I've come to the point that I've decided I am tired of being in debt, of living from paycheck to paycheck. So, my newest endeavor is to take a good hard look at our spending in all areas and get on track. I'm working with a variety of sources, mainly trying to follow Dave Ramsey's program but also reading other books on finance, money saving and frugal meals.
Yesterday I wrote out my first ever budget. I've always been daunted by this process, giving up before I'd really gotten anywhere because I would look at the current spending and try to fit all of that into the income, but it never would quite work out. It finally dawned on me yesterday that I was going about it all wrong. This time, I started with the income and only added expenses up to that income amount & anything else will have to be deferred. Yes, I know, it shouldn't have taken me this long in life to come up with this. I can't change what's done, but I'm going to do better from now on. I'm excited and can't wait to make some real progress.
Today's plan is to work on a grocery shopping price book. I've read about these a lot, but never worked on an all-inclusive one because I thought I new food prices pretty well. I guess we'll see if I'm right. As we all know, working with a "limited" diet can wind up being very expensive as you try to find substitutes for foods you're used to or as your baking supplies grow and grow with the new found ingredients. My goal is to drastically cut our grocery budget, which has gotten way out of hand. To that end, I hope the price book will help. I had, previously, started a price list (for the food allergy & intolerance group I used to facilitate) of some of the specialty items I buy. As I get this list updated, I'll add it to this site. Hopefully it will be helpful to the locals, at least.
The other part of cutting our grocery budget, which I've been doing on and off for years, is to meal plan. I'm getting in the habit again and it really helps, not only with the shopping, but also to stave off those panicked "Oh what are we going to have for dinner" thoughts...at 7pm. So, I'll also post those and hopefully they'll be helpful as well.