How has your spending changed during the shutdown?

Hello -

I’ve been curious about how my spending has changed along with, well, everything else in recent weeks.

I know I’ve spent much more than usual on groceries and stocking our pantry, and much less on coffee shops and restaurants. But how much, exactly?

Because most of my past couple of years of finances are categorized in Google Sheets, it’s easy for me to compare March and April 2019 to the same period in 2020. (Thanks Tiller Money!)

While I could simply make a pivot table, Tiller Money Labs provides several free prebuilt reports that make this comparison more insightful. These include:

I used the Category Tracker report for a quick analysis. I’ll dig more into my spending trends in a detailed blog post next week, but comparing March 1 to April 15, 2019, vs 2020 I’ve already seen:

  • At coffee shops, I spent $215 in 2019 vs $42 in 2020
  • On groceries, I spent $962 vs $1952
  • At restaurants, I spent $526 vs $124

Because of our huge, pantry-filling grocery bills this year, my total spending is actually up $415 during the shutdown. However, as long as we keeping eating all that food in the pantry, I expect this number to flip by the end of the month.

More to come with additional details ext week. In the meantime, how have your spending trends changed? How are you tracking your financial life during this strange time?

Share your thoughts in the thread below!

Thanks for sharing this Edward! Interesting to learn and once I have more data, especially so as I just started.

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Great share!
Interesting to see your Groceries almost double! Would have expected it to get lower the more you spend in the case that you are bulk buying and cooking!
Maybe you are buying too much pre made foods, snacks, etc?

My food spending almost doubled as well, $650 to $1208 over the 7 weeks. However, the farm we get our beef quarters from was selling out fast this year, so we made a deposit several months earlier than normal to get our beef on time in August like we normally do. That was $300 of the extra. I also still have at least 2 weeks of food in the house, so I’ll be interested to see how we compare to last year once we get into the first week of May.

Interestingly, my electricity went DOWN by $66 so far even though we’re at home all day every day.

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We did buy more snacks, and it’s mostly because the kids are not eating at school. Instead they’re eating everything possible in the house. In general, however, we’re eating healthier than before. Less food out, less processed food, and more home cooking. We spend a lot more time in the kitchen.

We are also seeing a big bump in Groceries— on the order of doubling. We’re eating in more but I think there was also a little bit of a replenishing-the-stores surge in grocery spending that is/was (hopefully) short lived. We’re not “hoarding” by any means but there were a few larger Costco trips early on. I’m curious to see if the grocery spend reduces with time now that we’re past that initial surge.

Obviously “Eating Out” is way down.

We’ve made some large “Fun” investments (e.g. a ping pong table) that have blown up that category but overall spending is down. I think a big component here is the inability to invest in long term plans like vacation reservations/tickets and kids summer camps/activities.

The biggest change for us has been gas. I spent more on gas for my lawnmower than for the cars. That’s a function of price-per-gallon as well as very limited usage.

Eating out and Starbucks are also way down.

I’ve also seen an increase in grocery spending but we have been stocking-up gradually since February when it was pretty apparent something like this was coming down the pike.

My furnace died last month so that was not fun. But, thank you very much to Tiller for the zero-sum budgeting Monthly Budget Dashboard, we had the money set aside in our Home Maintenance category so that expenditure was not stressful.


Yep, groceries way up here too :upside_down_face: :pancakes:

Are you using the rollover budget, @brewer.05?
Or a zero-sum workflow on the Monthly Budget in the Foundation Template?

I’m using the rollover budget. I love that feature. I was a little (okay, quite a bit) concerned when they moved it to Labs because I was afraid it was going away, but so far-so-good.

I just looked over everything projecting out to the end of April and with one exception I’ve spent less than half of normal. The one exception is auto. My car’s battery died from neglect and I had to replace it.

I live alone and had a fairly full freezer and pantry which was good because I am also a 2 factor high risk - really old with lung issues - so I have been no where (except to buy the battery) since Mid-march.

Of course, the stock market totally ate up any non-spending profit :slight_smile:

Sounds like halved(!) spending a rare bright spot in these challenging times. Stay safe, @susandennis.

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Whats the rollover feature? How do i find it?

Sorry to take so long to respond. Here is what I’m using:

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Groceries were way up to start, then I got smarter about buying large items to cook for multiple meals. That might get offset with a new freezer purchase to store all the stuff i’m cooking though…

“Entertainment” is waaaay down - thats where I classify any meals / drinks /etc that aren’t made at the house. IE - coffee / lunches at work for my wife & I. Seeing how much that added up (and how much more fun it was to save that $ and / or apply it to more tangible items) will 100% change our behavior going forward - bringing a lunch will be a mainstay.

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@Edward @Larry @Mking @diz @randy @brewer.05 @heather @susandennis @jbsmoove

And anyone else!

As we close out September I am curious how your personal spending compares to the changes you shared last April and May at the beginning of the pandemic? Are there any new trends that surprise you?

Personally my groceries are still up, gas has increased but is still lower than pre-pandemic, still very little eating out, and Amazon is ever increasing as I just don’t do very much in-person shopping.

A little surprising was the amount of back-to-school spending I did both for “clean” clothes for my (summer wild) daughters returning for 2 in-person days/week and some inspiring homeschool curriculum and books for our at-home days.

I also have had an increase medical spending and I try to get caught up on all the preventative care we postponed earlier in the year.

Overall, nothing shocking, yet a very clear correlation between our ever evolving pandemic lifestyle and the way we spend our money.


I’m still way below normal. I think, BP, I just spent way too much on groceries! Now, I’m spending less than half and still eating nicely. I’ve stayed home so still no restaurants, of course. No gas.

One thing I did do was take those savings and have my 30 year old bathtub replaced with a walk in shower. It’s heaven and the best money I’ve spent in forever. I thank the pandemic for it every morning when I walk in.

I really don’t see changes in my spending any time soon.


Just thought I would throw my $0.02 in here…

My grocery bill went way up in March when uncertainty was at its peak. In April the total was $0 because I bought so much food in March “just in case.”

As restrictions eased in April, May, and June, my grocery bill stabilized but restaurant bills increased. Not increased just because I was ordering again, but because I was paying extra fees for food delivery over the same period last year.

YTD, my fuel bill is half of what was budgeted and the yearly average.