When putting all your incomes and expenses down on paper you get a pretty good picture of where your money goes – and that can be a pretty scary thing! When we did the exercise we found out that we use way too much money on groceries. As my husband so beautifully puts it, is a shame to spend so much on something that anyways just comes out again… I agree but also disagree as food is, and always has been, a very important part of my life (just ask my mom and she will tell you the story of how I, as a schoolgirl, would call her up at noon at work and ask her what’s for dinner).
As a part of the budget process we have decided to cut down our food expenses. It is a mayor regular expense and we set out thinking we can do well for less. As I mentioned before it is a very important area for me and the idea is not live on potatoes and porridge. The challenge is to find a way to eat well on less.
There are many ways to budget. In this case we have chosen the envelope system. Every Sunday (that is the first day of the week here) we take out NIS 500 (about $ 140), put it in an envelope and that is what we can spend on food in the following week. This sum has to cover all food and cleaning supplies for 4 (two adults and two children aged 5 and 7).
Is it easy? Not at all! It takes a lot of planning but in the end we have found that it is doable, especially if we stick to some of these principles:
- Baking bread and cakes instead of buying
- Soup at least once a week
- Meat/ fish 3-4 times a week
- Many vegetables as they are relatively cheap here
- Fruits/ vegetables according to the season
- Using good quality products
- Planning different meals with similar ingredients
And yes, I have to admit, that there have been weeks where we have slipped and spent a bit more… 🙂