Friday, November 5, 2010


Budgets are fun! Budgets are playful! Budgeting can be a challenge, but not necessarily a chore.

Here is a challenge for you. Write down everything that you spend money on for 1 week.  Find a notebook hanging around the house somewhere, preferably one with ledger lines.  Just enter every receipt for a week. A pain, yes. But I must say I found it to be a very revealing one. I lumped my groceries all together for this chore. But there were also coffee, lattes, gas, a trip to the drug store, and a couple of nights of take-out.

I found that take-out (though I loooove it!) put a big dent in my budget at between $20-30 each.  (I live in the Bay Area--food is expensive) I was spending between $80-$120 a month on pizza, burritos and Chinese take-out.

The next day, I went to the local used book store and bought a couple of exotic cookbooks. I decided to try cuisine that I liked but had never tried cooking. So I choose a middle-eastern cookbook and a rustic Italian cookbook.  Each book cost me a dollar.

I tend to cook pasta and love it, but am always short on sauces after the traditional marinara sauce.  I found a wonderful olive oil, garlic and basil sauce. I harvested squash from the garden and tossed it with eggplant in olive oil.

I found that I loved garbanzo bean (chick peas) in all kinds of permutations. I learned how to make the rice stuffing in cold dolmas and stuff artichokes with it. (Pretty yummy by the way.)  I have had a blast exploring some new cuisine.  And best of all, the tab for my take-out bill dropped in half this last month.

So, I took that extra and applied half to a credit card and half to savings.

Eat hearty! Eat healthy! And save!