With my wife in-between jobs, we are working on stretching our dollars. One area we can have an immediate affect in is our grocery/dinning budget. We allocate $400/month to groceries and $130/month to dinning out.
Plain and simple, we waste too much food. My wife buys nice groceries so that we can enjoy delicious healthy meals together (she's an awesome cook), but sometimes these ingredients go bad before we get around to eating them. I'm especially guilty of letting my workouts and surfing get in the way of a nice meal together. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll pick something up on the road, compounding the problem (wasting food at home + spending unnecessary money).
So, we're consciously looking to see what food is about to expire, and eating it first.
Here’s and example: My wife bought ingredients to make Tex-Mex meatballs for a work potluck. Since her company laid everyone off, these ingredients have been sitting in our refrigerator. We also have a $50 Roy’s gift card that we’ve been wanting to use. Well, we spent Saturday at the beach and when we got home, Roy’s was sounding pretty good. However, we knew the Tex-Mex ingredients were close to expiration, so we did the right thing and stayed home for dinner. The meal was awesome and we have leftovers for today.
I know this sounds kind of a basic, but think about how much food you throw out each month. Stale bread, expired yogurt, moldy fruit, etc.
It all adds up.