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Spending POP QUIZ: Food

This post was featured at The Skilled Investor and Frugal Law Student.

The last thing you thought your were going to get on this site is a pop quiz. If you're having a flashback to high school, don't be dismayed. This one isn't graded. In fact, no one will know your score except you.

Even though your grade on this quiz isn't public, it does give you useful information that can help improve your financial life, and by corollary, your life in general. Come closer, take a deep breath, relax, and take our little quiz:

Open up your Mint online account(read more about Mint), or online checking and credit card accounts, or grab your statements from last month. Use a rough estimate to answer the following questions:

  1. How much money did you spend on eating out last month?

  2. How much did you spend on groceries?
  3. How much did you spend on lunch for the kids?

  4. How much did you and/or your spouse spend on lunch while at work?

And you're done! That wasn't so bad, was it?

Now, let's use our knowledge for good. Were you surprised at what you spent? Where did you do well? Where can you spend less? What are you going to do with that extra money? Important questions, powerful answers.

For example, last month I see that we spent $48 on fast food. That averages out to be about once a week for our family. That's more than I realized! If I ate fast food half as often, I would save about $25 a month. Using this handy calculator, I found that in two years, that $25 a month could turn into $653. Over ten years it could become $4,604, and over thirty years it could become $37,507! That is one habit that really pays off, and we'd be healthier, too.

I'm not the only one who has discovered how much we can save by making adjustments to our food bill:

Have you found other great ways to save on your food bill? How did you do it? What was the result?

Our little quiz is now done, and unlike high school, the outcome was really quite helpful. How did you do?

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