Update to readers: This poll has now been closed, and I've analyzed the (surprising) food spending results of Casual Kitchen's readers here.
I wanted to explore further our recent discussion of food costs by taking a quick poll of my readers:
1) What percent of your budget do you spend on food?
2) And what percent of that spending goes to restaurant meals and other food not cooked at home (e.g., takeout meals, bought lunches, Starbucks, etc)?
Be honest now. :)
I'd like to do two things with this information. First, I'd like to run a sanity check on the government data in the chart in my Guess What? We Spend Less Than Ever On Food post, and find out if there's any real anecdotal evidence supporting the assertion that only 10% of disposable income goes toward food.
Second, if I can gather a decent number of responses, there might be some helpful implications that emerge from the data that we can all use to help optimize our food spending.
To clarify one term, assume that "budget" means your monthly household take-home pay, not your gross pay. This is how the government defines disposable income.
If you don't want to respond publicly, feel free to leave an anonymous comment below, or even better, send me an email with your response. I'll also post this question on Twitter.
Fair is fair, so I'll go first. As it turns out, our food spending is almost exactly 10% of our total budget. And interestingly, it's stayed surprisingly close to 10% of our budget, regardless of the level of our household income.
However, the percent of our food spend that goes toward restaurant meals and dinners out fluctuates wildly. When I worked on Wall Street (and was making a lot more money), we simply ate out more often, spending perhaps as much as 50-60% of our food budget on restaurant meals. Now that I have more time to cook at home, our restaurant spending is running well below 25% of our food budget.
Readers, please share your thoughts on these two questions in the comments below!
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