Now that I am all about using cash. I set a monthly grocery budget of $520 for a family of 3. Food money will include all grocery trips and eating out. Now with 11 days left in July and I have only about $105 to spend. Suddenly, I know that I can only get the essentials - fresh produce. No more snacks aka junk food. Look through the pantry and find a recipe to work with what I have. Not only I am saving money, I am also losing weight!
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For my family, I make out a monthly budget of all monthly bills (such as mtg, groceries, credit card, utilities, etc). Start by making a monthly template and each month it is easy to stick to what needs to be paid (mtg, child care, car pymts, food, etc) I have found by doing this I have paid down or paid off bills quicker and still have money left over at the end of the week and month. Also make sure you list money placed in savings as a monthly "expense" so you build up your fund.
Try making a budget for yourself (Mint.com is a great free tool to do this). Set yourself a monthly budget. Each month, try to decrease your allowances by 5% (for the things you CAN change) and try to stick to the new budget. Alternatively, reduce your biggest spending categories by 10%! For me, that's restaurants and eating out - good on the wallet and the belly.
Try setting a percentage reduction factor that's right for you. Mint has a smartphone app that is free as well. Move the difference of money (month 1 - current month) directly into a difficult to access savings account (like a GIC, mutual fund, or one where you have to request the money).
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