Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight

The Great Food Budget Challenge

My best friend Callie and I were chatting on the phone last weekend. Our conversation lasted about two hours, and per usual, it eventually detoured to food.

sugar plums

She and I are both pretty health conscious, and we both prefer cooking at home to eating out. We both complained about how difficult it can be to plan meals for the week and stay within a specific budget while living in expensive cities (she’s in Santa Monica; I’m in Queens). When she mentioned that she spent about $600 a month on food for her and her husband, two things occurred to me: 1) Wow. Six hundred dollars sounds like an awful lot to spend on food for two people in one month, and 2) It is entirely possible that we spend about the same amount, and I just don’t realize it. Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea how much we spend a month on food. And that ain’t good.


Vin and I have very clear guidelines for how we handle food, both financially and practically—I pay for all groceries and cook all meals; Vin pays for all meals eaten out (deliveries included) and washes the dishes after dinner. If we’re having a party, Vin typically foots the bill while I do the prep work. This system has worked really well for us, and I imagine we both end up spending about the same amount, depending how many times we eat out that month (it’s usually 1x per week) or how frequently we entertain (not often enough!).


As we start saving in earnest for a house (or an apartment) to buy, it’s high time I take a much closer look at where our money is going. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d have to review my credit card statement to know how much I spent on food in March, so starting next Monday—April 1st—I will begin saving every receipt the two of us spend on food. I’ll report my progress for the week on the blog for the next few Fridays. Once May rolls around, I will set a specific budget and try like hell to stick to it.

So I’m curious…how much do you spend on food per month, and for how many people?

If you’re not currently keeping track, I encourage you to start tracking on April 1st as well!

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • Rose
    We loosely spend about 400-600 per month depending on how many times we eat at a restaurant. I say loosely bc we just spend and don’t think. Now I will think. Thanks for making me makes sense! I’m interested in how much you’ll end up spending for April.
    • Jenn P.
      I spend and don’t think too, Rose. Hence, the challenge. I’m interested in learning how much I spend, although I anticipate it being somewhat of a rude awakening!
  • Meghan
    I have not started keeping track but I highly doubt its close to $600 but that’s only because I live in South Africa .
  • Meghan
    xo Meg<3
    • Jenn P.
      Well now I’m extra interested in hearing about your grocery shopping habits!! I would love to know how things compare in such vastly different places.
  • Jillian M.
    Not counting eating out on the weekends, Bob and I spend an average of $400 a month. It would definitely be lower if I didn’t buy organic (which I try to do when feasible). Sometimes, little specialty items will put us over the budget, but since it’s once in a while, I don’t fret too much about it.