I spend half of my income on food and drink -- here's what I spend in a week

Joana Lopes/Shutterstock
  • I regularly spend $US800 per week on food and drink, about half my income.
  • Living in Seattle gives me access to great markets and restaurants; food is my greatest passion.
  • I’m remaining anonymous for privacy reasons.

I know, I know. I spend way too much on food and going out. The thing is, I love food, live alone, and work from home, so I need few excuses to entertain or go out. This social being needs human interaction – preferably over food and drink.

I live in Seattle and make $US1,640 weekly, pretax. I freelance on the side, but that income varies greatly. The rent for my one-bedroom apartment is $US1,425 a month, plus utilities. Other monthly expenses include my dog ($US100), Pilates ($US160), mobile phone ($US80), internet ($US80), and occasional travel.

I steer clear of caffeine, so I don’t have a daily Starbucks fix. Water is my beverage of choice, sometimes carbonated courtesy of my SodaStream. Booze is my runner-up, and I admittedly spend big money to drink well.

I got rid of my wheels several years ago, and my company provides a transit pass, so I don’t have to worry about that expense. Also, I’m not a big shopper, nor into acquiring “stuff,” so my retail expenses are minimal.

A big chunk of my income goes to shared experiences, so what my savings lacks in zeros my quality of life makes up for in spades. Here’s what I spend on food, drinks, groceries, and dining out in a typical week. Totals include 9.6% sales tax where applicable.


Wikimedia CommonsEating a Reuben helps break up the work day.


I have a work hard/play hard attitude toward life. I don’t diet, but try to squeeze in healthy meals where I can. The Green Dream smoothie atPCC Natural Markets($US5.99), the community co-op that’s one block from my apartment, gives me the energy boost I need to start the day.

(Total: $US6.57)


I don’t work until 1 p.m. on Fridays, so I’ll frequently take myself out for lunch before starting my shift. One of my favourite go-tos is the Columbia City Ale House. Their Reuben ($US14.95) is to die for, especially when paired with one of the brew pub’s many selections. I’m partial to the Hales Kolsch ($US6.75).

Total (with $US5.00 tip): = $US28.89


I made a post-work repeat appearance at PCC to pick up beer and fruit garnishes for cocktails for the weekend. Think: Negronis, my cocktail of choice.

12-pack of Aslan Light Lager ($US19.50), organic Meyer lemon ($US1.30), organic heirloom orange ($US1.17), organic Anjou pear ($US1.91)

Total: $US23.88


My boyfriend came over and we decided to check out the neighbourhood newcomer, Bua 9 Thai. We ordered take-out gyoza, Pad Thai, and a luscious green curry with chicken that didn’t disappoint.

Total (with $US5.00 tip): $US37.50


Shutterstock/themorningglorySometimes, I go to the salad bar three times a day.


I had a bunch of freelance work on my plate for the day, but a dear friend had just returned from a work trip to Thailand and had eschewed yoga in lieu of day drinking. We met at Super Six for brunch, where I indulged in the “Big Blue” Benny ($US14) and a Super Michelada ($US6).

Total (with $US5.00 tip): $US26.92


Still full from brunch, I decided to go light for dinner and hit the salad bar, at yep, you guessed it, PCC. (I jokingly refer to it as my pantry, since it’s commonly a three times a day habit.)

Total: $US8.99


Ben Gilbert/Business InsiderNot pictured: mimosas.


It’s a known fact that I make the best breakfast sandwich on the planet. It costs waaay more than an Egg McMuffin, but is seriously so darn delicious. My boyfriend regularly comes over to indulge in breakfast sandwich brunch, complete with mimosas.

English muffins ($US3.19), eggs ($US3.89), Tillamook cheddar cheese ($US5.99), arugula ($US3.99), Mama Lil’s peppers ($US7.99), Karam’s Original garlic sauce ($US12.99), pound of black forest bacon ($US7.99), two bottles of Prosecco (2 at $US10 = $US20), organic grapefruit juice ($US7.99)

Total: $US82.19


I unapologetically love cheese. And although I love the Pacific Northwest, not a day goes by when I don’t long for the heirloom tomatoes I had living on the Central Coast of California. Whenever I can get my hands on a good-enough tomato, I turn into a caprese salad. So simple, so good.

Heirloom tomatoes ($US6.82), whole milk mozzarella ($US5.99) and basil ($US4.99)

(I had olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand)

Total: $US19.51


Chef Joel DeBilzan puts together themed Sunday feasts at Seafood Feast at Tavolàta. The Seafood Feast was off-the-hook featuring all of the Pacific Northwest’s finest from spot prawns to King salmon, Total knockout of an 11-course tasting menu!

$US120.00 + Manhattan ($US11), glass of La Spinetta Vermentino ($US15) + 20% service charge

Total: $US160.80


brento via flickrChicago deep dish is to die for.


Started the day right with another Green Dream smoothie.

Total: $US6.57


Although this Philadelphia native lives in Seattle, the U.S. epicentre for coffee, I cannot get enough of La Colombe’s XXX Draft Lattes and keep them in constant supply.

Total: $US48.00


Thank goodness for Goldbely to keep me in supply of the random specialty foodstuffs I love from around the country. My freezer isn’t complete without a few Lou Malnati Chicago deep-dish pizza pies.

Total: $US61.99


I had a rough day and was craving comfort food, so my boyfriend offered to make his over the-top Tater Tot Casserole. Think that 80s recipe you know and love, minus the canned cream soup. It totally hit the spot.

Organic tater tots ($US3.39), mushrooms ($US3.99), half and half ($US2.89), onions ($US2.23), Tillamook cheddar cheese ($US5.99), organic ground beef ($US9.45), two bottles of wine ($US25)

Total: $US58.02


Mandy L./ YelpThe popular black cod from Nobu.


Another day, another Green Dream smoothie. I’m predictable like that. Plus, for being green and healthy and all that, it tastes so good.

Total: $US6.57


Lunch was a no-brainer. I reheated some of last night’s tater tot casserole, which was surprisingly even more delicious the day after. Carbs and cheese – how can you really go wrong?

Total: Free


Today would have been my mother’s 66thbirthday. My calendar is riddled with reminders of loss and I celebrate them all. We celebrated my mama in style with a miso-marinated black cod (à la Nobu), mashed potatoes, a simple green salad and some killer wine and Champagne.

Black cod ($US25.69), white miso ($US4.60), organic russet potatoes ($US4.02), organic shallots ($US1.40), quart of organic mile ($US3.29), salad (had ingredients on hand), Champagne ($US34.99), Secateurs Chenin Blanc ($US15.99)

Total: $US98.62


Yelp/Jeff L.Killer sushi plate.


Alright, I’m a creature of habit. What can I say? Another day, another Green Dream. It’s delicious!

Total: $US6.57


I like raw fish and I cannot lie. OK, I live a few blocks from Wabi Sabi, a sushi spot with killer lunch specials and happy hour deals. I had two pieces each of ikura (with quail eggs), salmon, mackerel and unagi.

Total (with $US6.00 tip): $US32.60


I wanted to impress my date tonight, so I made my fancy lamb tagliatelle pasta dish and Parmigiano-Reggiano pear salad. As always, it was an absolute hit. I had a lot of the ingredients for this dish, but picked up: Uli’s lamb sausage (four at $US2.75 each), organic asparagus ($US5.39), tagliatelle ($US4.99), Laura Chenel goat cheese ($US3.49), Holy Mountain The Witchfinder ($US15.99) two ice cream sandwiches (2 at $US2.99 each), arugula ($US3.99), Parmigiano-Reggiano ($US8.79), organic bosc pears ($US3.03), pine nuts ($US10.27) and lamb stock ($US6.99).

Total: $US87.58


Unsplash/Alexandra GornGoing out to eat in the middle of the day helps me stay focused.


As much as I mail it most days when it comes to the “most important meal of the day,”, I really do like breakfast dishes. A dish of rainbow chard/poached egg/cheesy grits is an easy, yet filling go-to.

I had all of the ingredients on hand except for Swiss chard ($US3.99)

Total: $US4.37


On days when I need a change of scenery, I hole up at a nearby bar to multitask. Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria offers a screaming lunch deal, Pancetta Pomodoro Pizzetta ($US11) and two Moretti Pilsners (2 @ $US6.00), plus a super-fast WiFi connection to get work done.

Total (including $US5.00 tip): $US30.21


Dinner consisted of leftover lamb tagliatelle reconstituted by a splash of lamb stock and some goat cheese. Every bit as tasty as the first time!

Total: Free

One-week spending: $US836.35

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