Gas bill

By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA – Family Finance and Budget

Are you giving away money without knowing it?  If I were to call you lazy, you might immediately become defensive and tell me about all of the tasks that you’ve completed on your job this week; the hours you’ve spent grocery shopping; and the hours you’ve spent driving your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

And yes, by all means that counts, but what about the other areas of your life that are easier to avoid or put off for tomorrow?  I’m talking about the areas of your life that others can’t always see:  your budget, your home, or yourself physical and mental health.  Each person has 168 hours per week and decides to spend it performing tasks that either allows them to accomplish dreams or just dream.

 

Here are some simple things that you can do so that you aren’t always dreaming.

Weekend

Most families shop for groceries and run errands on the weekends.  Plan your weekly meals before you head to the store.  Focus on meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare per night.  By doing so, you’ll eliminate most of the weekly fast food stops that can cost a family of four $20 to $30 per trip.  Also, plan to make meals using small appliances such as the crock pot, rice cooker, or George Forman grill. This will help you to control your families” caloric intake and allow you to prepare a variety of foods.

Weekly

Review your household budget and arrange to mail or set up automatic payments  a few days in advance of due dates to avoid late fees.  Also, tweak your budget by replacing projected expenses with actual amounts and immediately transferring the savings to your savings account or to other bills that you are trying to eliminate.

Daily

Track daily expenditures on breakfast, mid-day coffee runs, lunch and snacks.  If you pack lunch for your children, take a few extra minutes to pack your own.  Consider making coffee at home or buying instant coffee to prepare at work if you are strapped for cash or would rather put your money to work elsewhere.

Lastly, many folks don’t believe they have enough time to exercise or unwind during the day. If you are a television watcher consider eliminating TV from your schedule once or twice a week.  This will give you some time to focus on your physical and mental health which will be more valuable to you in the long run.

Monthly

In addition to reviewing your household budget once per week, you should also review and tweak it once a month.  At the same time, you can review and adjust your short term goals, such that you are always reminded of what you are trying to accomplish.

The successful person has the same amount of hours as the unsuccessful one.  Consciously pushing yourself to work at that which seems less important or not worth the effort, is key to achieving lofty financial goals.

 

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA is a seasoned freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml
Michelle Sharrow

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