developing a budget

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Lisa_M, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Lisa_M

    Lisa_M DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2006
    DH and I have been working on our budget and we're trying to figure out what is a good amount to spend per month on groceries & toiletries. If you are willing to share what you budget for food monthly and how many people it would help me to know if we are in a reasonable ballpark. We are a family of 3 and DD's lunch is provided by daycare so we don't have to pack lunches for her and she generally doesn't eat a ton. I pack my lunch (leftovers) most of the time and DH packs as well with going out for fast food once a week.

  2. cornflake

    cornflake DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2011
    I think you might be better off trying to find an average of what you've been spending and then seeing if you need to try to or can decrease based on the rest of your budget.

    Just because people are very different, food costs are very regional and vary HUGELY based on what people choose to consume and what's important to some isn't important to others.

    Some people are willing to splash out on Starbucks every day and cut back other places to do it, some people only buy organic produce, some people are fine with Walmart brand groceries, some people order pizza once a week, some people treat the kids to McDonald's, some people treat the kids to sushi...

    of those, they all might spend the same money generally, but the sushi people buy their clothes at thrift shops while the McDonald's people like A&F, or the organic produce people might live in a small place while the Walmart people really wanted a house with everyone getting their own bedroom and a backyard pool...

    Hence... I'd try figuring out your average, how it fits into what you want your budget to be and then adjusting.
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  4. DawnM

    DawnM DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2005
    The current "general rule of thumb" from a Dave Ramsey budget perspective is about $35 per person per week.

    We *can* do $25/pp per week if we are trying to be tight, but we prefer not to.

    We do include toiletries and paper goods and cleaning supplies in those figures, but not everyone does.

    GOOFY4DONALD DH finished his plate at 50's Prime Time. They wer

    Aug 22, 2006
    You will also find great ideas on this board to really make your $$ stretch. I was turned on to CVSing and Walgreens through this board. Even if you aren't into stocking up it is a great way to save a lot of $$. I have a family of 5 including 2 girls of teen and preteen age. I spend about 50.00 a month TOPS on toiletreis for our whole house. Makeup, TP, paper towels, cleaning supplies, razors, body wash, and shampoo for all 5 of us. These are name brand items, too, not generic.
  6. AnninIowa

    AnninIowa DIS Veteran

    Jun 21, 2005
    What I have been doing is, after all the bills are paid, looking at the amount left and putting some of that into savings and using the rest for groceries/eating out/entertainment/misc. I have found it easier to have a set amount of money left and know that it has to cover everything, plus it is helping me save more money as once the money is in savings, we don't touch it. We've been getting by just fine on about $100 a week or food and misc.
  7. rnorwo1

    rnorwo1 DIS Veteran

    Jun 23, 2006
    We live in what I would call a middle- of- the- road region in terms of cost for things, and we spend about $125 a week on food... when I plan menus and make a conscientious effort, I can do it for less, some weeks quite a bit less. We're a family of 5 and that includes all cleaning products, diapers, toiletries, etc. I have a separate category for eating out though. Oh, and all 5 of us take our lunches with us to work, school, and mother's day out (for the baby.)
  8. Lisa_M

    Lisa_M DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2006
    This is really helpful. The last month for us hasn't been typical and we've never budgeted for food before, just bought what we wanted, but generally the cheapest brand.

    I'm going to try to budget this month and see how it fits in with what and how we generally eat.

    THanks for everyone's responses.
  9. Mickey1Fan

    Mickey1Fan <font color=magenta>He had five fingers and was we

    Jun 12, 2004
  10. TwinPrincessMama

    TwinPrincessMama Mouseketeer

    Nov 2, 2010
    I just moved and in order to be able to pay for this house I needed to budget so I can afford to pay the mortgage which is much more than I was paying in rent. Before I have enough for the bills and any money left over I just spend for whatever.

    I downloaded YNAB software recommended by someone on this board to keep track (or you can do it by hand) but to get my initial budget amounts I used

    I've been using for years (since they opened), you input your credit, debit/bank accounts and I automatically loads your transactions and add a category to each purchase (though some need to be adjusted) then you can see how much you spent in each category. also has a budget category which I use as an extra visual reminder of how much I had left in my budget. (I use YNAB because I has extra features I like).

    So what I did for my first month was take those amounts directly from what I spent last month as a "base" budget and then tweaked it as I needed. When I did my budget I realized I was spending way to much on eating out, so I put some of the money into the grocery budget (so I could eat at home) and some other places.
  11. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2012
    we're too lazy to track every expenditure. so after years of not really having a firm handle or knowing how we're doing with our budget, this year I cam up with something simple.

    Since we got married we have sat down 1x a year (with some breaks in between when we were extra lazy LOL!) to create our budget for the year ahead. We list all our fixed expenses, how much we want to invest, how much we want to save, and go from there. We gave up on an actual grocery budget a few years back - now it's just our average CC bill.

    This yr, i was extra careful when making out our budget - what was left was how much spending money we had for groceries, clothes, toiletries, eating out, whatever. I got a little panicky when what I found our budget didn't really support a generous amount in this category. At first I left this generous, but it meant there wasn't enough for our Dis trip. So I ended up scaling it back and the savings there means we can have our Dis trip this year.

    So far this month, we have been super frugal! Our typical $1000- $1500 CC monthly bill was barely $650! i was impressed :) Cutting down on eating out at lunchtime (i was starting to eat out 2-3 times a week or more) really helped out. Also, curbing the impulse purchases helped too.

    Good luck! whatever method you choose, having a firm grasp on your money situation and feeling like you always have more than enough is priceless.
  12. Keira1387

    Keira1387 Married at Disney August 2, 2008

    Aug 9, 2007
    Thanks so much for the link.
  13. ZehnJahren

    ZehnJahren DIS Veteran

    May 5, 2010
    Here are some percentage guidelines from Dave Ramsey, financial guru:

    Category / Percentage of Overall Spending
    Housing - 25-35%
    Utilities - 5-10%
    Transportation -10-15%
    Healthcare - 5-10%
    Food - 5-15%
    Investments/Savings - 5-10%
    Debt Payments - 5-10%
    Charitable Giving - 5-15%
    Entertainment/Recreation - 5-9%
    Misc Personal - 2-7%

    Found this online - this is pretty much how I do it. I use a more broad formula, though, and manage to put quite a bit in savings.
  14. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    Instead of finding out what others spend - that can vary by the size of the family, the area of the country, their eating habits, and a host of other things - I would start by trying to figure out what the average that you've spent the last few months. It doesn't need to be exact, if you don't have convenient receipts, just do the best you can.

    Then, if you are interested in trimming you spending in that area, set it just 10% less to start with. If you are OK with what you are spending, just leave it be.

    Once that number is set, track things for a few months to see if that number is really right. Adjust it - up or down - if that initial number turns out to not really be right. The initial point is to just really understand what you are spending.

    Once you feel you have a good hold on what you are really spending, if you are trying to trim you costs more, trim a little at a time from your budget until you think you've gone as low as you can. Trying to trim radically all at once usually doesn't work well - you need to tackle things a little at a time.

    Budgets take awhile to fine tune for your individual situation. And they are never "done" :rolleyes1 - tweaking is constantly needed. Something is always happening that causes you to need to revise them: prices go up/down, your situation changes, you realize you left something out that needed to be there, you decide to cut lower in one category to up another, etc.

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