Author Topic: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months  (Read 6697 times)

Tennis Maniac

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Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« on: February 11, 2014, 11:49:00 AM »
I like being a little financially voyeuristic now and then, so I figure some people will appreciate this...

Here is a table of all food spending for my family.  (It includes hosting dinner parties and birthday parties, but i figure that balances out with the amount of times we are at other people's houses for parties). 
"Junk" includes cookies, crackers, chips, etc. 
"Misc" includes jelly, peanut butter, dressings, soup, etc.

         2014 01      2013 12      2013 11      2013 10      2013 09      2013 08      2013 07      2013 06      2013 05      2013 04      2013 03   
   Total      $442.14      $796.35      $451.77      $515.88      $396.05      $488.12      $607.15      $452.14      $471.34      $319.13      $347.39   
   Baby      $0.00      $6.83      $0.00      $11.78      $1.90      $11.78      $17.14      $23.56      $30.82      $26.79      $10.98   
   Baking      $0.00      $10.82      $20.12      $6.97      $0.00      $21.30      $9.52      $22.63      $0.00      $20.45      $11.70   
   Bread      $47.60      $81.84      $34.99      $41.26      $53.23      $36.35      $40.64      $49.08      $36.03      $25.22      $21.17   
   Dairy      $111.35      $72.05      $69.89      $78.23      $78.99      $71.79      $98.43      $73.70      $68.31      $51.09      $46.12   
   Drinks      $10.16      $90.68      $19.95      $18.93      $9.97      $39.51      $30.04      $19.54      $64.10      $10.77      $39.49   
   Fruit      $113.50      $103.72      $72.24      $82.75      $68.46      $66.14      $71.20      $66.34      $61.60      $45.24      $24.76   
   Junk      $36.47      $56.36      $40.71      $54.23      $44.02      $75.80      $34.49      $20.03      $35.81      $5.98      $27.46   
   Meat      $34.53      $147.08      $91.48      $65.53      $95.09      $96.92      $140.01      $42.81      $54.34      $64.67      $65.80   
   Misc      $33.40      $21.23      $46.65      $27.56      $0.94      $23.49      $38.76      $29.41      $43.85      $12.46      $20.34   
   Veggies      $22.58      $59.39      $19.13      $34.26      $19.28      $11.95      $78.95      $65.08      $28.10      $31.18      $35.06   
   Restaurant      $32.55      $146.35      $36.61      $94.38      $24.17      $33.09      $47.97      $39.96      $48.38      $25.28      $44.51   


I have a family of 4 (4yo/1.5yo) and buy 90% of my groceries at Sam's club, including produce.  I have itemized and categorize all my grocery spending for about 1 year and have spent $98/week over that span (note: restaurant spending only adds another $12/week).  We eat lots of fruits, veggies, meat, and some junk food.

We focus on:
- limit spending on prepared food (cookies, chips, basically anything that someone else makes)
              --- this includes pizza dough, bisquick mixture, etc.
- make things (bread, cookies, chips!, crackers!, bisquick mixture, be creative); the kids love to help out here
              --- pro tip: make extra waffles on sunday morning and freeze for the week
- make dinner every night and use all leftovers
- determine how much it costs to make your top 10 meals and then make the cheaper ones more often
              --- pro tip: throw in some non-meat meals (pasta fagiole, chili, pizza, etc), which will inherently cost less
- buy in bulk when you can store the extras
              --- pro tip: price compare store brands with costco/sam's bulk pricing on name-brands; the results are seemingly random
- eliminate expensive items (for us this was gatoraid, fancy breads, etc)
- eliminate or severely limit expensive meals (lobster, fillet, etc)
- go to the store 1 time/week except milk, buy only what is on your list
- bring lunches with you on outings (don't rely on fast food... ever!).  1 trip to mcdonalds will cost you a week's worth of lunches.
- bring lunches to work
- don't beat ourselves up over our December spending!  yuck.

Note on itemizing your food purchases:  writing down every item and cost gave me a much better sense of what each item is costing and I was easily be able to eliminate or replace expensive items.  This occurred after a few months.  My original intention was to temporarily itemize my food spending, but the payoff has consistently been worth the small effort.

Enjoy.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 12:54:14 PM »
Thats really breaking it down. You can see your dairy went up...meat went down that was the first thing i noticed.  Kinda puts in perspective your diet overall.  Maybe i should do that for some weight loss! haha.  Nice job!

Jules13

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 01:38:24 PM »
I like this.  This might help me figure out where all our tons of grocery budget is going.  How would you classify things like pasta, cereal, oatmeal, pasta or pizza sauce sauce...and would things like pretzels be considered "junk"?  My kids like something like that in their lunch still, so I usually put something like pretzels or organic corn chips or plaintain chips.  What would fall into the Misc category? Thx.

Tennis Maniac

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 09:28:35 PM »
@jules13
Pasta cereal and oatmeal are in "Bread"
Pasta/pizza sauce are in "Misc"
Pretzels are in "Junk"

My goal isn't to eliminate categories, it is to control spending in categories and try to adjust items to lower costs.  For instance, we buy a large canister of pretzels from Sam's Club instead of bags of rolled gold from the grocery store. 50% savings.

Feel free to create your own categories.  :)

Jules13

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 07:20:56 AM »
Thanks for the reply.  My husband were actually talking about doing this the other day to see where exactly our grocery budget is going.  I will definitely create my own...just wondering where you put certain things or maybe you just didn't buy them. 
Cheers.

Exflyboy

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 10:36:07 AM »
Hmm.. Having just retired and now I am making trips to the grocery store I am becoming more interested in the grocery budget and cooking for my Wife who is still working.

Just yesterday I cooked beans from dry in the pressure cooker and made a bean caserol.. Came out great and the whole mean for about 4 days came to roughly $4...:)

Thankyou so much for compiling this.. it will help a lot.

Frank

anastrophe

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 02:40:54 PM »
I really really want to do this. I keep receipts but never get around to doing anything with them, and I sometimes shop at one store that doesn't give itemized receipts.

How, exactly, did you get this data to look like this? Did you go through your receipts and categorize them individually? Do you have some magic software? Please elaborate!

Tennis Maniac

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 06:51:27 PM »
I really really want to do this. I keep receipts but never get around to doing anything with them, and I sometimes shop at one store that doesn't give itemized receipts.

How, exactly, did you get this data to look like this? Did you go through your receipts and categorize them individually? Do you have some magic software? Please elaborate!

I've attached two pictures to show my itemized list and the categorized list in my spreadsheet.  In the itemized list, there are 86 items I bought in January '14.  On the "categorized" sheet I just use a spreadsheet formula to calculate the totals for the category (Google Drive and Excel both have this same function).  It doesn't take that long to enter the data... imagine typing 86 records into the spreadsheet; probably only 10 minutes.  I do enter receipts as soon as I get them so I don't forget what items are.


ichangedmyname

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2014, 09:09:20 PM »
This looks awesome. Can you explain to me the second picture? Is that a separate sheet?

oldtoyota

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 09:13:46 PM »
Thank you for sharing. I want to do something like this.

spoonman

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 09:15:48 PM »
That's pretty darn good for a family of 4.  I think I will adopt a similar system.

Tennis Maniac

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 10:51:05 PM »
@ichangedmyname

yes, the second picture is a separate sheet.  at the end of each month, i create a new sheet for the next month (ex sheet name: "2014 01").  the second picture shows the main "summary" sheet which uses the SUMIF function to summarize all the amounts by category.  basically, the SUMIF formula matches cell A6 "Dairy" against column B in pic 1 and summarizes corresponding amounts in pic 1 column C into cell D6 on the summary sheet (pic 2).

i attached an excel version of the spreadsheet to this post.  it has all the formulas already in place.  to add a new month, 1) copy the prior month sheet and on the "Categorized" sheet: 2) duplicate column B and 3) update the formula in cell B3 with the new month sheet you created and copy the formula down into all the summary rows.  this sounds slightly more complicated than i had hoped, but hopefully you can make it work.  at worst, clear out the data for 2013 and use it for 2014.  :)

i hope this helps to get you started.  and let us know how it goes.

ethilo

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2014, 08:28:48 AM »
I downloaded your excel spreadsheet.  That is very impressive!  So much dedication to such a useful task!  I'm learning more about tracking my spending using Mint and am trying to really dial down a sense of the cost of different meals I make at home.  This would be a really great way for me to have some fun with my routine grocery stuff.  Thank you for sharing.

Tennis Maniac

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2014, 09:53:44 AM »
I downloaded your excel spreadsheet.  That is very impressive!  So much dedication to such a useful task!  I'm learning more about tracking my spending using Mint and am trying to really dial down a sense of the cost of different meals I make at home.  This would be a really great way for me to have some fun with my routine grocery stuff.  Thank you for sharing.

Enjoy.  If you have any questions, post back here.

ichangedmyname

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2014, 11:07:01 PM »
You are an EXCEL God. Thank you! My challenge is going to be that I prepare my food sometimes just for me. One adult would decide to just buy some stuff and I wanted to keep tabs but I got the "why do you care?" reply. *sigh*
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 11:10:54 PM by ichangedmyname »

ichangedmyname

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2014, 09:49:34 PM »
Tennis Maniac, I am going to start using your spreadsheet starting tomorrow 4/1. Just giving you a heads up that I'm probably gonna be asking you a TON of questions. I apologize and thank you in advance. :D

Tennis Maniac

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2014, 10:38:07 PM »
Tennis Maniac, I am going to start using your spreadsheet starting tomorrow 4/1. Just giving you a heads up that I'm probably gonna be asking you a TON of questions. I apologize and thank you in advance. :D

Well, if you can save some money and we can make the spreadsheet a little easier to use for everyone else, it will be worth it.

nikki

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2014, 10:42:21 PM »
O___O

THANK YOU.

I've been thinking about getting much more detailed with my food spending now that I'm consciously spending more on food (new organic CSA participant!) just to keep things in line. This is a huge time-saver.

Much appreciated.

Heart of Tin

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Re: Food spending categorized for the past 11 months
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2014, 06:24:44 PM »
There's currently a thread over in Throw Down the Gauntlet regarding tracking grocery spending. See here: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/track-and-categorize-grocery-spending-all-march!/

The thread title says March, but a few of us are continuing into April. Please join us.

I've attached the simple version of the spreadsheet I use for grocery tracking. It has a nifty price list that tracks what I the prices I pay for certain items in addition to an overall category tracker. For instance, I know that I paid $.33 per pound for cabbage last month. I also know that I paid $1.83 per dozen eggs and that I spent $31.78 on produce, 40% of my overall grocery spending. Here are a few screenshots of the main spending tracker and price list: http://imgur.com/a/osqFI