Expense tracking is one of pillars of FIRE and many people in the community take advantage and utilize this type of money management to determine their FI number. I have been doing this for the past 3 months have noticed a significant change in my spending habits. I use an excel sheet to track every single expense I make in the month. Once all the info is placed in my excel sheet I use that to get a sense of my monthly spending. I still don’t feel like I have a good sense of how much money I am regularly spending though. I read a post on Facebook about how someone pays their credit card off each week. This got me thinking that I wanted to start doing that. I charge everything to my credit card and only use one card for my spending. This will give me a better understanding of how much a spend in each week.
That brings me to why I am writing this post. I want to keep myself accountable with this new process and give people insight into my spending habits. Majority of the spending I use my credit card for is discretionary spending except for the grocery store. I use Mealime which is an awesome app that creates a shopping list based on the meals I want to cook for the week. Through this app I have slashed my grocery bill and the amount I am eating out. Most of the meals I make come out to be under $6 a meal per person which is so much cheaper than it costs to eat out. I will be posting a breakdown of the meals I have cooked for the week and my total spending for the week. My overall goal for spending each week is to be less than $200. Let’s see how this goes!!
Total Spending: $97.92
- $28.84 – Hulu/HBO (this will decrease next month now that Game of Thrones is over)
- $53.98 – Kroger ($15.75 for meals this week)
- Other purchases: K-cups, coffee cream and sushi for lunch that day, plus a couple odds and ends things
- $8.35 – Chipotle
- $6.75 – Jimmy John’s
- Total Meal Spending: $15.75
- Total per meal per person: $2.68
***DISCLAIMER*** BEST I HAVE EVER DONE
This is the best price per meal per person I have had in the past couple of months. As stated before, my average is around $6. I made two substitutions to the meals linked above. For the citrus chicken salad, instead of quinoa I used couscous because that is what I had in my pantry at the time. For the stir fry, instead of tofu I used chicken. I have never cooked with tofu before and have only had it once and I was not a fan. I liked everything else about the recipe above so I made a very simple substation. For the next posts in this series, I will take pictures of the meals I cook for the week to show you what they will look like when a regular person cooks them. I don’t have any pictures for this week because I didn’t think of it until right now. Many of the ingredients needed for the recipes I had already in my pantry. Getting those staple items in the pantry and fridge can make for some higher initial costs, however, once those ingredients have been established the cost of meals will decrease. The items I already had included the following: couscous, garlic, ginger, spices, oil, honey and soy sauce. Many of those items people already have in their pantry and fridge as well, so it is not unfathomable that you could replicate these meals for yourself! Next week I will be cooking a Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Bake and Orange Glazed Chicken with Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower. Check back in next week to see my spending and how my meals turn out!
Steven | Rx for FIRE