I don’t have a “budget” per se. I do track what I spend on everything though. I can see what areas I need to cut down on and which would have the biggest impact. And I know about what I need each month. I also know areas where I can cut down if I have to, but would rather not if I can afford them! If you use something like Quicken, try tagging your budget items with two basic categories: necessary and optional. You’ll immediately have a pared down budget for crisis mode. Obviously, you can do this by hand as well.
If you do have a budget, make sure you leave a little bit each week for “major purchases” so you can make those big purchases at the warehouse stores.
Write down everything you spend. This will truly amaze you! Do it for a month and watch where your money is going.
Go to the library and check out a bunch of books on saving money, living frugally, cooking, and so forth. Most likely, each will give you some food for thought and open your eyes to some new possibilities. Personally, I could never afford my cookbook habit without the library!
Think of price per serving, rather than price per pound. Some things may seem expensive until you figure out how many meals you can make from them. (See the Plan Ahead section for tips.) The University of Nebraska helps by providing a nice set of charts showing average servings for different cuts of meat and price per serving calculations.
Snacks are one thing you can save a lot of money on. Look at the price per serving/package for those little bags of chips. If you really want chips, buy a large bag and divide up into smaller containers or bags.
Speaking of containers, bringing a lunch to work or school is a huge money saver. Here are some ideas on packing healthy lunches.