The cost of food in the city can vary depending on many things: where you eat, where you get your food from, how many times you cook, order or eat out, etc. However, I've calculated three types of budgets so you can get an idea: the lazy budget, the mixed budget and the super saver budget. This are based on Manhattan's food cost, notice that food can get cheaper in other boroughs.
The Lazy Budget ($239/week)
Lazy because this is one of those weeks when you mostly eat breakfast, lunch and dinner outside.
Mixed Budget ($192/week)
- You might spend $3.00 on breakfast, for a coffee and a bagel every day, except Sunday when you'll have something at home.
- Lunch might be $10.00 on average every day. Whether it's a salad at a deli, a sandwich or a Chipotle burrito, it will be around that price when you add drinks, tips and tax.
- You'll probably spend about $4 on snacks (the day is too long!)
- I'm assuming you might order or take away dinner about 4 days a week, and usually spend about $12 on that (minimum amount for delivery is usually $10, then add $2 tip.)
- You're in NY, you're very likely to go out for dinner at least once a week (McDonald's doesn't count) and spend about $25.
- Finally, I'm allowing two nights where you'll make something at home with the $50 worth of groceries you'll get every week.
Mixed Budget ($192/week)
- I'm assuming you'll still have breakfast out most of the days, say 4, but a couple of them you'll make coffee and breakfast at home. That's $3 four times a week.
- Let's also assume that a couple days you'll also be brave enough to make lunch at home at bring it to work / school. So you'll be having lunch out only 4 times for about $10 each.
- You'll probably still get some snacks, but let's assume you'll stay away from buying snacks 3 days a week. That's $4 a day for four days then.
- You will still order, but you'll try to cook dinner at home about 3 times a week, and order a couple times. That's $12 times two.
- You might still go out and have dinner, but maybe you'll check the menu twice and make sure you don't go over $20.
- Since this assumptions imply more homemade stuff, I'm assuming you'll spend about $80 on groceries for the week.
Super Saver ($145/week)
- Here I'm assuming you usually have coffee and breakfast at home, except maybe once a week, $3.
- If you strictly bring lunch to work or school every day in the week, and only buy lunch once in the weekend, that will only be $10.
- You'll probably do some shopping so you can bring your own snacks instead of buying them at the corner deli, so let's say snacks won't account for more than $5 a week.
- I also assume you will be cooking dinner most of the days, let's say you don't want to do so on Monday, cause nobody likes Mondays! That will be $12 for one delivery dinner.
- Even if you're on a budget, you can still go out and try to spend no more than $15 on dinner.
- Obviously, this type of budget requires the biggest grocery shopping. I don't think you can provide for all those breakfast, lunches and dinners for less than $100 a week.
Of course there are many ways in which you can bring those numbers down, but I just wanted to give a realistic expectation from what I see with myself and the people around me. Thanks for reading and see you soon!