Do you love to eat out? Is grocery shopping your time to splurge? It's easy to excuse our spending on food, after all, we need to eat to live! But, have you ever calculated how much money you spend each month on food? This is a great opportunity to find out 'how much money are you eating every month?' The answer may shock you!
To find out what you spend for food you need to do some research and estimating on your past spending. Pick a month from last year where your eating habits were 'normal' and look at your receipts and bank statements. Categorize all the food spending and come up with a total. Estimate how many times you used cash or prepaid gift cards - vending machines, snack bars, coffee, etc.. What is the grand total for food - restaurants and groceries?
It's easy to overspend on groceries and restaurants - unless you are using cash! We showed our kids how much money we spent a month on food and they were amazed. We talk alot about having a budget and not spending more than we have - but this activity made the money talk 'real' for the kids. We literally threw a huge pile of cash on the table and told them that this was the food budget for the month. Then we put it in envelopes and have been using these to pay for food purchases - no matter where we are.
Grocery store? Cash from the envelopes.
Panera? Cash from the envelopes.
Disneyland? Cash from the envelopes.
They are able to see that it looked like we had a LOT of money to start out with, and that each time we spend money our pile of cash is getting smaller.
We are able to make sure that we don't spend more than the money that we have budgeted for food!