Foodie spending

How much do I spend on food? This post was inspired by the first post of an interesting new blogger, The Skint Foodie, who has pointed up the nonsense of most government statistics on the subject of how much households spend on food. Apparently the most affluent 20% of us spend £38 per person per week on food and drink. Haha! HahahaHAhaHAHAha! One thing I’m pretty certain is that the most affluent 20% go out for at least one meal per week, with wine, which would suggest that they must spend the rest of the week rummaging through dustbins.

Anyway, we can laugh at government statistics all day. How much do I spend on food?

I’ve got a great advantage in answering this question. In 2010 we set off travelling around the world for a year (and blogged it), and this meant keeping a daily budget of absolutely

every darn thing we bought. It didn’t prove onorous, taking less than 5 minutes a day, and was instructive. Even if we ended up over-budget. Once we got home it just seemed natural to continue the habit, so I’ve got a record of our spending over the last six months. Not right down to the last bacon rasher, I do tend to just put “Butcher, £8.40”, but I certainly know how much we’ve spent on food.

It’s a lot. Actually, it’s the biggest part of our weekly spend by a long way.

So I ought to cover our eating habits in brief. Living in Ludlow, we’re surrounded by great local food shops; in consequence, I go to Tesco for exactly two things: loo rolls and chopped tomatoes. We eat well at home, but everything is cooked from ingredients; no ready-meals or cooking sauces. I like to buy good things, too. We only drink filter coffee, only fresh local juices, good quality chocolate, artisan cheese, you get the idea.

Eating out. Nothing like as often as when we lived in London! However, there’s probably one big (>£80 per person) meal every month, plus one or two other dining occasions lower down the price range. Of course there are also plenty of times when we’re out and need lunch, or dinner, or breakfast, or just a coffee. We’re foodies, so we don’t stop off at Pizza Hut or McDonalds. Maybe once a month we have a takeaway. And don’t forget that just because Christmas is special, doesn’t mean it gets excluded from the budget.

And so we come to the big figures. Over the last six months our average weekly spend per person (for a household of two) was…
£37 on groceries (excluding booze)
£6 on booze for the home
£41 on general eating out & takeaways
£61 on fine dining
Grand total: £145 per week on food and drink, each.

In context, our total weekly spend per person on everything except household bills is £330.

So food is where nearly half of our money goes. And I pulled out the booze deliberately to show it wasn’t going on bottles of old claret! In my defence, eating is probably my favourite pastime. But I’m only 10 stone, so it’s quality rather than quantity here. Recalling our eating habits back in London, this would easily have pushed over £200 each per week and the weighting would have been much more towards eating out.


  • The Skint Foodie, aiming for £40 per week himself, is definitely a skint foodie
  • The office of national statistics couldn’t count its own buttocks with both hands
  • Food is a stupendously important part of our life and spending
  • If we ever needed to cut back, a moratorium on fine dining would be the best idea

I’d love to hear what other people spend weekly on food, and how it compares. Because I’m nosey. I do think it’s a useful exercise, but only if you try it over a few months. A trip to the Fat Duck will seriously skew your eating-out figure but it would be invalid to exclude it, just as the week before Christmas will skew the grocery (and booze!) figures but would be equally wrong to exclude.

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