Most consumers today have a very difficult time holding themselves accountable for their discretionary spending. In fact, I have seen more families making $100,000 or even $250,000 who are still managing to live paycheck to paycheck.
The largest area of spending waste that I have seen proliferate in the family budget by far are in the categories of grocery shopping and dining out. You would think from all of the television programs that we have today showing us all these cutting edge techniques to cooking that we would actually learn how to cook, but instead all we have learned is how to eat out more. It’s just easier, simpler, and quicker than making a game plan for weekly meals. At least that is what we think. In addition, what’s increased as well is the number of trips families make to the grocery stores with all of the options for gourmet takeout food. I remember going once per week on Sunday’s with my mother to do the weekly grocery shopping. Reviewing many family spending patterns today, the average Gen X family stops at the grocery store 12 to 14 times per month. That will put a dent in your budget for sure.
On the other side, the biggest area where people do not spend enough money is in their personal and professional development. I am not talking about taking some CE credits for your current designations. I’m suggesting a deeper more important use of your money to improve yourself. This may include books and courses to expand your thinking as a leader in your business or your community. It may center on technical courses or an advanced degree to improve your skills and competencies at work to improve your income. It may be a conference or a program that enlightens you to a new idea in a different way than you thought before today. In my opinion, too much disposable income goes to the gym, the concerts, and entertainment instead of investing in your personal growth.