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My Food expenses are really high according to Mint.com Summary

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    My Food expenses are really high according to Mint.com Summary

    Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 12.34.45 PM.png
    Above is the summary of my spending for this year (2018).
    - For rent it's a bit high because I'm paying for me and my roommate, so the actual rent is that total divided by 2.

    The one area I am worried about most is Food & Dining. I actually try to cook, but I still end up eating out sometimes.

    Below is all my spending for last year, I have the same concern for Food & Dining:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 12.34.20 PM.png

    My concern is that my Investments and Savings aren't high enough for my age and salaray. I am getting close to 29 and currently making $90K. Right now I have:
    - $48K between 401K, IRA and Roth IRA
    - $13K in Savings @ Ally Online
    - $2.7K in Credit Card (I just returned from vacation and paid for some family expenses on my card...they will pay me back)

    Any suggestions on beefing up accounts and learning to do less spending? So far I increased my 401k to 18%.



    #2
    Your take home is $90k or your gross? What is your monthly net after taxes, insurance, etc?
    TONS of ideas on this board for cutting food spending. I'd start by understanding exactly where your food spending is going (do you have subcategories for dining out/bars/grocery?) and then peruse some of the old threads for ways to cut back. Mostly eating at home and occasionally eating out does not translate to $1,100/mo in food spending for one person.

    Comment


      #3
      Food & Dining is a good category to focus on! It's a category where a lot of us, even though of us who are overall super careful about spending, have to occasionally remind ourselves to dial it back.
      I don't know if you have a budget, but even if you don't, you could choose to create a budget just for this category.
      Now that you know how much you are actually spending (which is very important - good for you), the next step is to decide how much you want to spend. Lots of ways you can do that. For example, you could decide that you want to spend 20% less than you spent in 2017. Or you could look at the USDA Food Plans and decide what is a reasonable amount to spend.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post
        I'd start by understanding exactly where your food spending is going (do you have subcategories for dining out/bars/grocery?)
        This is really the key to get started. "Food and Dining" is a broad category. How much of that is groceries? How much is dining out? How much is alcohol? How much is non-grocery items purchased at the grocery store (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, trash bags)?

        Once you have it broken down, it's easier to see where to focus your attention. If you are eating out a lot (which I'm guessing you are with that much spending, you need to trim that back. More home cooking. Packing lunches to work. If you're spending a lot on alcohol, which is way too easy to do even if you aren't that big of a drinker, look to cut that back. Instead of getting together with a couple of buddies to go to a bar for a beer, invite them over instead. You can buy a case for what 2 or 3 costs you at a bar. If it is actually the grocery bill that's too high, you're probably buying too many processed and ready-made foods (which are also typically not very good for you). Focus more on preparing meals yourself. The more prep needed, the cheaper the meals will be. Raw ingredients cost a lot less than already made foods.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post
          Your take home is $90k or your gross? What is your monthly net after taxes, insurance, etc?
          TONS of ideas on this board for cutting food spending. I'd start by understanding exactly where your food spending is going (do you have subcategories for dining out/bars/grocery?) and then peruse some of the old threads for ways to cut back. Mostly eating at home and occasionally eating out does not translate to $1,100/mo in food spending for one person.

          90K is the gross salary. Net monthly salary is $1,986.44 (after 401K contribution). It could be the subcategories such as bar/restaurants. I checked mint.com again for 2017 food subcategories:

          Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 4.51.33 PM.png

          and here's 2018:

          Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 4.53.21 PM.png

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

            This is really the key to get started. "Food and Dining" is a broad category. How much of that is groceries? How much is dining out? How much is alcohol? How much is non-grocery items purchased at the grocery store (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, trash bags)?

            Once you have it broken down, it's easier to see where to focus your attention. If you are eating out a lot (which I'm guessing you are with that much spending, you need to trim that back. More home cooking. Packing lunches to work. If you're spending a lot on alcohol, which is way too easy to do even if you aren't that big of a drinker, look to cut that back. Instead of getting together with a couple of buddies to go to a bar for a beer, invite them over instead. You can buy a case for what 2 or 3 costs you at a bar. If it is actually the grocery bill that's too high, you're probably buying too many processed and ready-made foods (which are also typically not very good for you). Focus more on preparing meals yourself. The more prep needed, the cheaper the meals will be. Raw ingredients cost a lot less than already made foods.
            Just got a hold of the break down above.

            It seems that restaurants (lunch might be included in this) and bars (usually the same place when I am out with friends) are what's doing most of the damage.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by scfr View Post
              Food & Dining is a good category to focus on! It's a category where a lot of us, even though of us who are overall super careful about spending, have to occasionally remind ourselves to dial it back.
              I don't know if you have a budget, but even if you don't, you could choose to create a budget just for this category.
              Now that you know how much you are actually spending (which is very important - good for you), the next step is to decide how much you want to spend. Lots of ways you can do that. For example, you could decide that you want to spend 20% less than you spent in 2017. Or you could look at the USDA Food Plans and decide what is a reasonable amount to spend.
              That's a great idea, looking at different budgeting tools now like YNAB.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by lootpacman View Post

                It seems that restaurants (lunch might be included in this) and bars (usually the same place when I am out with friends) are what's doing most of the damage.
                As expected.

                Assuming you work in a setting where you can bring your own lunch, start doing so. It will be way cheaper and likely far healthier. I probably spend no more than $4/day for lunch at work - yogurt, a protein bar, a piece of fruit.

                Bars are trouble. Just a couple of beers or mixed drinks and an appetizer and you're probably out $25 or more. Do that even once a week and you're spending $1,300/year. Add in a $25 dinner and it's double that amount.

                Entertain at home. If you typically go out with the same group of friends, take turns hosting or all chip in a set amount to cover food and drinks. A couple cases of beer or a few bottles of liquor will be way cheaper than any bar.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #9
                  What is "Food and Dining" that isn't already accounted for in the other categories?

                  Comment


                  • lootpacman
                    lootpacman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Just checked Mint again, they are all Gastro-pubs/Cocktails bar that serve food.

                  • msomnipotent
                    msomnipotent commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That is just oddly specific.

                  #10
                  I was on my phone earlier so didn't see the breakdown.

                  I have the same question about the "Food and Dining" category. What is that?

                  When do you typically visit a coffee shop? Is it on your way to work? On a break? Some other time? If it's in the morning, make coffee and put it in a travel mug instead. If it is during work hours, does your work site have a coffee machine? If so, use it and stop buying coffee. If it's some other time, if there is one chain you use regularly, like Starbucks, buy discount gift cards at GiftcardGranny.com. You can get at least 10% off Starbucks right now.

                  Use the discount gift card site for other dining out also if you can. If there is a restaurant chain you frequent, see if you can buy cards to save some money. You should still be aiming to eat out less and cook at home more but finding ways to cut the cost when you do dine out is also part of the process. If you can save 10-15% on your meal, that will add up over the course of a year.

                  Less than 20% of your food spending YTD is on groceries, so you are spending over 80% outside of the home. That's insane. You really need to work on turning that ratio around. The more of your eating you can do at home, the better your numbers will be. And, as I said earlier, the better your health will be too.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by lootpacman View Post
                    90K is the gross salary. Net monthly salary is $[B]1,986.44 (after 401K contribution).
                    Do you mean bi-weekly, not monthly?
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                      Do you mean bi-weekly, not monthly?
                      Meant semi-monthly

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                        I was on my phone earlier so didn't see the breakdown.

                        I have the same question about the "Food and Dining" category. What is that?

                        When do you typically visit a coffee shop? Is it on your way to work? On a break? Some other time? If it's in the morning, make coffee and put it in a travel mug instead. If it is during work hours, does your work site have a coffee machine? If so, use it and stop buying coffee. If it's some other time, if there is one chain you use regularly, like Starbucks, buy discount gift cards at GiftcardGranny.com. You can get at least 10% off Starbucks right now.

                        Use the discount gift card site for other dining out also if you can. If there is a restaurant chain you frequent, see if you can buy cards to save some money. You should still be aiming to eat out less and cook at home more but finding ways to cut the cost when you do dine out is also part of the process. If you can save 10-15% on your meal, that will add up over the course of a year.

                        Less than 20% of your food spending YTD is on groceries, so you are spending over 80% outside of the home. That's insane. You really need to work on turning that ratio around. The more of your eating you can do at home, the better your numbers will be. And, as I said earlier, the better your health will be too.
                        Just checked Mint again, they are all Grubhub/Gastro-pubs/Cocktail bars/beer gardens that serve food.

                        Coffee shops really surprised me because I am not a big coffee drinker. So I dug deeper and it turns out a specific supermarket was being coded as "COFFEE". So my coffee spending seemed $250 higher than it actually is for 2017. My total coffee spending for 2018 is $62, after I fixed the coding.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by lootpacman

                          Just checked Mint again, they are all Grubhub/Gastro-pubs/Cocktail bars/beer gardens that serve food that is considered food & dining.

                          Coffee shops really surprised me because I am not a big coffee drinker. So I dug deeper and it turns out a specific supermarket was being coded as "COFFEE". So my coffee spending seemed $250 higher than it actually is for 2017. My total coffee spending for 2018 is $62, after I fixed the coding.
                          It's great that you're taking the time to dig into the numbers and realizing that there is a problem there. The bottom line is simply that you are eating out way too much. You really need to focus on cooking more at home, packing lunches from home, and maybe entertaining more at home instead of going out so much. Also, cutting back on the alcohol consumption probably wouldn't be a bad idea for various reasons beyond just financial.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Originally posted by disneysteve View Post


                            Bars are trouble. Just a couple of beers or mixed drinks and an appetizer and you're probably out $25 or more. Do that even once a week and you're spending $1,300/year. Add in a $25 dinner and it's double that amount.
                            I can tell you haven't been to a bar in a while. Some bars have $25 cover charges, and then the cocktails are $15-$20 each, depending on ingredients. It is all "craft" stuff now.

                            Comment

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