Dec 2017 & Last Monthly Food Expense Report – $1,346

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Here comes the last food expense report of the year 2017. Time flies!

As expected in November, our December food budget just went through the roof for three main reasons:

1. We went on a four-day trip to another city and ate out most of the time.

2. We hosted a Christmas hotpot party at our house.

3. Mr. FAF’s cousin stayed with us for 10 days. That added to both our groceries and eating out costs, but we were happy to have him.

We took him out shopping and sightseeing and thus ate out more than usual.

Our food expenses for December were for three adults, one teenager, and one toddler (5 people in total).

We ended up not going to a steak house to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday because she didn’t want us to spend the money.

We ended up getting her a birthday cake and threw her a birthday party on our trip instead.

After 9 months of publishing the food expense reports, I have decided to put a hold on this project for three reasons:

— Our groceries and what we eat tend to stay the same from month to month although the expenses fluctuate.

— Given the repetition, I have seen engagement and pageviews of the reports go down significantly compared to three months ago.

— Completing a food expense report takes me at least 4-5 hours (i.e. keeping track of all the receipts, entering all the numbers, taking photos). I started to dread taking all of the groceries out of the plastic bags, putting them on the table to take pictures, putting them back in the plastic bags, and loading everything into the fridge. It’s a time-consuming process with a decreasing rate of return. I think it’s a sign that I need to take a break for a while. I will find other ways to keep track of how much we spend on food each month.

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

November 2017 Food Expense Report – $744.67

October 2017 Food Expense Report – $487.9

September 2017 Food Expense Report – $1,106.2

August 2017 Food Expense Report – $844.26

July 2017 Food Expense Report – $511.93

June 2017 Food Expense Report – $467.21

May 2017 Food Expense Report – $777.26

April 2017 Food Expense Report – $80.39

March 2017 Food Expense Report – $87.52

Without further ado, these are our food expenses for December, the last month of 2017.

December 2017 Food Expenses: $1,346.63

Week 1 (Dec 1-10) – $146.72

GROCERIES – $127.38

Eggplant, cucumbers, mandarins, bananas, green onions, spiced tofu, taro, persimmons, Chinese pears, fried dough balls, squash, edamame & tofu

Mama chicken flavor instant noodles, pork bones, mackerel, shrimp, tofu skin, dried shrimp noodles, dried glass noodles, Chinese cabbage & chives


Steamed yam, stir-fried pork, and tofu soup

EATING OUT – $19.34

Our family went to Walmart to pick up a couple of things and had dim sum for lunch. We were about to eat leftovers that day, but our appetite won.

Siu mai, pork buns, pork ribs, tripe, shrimp wrapped in tofu skin


Week 2 (Dec 11-17) – $678.79

GROCERIES – $360.06

We went out of groceries completely after the first week, so Mr. FAF stocked up the fridge and pantry with $360 worth of food from Costco and the Vietnamese store.



Eggs, oat grains, whole milk, cashews, croissant, almond dark chocolate, bananas, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, wonton noodles, and potatoes

Vietnamese grocery store


Pork bones, shrimp, ground pork, pork liver, pork stomach, gluten balls, shrimp chips, sesame power drink, tofu skin, bean sprouts, eggplants, mandarins, lotus roots, spiced tofu, black bean paste, bell peppers, cilantro, and spinach

Green onions, chives, eggplants, squash, zucchini, lotus roots, spiced tofu, cucumbers, string beans, cabbage, bok choy, napa cabbage, and carrots

EATING OUT – $318.73

Below are some of the foods we had on our trip to attend Mr. FAF’s graduation ceremony in another city. The hotel we stayed at provided breakfast, so we ate out for lunch and dinner the rest of the time.

Day 1


Breakfast at the hotel (roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs & waffle) & birthday cake for my MIL


Pork bones stir-fried with lotus roots, beef & rice

Day 2

I didn’t take any food photos on day 2 since we were always on the go. And I was too hungry to take pictures.

Day 3


Chicken slow-cooked with potatoes and flat noodles, tofu and bok boy soup, and beef stew



Jelly fish (appetizer) and seafood soup


Fried chicken & spicy chicken


Week 3 (Dec 18-24) – $276.55

GROCERIES – $203.05

Wantons, tofu skin, coconut milk, tea, spiced tofu, shrimp, ox tail, beef, lamb, snacks (for Mr. FAF’s cousin), pork bones, tofu, dumplings, green onions, sushi sticks, smoked pork, seaweed salad, hotpot broth, mandarins, chestnuts & tofu knots. 


We had a hotpot at home to celebrate Christmas. I really liked the crab sticks.

Our Christmas hotpot: tofu knots, crab sticks, lamb & beef (with more ingredients to be added later)

EATING OUT – $73.5

Mr. FAF and I took his cousin to the outlets. We had dinner at a Chinese buffet afterwards.

Grilled salmon, dumplings, shrimp, roasted duck, shrimp, crab cake, French fries & sushi


Week 4 (Dec 25-31) – $244.57

GROCERIES – $200.57

Great Wall – $141.85


Celery, onions, bok choy, ginger, jalapeno, cilantro, seaweed, sweet potatoes, cabbage, bell pepper, taro, napa cabbage, egg noodles, dried shrimp noodles, tofu, spiced tofu, eggplant, tomatoes, ground pork, pork stomach, pork ribs, and fish

Shoppers – $58.72

We bought chicken, bananas, milk, apples, oranges, cereal, and some veggies from Shoppers.


Steamed yam, meatball & veggie soup, cucumber salad, stir-fried eggplant, braised mackerel & seaweed salad


We took Mr. FAF’s cousin out to see DC. My MIL and Baby FAF also came with us. We went to a Canto buffet for lunch.


Fried dough dipped in congee, rice cake, shrimp dumplings, siu mai, pork and shrimp wrapped in tofu skin, deep-fried shrimp, clams, barbecued chicken & tuna sushi


We overspent again in December, but I’m ok with it. It’s the holiday season, and we had a family member visiting for ten days.

I hope you enjoyed the series so far. Thank you so much for following us on our food expense journey!


Hubby Decided Not To Be Cheap – Our $1,400 YOLO Trip

3 Reasons Why I Love Instant Noodles

Eating out v. Home-cooked Meals – The Dilemma

Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron

Join Us For The Latest Update!

Join Us For The Latest Update!

18 thoughts on “Dec 2017 & Last Monthly Food Expense Report – $1,346”

  • Yum! We spent more this month on food as well. We went out to a wine bar with friends. The glasses of wine were only $3-5 for a 3oz pour, which I realized is what a lot of places give you anyway and charge $6 as if they gave you 1 serving, which is 5oz. We usually never get drinks with dinner but it was fun! We also went out and got tacos and my girlfriend got a margarita because she loves them at this place. I got two tacos and spent like $8..:-)

    We also spent on hanging out with friends… We went to the Korean spa and then got Korean food after on New Year’s Eve. A little expensive night out for us… But we paid regular price and didn’t have to go to a bar which we didn’t want, and started the new year full and relaxed.

    Grad school starts up Monday so I expect to be too busy to go out for the next 13 weeks. We spent more over break but you have to socialize when you can. Otherwise you end up lonely and codependent.

    • I’m glad you had a lot of fun during the holiday. We don’t usually order drinks when we eat out either. We usually get water. But if it’s a special occasion like our anniversary, Mr. FAF will get iced tea or a beer or something. Good luck with the new semester! 🙂

  • Wow, you guys ate very well. Everything looks delicious. Hot pot, yummm…
    We did pretty well in December and spent around $600. We went out just once. We just didn’t feel like going out when the weather is bad. Good luck keeping under budget this year. 🙂

    • $600 sounds awesome for the holiday. WOW!

      I do think we bought much more food and ate out more often in December. I’m feeling super nervous about my $500/mo goal for the new year *sweating* @_@

  • Wow looking at it now, yes it does take quite a while to document and take photos of everything – good photos! Is that wine from the Costco haul? I didn’t know you guys drink!

    Your hot pot looks like our hot pot but I really like to eat it with tong ho (chrysanthemum greens). My side of the pot would be full of them.

    • Tong ho sounds good. We usually use napa cabbage, cabbage or bok choy for hotpot. For one thing, they’re super cheap and soak up the hotpot soup pretty well. 😀

      The wine is from Costco. I don’t drink, but Mr. FAF does, especially when he’s happy, stressed, or has insomnia.

  • That hotpot looks super good! You guys eat very healthy with your veggies :).

    I looked at your beginning reports as I was wondering why they were so low. It seems that people can go on a $3 a day diet or something! Save money and lose weight!

    • I’d be OVER THE MOON if our food budget stayed under $600/mo, especially during the holiday. I’m trying to catch up with you :p

  • I really do love this series – it’s my favorite of what you post and wait for it! Mostly because I am very interested in what y’all eat. Would you consider doing this weekly rather than monthly?

    • I’m afraid not. I might do a quarterly or yearly report, but probably not weekly. Glad you like the series 🙂

  • That hot pot looks so yummy Ms. FAF. I need to learn how to make that before my wife’s birthday on the 20th of this month. Was the lamb and beef hotpot spicy?

  • How else am I supposed to ponder why asian market eggplants are so skinny, different parts of a pig to eat, and continue to wonder just what exactly is a hotpot? I, too, look forward to this post every month and check back frequently for it. It helps me see how far my food costs have improved and can improve, too. It’s amazing how much food can affect your overall budget. Fingers crossed, you will find a way to feel energized by this post again. Thanks for sharing.

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