine every week or two. Maybe eat out a couple times a month with a total of <$200.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:09 PM   #66
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$600 a month for groceries for my husband and I. We buy wine to cook but not to drink regularly. But if we eat out, it's going to be Korean BBQ, $50 for two, all you can eat. If we drink more, it would cost about $100-$200 more per month. We don't eat out as much because we are gluten free, low sodium, low sugar diet, and no msg.
We eat very well, ribs, steaks, lobsters, nice fresh fish, lots of nuts and berries. We only eat out if we have errands to run. I cook mostly using crock pot, meat is less tough, I don't have to watch it, I can do something else, and if I'm forgetful about cooking, the house is not burnt down.
It's not bad budget, considering, 3 cooked meals a day. My husband has eggs and bacon almost daily.


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Old 04-06-2016, 01:32 PM   #67
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I forgot to add my grocery spending (several hundred a month) is usually for two these days and includes wine and beer, though we are not big drinkers. We usually buy beer from Trader Joe's or Costco and wine from Grocery Outlet. Besides changing where we shop, we eat less meat these days and more ethnic food where meat is more of a condiment and not the main course, like tacos or stir fries, so that has also lowered our grocery bill over what we used to spend.
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:34 PM   #68
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I wouldn't necessarily say it's impossible to control weight while eating out a lot.

The other problem I find is liquid calories, particularly beer.
This is my issue too. Just finished a tough 2 hour workout and sitting on the patio at the club. It's 85 degrees and I'm really dehydrated. A couple beers? Yep.

Also when eating out I try to avoid carbs and lean towards salads. Although a good steak is hard to resist.
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:42 PM   #69
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Also when eating out I try to avoid carbs and lean towards salads. Although a good steak is hard to resist.
Steak isn't carbs so you're good to go.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:12 PM   #70
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This is my issue too. Just finished a tough 2 hour workout and sitting on the patio at the club. It's 85 degrees and I'm really dehydrated. A couple beers? Yep.



Also when eating out I try to avoid carbs and lean towards salads. Although a good steak is hard to resist.

Beer is full of carbs, but I am sure the alcohol neutralizes them. :-)



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Old 04-06-2016, 04:13 PM   #71
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2014

Groceries: $8,635.00
Beer & Wine: $811.00
Restaurant meals: $879.00

2015

Groceries: $8888.00
Beer & Wine: $938.00
Restaurant meals: $1117.00

Groceries include paper, and personal care, lots of organic veggie/vegan. Does not count travel expenses, which might double or triple restaurant spending.

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Old 04-06-2016, 04:48 PM   #72
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Beer is full of carbs, but I am sure the alcohol neutralizes them. :-)
No it doesn't neutralize them, but sometimes I will drink the low carb beers. That's why I have to keep my other carbs down, to leave room for the beer.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:49 PM   #73
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Steak isn't carbs so you're good to go.
Ya, that was my thought.😀
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:09 PM   #74
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Another part is greater access to information. Go look at a vintage 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook. It's awful.

And also there's much greater assimilation of ethnic cuisines today than back then. Mostly when I cook at home I'll make Asian (Indian, Thai, some Chinese), Mexican, Italian, and French dishes.

No meatloaf. No casseroles with condensed soup. No jello molds. Nothing at all like Cherry Pineapple Bologna with Potato Buds . . .

++++
That is so true.

My mom was a horrible cook, a loving mother, but a horrible cook.
I mean have you ever had crunchy spagetti, or melted a pot on the stove top ?

She had a 3 foot shelf of cookbooks back then. How many ways can you cook hamburger ?

When growing up, exotic meals were KFC chicken in bucket at the end of the summer, and once or twice a year take out Chinese. We also went to an Italian restaurant on birthdays.

I grew up thinking restaurants were only for special occasions.

As I think about it, it is totally weird, that my parents had friend who lived in Japan, and and one from Africa, both who I remember so they were around a bit. Yet I grew up thinking everyone ate Meatloaf, salted cod, herring, burgers, shoe-leather liver, and pork chops.

I never tried Thai food until I was 40ish as the boss took us out to dinner.

It forced me as a teenager to buy my own wok due to a tv show "Wok with Yan" and cook stir fry.

Now, I like trying Indian and Pakistani recipes, and stir fry a lot, and planning to do some Vietnamese suppers.
DW has caught the fever and does a Moroccan dish which I like.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:20 PM   #75
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I have two kids (2 and 4) and our family of four monthly grocery/restaurant bill fluctuates between 900 and 1500 and about 15K last year.

We eat out at least once or twice a week and we make almost no effort to save. That said DW is sort of a permanent bargain hunter so she's found a good list of cheap and good places to eat. We also try to manage our food intake (not get fat again ) so usually when we go out we take 50% home which feeds us or the kids the next day.

Grocery wise it's lots of cooking. Both DW and I enjoy cooking.

When it goes up to 1500 we "cut back" on eating out... nothing formal just kind of naturally. Total monthly spend is the main thing we monitor.

What amazes me about this thread is how BIG the variation in spending is and yet I bet most people are not malnourished and probably satisfied with their situation.

Housing costs and preferences have similar ranges.

Since food and housing are probably the two biggest costs (assuming no huge cat payment) and also have huge variation it reminds me how much flexibility there is when considering ER.

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Old 04-06-2016, 10:11 PM   #76
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...Since food and housing are probably the two biggest costs (assuming no huge cat payment) and also have huge variation it reminds me how much flexibility there is when considering ER...
The adjective "huge" applies to the cat, the payment, or both?

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Old 04-07-2016, 07:26 AM   #77
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...

What amazes me about this thread is how BIG the variation in spending is and yet I bet most people are not malnourished and probably satisfied with their situation.

...
I think a lot of the outliers are people who see dining as entertainment, whether at home or away. I know Danmar mentioned that expressly--and it certainly applies to us, particularly with our wine budget, the restaurants we choose when we do go out, and the quality/cost of the weekend meals we cook at home.

In our situation, it gives us a lot of flexibility in spending. If my projections are way off five years after retirement, we can slash this category with little pain.

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Old 04-07-2016, 09:16 AM   #78
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After reading this thread, I'm going to open a bottle of wine even though it's just 10a.
Good plan. You have to let it breathe. If it is not breathing in a couple of hours, consider giving it mouth-to-mouth!
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:34 AM   #79
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We do not eat out. Whenever we go out, it is dining. Usually linen table clothes. We probably average 3x a week. Cost about $90 for 2 with a bottle of wine. Often with one or two other couples. Our main entertainment. We average two meals at friend's places every month and one at our place every 2 months.

Eat one other meal each day in. Dine out more often in Europe (and also eat out there too) but always try for breakfast in.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:44 AM   #80
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Mine went down after retiring, mostly because I am cooking more things at home and have time to comparison shop more.
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