What we discovered was eye opening, to say the least. On the one hand, we were happy to note that we spent approximately the amount we thought that we did for the month. We are not big impulse spenders or recreational shoppers, so that monthly total was not an unpleasant shock.
However, the amount we spent on food, both in groceries and convenience foods such as takeout and restaurant meals, was surprising and excessive. We spent nearly half of our total budget on food! For two people! Yikes.
I realize that our spending is some areas will decrease in retirement because the locations worldwide where we plan to live, eat, and play have a much lower cost of living than here in Japan. However, we can't help but be concerned that other areas of expense will increase, such as travel expenses, visa fees, rent (we currently live rent free) and possible private health insurance.
The main lesson we learned is that if we had to we could definitely cut back on convenience food spending. We already bring our lunch to work every day but we do eat out at least 3-5 meals per week. Here in Japan, that adds up quickly. We also noticed that the unexpected and "nickel and dime" expenses through the month really tend to add up. We can monitor those as well to make sure we really need what we're purchasing.