I’m sure by now a lot of you have heard about the couple who for a month ate on only $1 a day. If you haven’t, check out their blog. I guess they have some new projects in the works for 2009 and a book will follow.
Talk about a strict budget. I say good for them.
As you long time readers know, I too am trying to shrink down my family’s food budget. Nothing as extreme as $1/day, but when you break down the numbers, we’re not too far off. Our current budget is $4.25/day. [$425 grocery + $75 dinning out = $500/ 30 days = $16.67/day (rounded to $17/day) /4 people = $4.25]
I never thought of it that way before, but when I do, I’m impressed.
Of course, while I’m impressing myself I should remember that my two kids (age 4 & 1) don’t eat all that much so over time this number will only get higher. So I have to take measures to try to reduce that number before my kids start eating me out of house and home.
Here are some measures I’m taking that are helping me reduce my food budget:
- Paying cash. Instead of just slapping down plastic after loading your cart full of goodies, try to pay cash at the checkout. This is supposed to make you feel the psychological pain of spending money. For me this has progressed to using an envelope system where I allot a certain amount (which has been a difficult transition for me, but I’ll cover this in a later post).
- Only go grocery shopping once a week. I live 4 blocks away from the supermarket. This made it way too easy to run to the store for any little thing. Now I limit my trips to once per weekend.
- Shop from a list. I’ve already told you that my wife loves lists, so it’s no shock that we use lists to save money. But here’s the trick, STICK TO THEM! I used to always sneak a few items here and there off the list. Add that habit to going to the store all the time and you can start to see why our food budget got out of control.
Now I realize that these are common sense tips, but when you think about it, almost every personal finance tip out there is served with a heavy dose of common sense. I wish I had some original ideas, but my role is too mainly detail my journey out of debt, not to reinvent the wheel.
The Happy Rock Readers always have lots of great ideas and this is another example of where I ask you for your thoughts. How close are you to eating on $1 a day? What steps did you take to trim your food budget? What are your tips for staying on course during the holidays? Any regrets?
Until next time,