Aug 2017 Food Expense Report – $844.26

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Welcome to our August food expense report!

Summer is really coming to an end. I’m so glad I’m not in school anymore. When I go to work, September is just another month of sitting in an air-conditioned office.

When I was in school, however, September would mark the beginning of another semester of exams, deadlines, and homework. I think it’s a clear sign that I’m not going back to school anytime soon or ever. I think I enjoy doing my food expense reports more than studying for an exam.

If you missed my previous food expense reports, you can check them out below:

July 2017 Food Expense Report – $511.93

June 2017 Food Expense Report – $467.21

May 2017 Food Expense Report – $777.26

Food Expense Report – Apr 2017 – $80.39

Food Expenses – Aug 2017: $844.26

WEEK 1 – $224.55

GROCERIES – $213.24

Great Wall – $127 

I think August 2017 will be our last month doing grocery shopping at Great Wall. Mr. FAF and my mother-in-law (MIL) often do price comparison, and they recently discovered that Great Wall is more expensive than another Vietnamese grocery store nearby.

I, on the other hand, was clueless about such price differences. When we do grocery shopping together, Mr. FAF and my MIL usually pick out the groceries while I drive (I need more practice) and watch Baby FAF.

String beans, cabbage, pumpkin, napa cabbage, mysterious Chinese roots used for soup, spiced tofu, cucumber, taro, chili, radish, eggplant, and dried noodles

Shrimp, pork stomach, a whole chicken, chicken hearts, liver, pork ribs, pork bones, and pork

Great Wall – $30.85

Mr. FAF and my MIL went to Great Wall when I was at work, and he didn’t take a picture of the food. They bought flower vegetable seeds, dried beans, spiced jumbo thick dry tofu, and pork belly.

Costco – $32.98

We ran out of pork, so Mr. FAF make a quick trip to Costco. He says the pork at Costco is fresher than at other grocery stores.

Bananas, oranges, pork chops, and butter croissant

Shoppers – $11.31

Mr. FAF went to Shoppers and bought Maruchan ramen, chicken gizzards & hearts, corn on the cob, leeks, and 2 packs of eggs.

Giant – $11

Bananas and watermelon


I came home from work to find these delicious dishes already prepared by my MIL. I really liked the shrimp dish.

Shrimp stir-fried with chickpeas, braised taro and tofu, cabbage stir-fried with mushrooms


Braised fish, chives stir-fried with spiced tofu, egg & tomato soup, and black chicken soup

EATING OUT – $11.31

Picnic – $11.31

Our whole family went to a summer picnic in DC. We bought fried chicken and a strawberry cake. I didn’t get to take a picture of the fried chicken because one of the organizers took it somewhere, and I just couldn’t find it.

I honestly didn’t try our cake either because there was so much good food at the event. We didn’t technically eat out at a restaurant, but I still counted the expense of the fried chicken and cake as the cost of eating out since we didn’t make the food at home.

I have noticed this beauty at the grocery store for a long time. But I didn’t want to buy it given the amount of sugar that I would consume if I bought it. 

Below was the delicious food we had at the picnic.

Lo mein noodles, pasta, enchilada, glutinous rice doughnut, pineapple cake, sticky rice with mango, seaweed, and fish cake

Barbecued beef, Korean noodles with pork, spring roll, ham wrap, seaweed and kimchi


WEEK 2 – $130.35

GROCERIES – $118.36

Vietnamese grocery store – $100.39

We started shopping more at a Vietnamese grocery store near where we live instead of Great Wall. I wish we could have found out about the price difference sooner.

Celery, carrots, napa cabbage, eggplant, radish, cabbage, tofu, broccoli, winter melon, bean sprouts, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and cooking wine

Shrimp, pork bones, pork ribs, and pork

Wegmans – $6.32

We went for a walk at Wegmans after dinner and bought milk and a couple of apples. 

Shoppers – $11.65

Bananas, apples, sweet potatoes, and eggs


Home-made pickled radish, stir-fried egg and tomato, pork stir-fried with squash, pork bone soup, cucumber salad, and breaded pork

EATING OUT – $11.99

Asian food court – $11.99

Our whole family went to a Vietnamese grocery store on a Saturday morning. When we finished shopping, it was almost 11:30 AM.

We initially wanted to go home and cook. But it was getting late, and everyone was getting hungry, so we decided to get two take-out lunch boxes at $5.99 each.

We thought about getting three boxes, but we still had a little bit of leftovers from dinner the day before. It was a lazy, frugal, and happy meal for the FAF family.

Barbecued pork, roasted duck, fried chicken, pork ribs, fried pork, bell pepper, and seaweed soup


WEEK 3 – $353.4

GROCERIES – $322.5

Costco – $112.03

Milk, eggs, apples, water melons, bananas, bread, Lipton tea, Heineken beer, pork, and lamb ribs

Vietnamese grocery store – $168.76

Radish, leek, potatoes, bell peppers, spiced tofu, carrots, string beans, salted eggs, cauliflower, garlic, bok choy, enoki mushrooms, cilantro, frozen seaweed, hotpot soup base and seasoning, aloe vera juice, and plum wine


Vietnamese grocery store – $15.58

Mr. FAF went grocery shopping and bought 14 lbs of pork bones, red grapes, and a seedless watermelon.

Great Wall – $26.54

Dried orange peel, dried haw slices, Plado Gomtang instant noodles, Penang price fried noodle, meat, and duck wings


We invited some friends over for a Chinese hotpot, and we had a blast. It lasted from 11:30 AM to 4 PM that day. By the time we were done cleaning up, Mr. FAF and I agreed we’d wait for a while before we have another get-together at our house.

Hotpot food: pork, beef, lamb, fish cake, cabbage, napa cabage, bok choy, enoki mushrooms, noodles, seaweed, tofu skin, taro, and potatoes. Side dishes: grilled pork, chicken gizzards, and pork belly.

Hotpot drinks: Chinese alcohol, alove vera juice, plum wine, and Coke

EATING OUT – $30.9

Food court – $27.4

Mr. FAF also bought some side dishes for the hotpot. It usually takes a bit of time for the food to cook at the beginning of a hotpot. We could enjoy these side dishes while waiting. I count take-out as eating out since we didn’t make it at home.

Barbecued pork and chicken

Bubble tea – $3.50

Mr. FAF was upset about something one day and decided to get a green tea bubble tea to cheer himself up.


WEEK 4 – $101.72

GROCERIES – $59.72

Vietnamese grocery store – $59.72

Mandarin, eggplant, radish, string beans, and pork


Pork & noodles, spiced tofu & celery, stir-fried mixed veggies, steamed pumpkin & taro, and chicken soup


Hong Kong dimsum – $42

Mr. FAF took his friend out for Hong Kong dimsum for brunch on a Saturday. I wasn’t happy that I couldn’t enjoy the dimsum. But I understand he needs some alone time with his friend besides hanging out with the family all week.

What a dimsum looks like.


WEEK 5 – $73.22

GROCERIES – $73.22

Costco – $62.15

2 water melons (1 has been half consumed), crawfish tails, Gala apples, eggs, bread, and lettuce

Shoppers – $11.07

Cereal and bananas for Baby FAF’s snacks


Pork stir-fried with string beans, mixed veggies, fried eggs, and shredded potatoes


We didn’t eat out this week.


Our food budget has officially exploded with a $332.33 increase from $511.93 in July. I was speechless for 5 seconds after I tallied up all the receipts. When I informed Mr. FAF about the total amount, he was in shock for another 5 seconds.

Then as usual, he calmed himself and me down by saying, “It’s normal. We have four people in our family.” It’s actually three and a half: 3 adults and 1 toddler. I was a bit embarrassed to even write this food expense report and started to look for excuses such as:

— DC is an expensive city, and the food is not cheap.

— We had a hotpot with our friends, and it added more than $100 to our food budget.

However, at the end of the day, there’s no escaping the fact that our August food expenses were just about $150 away from being $1,000. We spent less than $100 on eating out, so the huge jump came from the groceries.

I will give ourselves a break and say that we’re still trying to adjust our food expenses after years of living far away from each other.

I’m glad I started to keep track of how much we spent on food. Every month I have an accurate number which tells us where we are with our food expenses rather than estimating in our minds what it is, sometimes incorrectly.

How were your food expenses last month? Did you make any dishes that you really liked?


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28 thoughts on “Aug 2017 Food Expense Report – $844.26”

  • Very detailed report Ms.FAF. I save the image of the cake on my phone, it looks so tasty and I have a sweet tooth.

    Throughout the month of August, I ate out. I had exams and a medical emergency situations cooking wasn’t in the dictionary. My boyfriend is a terrible cook, so he gladly suggested that we eat out till I recover.

    My food expense was high as a result of this, but I’m hoping to do better this month

    • Emergencies can really make a dent in our budget. I wouldn’t be too stressed out about. I hope you had everything resolved. You WILL do better in September. 🙂

  • Our food budget with through the roof ($800 this month usually $200-$300). We had an end of summer BBQ (party will do that as you mentioned above) it was a good time, but like Mr. FAF, we have no intentions on throwing another party anytime soon. IT WAS EXHAUSTING…

    It’s Friday – and our house is still a mess. LOL 6 days post cookout.

    Tried this fruit salad – It was so good I did not want to share it with our guest! Ha

    • The fruit salad looks delicious! Thanks for sending the link.^.^

      I totally know what you mean about throwing parties. It was exhausting for us as well. It took us one day to recover from all the cleaning, prepping, and all random arguments about how best to prepare for the party 😀

  • I’ve been tracking our food expenses for four years, and it is amazing how much spending I’ve been able to cut! We are spending $225/month for two adults (but we have a large garden). It’s all an adjustment, but it sounds like you found a better grocery store! All the food looks amazing though!

    I love summer and all the fresh produce, we’ve been eating a lot of watermelon in our home too! Thanks for all the pictures!

    • $225/month for 2 adults is definitely a big win! It’s awesome you’ve been tracking your food expenses for so long. We always estimated our food costs until I started the Food Expenses Reports series. Glad it’s working out great for you! 🙂

  • I love the summer months because I am able to grow my own fruits and vegetables in my back yard. This in turn leads to lower grocery bills for our family and we love the freshly picked organic vegetables from our garden.

    We also spent more money eating out as we are more active during the summer and took the kids to more events. At the end, things balances out.

    It’s great that you are so detailed with your budget, I could probably save more money if I take a closer look at my numbers. However, my interest leans toward investments rather than budgeting.

    • Wow I love the idea of growing our own fruits and veggies. My MIL has been growing some green onions and herbs in our backyard too. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t save us a ton of money. But I think my MIL has a lot of fun tending to the garden.

      I only spend so much time tracking our food expenses because I decided to do the Food Expense Reports series. Otherwise, I doubt if I’d devote so much time to taking pictures and writing such a detailed report. Focusing on investment is awesome, and that’s what we’re trying to do too. 🙂

      • I find a big savings can be had for just a little effort with herbs. You can get so much basil, Dill, cilantro for only the cost of seeds. Getting these herbs from the supermarket is overpriced and often they are at best wilted and at worst rotten. This year I didn’t have to but, plant or tend cilantro, because I had accidentally let it go to seed last year and around 5 cilantro plants volunteered to grow this year.

        • **buy, plant or tend

          P.s. I can can check with my mom where she gets soil… She gets it really cheap from somewhere in Burtonsville and my garden is much more prolific than anyone else on my block’s and with less effort

          • That sounds great! We usually get a big bag of soil from Home Depot for $4 or so. The soil your mom got sounds like it has a lot of nutrients for the plants. 🙂

  • Give yourself grace as y’all adjust to the new norm! Food is such an easy thing to overspend on, but on the flip side, it’s easy to get back under control.

    I will say I want to come eat dinner with y’all! Man, if the food is as good as it looks, your MIL can cook!!

    Food budget increase aside, how has it been having Mr. FAF home?

  • Ms. FAF,
    You lived a little. That’s not bad at all considering you live in the D.C. area and eat meat. You’re feeding three adults and a growing baby.
    Mrs. Kiwi commented that they spent $225/mo due to their large garden. The Mrs. and I are terrible at growing plants. We’d starve to death if we had to depend on our garden for our food. Plus we have squirrels that like to eat all the “fruits of our labor.”

  • I have tracked our food expenses before but they tend to not change very much month to month, usually under $130 a month. We very rarely eat at restaurants so the occasional treat is acceptable (usually cheap restaurants anyway). My one question after looking at the pictures was what’s up with all the bananas?

  • “Mr. FAF decided to get a green tea bubble tea to cheer himself up.”

    Lol I do that too!!!!!!! Hahaha. Those things are expensive. It’s $5 for me in the smallest size. I started making my own (it’s not as good but it fixes the craving.)

    We’re a family of 3 and a dog. It’s really easy to hit $800 these days. Darn inflation. The dollar doesn’t go far. Our food expense would be higher if Jared ate half of his meals at home instead of free food at work.

    • I really really try to get as much free food at work, but I need to be careful. All these treats add up on the waist line. I need a happy medium of eating healthy and cutting back on costs. Oh to be able to eat organic local food with abandon!

  • Wish I could be as dedicated to tracking my good expenses as you are. Maybe that should be my goal for the rest of the year. I’ve spent £110-250 lately on food but I exclude dining out for social, professional or dating reasons from this category. If I considered all food expenses, I’d probably say I spend £350 – 500 a month. That’s huge for one person compared to your spending for a family of three and a half.

  • In DC so much socializing is done around food so I track that as a separate “Entertainment” expense category. Going grocery shopping just once a week using a predefined list from meal planning was the only way to get our grocery bill back to our target budget amount. Not sure if that is realistic given that you aren’t the only one shopping, but it could certainly help if everyone is willing to give it a try. We also cut waaay back on meat and dairy and that helped immensely – not to mention, we lost weight too.

  • Wow your MIL can cook! Those dishes look very mouth watering. haha the weather is hot it’s perfect for bubble tea. yesteray hubby and I were going to share a $5 red bean slush drink but then the line up was so long I got frustrated and hangry and ordered two instead haha.

    • Haha Mr. FAF and I always share a bubble tea too! Sometimes I’m still like @_@ at the fact that we can get a full meal instead of 2 bubble teas for the same price.

  • I Love your blog… Just found it this AM and started with the archives. Had to pace myself reading as there are orders to fill and need to get to work! Appreciate the talk of instant noodles, napkins as luxury, and Costco tea bags. I always keep and clean out Starbucks cups to “feel” I just spent pretend $$ there… Then I get to bank the money….in my hoard of thrifted lavishly beaded vintage purses in the closet. KATE

    • Hi Kate, thank you so much for dropping by! I’m so happy that you’re enjoying my blog. Your Starbucks cup strategy sounds terrific! I think it might work for many other people as well. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Wow, that was an expensive month, but you also ate a lot of really delicious looking stuff too!

    If you wanted to save money, you might consider cutting back on how much you eat-out, and or reducing the level of meat that you eat.

    Nice job documenting it all!

    • Thank you for dropping by, Mr. Tako! That’s great advice. 😀 I will discuss with Mr. FAF to see if we can cut down on our meat consumption. My MIL is going vegetarian, so it’s mainly Mr. FAF, Baby FAF, and me who eat meat in our family. I really admire your food budget!

  • Seems a bit pricey but I am sure it all evens out considering that some months you do spend a bit less. Let’s face it, food is expensive!
    We are trying to go vegetarian (with a possibility of plant based only depending how we go). So far it has been 2 weeks and we are going strong. It is cheaper too.. Meats is where the most savings / cuts can be made.

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