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How much do you spend on groceries?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m fairly frugal when it comes to groceries. Since moving to Vancouver in 2008 my monthly grocery budget has ranged from $100 to $200 each month (maybe even upwards of $250 if I go to Costco). For me, this is a normal amount. I don’t eat a lot, and while I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to food, I don’t mind eating simple meals when at home.

Related: Can you feed yourself for $100/month?

But that being said, I received this comment on my June 2014 Goals Recap a couple of days ago on the blog:

groceriesNow, I do know that I likely spend less than most people on groceries each month. However, when it comes to people who are already frugal, as well as personal finance bloggers, I think I’m about average. I don’t know anybody that spends $500-700 as a single person on groceries each month, unless you are counting restaurants as well. But even then, that’s probably pretty high. Groceries and dining out combined, I probably spend around $225-250/month.

SoI went to Twitter and asked people what their average grocery budgets were each month:


Here are just a couple of small ways I save money on food:

  • Eat vegetarian. Even when I was eating meat, I ate vegetarian for most meals. By not centering my meal around meat, I significantly cut down my grocery expenses. Instead, I supplement with chickpeas (and hummus), tofu, lentils, quinoa, etc.
  • Shop at farm markets. I’m always shocked at how cheap it is to buy produce at farm markets and small Asian grocery stores. I buy a huge bag full of veggies and fruit for about $15 a couple times a week, and buy staple items like quinoa in bulk at Costco.
  • Eat simple meals. Not every meal needs to be Pinterest-worthy. :) I splurge on ingredients when I’m cooking a nice meal for BF or for friends, but everyday eating is pretty simple in my house. A typical meal for me would be some roasted (or steamed) veggies, Wasa bread (or Lavish crackers) with hummus, and grilled mushrooms on the BBQ.
  • Rarely buy junk food. If you come over, I won’t have ice cream, chips, cookies, or chocolate at my house. :) I do enjoy them, but can’t justify spending money on unhealthy foods on a regular basis. BF doesn’t have them at his house either, so the only time we might indulge is if we go out with friends or if we make a point to walk somewhere to pick up ice cream or macarons.

Related: Inside my grocery bag

It should be noted that I do spend time each week at BF’s house. Sometimes he buys groceries, and I buy dinner. Or vice versa. We loosely split costs 50/50, and I think my expenses all even out over the course of a month.

How much do you spend on groceries each week?
What’s your best tip for saving money on food?

Spending money on clothes

IMG_2761One of my goals for the year was to spend less than $1,000 on clothing. This may seem like a lot of money, but when you consider the need to replace shoes (specifically athletic shoes), that doesn’t leave me with a lot left over for the rest of the year!

Of course I’d love to spend my money on cute dresses from Anthropologie, or great work clothes from J.Crew or Banana Republic… but filling my closet with stuff doesn’t get me to my financial goals any faster. And while I do think I need to refresh my wardrobe somewhat this year, I don’t think I need much. My work wardrobe is definitely lacking some staples – namely pants. I don’t own any that fit. I’ve been getting by with skirts/dresses, black jeans, and dark blue jeans (which I technically shouldn’t be wearing) … but actual dress pants? Not one single pair. And worst of all, the suit that I bought early last year? It doesn’t fit anymore. So I’m going to have to significantly alter the pants and suit that I currently own (and hope I don’t gain any weight), or buy new ones.

Anyway, half way through the year, I’ve spent a total of $250.18 on clothes:

  1. $100.80 – new bathing suit (June)
  2. $111.16 – clothes from Value Village & new jeans (April)
  3. $38.22 – nylons (March)

Not bad. I actually thought it would be more than that! But I know big expenses are coming up. I want to buy new field hockey turf boots for the upcoming season ($125). I’ve had mine for at least 5 or 6 seasons now, and they’re not holding up very well. I might need a new pair of running shoes this fall ($150), as well as work shoes ($100). I wear the same pair of work shoes almost single day, and after 2 years, they’re looking a bit rough. But because I know the size, style, and brand of the shoes that I wear, I’ll try to buy them all online in order to save some extra money. Still. For someone that only owns about 8 pairs of shoes, that’s quite a lot of money to be shelling out this year. :)

This time last year, I had already spent $1,226 on clothes, which represented 14% of my discretionary spending, or 3.5% of my gross annual income (mid-way through 2013). Yikes. So the $250.18 I’ve spent this year is a significant improvement for sure!

Do you give yourself a budget for clothing/shoes?

Spending Recap: June 23-29, 2014

Monday 23rd
+ $199.59 freelance income
$11.50 lunch

Tuesday 24th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 25th
$11.50 lunch

Thursday 26th
No Spend Day!

Friday 27th – Tacoma, WA
$5.08 road trip snacks
$7.33 Chipotle
$37.40 hotel

Saturday 28th – Florence, OR
$2.18 ice
$20.17 groceries
$53.18 hotel

Sunday 29th – Lincoln City, OR
$11.50 breakfast
$4 coffee
$55 dune buggies
$56.51 gas
$20.22 dinner
$60.56 hotel

Freelance Income: + $199.59
Expenses- $356.13

TOTAL: - $156.54

I had two lunch dates this week with friends, which is a bit out of the ordinary. But both times we went to the same place, and they’ve got a pretty cheap lunch menu, which is why the cost for both days is exactly the same. :)

The rest of the week was spent on holidays in Oregon. Here are some of the expenses, but I’ll recap the entire trip in a separate post, with pictures and everything that we did.

July 2014 Goals

July! This is going to be a busy, but exciting month for me. I’ve got a field hockey tournament to play in, a trip scheduled for Victoria to take my dad to a baseball game, and BF is having a couple of parties for the Celebration of Light fireworks.

Since there are a lot of expenses happening this summer, I’m trying to keep it relatively frugal this month. I added in my expenses for travel (which includes my trip to Oregon from earlier this week), as well as $50 for field hockey. The tournament is only $20, but drop-in sessions start this month and those cost between $5-8. I might not go to many, but at least it’s in my budget if I do decide to go.

I’m also going to try to schedule in a spa day for myself. BF gave me a gift card to a spa for Christmas, and I haven’t used it yet. But now that I’ve passed probation and am eligible for extended health benefits at work, I figure I can use that to my advantage and make this a free spa day! Benefits will cover me for a massage, and I can use the gift card for a facial, or maybe a pedicure. :)


July 2014 Goals:

  • Save $800 towards retirement. $600 towards RRSPs and $200 towards TFSA.
  • Earn an additional $800. I’ve got a lot of invoices out there, so fingers crossed they come through this month.
  • Work out 5-6x/week. I’ll be playing field hockey, running, and using the gym at work. On days that I don’t exercise, I still expect to walk 10-15k steps.
  • Get rid of my old television. This is rolled over from last month.
  • Fix my sink. This is rolled over from last month.
  • No coffee. Recently I tried to drink a cup of coffee, and couldn’t do it. It’s been at least 5 or 6 years since I’ve had a regular cup of coffee, and I just can’t handle the taste. But I love lattes and other fancier drinks. The problem is, they’re too expensive to have on a regular basis. So I’m cutting it all out completely for the month. Better for my health, and for my wallet. :)
  • Limit dairy intake. I don’t buy dairy products much on a regular basis, and I almost never have milk, butter, or eggs in my fridge. But I want to limit eating cheese, putting milk in my tea at work, or putting a boiled egg into my lunchtime salads. Those little things are what I’m used to, and I want to see how I feel if I’m really conscious of limiting how much dairy I eat.

June 2014 Goals: Recap

Even though my net worth increased this month, I didn’t do very well on my monthly goals. It was a hard month for me. Super stressed out. Work was busy, my personal life was a bit chaotic, and I had a pretty active schedule of things to get done.

We also traveled to Oregon at the end of the month, but didn’t actually plan the trip until about mid-month. That’s why you don’t see anything budgeted for Travel below, and I also didn’t record any of the travel expenses either. Since the trip ended on July 1st, I’m just going to throw it all into July’s budget just to make it easier. :)


Over Budget

  • Cell Phone – My plan took longer than expected to switch over to the new, cheaper one.
  • Internet – Same with the internet. I still payed the higher price for this month before I get dropped down to the cheaper plan.
  • Clothing – I bought a bathing suit. It was a little more than I had wanted to pay, but I’m pretty happy with it.
  • Car & Transportation – Can we discuss for a moment how expensive gas is in Vancouver? :( Although I do commute from BF’s house on a regular basis (he only lives 10 min. from my work), I did drive to-and-from Surrey at least three times this month.
  • Miscellaneous – I had to buy a new charger for my MacBook Pro.

Net Worth Change: + $1,728 (1.80%)

Big gains this month with my RRSPs as well as my stocks. I also bought my first ETF months month as well. As long as my net worth keeps going up, I’ll be happy. :)

June 2014 Goals:

  • Work out 6x/week. CHECK! This was a mix of running, hiking, tennis, long walks, and going to the gym. I’m also really proud that I was able to get to a 12+km run this month. I’m still a long ways from being ready for my half marathon, but I’m feeling really good and strong.
  • Cut back on sugar. PASS. I didn’t do too horribly with this on a daily basis, but I definitely didn’t say no to celebration cake or chocolate while on vacation. :)
  • Earn $1,200 in freelance income. FAIL. I only brought in $497.07 – but I still have about $900 waiting to be paid out.
  • Automate my property tax. FAIL. I didn’t even think about this.
  • Get rid of my old TV. FAIL. This month went by so fast, and then half way through the month, work got really busy and I didn’t have much free time to do anything. Plus, I was barely home. So, nope. Didn’t get this done.
  • Fix my sink. FAIL. BF didn’t have time to look at it this month. Hopefully we’ll be able to take a look in the next few weeks. If not, I’ll just hire someone to fix it.