Saturday, January 5, 2019

Monthly Food Expenditure Revisited

A few months ago, I blogged about my monthly food expenditure, and it's time to revisit that post now that 2018 is in the books. At first glance, the below chart seems to show that my average monthly food expenditure didn't really change in 2018. Recall a few key dates:

Q4 2006: We took occupancy of our condo, so we practiced a lot of "fiscal restraint" as we wanted to pay off the condo as quickly as we could.
Q4 2011: We paid off the condo in 5 years and became debt-free. My monthly food expenditures started tracking upward steadily after that.

Note: the below charts represents my monthly expenditure only, i.e., my half of the grocery bill, my half of meals at restaurants with hubby, and my personal expenses when I go out for food with friends.

The above chart tells us that, on average, I spent around the same amount on food in 2018 as I did in the past several years. However, if we look at the below chart, which summarizes my actual food expenditure in each month of 2018, it's pretty clear that I was able to shift my spending significantly. A few more key dates:

June: I submitted my resignation notice.
July: Hubby and I had longstanding plans to travel to New York and Montreal. We splurged on a number of meals (some amazing, some not).
August: I worked my last month at my full-time job. In preparation for my gap year, I started being more discerning with all my expenses.

It's important to reiterate that part of the reason I was able to quit my job was because I was getting tired of going out and spending money on restaurants. In my heyday of going to nice restaurants, I couldn't fathom giving up that lifestyle. At the same time, I knew we were indulging too often, so I started experimenting with the eat-at-home challenge in November 2016, and I slowly rediscovered my passion for cooking. I love eating at home now, and oddly enough, dining out doesn't produce the same euphoric feeling that it used to.

I've done the eat-at-home challenge four times now, and I enjoy it more and more each time. My most recent challenge was completed in November 2018. If you watched my eat-at-home vlogs, you will have seen that I ate very well during this month. I bought tons of groceries and experimented with many different recipes. I was shocked to see that my monthly expenses for this eat-at-home challenge came in at the lowest level ever. Beyond that, I've been able to really reign in my spending since August, but I don't feel deprived in the slightest. Stuff like this makes me so happy.

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