Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Eating Disorder (part 1)

Since I can't seem to get my food spending under control, or under $800 a month, I thought it was time to look at it in more detail.
From my latest credit card statement, 7/26-8/24:
7 trips to local supermarket. Items bought were almost exclusively limited to raw fruits & vegetables, raw meats & poultry, milk, Cheerios, yogurts, cold cuts, Luna bars, orange juice, olive oil, sardines, mayonnaise, goat cheese, eggs, bread, frozen spinach, a box of Triscuits, canned tuna on sale, and cottage cheese. When I say "almost exclusively" I mean I am not counting a few rolls of toilet paper. I don't buy many processed foods, I eat reasonable portions, and rarely have dessert. I don't buy chips or pretzels or other such snacks. I'm actually very well-behaved in terms of my diet!
The supermarket bills totaled about $165. Is my local supermarket the cheapest place to buy all these things? The steaks and lamb chops, for instance, were around $13-14 a pound because I haven't found cheaper cuts that I like-- yes, I'm a meat snob. Apples were $1.29 a pound. Yogurts $1.19 each. Is this really expensive? Well, I have no idea. I live in New York, where 90% of the time, you go to the supermarket that is the closest to walk to, whether or not it's the cheapest. I have one equidistant supermarket that is probably cheaper for many things, but that is the one where everything comes in family packs, so any savings would be erased by wastage. And who knows, if my apartment started to reek of rotting food, my landlord might evict me and then I would have to pay more rent and what kind of bargain would that be?
Then there are 3 receipts from what I'll term "upscale gourmet grocery retailers" such as Whole Foods, a.k.a. Whole Paycheck. These only totaled about $33, for a couple nights' worth of fish, a roasted chicken, and some more vegetables, salad and plums. (The PLUOT was this summer's new obsession.)
Then I have one $20 Chinese takeout, $40 for food at a basketball game, and 3 restaurant meals (for two) at $68, $46, and $83. Finally, there was about $75 worth of wine, which I think was 6 bottles.
These were all my credit card expenses for food, which already bring me to about $455. All the rest was cash, for breakfast and lunch, mainly. I was actually trying to be better this month about bringing food from home for those meals-- did I succeed? (To be continued...)


your math teacher said...

Is it $455 for food in one month for one person?!?


I spend roughly 200 a month for food and I'm not starving or anything.

Anonymous said...

I think $165 is a pretty reasonable grocery bill for NYC. I spend between $100-$160, but that includes some ramen nights, some beans and rice nights, and the cheapest yogurt I can find ($0.49 cent La Yogurt. Tastes just like Yoplait).

It's just the restaurant meals- and breakfast and lunch at work- that's hurting you... As I'm sure you figured out.

Anonymous said...

i think it's a bit high, my grocery bills for two people is around $150 a month, but i eat out about 3 nights of the week. i buy all my fruit at the fruit stand, and i try to stay away from buying meat in general except for chicken. supermarkets are incredibly expensive for veggies and fruit.

Anonymous said...

Your bills sound reasonable. We all have different ideas of food and such. As long as you are still saving for your goals and not overextending yourself through credit cards, enjoy!

Monty Loree said...

For this type of exercise, I would calculate in ALL costs of food.
Coffee and donuts

If you eat out alot and don't buy groceries, that's not really a fair calculation of groceries. Because you have to eat something.

If anything, eating out is way more expensive than groceries.

Anonymous said...

You live in Park Slope, claim to be frugal and yet are not a member of the Food Co-op? For 2 1/2 hours of work a month you could be buying all your groceries at 21% above wholesale. The savings on produce especially are insane. Pluots (organic) are just above $1 a pound right now. Whadya pay at Whole Foods?

Madame X said...

The Food Co-op has been the bane of my existence ever since I've lived in Park Slope! I visited with friends a couple of times years ago and practically broke out in hives at how slow the lines were and how overcrowded it was. I've heard it's gotten better and everyone I know is always telling me I have to join, and I know it's true. And it's totally lazy of me not to want to carry my groceries 20 blocks to the part of the Slope I live in. When I traveled a lot for work I thought I'd have trouble scheduling the work time, but maybe now I should reconsider...

Jose Anes said...

Sounds like a lot of money.
But then again... groceries can cost up to double on the big city.

It is about 4 times what my wife and I spend every month, and we thought we where food and wine snobs.

Money And Investing

Anonymous said...

I am a 35 year old male about 235 LBS living in bensonhurst Brooklyn, I get $155.00 per month for food, and I got to say, I am starving, I am starving my Fu,king ass off and that's buying the cheapest grocery's I can find. The way I see it is, $155 divided by 30 days per month = $5.16 per day. How can anybody live on this? or am I doing something wrong? Please e-mail me with answer to