I like to dine out. In NYC, it is normal (work long hours, small apartments) for dining out with friends to be the primary social activity. So I view dining out as my entertainment as well as food budget. I barely spend any money on groceries, but I buy lunch every day (usually a salad for about $7-$8). I make breakfast at work. But I dine out with friends several times a week. Well, it's really starting to add up. I checked out my average Restaurant/Dining Out spend (this includes lunches and any bars/alcohol I buy as well) and it's crept up.
In 2010 I spent an average of $485 a month on this category
In 2011 I spent an average of $511 a month on this category
In 2012 to date I have spent an average of $535 on this category
That is an increase of 5% and 4.7% (if I did that right), so a 10% increase over 2 years.
In 2010 I was probably still paying for my ex along with myself (don't ask), but as a result of ex living with me, we went out to dinner less I think. Anyway, between this year and last year I don't think I go out to dinner more. I think that this is inflation in action. I know food costs have gone up.
Either way, I am going to really try to rein this in this month.
I've been really good in other areas this year, cutting back on clothing, travel and personal care. Of course the expenses relating to the apt. are off the charts.
Oh well. Bon Appetit!