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Spending Habits: Food & Drink
Old 04-05-2016, 01:34 PM   #1
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Spending Habits: Food & Drink

I am getting closer to FIRE (1-3 years) and have always been very conscious about saving money and watching expenses except when it comes to Food & Drink. I just ran Mint to see how things look this year and was kinda shocked. I am spending $1k-$3k a month on food and drink. This includes lunch out every day Mon-Fri while at work. Dinners with the gf and a bunch of wine. I am curious as to what others are spending on that category. Did it change up or down after you retired?
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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I am getting closer to FIRE (1-3 years) and have always been very conscious about saving money and watching expenses except when it comes to Food & Drink. I just ran Mint to see how things look this year and was kinda shocked. I am spending $1k-$3k a month on food and drink. This includes lunch out every day Mon-Fri while at work. Dinners with the gf and a bunch of wine. I am curious as to what others are spending on that category. Did it change up or down after you retired?
I haven't run specific numbers (I guess if I wasn't so darn lazy I could!) but I can say that my spending in this category is MUCH lower than while I was w*rking. Not only did I have a lot of w*rking/social lunches, the DW and I ate out usually twice a week just for convenience. Now, I have lunch out about twice a month (with friends) and the DW and I have dinner out about once every two weeks. It's nice being retired...it gives me lots of time to eat at home. It's cheaper and usually MUCH healthier!

Doing a guesstimate, while w*rking, I probably spent about $5800/year on going out. Now, it's in the neighborhood of $1300. And looking at these numbers and I aghast at how much I was spending going out!!!
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:52 PM   #3
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My budget for two adults is $500 which includes eating out and groceries. BUT, the 3-month average is more around $650 mainly because we shop at WF and I can rarely get out under $100. When we stop working we anticipate it going up and have a tentative budget of $800. We have after-tax savings of 73%, but if any other budget category went up, food would be the first to go down.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:53 PM   #4
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Mine went down after ER. (Eating @ home more often)
I average $11.45 per day on food. Of course I'm single & my Father was a strict eat @ home guy, so I got that from him.
My 'drink' averages $4.00 per day

$15.45 x 30 = $463.50 per month

I'm astounded that you spend between 1 & 3k per month on food.
You must be doing very well

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Old 04-05-2016, 02:01 PM   #5
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I haven't run specific numbers (I guess if I wasn't so darn lazy I could!)
I used to spend a bunch of time exporting and importing bank data but now it's easy to track. Jump on www.mint.com and link it to your bank account and 95% of the work is done. It categorizes all your expenses for you from your bank. And it's free. But, be prepared for the results.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:01 PM   #6
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We are high spenders on this, even though we pack our lunches and eat dinner out only 2-3 times a month (including white castle trips). Over the past 4 years, we've averaged slightly more than 10,000 a year on wine (totals include hard liquor, but that is de minimis subcategory for us). Going by memory, groceries and restaurants combined average about 8,000--with groceries gamely holding the lead.

Good news is that we can go three years without buying wine just by drawing down the cellar contents--in fact, we are starting to cut back now to avoid having too many bottles reach their peak drinkability when we are traveling.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:05 PM   #7
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Good news is that we can go three years without buying wine just by drawing down the cellar contents--in fact, we are starting to cut back now to avoid having too many bottles reach their peak drinkability when we are traveling.
I don't know. That sounds like an awful risky 33% WR.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:06 PM   #8
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Ours is higher than before retiring. Even though we eat at home a lot, we buy top quality ingredients, and when we do eat out it's somewhere nice.

We invested and saved while working so that we could upgrade our lifestyle when retired and we had the time to enjoy it.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:07 PM   #9
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I don't know. That sounds like an awful risky 33% WR.
That's why we continue to replenish. :-)

(Warning to all wine enthusiasts: whatever size winecellar you construct, you will fill it up!)
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:08 PM   #10
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I know when DW and I prior to ER and we started tracking expenses we were shocked at around $1300 per month for food and drink out. She had lunch or diner depending on shift at the hospital cafeteria even with her discount WAS about $8 per day and when I was not traveling lunch out was $12 per day then we would not think twice going out for $100-$150 for nice Dinner about 6 times per month. We felt the shock when we saw it too. Started gourmet cooking at home on weekend and taking leftovers to work. Wine and drinks much cheaper at home. We still went out but found less expensive more casual places when we did go out. we still go out high end for special celebrations about 4 times a year. Instead of whole bottle of wine we each get one cocktail maybe two. Brought down to it just about $450 per month average and has stayed about same since we FIRED. Grocery bill only went up about $100 bucks per month.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:14 PM   #11
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Ours is higher than before retiring. Even though we eat at home a lot, we buy top quality ingredients, and when we do eat out it's somewhere nice.
+1. Our budget is $975/mo for two $(500 groceries, $75 wine/liquor & $400 dining out). Our spending hasn't changed significantly with retirement, if anything up slightly. Might be high (or low) to some, but we're routinely over budget, but I don't see any value in comparing with others. Others may spend more on other activities, we all have different wants/needs, that's what makes the world go around... YMMV
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:26 PM   #12
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I used to spend a bunch of time exporting and importing bank data but now it's easy to track. Jump on www.mint.com and link it to your bank account and 95% of the work is done. It categorizes all your expenses for you from your bank. And it's free. But, be prepared for the results.
Yeah, I could do that but I figure since I am still saving in the neighborhood of 50% of my retirement income (and the DW is saving about 60% of her income) it's kind of a waste of time. Plus, I put almost EVERYTHING I can on my Amex Preferred, so I get a very nice year end summary that I really don't look at.
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:28 PM   #13
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I'm way up from what I spent while working. That was when I was scrimping and saving. I really enjoy a nice big lunch too. I think that's the best time to eat a "big meal", you have the rest of the day to burn those calories. And I don't do booze at noon either so that helps.

At least once a week I'll go burn $40 at the sushi bar -
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:53 PM   #14
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In the two years before I retired, DH and I spent about $800/month on groceries and dining. I retired in April 2015, our total spend on groceries & dining for last year was $6,600 ($550/month). I think the spending went down because I bought fewer convenience foods. With more time, I cook more from scratch. Also fewer take-out meals.

Our averages are probably on the low end, because we don't enjoy "fine dining"; we eat because we are hungry. Our favorite place to go out to dinner is a family-owned Mexican restaurant, where the tab comes to $19 for two (before tip). On Mondays, the local dive bar has cheesesteaks for $2.50. Even with a beer and a generous tip, we get out of there for $15-20 (and we only finish half of our cheesesteaks, the other half gets saved for Tuesday's lunch).

We aren't big drinkers -- DH has an occasional beer and I'll have some wine once in a while. We only have water with our meals, whether we are out or at home.

It sounds like you enjoy dining out, so maybe your spending will not go down after ER. That's ok, if it is what you like to do. It's entertainment.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:04 PM   #15
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Less than you are now.

When w*rking, too much, maybe a thousand a month. Now maybe a hundred at most. We actually enjoy our treats more now, and our everyday meals.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:05 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:17 PM   #17
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Food cost goes way down for us. We eat very well, steak and lobster from Whole foods. Gas also down from $240 a month to $40 a month on a SUV. Surprisingly utility bills go down as well.


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Old 04-05-2016, 03:36 PM   #18
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............. Surprisingly utility bills go down as well.


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That seems odd. Do you have an explanation ?
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:58 PM   #19
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WE spend more $ going out after we retired then before. Before we were tired from working so stayed home. We spend between 400-600/month just on going out. Our gas and driving has gone way down.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:03 PM   #20
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I am getting closer to FIRE (1-3 years) and have always been very conscious about saving money and watching expenses except when it comes to Food & Drink. I just ran Mint to see how things look this year and was kinda shocked. I am spending $1k-$3k a month on food and drink. This includes lunch out every day Mon-Fri while at work. Dinners with the gf and a bunch of wine. I am curious as to what others are spending on that category. Did it change up or down after you retired?
We spend more than that. Spending on food and drink went down after our darling adult children moved out, then held steady for many years. Now it is moving back up as we loosen up the purse strings and go out a bit more frequently.

This is a category where we treat ourselves well.
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