Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Food Budget

I have my monthly budget down to a science...kind of.  I always over-estimate the costs of utilities and other spending so my budget is not too tight.  For over four years, this is how we've done it and I can't believe how nonchalant I was with money before.

There was a time, when I would go to the grocery store without a list or a plan and buy whatever looked good to me.  I can't tell you how much food I would waste!!  Of course, when the time came to cook dinner, I had a fridge full of food but nothing to cook.  My grocery items didn't make sense.  For example, I would buy a loaf of bread, a frozen cake, and pasta. Huh????  I'd spend $100 on absolutely nothing!  So of course, B and I would go and eat out.  Then because we ate out and didn't have leftovers, we'd eat out for lunch.  It was a vicious cycle that cost us a TON of money.

Now every week, I go to two different grocery stores, Ralphs and Trader Joes.  I go through the Ralphs sales ads a week and see how those prices compare to those of  Trader Joes. )I don't use coupons unless they are staring right at me.  I know there are savings in there.  I just don't have the patience nor the time to do it all the time.) I make a menu plan and write out everything I need to make that dish.  I often go for dishes that I have at least some of the ingredients on hand already. After I make a list, I calculate everything on the list and it almost always runs up to about $50.  $50 a week is my food budget for two adults. Somedays it is a little higher if I decide to stock up on something that is on sale or if I'm making food for an event or something, but other than that it is always around $50.

This past Sunday, I veered a little from the list and bought several times that I just wanted.  Of course, I went over budget by $10.  The total amount of the things I bought not on the list?  $9.20.  

After all of this, our biggest money leak is eating out.  Although I do cook most nights, sometimes I don't feel like it or sometimes we go out after work and come home too late to cook.  It's a work in progress and I'm no longer fanatical about it.  We have room in our budgets for "fun" money and entertainment.  I just take it out of that and try to be better the following day.

I have the reputation in my family of being the one where money filters through my hands like sand.  I used to spend a lot on useless things and now I still spend money on my wants vs. needs, but I am just wiser about it.

Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.


  1. there's a new reality show called 'couponing' - pretty ridiculous that there is a whole series on it, but these people wind up paying zero dollars for all these groceries because they're so good about collecting coupons. i dont even get the paper so i dont know where to get coupons.
    i agree, eating out is where most of our $ is spent as well. it's a lifestyle change to do what you are doing, and i can't seem to stick with it.

  2. I've seen that show. It's a bit ridiculous. I understand you can save a ton, but do you really need 150 candy bars????