Ok, so we’ve been carefully tracking and categorizing our spending transactions in Microsoft Money 2005 for the last 3 months, and I’ve collated the information into this chart:
This isn’t all our spending of course, but includes most of the areas that I’d like to focus upon. I highly recommend doing this as an exercise if you haven’t already, it came as a real surprise to us that we spent an average of $175/month eating out, even though we try not to eat out as it is. ‘Entertaiment’ seemed high too, but it includes cable TV, TiVo, and broadband internet, so it will be hard to cut down on that since we aren’t willing to give those things up, but we’ll try.
The last column lists our new budgeting limits for each category. Specifically, I’d like to see us lower our monthly food costs (‘Dining Out’ + ‘Groceries’) to a total of $350 for the both of us. Methods of accomplishing this include eating out less (duh.) and cooking more (double-duh.) as well as exploring Couponing, the art of using coupons to reduce your grocery bill significantly. I’m also going to try some different local markets to compare prices.