In order to be successful at saving money and creating wealth you have to plan, analyze and revise. Things change, nothing remains constant and therefore it is important to always be aware of your current decisions and any future decisions.
I started my budget in January 2009 and I have really noticed a difference both in my spending habits and my ability to save money. One area that everyone can relate to is: Food. Everyone needs food, 99% of people buy food. In January when I created my budget, I allocated $60 per week for food, for 3 people. I am happy to say that there have been maybe 3 or 4 times that I have gone over budget. You may think that $60 per week for 3 people is a lot of money just for food. Add that up, and it is $3120 per year. Generally, I try to buy healthy foods, non-packaged foods, sometimes organic, and a lot of fresh fruit and veggies—sadly these are all the more expensive items it seems. One thing that has really cut my food expense is the fact that 2 out of the 3 people do not eat meat (I do not eat meat).
So, I created my budget, planned for my expenses and now I am ready to analyze a good 6 month period ( Jan to June) to notice any trends or revise my budget. I have created a graph to show what I spent on food each month. Like I said before, I do spend a weekly amount, therefore I added the weeks in the month to get the monthly total. I had a rough month of March, but ever since then I am on the decline.
I am proud of myself for the fact that before the budget, I would buy a lot of pre-packaged foods and could easily spend $40 a few times per week. Now, that I am on track with my budget, I am able to increase my savings and have stronger goals.
Tip: really look at your food expenses. If they are not watched closely, it is so easy to spend too much money. Grocery chains know that we have to buy food, so they can almost get away with very expensive items. For more helpful information, refer to my previous entry about Grocery Shopping Tips.