As I look over other bloggers’ financial reports and budget recaps, I am painfully aware that almost any personal finance blogger worth his/her salt is spending less on food than we are per month. Sometimes we spend up to $700/month in our food category! (There are only three of us, and one of us is a six-year-old who only eats Goldfish and Ritz crackers – or would, if we let her.)
I am working on this – I’ve started following Budget Bytes and have made two recipes (one this week, one last week) that can be doubled and used for work lunches and leftovers. This isn’t new or anything – I used to follow the site a long time ago, but I stopped (probably because I wasn’t yet using Feedly and didn’t have a good way to monitor the site). I also made crockpot meals once a week for a number of months last year, but ended up falling off the wagon in the fall. And there are only so many crockpot recipes that don’t require some kind of huge chunk of meat (which we try to avoid, both for health, moral, and financial reasons). We order out food (we hardly ever actually go out to eat at a restaurant) or get take-out probably once or twice a month, but we make some simple staples for dinner and use them for leftovers and work lunches. (My husband even makes his own granola, which is a huge help financially.) Of course, we could still do much, much better. Probably if I stopped buying wine.
HA HA HA HA HA …. whew. Moving on….
But let’s talk about household necessities: paper towels (honestly, I am trying to use rags more than paper towels, but we still buy some), napkins, toilet paper, lightbulbs, tape, etc.
I lump our household necessities into our food budget, because we often buy those things along with food, though not at the grocery store. I sometimes use Boxed.com (if I can get a free shipping code, a sale price, or through Zulily*), and we used to go to Sam’s Club where you get everything under the sun at the same time, and sometimes we go to Walmart, and sometimes I use ePantry*…. in the end, all of the household necessities and food end up on the same receipts, and I don’t want to break it apart.
I am attempting to lower the amount of money we spend on food now, and I will continue to do so, but I do wonder if the amount of household supplies we buy skews our food budget. It seems like I could be comparing apples to oranges. Apples = what we spend on food plus household necessities; oranges = what other people spend on only food.
I’m curious: How do you arrange your budget categories? Do you consider food and household necessities to be closely related, financially-speaking?
*Any links with asterisks are referral links – but I enjoy all both of these sites and you might, too!