How Much I Spent On Food for a Week

Food in a Week in NYC

I thought it would be fun to see how much I spent on food for a week. I’ve been doing “No Spend Work Weeks” for a month now, and more or less plan on continuing indefinitely. If the need arises (like a dinner date with a friend), I’ll spend money, but otherwise, I will plan to just eat at home.

I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I keep my grocery costs so low living in New York City after I published my monthly spending logs, so I’ve noted what I spend on my grocery trips!

I’ve put a cost to everything I ate that was bought in the recent past and of course the eating out. I didn’t put a cost to things I’ve had in my pantry for a while.


Breakfast: I had coffee with hot cocoa mix and Lactaid milk at the office in the morning. I ended up having 3 cups of coffee and having caffeine overdose. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: For lunch, I had second half of my burrito from Sunday’s lunch. Cost: $0.00

Groceries: I went grocery shopping after work, and bought 1 pack of fried tofu ($2.39), 1 12oz pack of bean sprouts ($1.49), 1 pack of 4 bok choy ($2.64), 1 package of konnyaku ($1.09), and 2 blocks of tofu ($1.29 each). Cost: $10.19

Dinner: For dinner, I had hotpot with 1/4th pack of tofu ($0.32), 1 bok choy ($0.66), 1/2 bag of bean sprouts ($0.75), hakusai ($0.50) and 5 frozen dumplings ($1.20) in miso and soy sauce broth. Cost: $3.43

Total Cost of Meals: $3.43


Breakfast: I again had coffee with hot cocoa mix and Lactaid milk at the office. I did not have caffeine overdose today… Learned my lesson. LOL. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: I had 6 frozen dumplings that I microwaved. Cost: $1.44

Dinner: I had hotphot with 1/4th pack of tofu ($0.32), 1 bok choy ($0.66), 1/2 bag of enoki mushrooms ($0.99), hakusai ($0.50), and 3 frozen dumplings ($0.72). Cost: $3.19

Total Cost of Meals: $4.63


Breakfast: I’m working from home, so just grabbed milk coffee from the fridge. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: I boiled 5 frozen dumplings. Om nom nom. Are you starting to see a pattern on why I spend so little? Cost: $1.20

Snack: Herr’s Baked! Cheddar & Sour Cream flavored potato crisps I stole from office pantry. Cost: $0.00

Dinner: Attended a Ladies Get Paid event in Manhattan, and went to Kokage Ramen for the first time with Olivia afterwards. First time I broke my Work Week No Spend in over a month and a half! Cost: $17.00

Total Cost of Meals: $18.20


Breakfast: Just made myself some coffee with Lactaid milk. Hopefully it’s strong enough to get me through the day. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: Boiled 5 frozen dumplings. Cost: $1.20

Snack: Popcorn, Indiana’s Kettlecorn I stole from the office. Cost: $0.00

Dinner: Hotpot! 3 frozen dumplings ($0.72), 1/4th pack of tofu ($0.32), 1 bok choy ($0.66), 1/2 bag of enoki mushrooms ($0.99), hakusai ($1.00) in miso and soy sauce broth. Cost: $3.69

Total Cost of Meals: $4.89


Breakfast: I ran out of coffee (ZOMFG) so went back to making Chai Latte with my Chai Latte Concentrate from Oregon Chai. I used to get the Tazo Chai Concentrate, but they really upped their price (2 for $14 as opposed to $19 for 6 with Oregon Chai), so I switched over to Oregon Chai, and honestly it tastes the same for me!

Once a month or two, I treat myself to Venti Starbucks Chai Latte, which comes to around $6.50 in New York City. If you use this concentrate, depending on how strong you like your Chai, it’s a week to 2 weeks worth of Chai Lattes per box, which makes each serving $0.30~$0.60+ cost of milk. Also it’s a concentrate box so lasts forever. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: Again, 5 frozen dumplings boiled! Cost: $1.20

Snack: I went to the gym and got hungry so made myself a bowl of popcorn. Cost: $0.00

Dinner: Ordered myself McDonald’s for dinner as I am wont to do once every few months. I got Triple Cheeseburger ($3.00), Large French Fries ($2.99), and 2 Apple Pies ($1.69 total). Cost: $8.36

Total Cost of Meals: $9.56


Breakfast: I slept in, so by the time I got out of bed, it was near mid-day. So I ate the second Apple Pie from McDonalds from last night, and that became my lunch. I made myself some instant coffee because I ran out of coffee (crying) with bit of Chai concentrate and milk. Not sure if I’d repeat… Cost: $0.00

Dinner: I took a 2 hour walk to Flushing, Chinatown to get me something to eat (and to fulfill my 14,200 steps goal for Stepbet challenge). I ended up getting myself Bibimbap from New World Mall ($10.00). I wanted some Kimbap, but the stall I used to get them from for $5.00 had been replaced by another store! So sad. On my way home, I grabbed Milk Tea Bubble Tea from Gong Cha ($4.36). Cost: $14.36

Total Cost of Meals: $14.36


Breakfast: Instant coffee with milk. LOTS OF MILK. Cost: $0.00

Lunch: I’ve been craving cup udon, so cup udon I shall have! Cost: $0.00

Snack: Went to the gym and took a walk, and came home to make popcorn and journal for a bit. Cost: $0.00

Dinner: Hotpot to end the week! 1 bok choy ($0.66), 1/2 bag of bean sprouts ($0.75), 1/4th of a konnyaku block ($0.35), and 2 blocks of mochi ($2.00).

Total Cost of Meals: $3.76

Actual Cost of Meals: $58.83

This week’s expenditure is a little abnormal for the past month and a half because I broke my “No Spend Work Week” challenge twice. (Though “broke” is a strong word because it was a challenge I was embarking in for February, and having completed it, decided it’ll be fun to just put on as “Default” unless occasions arrise… Which they did!)

All in all, I’m trying to figure out how to eat food that gives me the most satisfaction while keeping me healthy. If I’m fulfilled and content food-wise, I would be less prone to reaching out for junk food!

Having Hotpot most nights is fulfilling enough, and sometimes I “treat myself” with little special things like Udon or mochi. Even little things like that are enough to up the “Happiness Scale” and make me feel like I’ve had a special meal. And it doesn’t add much bulk to my belly or my finances!


  1. Moriah Joy

    OMG! you’re so frugal with your meals! I should do a food diary like this one week and see what we ACTUALLY pay a week in groceries. Our monthly bill is anywhere from $150 – $200, so not terrible. And I’m not sure I could cut it down much more than that, haha. But I should definitely add some cheaper meals in there! I generally just buy the ingredients I need for the meal we’re craving, which sometimes is frugal. Other times, not so much. Whoops, haha.

  2. The $76K Project

    Nice work! It all looks delicious. Super impressed by how low your expenses are.

    Our food budget is always pretty high, but we *have* managed to reel it in a bit in recent weeks. Baby steps!

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