The ways in which we choose to spend our money can have a big impact on our overall financial health. It's not always easy to notice the small, day to day, habits that we sometimes get into regarding spending. In trying to focus more on improving my finances in 2016 I've started to give some consideration to what I might do to help me save more money.
One of the ways in which I can definitely save more is by being more conscious of a few of the wasteful spending habits I've developed. Probably the worst habit I have that effects my finances involves buying lunch each day when I am at work. I know that not only can I improve my financial fitness but also improve my physical fitness by changing my habit of buying lunch at work each day. I work in a Super Market and one would think that when you work in a Super Market that food choices are easy. That's not always the case though. My store is a small Super Market and we do not have a large prepared foods section like a lot of other larger stores do. So the quick choices for a lunch often involve junk food versus healthy fruits or vegetables. When you purchase something in the spur of the moment at the Super Market more often then not I make the junk food choice.
Buying something impulsively and buying it each and every day is not conducive to saving money or eating healthy. So a big focus of mine in 2016 is to create a shopping list and do more regular shopping trips as opposed to just picking things up in the moment, which is easy to do when you are single and work everyday in a grocery store. By making a list and shopping one day a week I can focus more on healthy food choices and on sale items and taking advantage of coupons. By using coupons and avoiding impulse buys I will save money. In next month's Financial Focus article I hope to be able to compare how much I have spent in day to day shopping versus the once a week shopping, something I should be able to compare by looking through past months of my financial statements from my bank. So while it is my belief that a more organized method of shopping will save me more money and help me to eat healthier hopefully I will be able to provide concrete evidence to prove that. A weekly shopping trip will also help me to prepare more lunches for myself to bring to work. I am hoping by avoiding the impulsive soda and junk food purchases I will help both my health AND my wallet.
I also spend on average between $16.00 and $32 dollars a week on lottery purchases. I do not buy scratch off tickets. I am more of a big ticket dreamer so my money is spent on the large lotto jackpots which are virtually impossible to win. I CAN spend as little as $8.00 on lottery tickets a week if I chose to continue to play the games I currently play. I want to try and decrease my lottery purchases to that $8.00 or $10.00 range and not be swayed to spend more when the jackpots get really big because the odds with 1 chance versus the odds with 4 chances are still stacked heavily against me.
I know for a fact that this is an area where I can save some money. An entertainment budget is fine to have and while I do not spend to a point that ever creates a financial issue for me elsewhere, there are things I would like to do that I probably could have done in the past IF I had cut back on some of that wasteful lottery spending. Working every day at a store where we can purchase lottery tickets also presents a bit of a challenge. While it is rare that I buy a ticket from my own store, I am always aware of jackpot sizes when selling tickets to others. I have had on and off streaks of purchasing lottery tickets over the years, sometimes going several years without buying any tickets. So I am confident that it should be something I can cut back on in 2016.
These are not big purchase habits I have that will improve my finances they are small daily habits that I need to change. For some people those habits may not involve food and lottery tickets. They might involve cigarettes or some kind of collectable. In the case of food purchases or something like cigarette purchases there are potential health benefits too by being more smart with your spending. It is important to treat yourself to things you like and in the case of collectibles you simply need to figure out if your collectibles spending is an investment for the future or something you do not necessarily need. Often times I see people spend money on things that are just going to collect dust and not retain any significant value in the future. If that is the case, then maybe you do not need that little collectible that you might otherwise impulsively wish to buy.