After publishing our August food expense report ($844.26), I got a lot of feedback from you all about how to cut our grocery bills (Thank you!).
I thought Mr. FAF and I would learn some lessons from August.
But as the story goes, our food expenses for September have officially crossed the $1,000 mark.
I usually start tallying our food expenses after the second week of each month.
I’m afraid that I might forget what we bought or will find it almost impossible to document all the details for the food expense report.
After seeing the amount reaching roughly $450 after the second week in September, I constantly reminded Mr. FAF about our increasing food expenses.
When I was by myself, my food expenses hovered around $100. But now that we have three adults (Mr. FAF, grandma FAF, and me) and a 2.5 year-old (Baby FAF) in the family, our food budget has increased tenfold.
If you missed my previous food expense reports, you can check them out below:
August 2017 Food Expense Report – $844.26
April 2017 Food Expense Report – $80.39
March 2017 Food Expense Report – $87.52
September 2017 Food Expenses: $1,106.2
WEEK 1 (Sep 1-10) – $348.94
GROCERIES – $249.14
Great Wall – $120
Last time I mentioned that we would no longer buy groceries from Great Wall. However, we were on our way to buy my new Samsung laptop, so we dropped by the store to save gas and time.
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, and tomatoes
Chestnuts, bananas, squash, smoked pork, leeks, cherries, mandarins, noodles, edamame, garlic, and seaweed
Ground pork, pork stomach, pork ribs, and fish
Costco – $115.18
Lettuce, bananas, watermelon, mushrooms, eggs, yogurt, oil, and flour
Crabs and pork
We don’t usually buy crabs. Mr. FAF decided to buy some after getting his first paycheck as a way to celebrate. We often buy pork from Costco because my mother-in-law (MIL) and Mr. FAF think it’s fresher than at other grocery stores.
Safeway – $9.95
The orange juice and corn were on sale at Safeway, so my MIL bought a lot more than we normally would. The corn was juicy and sweet!
Shoppers – $4.01
We forgot to buy milk the previous weekend. We ran out of milk on Tuesday, so Mr. FAF bought two jugs of whole milk on his way home from work.
WHAT WE ATE AT HOME
Mushrooms stir-fried with napa cabbage, pork stir-fried with mushrooms and napa cabbage, lettuce, shrimp, stir-fried carrots and green peas, corn, pork stir-fried with string beans, shrimp, tofu and seaweed soup
Spicy beef (Chinese takeout), fish, stir-fried bell pepper with chayote, stir-fried eggplant, stir-fried egg and tomato
EATING OUT – $99.8
Dimsum – $36
We planned our summer trips to the beach or a camping site, but it never happened. To celebrate the end of the summer, we went to a dimsum near our house and really enjoyed it.
It was recommended by our Chinese neighbor, who has lived in the area for almost 20 years. They know what’s good, and we were glad we took their advice.
Shanghai soup dumplings, seafood and veggies wrapped in tofu skin, chicken feet, tripe, and pork ribs
Chinese takeout – $24.85
Fried fish and spicy beef
We had a friend over for dinner. Mr. FAF bought some fried fish and spicy beef from the food court.
Great Wall takeout – $10.44
Pork stir-fried with veggies
Mr. FAF bought Chinese takeout on his way home from work. I didn’t really like it since the food was very greasy. Mr. FAF said he would not buy it again.
Bubble tea – $4.51
Mr. FAF and I went to get some bubble tea on a Saturday night. I told Mr. FAF I could try making it for him at home, but he said he likes the ambiance at the bubble tea place. We shared it between the two of us.
Sushi – $20
Mr. FAF went to lunch with his colleague.
Peanuts – $4
Mr. FAF, my MIL, and Baby FAF went to the mall. They came back with a bag of roasted peanuts.
WEEK 2 (Sep 11-17) – $245.13
GROCERIES – $144.66
Vietnamese grocery store – $124.66
Watermelon, taro, winter melon, corn, chayote, edamame, cabbage, bell pepper, tofu, spiced tofu, frozen corn, frozen chickpeas, garlic, green onion pancake, and squash
Mandarins, cucumber, Chinese veggies, tomatoes, cilantro, bean sprouts, cabbage, ginger, garlic, pickle, longan, and lotus roots
Fish, pork ribs, pork stomach, and ground pork
Costco – $20
My MIL bought dinner rolls, apples, and walnuts.
WHAT WE ATE AT HOME
Below is what we packed for lunch for Mr. FAF and me to bring to work and for Baby FAF to eat at daycare.
From left to right: lunch for Mr. FAF, me, and Baby FAF
EATING OUT – $100.47
Dimsum – $40
Our whole family went grocery shopping on a Saturday morning. We got hungry after the trip and decided to eat out. We have decided that Mr. FAF and my MIL would go grocery shopping while I cook and watch Baby FAF at home from now on to prevent impulse eating out. The food, however, was delicious.
The beginning of our dim sum feast
Sizhuan restaurant- $46
We went to a Sizhuan restaurant with two friends. The food was super spicy but still delicious. The restaurant provided unlimited dessert (cake, tiramisu, fruit, etc.)
Appetizers (mushrooms and cucumber salad) and dessert
The main dish: clear noodles, fish, shrimp, and veggies. We all shared this one dish. I heard somewhere that this dish is also called dry hotpot.
Meat skewers and noodles
Great Wall takeout – $14.47
Mr. FAF came home from work one day and bought roasted duck.
WEEK 3 (Sep 18-24) – $271.88
GROCERIES – $187.96
Costco – $124
Cookies (for grandma FAF), onions, dinner rolls, bananas, pork, oranges, croissant, cheerios (snacks for Baby FAF), and whole milk
Vietnamese store – $58.39
Shrimp, fish, ground pork, edamame, Chinese sausages, radish, corn, and eggplant
Shoppers – $5.57
My MIL bought 4 packs of eggs.
WHAT WE ATE AT HOME
Stir-fried tofu and taro, steamed squash, stir-fried pork with eggplant and bell pepper, onion salad (mixed with salt and sugar), shrimp, and squash and tofu soup
EATING OUT – $83.92
Spicy duck – $60.19
Mr. FAF bought some spicy duck to eat when he drinks at home. He freezes all of the duck and just takes out one or two pieces at a time.
Shrimp cocktail – $8.5
Mr. FAF bought some cocktail shrimp for Grandma FAF to take to a potluck with her new Chinese friends.
Spicy duck and cocktail shrimp
Chicken takeout – $9.98
Mr. FAF got some chicken and pork takeout from the Vietnamese store.
Bubble Thai tea – $5.25
We found a new boba tea place and tried the Thai tea. It was good, but we will try not to get it too often since it’s a bit expensive.
WEEK 4 (Sep 25-30)
GROCERIES – $223.61
Vietnamese grocery store – $144.6
Mooncake, cilantro, pickle, seaweed, sweet potatoes, aloe vera juice, salt, peanuts, garlic, black bean paste, chili, broccoli, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, and cabbage
We usually don’t buy aloe vera juice or any other sugary drinks. But we had two friends coming to visit this weekend, so we wanted to buy some juice for all of us. We also gave them the mooncake as a gift.
Ground pork, fish, sweet potatoes, soy sauce, bananas, smoked pork, sesame oil, ginger, cashews, seaweed, and Chinese veggies
Costco – $79.01
Beer, milk, eggs, and apples
Mr. FAF drinks beer at home every once in a while. He doesn’t go to bar or pub to drink, so it keeps his entertainment budget low.
WHAT WE ATE AT HOME
Broccoli stir-fried with mushrooms, pork stir-fried with onions, bean sprouts stir-fried with bell pepper, and braised mackerel
Chinese takeout – $16.64
Every time we have guests, Mr. FAF would get some Chinese takeout to spice up our dinner. Mr. FAF thinks that our homemade food is fine but not good enough for our guests.
Spicy beef and grilled pork
I was so embarrassed about this exploded food budget that I thought about discontinuing this series. I am a frugal personal finance blogger, but my family’s food expenses have gone through the roof.
However, I have decided to still continue publishing our food expense reports since it helps us keep track of what we eat and how much we spend on feeding ourselves every month.
I will try to work with Mr. FAF to lower our food expenses in October. He and my MIL usually pick out what food to buy since my MIL does most of the cooking.
I usually don’t make promises, so I’ll just say I will have a new update for you in a month. Hopefully, it will be better than this one.
How about you? Did you have an exploded food budget like we did? What are some of the things that you do to keep your food expenses low?