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If I go camping (or on vacation) would the money spent on food be categorized as food/eat out or camping(vacation)?

I have been struggling with this for a while.

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    A two week vacation is 46% of a month, so I'd think that it's perfectly reasonable to allocate 46% of your monthly grocery+restaurant budget to your vacation. This, though, is the definition of Personal Opinion, which is a Close Reason according to the site's rules. "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise." – RonJohn Jul 2 at 3:37
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    Why are you asking this? A little context helps. If it is about company regulations, we can't answer, because we don't know them. – Jan Doggen Jul 2 at 11:17
  • I'd look for an expense tracking application that allows for an expense to be tagged with multiple categories, because in different contexts you might care both about total cost of vacations as well as total cost of food, picking just one category isn't sufficient for good reporting. – Hart CO Jul 2 at 14:33
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It's entirely up to you.

Personally, assuming you are spending significantly more on food while you're on vacation because you're eating out more and consider part of being on vacation indulging in good meals, I'd categorize it as part of my vacation budget. By the same token, if you're spending basically the same on food while you're on vacation, I'd personally categorize the same way as when you're home. Other people will make different choices and it's entirely up to them. Just like the specific categories you pick are a bit arbitrary, where you put certain expenses can be a bit arbitrary. Find a rule that makes sense to you and stick with it.

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It depends on the granularity you’d like to see when you review your expenses.

  1. If you never review your expenses, you can have a single category “Expenses” and put everything there.

  2. If you are happy seeing broad categories, you can use something like “Travel” or “Family Outings”. Your accounting package may allow you to drill down to individual expenses if you wanted to see the details.

  3. If you prefer to have fine-grained categories, split up your receipts into individual categories like “Transport”, “Food”, “Fishing Gear”, and so on.

It’s really up to you which you choose. You might even have a mix of styles, with most expenses going into “Family Expenses” but some specific receipts logged as “Air Fares” and “Amusement Parks”. It goes back to what you want to see when you review your expenses because the way you code your expenses determines how they are reported.

  • "Granularity" is key here. e.g. When I did a look-back on annual spending, I had "food" as a line item. But also was able to see how much of that was eating out vs grocery store/eating home. In the end, it's one's own preference what they want to know. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 2 at 11:47
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If this is about personal finance, it's entirely up to you. Personally, I would consider food you purchase from a grocery store and eat later as "groceries". I would consider food you purchase to be eaten on premises as "dining".

If you for some reason want to calculate the total cost of the vacation, and the dining on the vacation is more/less expensive than it's during typical working weeks, you should take this into account when calculating the total cost of the vacation. There is no way an accounting program can do this automatically, unless it has this feature specifically implemented. Even then, you need to use this special feature and can't expect the "vacations" account sum to be magically an accurate representation about the total cost of the vacation.

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Camping/vacation is not your typical behavioural expenditure. The mood of spending is different, the food prices are varied outside your spending zone.

It is appropriate to categorise camping/vacation food spending as a vacation.

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