Last month I took the City of Boston’s Homebuying 101 class, as I’ve lately been thinking about buying a
home er, condo now that I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking around the area for the near future. The class talked a lot about credit reports and mortgages and all that, but it also brought up something that I’m not so great about: budgets.
I’ve never been much of a budgeter. Instead, I siphon off money for retirement, savings and bills into different accounts and allow myself to spend the rest without much thought. But now that I’m trying to save more, I need to know what I’m spending and identify areas where I could cut back. I came home Saturday and created a spreadsheet that categorized all my debit card transactions (in the future I’ll do cash too) and took a hard look at where my money was going. The biggest culprit: groceries.
I spent $377 last month on groceries. My sister (and roommate) spent more than $100. That is nearly $500 a month for a two-person household! Add in lunches ($56) and restaurants ($118) and you can see that this is kind of a problem.
The grocery bill kind of took me by surprise, as I usually buy store-brand everything, don’t eat much meat and look for sales. We don’t buy any processed foods or snack foods. I also haven’t been drinking this month, so that total doesn’t include any booze- that is all food.
Over the next couple months I’m going to track my spending more closely and see if I can figure out how to cut back. I know that one thing I tend to do is go out and buy all the ingredients for a recipe I saw (usually on a blog), rather than cooking what’s in the cupboard at home. I also have been buying produce with wild abandon, and indulging a bit too much at Whole Foods.
Now, blogger friends, I turn to you for advice. Have you ever realized your food spending was out of control? How did you reign in? Any tips?