Chris Cookley

Wow, food is expensive

One of the most common pitfalls around budgeting comes when you’re just starting out, trying to guess how much to put in each category. And at first, it really is a guess. It’s hard. If you’ve never paid attention to you’re spending before, it will seem impossible to get the numbers right.

The biggest offender here is usually food. Restaurants and groceries both. For whatever reason, we always begin by underestimating how much we actually spend on food. I’m not going to blame the Starbucks latte as the sole reason for this, thought they are quite expensive. Food just costs more than we think it does. We buy it because we need it, we pay the bill, and we move on. Should that chuck roast cost $9.67/lbs? $11.43/lbs? $6.72/lbs? Who knows, I just want a steak! Ring it up!

When you’re doing your first budget, pick a number that you think is reasonable for food, and then double it. It will make the rest of your budget harder to fill out because you’ll have less money to work with, but it will be much more accurate. And hey, the next month, if you over estimated your food budget, reduce the amount and filter those dollars somewhere else. Winner winner chicken dinner. Speaking of chicken…

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