One of the things I often ask my clients when preparing a budget plan is: Are you really eating all of the groceries you buy? Many times we have the good intention to eat a certain way or buy certain foods that are good for us, but in reality our lifestyles cannot support preparing all of the foods we just bought. We have events, meetings, or are too tired in the evenings and because of this we don’t always want to nor do we have the time to cook. Be realistic with yourself about categories like groceries, dining out, and clothing. This is the key to maintaining a good budget. You must be able to accurately determine how much you spend on groceries and if it is realistic for your household. For one month, add up all of your grocery receipts and see if it is higher or lower than you expect. What you find should be very revealing!