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You’re standing in front the canned goods aisle, hand hovering over the black beans, trying to remember: Do I already have these at home? You buy them anyway—better safe than sorry. You unload your groceries and discover you do already have black beans. Three extra cans, actually. All from the last three times you went through this exact same mental rigmarole.
With inflation making all our lives increasingly expensive, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your spending habits. To avoid unnecessary spending—like on a fourth can of beans—you need to know what you own at home. That’s where a home “audit” comes in. By taking stock of what you’ve got, you’ll be able to stop wasting money on things you don’t need. We’ve whipped up a list for you to conduct your own periodic “audit” so you know what you’ve already got on hand and save money in the long run.
Areas in your home to audit
The easiest way to start your audit is to pick a room and take inventory of what’s in there. Here are some of the most common items to look for in your home, so that you can stop buying things you already own.
- Kitchen. This is the big one. With food items, I’m all for adding to your stockpile of non-perishables. I’d argue there’s no such thing as too much back-up olive oil. On the other hand, your survivalist mentality might mean you’re running out of freezer space. Check your pantry, fridge, and freeze to make a list on your phone of things like canned goods, frozen veggies, frozen meats, extra pasta, spices, cooking oils, and baking supplies. Keep this inventory on your phone so you can always access it when you’re doing your grocery shopping.
- Bathroom. Toiletries, skincare, makeup, the works.
- Under the sink. See if you’re set on dish soap, disinfectant wipes, and all your cleaning supplies.
- The junk drawer. There’s a good chance you already have a full roll of duct tape, or leftover tissue paper for that next gift, or extra crayons for your kid’s next big project.
Putting your audit to use
After you use the lists above to take inventory of your home, you can translate them into your shopping list. We’ve previously recommended the practice of a physical “to-buy list,” where you physically write down the things you want to buy before you buy them. This way, you can avoid the mental back-and-forth of deciding what you need to buy while you’re in the middle of checking out at the store.
When you read over items on this list, you’ll be able to make a more thoughtful decision as to what you really need. For more, check out other ways to curb your unconscious spending here.
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