I had an discussion with a friend last week. She commented that she spend a lot on food every month (To be exact, she claimed that she spend $800!)
So I started digging into her habits and realise this…
1) She don’t eat simple breakfast like breads, cereals etc. Instead she goes for fast food chain. They are nice. But they are also pricey!
2) She eat snack and buy drinks during her lunch.
She claimed that she tends to spend a lot on food as she spend food outside on weekends. But after we (me and another friend) shown her the breakdown she is still not convince.
Irregardless of the expenses you incurred on weekends, the obvious problem is the spendings on weekdays.
1) Keep to simple breakfast. Bring your own is always the best. Buy one loaf of bread and you can last you and your family for 3-4 days. If you are sick of plain ones, get those with multi-grains (Healthy) or chocolate!
2) Do not buy snack o drinks.
If you get hungry in the afternoon, bring your own snack from supermarket like chips and eat a bit each day. Bring your own drinks. Those from the supermarket are more than 50% cheaper than getting drinks. Yes they are tastier. But if you really want to save up, you should cut back on this. I buy drinks occasionally as a treat for myself. Not a everyday drink.
Another obvious problem with this friend is the ability to curb her spending. In order to curb, I always suggest to find out how much and where your spending goes to. So you can try to write down your spending in a small notebook or use your mobile phone. Usually I would exclude food and transport as these are essential things and I don’t spend a lot on them either. Then from there, you can try to track for a month or so. Then you will know where majority of your spending goes to and try to cut down! For e.g. if you buy a lot on clothes. Probably its time to start a ban on buying new clothes. You do not need so much new clothes anyway.
An alternate method which I find useful but a painful to implement is to budget your cash everyday. Every sunday, separate your cash into ziplock pack/pouches for each day of the week. Bring one pack each to work everyday. Then keep your credit card somewhere safe. Then you wouldn’t overspend because you do not have the money to! At the end of the week, if you have extra cash, then you can give yourself a treat or save it for next week. However, this method will only work if you are using actual cash and going a fix place for lunch. I didn’t have much success with this because it was hard for me to separate the cash.