Money management is not one of my favorite subjects. In fact, I'm not a very good "money person". But, like it or not, money is a very important part of our lives, and so it's vital to be intentional about it.
After moving to the new house, it was pretty much a mystery what our budget would be. After all, we didn't know what the utilities expenses would really be, what other repairs or expenses we might face, or even what the change in commute would do to our gas usage. So we just had to sit tight and wait it for a few months, generating averages that I could use to figure this all out.
Now, we have a (winter season) set of data. One really bad bit of news for us is that it is expensive to keep this place warm and powered. Looking at all this, I need to reduce other budgets where I can - and this means food, basically.
I'm trying something new. I've broken down our overall grocery budget into subcategories, and then I've given a snack food budget to each family member. When we went on our latest shopping trip, I was carrying the clipboard around, writing down the cost of each item the kids chose. Each box of cookies, each bag of chips - the kids were carefully weighing whether they wanted this more than that. It was terribly time-consuming, but they narrowed it down and made their purchases. We brought them home and labeled them, and they can eat them whenever they like. But when the snacks are gone, they are gone.
Wish us luck!