Food is by far our biggest expense. We spent $2500 on food (inclusive of alcohol and cleaning supplies, so probably $2200 on food) in August alone. Clearly, that is way too much for a couple to spend on food each month. People tend to share that they feed families of 4+ on under $600 a month, as part of conversations on how they’re trying to cut down on spending.
But how much should a DINK couple (planning to have kids in the next few years) be spending on food? Here is the advice I found:
- Based on the USDA Low Cost Food Plan, MR. HECC and I should spend $495.22 per month (if we were to eat all meals at home.) This doesn’t take into account cost of living, but it should be doable if meals were carefully planned out and decided on based on cost instead of deliciousness.
- ApartmentTherapy asked its readers what they spend a month on food — with 295 responses, the answers for couples ranged from $500 to $1000 a month as the average answer. In lower cost areas some people got their monthly food expenses down to $100 – though that seems very hard and would take a lot of creativity.
- For the Bay Area (high cost of living area) Quora readers recommend $500-700 a month on food for a couple.
While we currently have the luxury of taking home about $12k in after-tax income monthly (so our $2500 food budget doesn’t kill us), it’s just ridiculous to be spending that much on food. As Mr. HECC prepares to return to school to become a teacher, and I consider a career change to more fulfilling, much lower paying work, we know we need to get our food spending in check.
To start, we are trying to cut our food spend in HALF with a budget of $1200 for September. This is still well over the $500 we should be spending, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m going to focus this month on documenting my weekly food spending to hold myself accountable to keep costs down.
HECC September Meal Budget:
Mr. HECC Meal Budget:
Freshly ($400/mo) + milk, 1 grocery store pre-made meal a week = ~$500
Joint Meal Budget:
Blue Apron = $240/mo for 24 meals
Dining Out = $200/mo (~4 meals)
Mrs. HECC Meal Budget:
28 Dinners, 30 Lunches, 30 Breakfasts for $260
Breakfast = $1.50/meal — $45
Lunch = $3 / meal = $90
Dinner = $4.50 / meal = $126
This is the meal plan that I am going to try to hit in September. It is going to be extremely hard. The good news is that with Blue Apron I get 3 homecooked meals a week for dinner and it’s been super fun to cook with Mr. HECC using our new pots & pans and knives from our wedding. He is so cute in preparing/chopping all the food for me to cook when I get home.
Ok, so how on earth do I feed myself for an average of $2.97 per meal (when I’m used to eating lunch that costs $20 a meal)?
This is going to be tough. But I have to be an adult and do it vs just throwing away money on food.
Comment Below: How Much Do you Spend on Food Per Month?