Now please, for those of you who balance your checkbook every month down to the penny, please don't think any less of me because I don't. I have never been able to do that, no matter how hard I tried. I do keep track of my balance by viewing my account regularly on-line and checking what has cleared against what has been hiding out in my purse.
And today, I entered all the receipts into my check register. We have Quicken which also can help you with a budget and generate spending reports for you. I know I do not use this software to it's full potential but one of these days, very soon, I hope to be able to.
Because....today after entering all debits and credits I generated a spending report for groceries and auto fuel.
First of all, we have been spending about twice what I thought we were on gas. Of course, these days that's not hard to do. But the reason it surprised me was because I stay home. A lot. However, when I do go out, it's usually to our nearest large town to do grocery shopping. Said large town is approximately 60 miles away. We have a Ford Focus and get anywhere from 28 to 32 miles to the gallon but when gas is close to $4.00 a gallon it all adds up quickly. I am going to start thinking twice about quick trips around the town we live in though. Those miles can add up quickly too.
Our grocery spending was also more than I originally thought. During the Spring and Summer months I wasn't able to make as many trips to "our nearest large town" and so I bought groceries in small quantities from our local markets. Let's just say that while we are blessed to have three supermarkets in a town of 7500 people, they aren't exactly discount markets. We do have a W*lM*rt in town but it's not a Super one and judging from the Super ones I have been in I don't know that I would be inclined to shop for my groceries there anyway.
So how am I going to tackle these two areas? Well that there my friends is a good question. We have pretty well stripped all other areas down to bare bones but we can do some good work in these areas I think.
#1 - less trips anywhere. Period. There are places we can walk to easily and to our health's benefit. Time to get out the walking shoes. (I need to lose ten pounds anyway.)
#2 - make more food from scratch. I have already started to do this. Bread in particular. I haven't done an actual cost breakdown of how much a loaf of homemade bread costs compared to a store bought loaf but I'm willing to wager it's less than the $3.00 a loaf I can expect to pay locally.
#3 - some friends and I are going to start some "co-op" buying. We have yet to work out all the details but when we do I'll let you know how we do. Some things we have considered co-oping include flour, sugar, meat, paper products and other staples. We are also working on a plan to coordinate our garden produce.
#4 - eliminate as many "in between" trips to the local grocery store as possible. This will take a considerable bit more planning on my part to make sure I purchase all that we will need when I make my trip to "the nearest large town".
These are just some initial steps to stem the flow of
So what I'm thinking is...if I do less spending (always a good thing) I will have less receipts to enter in my check register. If I have less receipts to enter I might be more inclined to get them entered in a timely fashion and then there will not be a pile like the one in the picture.