Take Julie, for example. She is a mother of two and is married to Christopher. They work hard but barely make ends meet. When the two of them sat down to determine just where their money was going, Julie was shocked to see that they were spending more than $170 a week on food. That was $600 on just food per month. So, they decided to do something that most would never do. They decided to track their food budget.
For the next month, Julie and Christopher kept a small notebook with them and any time they bought any type of food product, they jotted it down. In fact, it became a competition to see who was spending what and to see who was doing a better job keeping track. At the end of the month, the results were in. They had spent a total of $853 on groceries.
They found that some was going towards the grocery store, but they spent a considerable amount on restaurants, coffee shops and at the gas station when they just stopped in to get something for dinner. Now, what would you do with this information?
Julie did something she had not done before. She decided to create a monthly budget for food. What she found was that it was not difficult to do. Here are some steps that she followed.
By taking the necessary time to track spending and then in making a monthly budget, Julie found herself saving money. They actually treated themselves to dinner out at the end of the month since they had save several hundred dollars and now could say they could afford it.
By Sandy Baker
I clip coupons everyday and then on Friday night we make a bowl of popcorn and put all the coupons on the table. We divide them into categories and each person takes a few.
Even our youngest, who cannot read yet recognizes the vegetables on the coupons and is excited about helping. We then go grocery shopping with our coupons on Saturday morning.
When home, I show our budget and how much we saved. The difference goes into a vacation jar and each year we use it to go someplace special, like camping. Everyone feels like a special part of the project and are proud of their contribution.
By Laurie from Biloxi, MS
I mentally calculate the cost of everything as I go along. I know that's a bit sad, but it gives me a sense of satisfaction to stick within my budget. If I do go over one day, I cut back the next. It's a bit like a diet I suppose. I can make a big bowl of mashed potato with grated cheese mixed in for about 50p, and this covers lunch for 2 days. Then I can have a banana, an apple, and a bag of crisps. There is no limit put on our evening meals, but we don't go mad! I am a great believer in looking after the pennies etc.
By econ o'miser
Ok, I think I spend a lot on groceries. About 400 to 500 dollars a month for a family of 3 (and that's not counting eating out a few times a month!). I am pretty sure this is quite high? More than that, we are living paycheck to paycheck and I want to have some savings. Our child is now 4 and I am wondering what you folks do to cut costs? What would be a more reasonable food budget? And what are some tips for planning meals, grocery lists, etc. I really don't know where to start on this but this seems like the right place to look, I have already found some useful tips on this site.