I cringe when I think back at how much I used to spend on food after our children were grown and gone. Of course, we generally had one of their families living on our property with grandchildren in and out so that accounted for a small portion of my food budget. Plus, we did a lot more entertaining because we were in a large home. Still... I know I wasted a lot of money! I made a shopping list and off I went with no budget in mind. I spent anywhere from $600 up a month.
This season of life is different and it's essential (if I want to not work outside my home more than 2 days a week) that I keep on a strict budget. My husband's state disability check will stop in October and we'll be living off our savings until he is approved for permanent disability. Every penny MUST BE STRETCHED & PINCHED!
Last month I dropped our food bill from $400 to $300. I clipped a small piece of paper to my checkbook register and every time I made a purchase I wrote it on the piece of paper and kept a running total. It was a great way to start keeping track of what I was spending but I ended up running out of money before the end of the month.
My goal for June is to drop our grocery budget to $200. I'm going to try the envelope method this month and see how that works. My goal is to take out $50 a week and put $40 in an envelope for shopping. The other $10 will be set aside in case I need an item towards the end of the week. I tried this method last week and it worked perfectly with $10.00 left over.
I'll write tomorrow what my approach to shopping has been this past year and how it's helping me save a ton of money. I believe it's well worth my time to learn how to stretch the income we already have rather than trying to find new ways to earn more money. I consider it a part-time job that I get to do from home.