May 28, 2018 @ 4:12 PM

We are coming close to the middle of the year and I am sitting down to review my financial situation, half way through the year. Adjust where necessary, see where the budget could be trimmed. I want to end 2018 ahead financially so I need to pay a bit more attention to where my money goes. This is my first year of being debt free and it took a little bit of adjustment to the new expenses. I no longer have a mortgage so I need to pay my own taxes and insurance as they were previously included in my monthly payment. The car insurance is also been going through the roof as I have one teenage driver with a new car and in about 6 weeks, another teenage driver. It takes a big chunk of my budget!

All the monthly bills have been questioned and gone through. It really does not take a lot to keep this house running. I have two luxury items in my budget, my housekeeper and the lawn service. If needed, I can give them up but right now I really don't want to as they help free up some time. Work has been steady and having health benefits has been a really nice.

So, the next thing I need to tackle is food. The average SNAP recipient received $4.20/ day last year. In 1988, a 17 year old Elon Musk lived on $ 1/day for a month. Lots of financial blogs I read talk up the "use only cash" method. I decided to be a bit more strict about my food budget and stick with $100/week for food and restaurants. I have done this before and it's very doable for us. That is $4.76/day per person. Not as drastic as Elon Musk or a SNAP recipient but still tight. We are not very huge on going out to dinner as I really enjoy cooking and with both my kids being very busy with school, work and other activities, going out is not really convenient which works great for my new budget.

That said, I started today with an almost empty fridge and a nice crisp $100 bill.

Stopped at Aldi and spent $17.24 and then at Dairy Queen for a small blizzard for $3.97. Total of $21.21 which already puts me behind on my first day. But that's ok, I think I can skip going to the store everyday, which will help keep me on track somehow. Michael asked for ribs, which will put a dent in my budget but I will plan accordingly.

This is my plan regarding food. Restaurants will have to stay within the budget with the exception of birthdays, anniversaries and travel. Entire travel is in a different budget and the special occasions are just that and we will enjoy them to their fullest.

I hope this encourages you too take a look at your food budget or make a food budget if you don't have one yet. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day and write down where your money went. See where you need to adjust. I believe that a home cooked diet is a healthier diet and a good budget is a necessary step in everyone's financial betterment.