For Granted–Groceries & Financial Preparedness

By Sharron R. Blezard, November 6, 2011

Just Living Blog

Today my youngest daughter went grocery shopping for us since she had other errands to run in town. First, let me say that she’s responsible, considerate, and thorough. She is not yet, however, a savvy comestibles shopper.

She went armed with what I assumed (mistake number one) to be a clear list: Greek yogurt on sale, milk, eggs, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. My goal with the cheddar cheese was for her to purchase whatever brand/size happened to be the best value. We usually wait until cheese goes on sale and then stock up, but a recipe for supper required more cheese than we had on hand.

Finally, I told her to feel free to get a few healthy things that she would eat–within reason. She often often finds our taste for ethnic vegetarian fare tiresome. I suggested salmon if the price was right.

She did great on almost everything. The name brand cheese that’s most often found in our refrigerator was $4.49 for 10 oz. We usually only buy that particular item when it’s deeply discounted. She also bought vacuum packaged tuna (forgetting we had more than a dozen cans in the pantry). She bought low fat soups on sale, and salmon–a pound of fresh Atlantic farmed fillet at $10.89 (again, this is an item I usually buy wild caught and on sale). Mindful of the environment, she bought eggs in a cardboard container instead of Styrofoam. The grand total came to $46.98. That may not sound too bad to a lot of folks, but it’s still considerably more than I would have paid for comparable items.

I’m not complaining; I’m thankful she was willing to shop. What I have realized, however, is that next year this child will be on her own in college and may not be prepared to survive financially. I think I have some catching up to do with her once college applications are all finished and in the mail.

Navigating the grocery aisles can be a daunting task, and I want my child to be able to spot a value and purchase healthy foods that are minimally processed. More importantly, I want her to have a better handle on her overall finances than I did when I headed off to college at age 17.

So we have some learning to do together. Her financial future is not something to be taken for granted. I have a few strategies to share, not all of which will be appealing to her, I’m sure. The more we discuss budgeting and finances the better prepared she will be to face “the real world.”

Oh, I’m also giving her a copy of Please Send Money! A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own by Dara Duguay. I highly recommend sending a copy to college with any young person you know. Better yet, convince them to read it before they go and spend some time talking about it together.

What financial lessons do you intend to share with your children before they “launch” into the real world?

(Photo by qmnonic used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!)

About the Author

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Blezard is an ELCA pastor currently rostered in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. See more posts by .

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