Budgeting for the completely financially illiterate
Taking an honest look at your finances and spending habits is a tricky business. But we realized it must be done. You see, it’s completely incomprehensible to me how the two of us, who earn decent livings, live in a modest house (Our neighborhood, White City, is affectionately referred to by many as “White Trash City”), and drive modest cars (that are both completely paid for), could possibly be as broke as we seem to be all of the time. Where is all that cash going?
Apparently, we’ve been eating it. A quick download of our bank statements over the last 3 months into an Excel spreadsheet revealed that we’ve spent (over that 3 month period):
- $939.48 on eating out for an average of $313.16/mo
- $1559.89 on groceries for an average of $519.96/mo
Now, I don’t know if you realize this or not, but there are only TWO of us living in the house. And I’ve never really been too concerned with budgeting food because it’s a necessary item. Whenever we’ve tried to cinch the budget, we look at downgrading cable… cutting back on our cell phone plans, etc. But I think I can safely assume that the two of us could SURVIVE if we spent less than $833.12 every month on food.
I’ve found several websites on reducing grocery bills and such. I’ll report on anything that seems to have an impact. One suggestion I found was to try to incorporate at least 1-2 vegetarian meals each week. That sounds simple enough, but I’m not about to scarf down any tofu or anything. So if any of you have any recipes or ideas for good vegetarian meals that are balanced (still have protein) but not all new-agey (tofu), please let me know.
And if you invite us out to dinner and we invite you over instead for some Raman noodle surprise, please just throw some pennies to distract us and run away.