For the last several weeks, I've been working really hard to lower our food budget even more. Actually, this is the first time I've actually had a real food budget. In the past, I had a general idea, but when I'm at the grocery store just throwing things into your cart, it's easy to get to the cashier and be a bit shocked at the total!!
Well, no more of that for me! I've found that the only way I can really keep our food spending in check is to really watch how much I spend at the grocery store. When I mean watch, I mean watch. As in, I take along a pencil and paper and write down the price of every single thing I throw into the cart. This includes weighing produce and figuring out how much that bag of broccoli or those ten apples really cost.
Then, I take my handy, dandy little cell phone and use the calculator to add everything up and figure out my total. If it's too much, I start reconsidering what I REALLY need and what I we can do without. It really helps a ton and helps keep us in budget.
I also try to keep a "weekly" budget of certain items in mind... basics like cheese, eggs, milk and meat and stick within the budget for those items. Then I allot a certain amount per week for produce and a certain amount for other items which are bought less regularly (like oil, flours, etc). I also allot a certain extra for stocking up on sale items.
Do you have food budget? What measures have you taken to cut costs? Strict budget? Sales? Coupons?