Analysts: How much are you spending on food per month in NYC?

Mimsy's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 504

Is it possible to have food expense only around $500-600 per month in NYC? If so, how are you guys budgeting yourself? Setting a limit of $20-25 a day, cooking, etc..

Comments (33)

Mar 23, 2017

Obviously know it's possible, wanted to hear how it's achievable...

Mar 23, 2017

Seamless for dinner helps out a lot. Breakfast is cheap. pick up / make a lunch <$10. Don't eat out at expensive restaurants every weekend. Alcohol blows up the monthly budgets more than food.

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Mar 23, 2017

I am paying a fuck ton for rent in a nice place, and looking for ways to cut back. Thx Presto

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Mar 23, 2017

I don't track my spending, but I think I'd be just north of that. Breakfast is cheap, think my go to is like $6. Lunch is around $10. I really don't think prepping lunch is worth the few dollars, but I guess this is how you could get down to that level. Dinner paid for obviously. On the weekend you can get $50 or so expenses if working so that covers everything but breakfast on a typical weekend day. Even if not working, you can typically expense a meal and nobody will ask questions. Big thing is just avoiding expensive restaurants on the weekend if you want to cut back on food spending. This in my class who love the food scene spend way more, but otherwise I think $600 is pretty reasonable

Best Response
Jun 21, 2017

.

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Jun 21, 2017

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Mar 24, 2017

Yeah I do this shit all the time.

Mar 24, 2017

Sounds like a great idea

Mar 27, 2017

This - I know a bunch of analysts that do that.

Mar 25, 2017
Teller:

Places generally give you $25 for dinner. You don't need to spend this entire amount on a single meal. Use half of it to buy yourself lunch for the next day

I know some people (not at my firm), who use the seamless allowance for groceries. Win-win.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jun 21, 2017

.

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Mar 23, 2017

Agree with the above, but here's a (useful) curveball: learn Spanish. In my experience, most of the workers in midtown are Hispanic. I'm Hispanic. I speak to them in Spanish when I order, ask how they're doing, etc. Believe me, after 486 Wall Street gringos in a row, they appreciate that shit. I often get hooked up.

Believe me. Or don't.

Cuidate, amigo.

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Mar 24, 2017

Is this legit? I should do this.

Mar 25, 2017

simon wey, preubalo.

May 10, 2018

gracias hermano, lo voy a intentar

Mar 24, 2017

I eat oatmeal for breakfast and bring a cheap lunch everyday. I also try to limit myself to eating out 2x/week at places for less than $15.

This runs me about $100 for groceries and $100 eating out.

Mar 24, 2017

200 a month is pretty impressive..

Are you spending a ton on rent and trying to compensate? Or are you just trying to save?

Mar 25, 2017

I'm putting 20% to student loans and 10% to savings.

Leaves me with a decent budget for booze and cigars, but I had to say goodbye to binge drinking.

Mar 24, 2017

Step one: Take $500-$600 and remember that number.
Step two: Count how many days are in a month (usually between 28 and 31)
Step three: Calculate the quotient of the dividend ($500-$600) and the divisor (28-31).
Step four: Spend no more on average on food than the resulting quotient ($16.13 - $21.43).
Step five: Rinse
Step six: Repeat

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Mar 24, 2017

Depends on location within NYC but for me for lunch its a consistent ~$15 give or take a few dollars.

Mar 25, 2017

Don't know if you guys know that but there is this app called "mealpal" where you pick 12 or 20 meal per month and pay a fixed amount (so if I pick 20 meal it's $6 per meal =$120/month). For the 12 meals it's a bit more expensive roughly $6.39/meal. I was bringing food to save some $, but found myself saving on time by doing that mealpal thing.

Mar 25, 2017

I've worked in several restaurants from fast food to upscale. Additionally, I've interned in really expensive cities. The hint on allowances is 100% spot on. People feel "obligated" to spend it a certain way (ie eat a steak the size of your face for dinner). Don't be that analyst that packs on 10 lbs in a summer from this one decision.

Biggest things that will trip you up are social commitments (don't be THAT cheapskate), dating (don't be that cheapskate), and cravings (life without pizza isn't worth living imo).

Highest margins for food are on breakfast/brunch items because the inputs are cheap as hell (eggs are $0.35 for example). Don't eat out for these meals. Additionally, when you're craving something consider the DIY cost. No reason to spend $10 on fried chicken when you can make it at home for $4. This holds for almost every poultry/fish dish (you can make 1/2 lb of salmon in the oven for $6-8).

Download Mint. Track your spending so you can identify the causes of being over budget when the inevitable happens (ie you black out, order $40 in pizza, and pass out before it gets delivered leaving no evidence in the morning).

Array

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Mar 25, 2017

Mint is my nemesis. It yells at me all the time. Yet I still don't unsubscribe to it

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May 13, 2018

This assumes you have the time or energy to care. I work way too hard for that shit. Barely have time to get to the gym 3-4x a week and sleep 5 hours a night a few times a week. I can't make breakfasts, and when I want to eat/need to eat, I don't have time to figure out what the best deal is.

In my experience, leveraging the expense policy is your best path to a reasonable food budget. I haven't not worked past 7 in like 3 weeks, so dinner is taken care of, and when I go to a cheaper spot like dig inn or sweetgreen for dinner, I always get a second bowl/salad for the next day's lunch. I eat quest bars for breakfast almost exclusively and on the weekends, I'll use my breakfast allowance to buy a bunch for the week. Lunch is pretty much the only meal I end up buying and it's never that bad given the multitude of options we have around us in the 10-15 price point.

Mar 25, 2017

This isn't the Silicon Valley, but if you really wanted to save money (and time) you could always switch to Soylent.

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Mar 27, 2017

Breakfast ~$8... Lunch ~$10... Dinner ~$13.00 x 30 days (average in month) = $1,170.

Did I mention I walked to one of the corner stores to get a gallon of milk and it was $6.00!

A pint of ice cream was $5.00!!! Oh here's the best part, I bought an ice cream cone... plain fucking vanilla, right outside central park... 12 FUCKING DOLLARS!

What is wrong with this city!? lol.

FYI: Not an Analyst anymore and I'm originally from Philadelphia suburbs.

May 14, 2018
mswoonc:

Breakfast ~$8... Lunch ~$10... Dinner ~$13.00 x 30 days (average in month) = $1,170.

Did I mention I walked to one of the corner stores to get a gallon of milk and it was $6.00!

A pint of ice cream was $5.00!!! Oh here's the best part, I bought an ice cream cone... plain fucking vanilla, right outside central park... 12 FUCKING DOLLARS!

What is wrong with this city!? lol.

FYI: Not an Analyst anymore and I'm originally from Philadelphia suburbs.

or 3 pieces of chicken from Kings being $18 dollars. I don't even bother to shop in the city.

Mar 27, 2017

Intermittent fasting and dropping to 2 large-ish meals a day helps a lot if you are capable of doing this type of routine. I would get lunch either at a food cart, or somewhere else relatively cheap (depending on how many orders up to $15, but as cheap as $7, averaging about $11), and then use my full seamless for dinner. I bought protein bars in bulk online as well (averaging out to about $2/day), and was still hitting a reasonable number of calories without spending very much money. Dropping a meal helps considerably

Apr 9, 2017

If I can just confirm Kazimierz's findings, I have for a long time fasted for various reasons (usually I got so busy I forgot to eat). It was great news to me when I learned that was actually a new dieting technique because it meant I didn't have to do anything different and I still got to sit with the cool kids.

Anyway, I get Seamless almost every night and maybe twice a week order strategically so that I can have lunch the next day through the previous night's Seamless. I usually fast on Sundays, although I might eat a breakfast of oatmeal or something if I wake up starving. I buy food at the store maybe once a month, when I'm feeling like I'll have time to cook on the weekend. Usually the milk goes bad, but thank god eggs stay good for weeks. My breakfast most mornings is either some fruit from the cart guy outside the office or a smoothie. Lunch on days I don't have Seamless v2.0 is usually about $15 worth of carbs and grease, but sometimes I forget to eat that, too.

When all is said and done, I spend about $75-85 a week on meals. The meals I skip are important, and I didn't realise how many it was until I started tracking them for a trainer. But I end up skipping around five or six meals a week (a lot of breakfasts).

There is an important caveat: I travel a lot and when I'm out of NYC, I splurge on food. So my budget if I'm home is probably a monthly $350, but realistically I spend about $500 including the food I buy when I'm away.

May 11, 2018
Kazimierz:

I bought protein bars in bulk online as well (averaging out to about $2/day), and was still hitting a reasonable number of calories without spending very much money.

I don't know what kind you buy, but I would recommend Lara Bars. They are like $1 or so on Amazon and are probably the healthiest thing you could find, in terms of bars.

I inhale these things. I probably have 5 or more per day. They are about 220 cal, so $5 for a very healthy 1100 cal is pretty good.

If you need more protein than that, the Vega products are exceptional (powder).

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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May 11, 2018

I spent like $50-$75 a week on food when I was living in New York. It's like $5 for 7 bagels for the week, $7 for two bags of bacon (buy one get one free) and $3.50 for a big tub of peanut butter. Every morning I'd eat a bagel and peanut butter with bacon (you gotta try it if you've never had it). Then I'd buy some chicken/pork/sausage in bulk to stick in the oven for dinner. Lunch was comped. Gotta find a grocery store worth traveling to that actually has discounts and solid deals.

Buying meat in bulk for dinner is pretty cheap and breakfast foods are always super cheap as well, whether it be eggs, bacon, bagels or whatever. The key is to not buy a bunch of pre-made frozen meals, as those are super expensive relative to just getting a bunch of chicken and seasoning it yourself. Pasta is also super cheap. If your lunch isn't comped than just whip up some chicken or an egg salad bagel the night before, and stick it in your fridge. Aint nothing wrong with a dollar slice every now and then either.

May 12, 2018
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May 13, 2018