Does the idea of budgeting scare you, or feel overwhelming? I love this personal finance stuff, but budgeting makes me crazy. There are too many categories, and too many variables, and it feels like it takes a lot of time.
That's why I love this idea: pick one or two categories to start. Food is a great place for families to start, and eating out is a place where most people, singles or families, could begin. For my family, it would probably be both of those groups. Decide what is a reasonable budget for those items, and stick with it. This one small step will help you learn more about your spending and probably save you a little money along the way.
I want to start right now, but we are at five weeks out from our PCS. The packers come in less than a month. I'm not sure this is the right time to be starting any big changes. On the other hand, I could create an eating out budget for the time until we PCS and see how we can do. I wonder what would be a reasonable amount? I tend to think that we don't eat out much, but those little bits add up quickly. A lunch here, pizza on Friday (it's a tradition), a special celebration now and then...suddenly you've spent a lot of money on food away from home.
So, here's your challenge. Pick one category, one that you have some control over, and set a budget for the next month. Or until the next payday, if that works better for you. With a conscientious effort, you can cut your spending in one category by a lot. Better yet, you'll develop some new habits that can save you money into the future.
Don't make this harder than it has to be!