“Finding” money in the budget

Well, writing this blog post has been an eye-opening experience. I was looking to see if there were places I could tighten our finances in order to “find” some money in our budget, so I took a close look at our eating and drinking budget. 

I happen to know for a fact that we spend a lot of money on this. We love food, and we like nice wines and spending time with our friends and that frequently involves hosting people, or going out to eat. That shit ain’t cheap. But still – knowing all that, taking a close look at our budget has been….something. 

Initially, I didn’t think it was that bad. We’d spent $4,600 on food, another $3,000 on eating out, and $1,850 on alcohol. Pretty respectable, actually. OH JUST KIDDING. Those are only the numbers from MY spending on the joint credit card…and I don’t do most of the shopping or pay for things when we’re out. 

You should probably take a deep breath, and definitely don’t take a sip of a hot beverage when you read this next part. The real numbers are….something else entirely. 

Our actual numbers are as follows: 

Restaurants: $11,400 

Groceries: $10,100

Alcohol: $5,800

We are bloody savages. We spent $27,300 on food and drinks in 2018. Interestingly, that’s actually pretty close to what I budget, BUT STILL. 

Pass the smelling salts. 

So what’s the plan? 

For food, January is always one of the most expensive months because there is almost NO fresh produce available locally. It’s all coming in from Europe and the United States, and it’s quite pricey especially for not gross stuff. So I don’t think we can reduce our grocery budget too much in January, although I’m going to try. We have a lot of food in our freezer, and lots of staples in our cupboards so in January, we’re going to focus on clearing some of that out. That will have the added bonus of helping us reduce our food waste. 

I’ve budgeted $900 for food in January, but I’m hoping that I can get that down to about $750. That’ll be the goal, anyway. But we will not be sacrificing on healthy fruits and vegetables, so we’ll have to see how that goes. 

In terms of the restaurants, this really adds up. January is generally a slower month for us in terms of socializing, but I’ll try to make a conscious effort for us to eat at home more, and definitely skip the takeout (which is additionally bad for the environment with all the packaging and transportation involved). 

The alcohol budget should be somewhat easy to reduce this month because we’re doing dry January. We have a party planned at our place near the end of the month, but otherwise, we’ll be skipping the booze this month. It’s part of our intention to re-evaluate our habits around alcohol and figure out what we really enjoy versus what we’ve grown used to. 

I’ve budgeted another $900 for eating out and alcohol in January, but I’m pretty sure we can keep that to about $350 (including our party). 

If all goes as planned (but what ever does?) that would free up $700 of “found” money that we could allocate according to our golden ratio

Wish us luck!

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