I realized yesterday when I added up our monthly spending that I need to increase our grocery budget. It was at $500 and we cannot make that work with our current habits. I'm debating increasing it to $550 or $600. This covers breakfast and dinners for all of us, snacks and lunches at work for Y and myself. Lil Punk eats at school for lunch and Baby G eats lunch at daycare. We rarely eat out. We had two huge splurges of dinner out last month and we spent a total of $100 on dining out. The previous month we spent around $30 on dining out.
Because we eat at home and take our lunches, I can't make $500 comfortably work. I say comfortably because I'm not willing to change our diet to eat cheaper options. I like having fresh fruit, veggies, fish, good cheese, and fresh pasta on occasion. All of those are more expensive than trying to bare bones it.
I am also a foodie at heart. When I make a grilled cheese sandwich, I want cheddar and Munster cheeses with fresh tomatoes and poblano peppers on good bread with a pesto spread. Instead of making a basic taco dip, I want mine loaded with lots of fresh veggies, olives and avocado. I know it costs more to cook like this but its a splurge that's well worth it in my book.
To top it off, I also like entertaining at our house. It's fun for me to make a good dinner and to have friends over to share it with. I want them to come over with their kids and enjoy a good meal with appetizers and drinks. It's cheaper than going to a crowded restaurant and its way easier with kids.
Maybe I am justifying increasing our grocery budget but I'm okay with it. Food is expensive!