mom grocery shoppingBy Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA -Family Finance and Budget

Many families have food that has expired lingering around in their refrigerators, yet most go grocery shopping on a weekly basis. 

Additionally, many people list shopping as a hobby which equates to lots of spending with little consideration for true needs. Paying attention to what you have in your closets, in your pantries, in your refrigerators and in your bank accounts can save you hundreds of dollars annually.

If you want to save money on groceries, check what you have in your refrigerator or freezer before you go shopping. Think about your schedule for the week and the cooking time for each item. Use what you have at home before purchasing more of the same items. This can minimize the level of frustration you feel after you go shopping and return home only to realize that you purchased something that you already had or that you haven't used something that has expired or will expire in a day or two.

Paying attention also extends to your wardrobes. Women are the biggest consumers of clothing, makeup and small ho,usehold appliances. Some thrive off of the thrill of the hunt while others enjoy getting a bargain.  No matter the reason, excessive shopping causes many of us to over consume and purchase items that we don't need or will never use.  Purchasing another pair of black pumps, a handbag or a skirt is not smart when you already own five of each.  Also, have you ever considered that you might be purchasing something of lesser quality than what you already own? Take stock of what you have and take items that you own in for repairs to extend the life or create a custom fit.  Not only will this save you closet space, but it will also save you money.

Lastly, though I've mentioned this in several columns over the years, it never hurts to throw in a reminder about paying attention to your bank accounts, bank statements, and receipts. From errors as a result of mispriced items to double charging, you can easily give money away without thinking about it. Also, autopay is an excellent feature that allows families to timely pay bills while managing work schedules, households and extracurricular activities. Yet, if you aren’t paying attention, you can fall victim to overcharges for cable, telephone or other subscription services. I recently noticed that we were being charged for an NFL sports package that we never requested.  The worse thing about it is that we only realized the extra charges at the end of football season. This made it extremely difficult for us to dispute.

Life is not easy; yet we are all constantly looking for ways to save time or streamline our day to day tasks. When it comes to managing your household finances and keeping your budget balanced, there aren’t many short cuts.  Commit to taking a few minutes every few days to reviewing what is going on in and around your home and in your wallets. Additionally, don't see every opportunity to shop a sale as a good reason to buy things that you didn't know you needed.

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:

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

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

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

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