About a month ago, I decided it was time to figure out where all the money goes, and if some of it could be persuaded to stay with us a bit longer.
The one thing I buy most often is food, and there’s lots of ways to tweak the food budget between stingy and extravagant. So last month, I kept a log of what I spend in supermarkets – this will get more complex next month when the Farmers’ Market opens. On the other hand, alas, it’s simpler than it used to be now that my favorite fish store has gone out of business.
I won’t bore you green with the details of how I analyzed the costs. Basically, I figured it made sense to start from the USDA’s figures for “cost of food at home”, and tweak to allow for the fact that my husband eats about six meals a week at work, but our son comes over for dinner about two times a week.
The results? Not bad; I landed pretty close to the “low-cost” USDA budget. Could be better; I should be able to save $80 or so a month if I can get down to the “thrifty” level.
There are plenty of people on the Web who blog about their astonishingly low food costs – I’ve been following, and enjoying, K. at $35 a Week. I’ll try some of her suggestions, but others just aren’t practical for us – for instance, if I started raising chickens in the back yard, the neighbors would get upset pretty quickly. And soon after that, the Township would get upset. And then I’d be looking for someone who wanted to adopt my chickens.
Still, there are other things I can be more careful about. (Two weeks ago I got enthusiastic about salad. There’s only so much lettuce you can eat, even at two big salads a day, before it spoils.) I’ll be commenting from time to time about what does, or doesn’t, seem to work.
And once I finish slimming down our food budget, it’s time to see where else we can save.