I track all my expenses in Quicken.

I use several different categories for Food expenses.

  • Groceries—buying groceries (I recently added a separate subcategory for wine and other alcohol)
  • Entertainment:Going Out—eating out with friends (almost all of whom are colleagues); or groceries bought to take to potlucks
  • Eating Out—buying prepared food for myself to eat alone because I am too lazy/disorganized to cook food or take it to school (but frozen pizza, etc bought at the grocery store goes under groceries, even though it largely reflects the same impulse as this category)
  • Academic:Eating—eating out with colleagues at school (even if they also happen to be friends), whether we are eating for pleasure or over a discussion of some reading, work-in-progress, etc; or for department-suggested functions not at school; also includes the couple of times I have brought snacks for my classes
  • Study Groups—buying food at cafes where I have gone to work, by myself or with friends
  • Academic:Conferences:Food—includes both eating by myself in the airport and conference dinners
  • Vacation:Eating—from food on the road eaten in my car to taking my hosts out to dinner