Feb 14, 2011

The cost of living in Sydney; My grocery budget challenge

cost of living in Sydney
Going on a money diet and going on a food diet are different sides of the same coin. I know, because I've been on both repeatedly.

1) You need to keep your goal in mind, in terms of how much you want to gain/lose.
2) You need to be aware of how much you intake/expend and what the surplus/deficit would then be.
2) The best way to be aware of this is to write it down. This avoids being in denial, which is all too tempting when the soul just wants to splurge! (although, heh, I haven't figured out just yet how to ensure I write everything down)(hmm, maybe promising to report my monthly figures here may do it)

My first purchase on my iPhone was a budget-tracking app called iExpenseIt. It allows you to create your own categories and sub-categories (depends on how anal you want to be - I always start off anal then go downhill). It has a 'fuel gauge' which shows you how much you have left in your budget for the month, so you can keep up-to-date about how you are doing and adjust your expenditure accordingly. (avoid the 'more month at the end of the money' situation) You can also define the period in which your budget starts and ends, and compare your expenditure one month to the month before. I tested almost all the iPhone budget apps and this is the only one that did it for me.

Recording expenditure is all-too important because in a new land, your internal price database is reset and you have to rebuild it from scratch. The apple in the picture is around A$1.25 each. An apple a day, would lead my budget astray.

I set a grocery budget challenge of $100 a week for my family of four, assuming we eat out once or twice a week. (This excludes Hub's weekday lunches but includes everything else we buy that is edible). I knew it's a little unreasonable but I am an eternal optimist and like a challenge (two things that often get me into trouble)

At the end of month one, adjusting for a small party we hosted, I'm averaging about $130 a week.

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