Ask me anything #5 – New York City!
Each week I give the readers of Gather Little by Little a chance to ask me anything. The only real rule is that I can decline to answer. I’ll do my best to answer as many questions as I can though. Have a question you would like answered? Just drop me a line or leave a comment!
Kim from Always In Style NYC wrote and ask the following:
I have a question for you. I am trying to determine a reasonable budget for food in New York City. I’ve tracked my expenses in the past and had wildly different numbers month to month. Is there a good rule of thumb on what I should be spending to feed both my husband and I in a big city?
Kim, having never lived in New York City or familiar with how much things cost there that’s a tough one to answer. The guideline from my article on budget guidelines suggests allocating 10-15% of your income for food. Doing a little digging, it looks like in New York City food is 42% more expensive than the national average.
Here’s where I start making a few assumptions. I would also assume your income is adjusted to compensate for the higher cost of living and thus the 10%-15% rule would still apply. If your income isn’t adjusted, than you’ll need to go higher than 15% to say maybe 20% – 25%.
I personally don’t like lumping all of my food expenses together into one bucket. I prefer breaking it out to groceries and eating out. My eating out category is what I consider discretionary spending. In other words, I don’t have to eat out. Groceries are non-discretionary in that I have to eat. Preparing your own food is the least expensive option.
Since you are finding that your food expenses vary a great deal from month to month, I’d guess that’s primarily due to eating out. If you break eating out as a separate category, it will allow you to see this better and make the appropriate adjustments or at the very least set yourself an eating out budget so you can cap your monthly spending. Although, living in NYC you’re going to have to be diligent…way too many great places to eat!!
Any readers from NYC? If so, percentage do you spend on food? I think some real numbers would really help Kim out.
Photo by: barcoder96