Hi guys -- joining late, but this is my primary focus for the year, so this seems like a good place. I don't even know and don't want to know what our last year's food spend was, but I'm guessing $1000-$1200/mo. on groceries alone, and probably half that again on general takeout and meaningless crap. The big kicker was when I ordered Chinese delivery one Friday night when I didn't want to cook, and suddenly realized I was paying $70 for a completely meaningless meal, most of which was unhealthy to boot. [FWIW, I did eat the leftovers myself for lunch the entire next week, but still, if I'm going to spend $70, I want it to be delicious and memorable].
My goal for this year is $600/mo. for groceries and weeknight takeout for the four of us (2 adults, teenage girl, preteen boy). I am recommitting to the menu planning, I have replaced Wegman's with Aldi's, and I am cutting back on the treats (e.g., we're still going to have good cheese or salami, but one at a time is more than sufficient). This figure includes toiletries that I get at the supermarket but not monthly Amazon Subscribe & Save (I am also taking a hard look at that). It also includes weekly dairy delivery that I am not about to give up because it is pure deliciousness, but I am being more selective about what/how much I order.
I began this in mid-January, and I did very well -- $70 at Aldi's each week and no takeout (though I hadn't thought about the dairy yet). Wheels came off the cart first week in February -- a literally last-minute trip cancellation + surprise Superbowl company left me running to the store Sunday morning with no plan, and I ended up dropping $100 at Aldi's and then (stupidly) let DH pick up the few things I couldn't find at Wegman's, where he promptly dropped another $100 [I really do know better than to send that man unsupervised to the store -- sent him once for milk and bread and he dropped $64. He has many fine qualities, but frugality is not one of them. Nor is sticking to the list.]. So for February so far, 9 days in and 1/3 of the budget gone. But we will be back on the horse this week. And I canceled dairy this week too, because we had enough milk/butter and Aldi's eggs are way cheaper. :-)
I also have to caveat, though it makes me feel ridiculously whiny, that I am only accounting for the stuff that I do. When I travel for work, DH just gets takeout -- in years past, I have spent all Sunday cooking things that he liked and left them labeled in the fridge, along with notes of what I had planned for his and the kids' meals, and come home to discover they had eaten McDonald's and pizza every night. He has gotten a little better; if I leave simple things like bratwurst and hot dogs and deli, he will eat that once or twice instead of ordering out. But it's just not worth me fretting about or trying to control; he's a grown man, and he's going to do what he's going to do. So I'm going to keep putting some reasonable food in the fridge, but I refuse to take the fall here for whatever he puts on the credit card while I'm gone. :-)