How Much Do You Really Spend?

By Stephanie Berenbaum – October 26, 2011

An Honest Look At One Woman’s Expenses

Our friend Meg confided to us that even though she makes a very good living, she still feels like she can’t save any money! Sound familiar?

So, being the Fab & Fru friends that we are, we asked her a potentially really life-changing question…  That’s right, we asked to see her credit card statement.  More surprising?  After a couple of cocktails, she actually handed it over!

Meg’s Story

Like so many of us, Meg is continually amazed how quickly the paychecks go in and out of her and her husband’s bank account.  And although she is the one paying the monthly bills, she admits she doesn’t keep detailed track of the everyday small (seeming) expenditures.  It’s not like she’s out buying couture!  But, like so many of us, her “normal” shopping – groceries, household supplies, clothes for the kids, the stuff we don’t give a whole lot of thought to -  is adding up, big time!

Keep in mind the intimate details we’re about to share are just that – intimate personal details of ONE person’s financial habits.  You may be shocked at how much she spends, or you may be thinking that you spend WAY more than she does – either way, we give her props for having the courage to share her tale of spending!


Meg lives in Los Angeles and is married with two kids.  When we questioned her about the cost of feeding her family of four, she said she honestly didn’t exactly know.  Although Meg likes to shop at Whole Foods (which isn’t cheap), it isn’t like her daughters are exactly eating gourmet meals – and neither are she and her hubby.  How much, she asked, could one family really spend on organic chicken nuggets, yogurt tubes (kids), wine (her) and beer (husband)?

Sticker Shock

After going through her statement last month, we told Meg that her grand total for groceries alone was $1,500- NOT including eating out!  She was shocked.  It wasn’t like she was serving up filet mignon and lobster every night!  She then went through the statement herself, convinced we had made a mistake. Nope, no mistake….. Suddenly Meg was losing her appetite.  Was her family really eating that much food?  Could they cut back?  How much were they wasting?

Eating Out & Ordering In

And of course in addition to groceries there are eating out expenses.  It’s not like Meg goes out to lunch and dinner every day.  She actually feels her family’s restaurant habit is pretty moderate – she and her husband go out to eat once, sometimes twice a week, and then she orders in maybe two times a week.  And yes, there are a few latte runs to her local coffee shop, but nothing too crazy….  So how did it all add up to $700 per month??

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One Response to “How Much Do You Really Spend?”

  1. Matilda says:

    So much money can be lost or saved in the kitchen. So, try not to be wasteful. Whenever possible cook from scratch instead of buying prepared. Not only will you save a ton, it is much healthier to boot.

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