Knowing Yourself Saves Money

One of the most interesting things I have learned about personal finances is that things that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with money often have a huge impact on your finances. A good example is knowing what makes you happy. Another one was discovering that the more I know about my personality, the easier it is for me to save money. It took me a long time to realize that I did most of the things in my life out of habit without without giving them a second thought, but once I began to see patterns of how I acted and how this affected my finances, I could make decisions that helped instead of hurt my finances.

One of the first discoveries that made this clear was the way that I eat. If snacks are around, I eat them. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. If they are in the house, they will be eaten. If there is one, I will eat one. If there are five, I will eat five. If there are ten, I will eat ten. Once I realised this was the way that I eat snacks, it had a tremendous effect on how I buy food in order to save money.

The personal finance conventional wisdom about the best ways to save money on food is to buy the foods I eat on a regular basis when they go on sale and to stockpile them. On the surface, this makes perfect sense. For most people it probably does make the best financial sense. For me, it was costing me a fortune.

When I go to the store and buy myself my favorite snack, I purchase one at its regular retail price of $1.00. Sometimes it would go on sale for $0.50. In this case, according to the bulk buying financial advice, I should buy 10 which would cost $5.00, but the snacks would last me 10 weeks and give me a 50% savings. The reality would be that I would end up eating all 10 snacks the first week so that buying in bulk actually cost me 500% more. Knowing myself and how I eat means that it’s best for me to buy a single snack for myself each trip to the grocery store which saves me more than buying in bulk and also means I feel a lot healthier.

The more you know yourself and the way you act, the more opportunity you will have to save money. Taking the time knowing yourself will allow you to look at your personal financial situation to make the best decision for yourself to help ensure that you spend less than you earn.

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9 Responses to Knowing Yourself Saves Money

  1. peter says:

    Wow. I’ve been reading this blog for several years and have never really felt compelled to comment. But today I can’t resist.

    This blog’s repeating theme is all about resisting temptation and keeping finances in check by self-control…and you can’t resist eating snacks just because they’re in front of you? Why are you so passionate about top-notch finances but you let your physical self be so influenced and controlled by outside factors? What’s all the saving going to be worth if your health is crap?

    I know I’m on a soapbox here, but the contradiction is so direct and glaring.

    I’m not even going to go into the economic advantages of being healthy.

  2. Jeffrey says:


    It is no different than a person that knows they aren’t able to control themselves with a credit card and realise it – and stop using credit cards. I simply don’t buy snacks in large quantities and the problem is solved 😉

  3. Matt says:

    Try this option:

    If you buy lunch at work, use that daily price and X’s by five. Use that total and go shopping. I bet you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner for that amount you were just using just for lunch.

    Simple and effective


  4. Jeffrey, I have the same problem with snacks. great solution.

    Peter – What the hell? The guy knows it’s a problem, and has a solution and you jump all over him? THAT makes no sense to me.

  5. Isabelle says:

    Jeffrey, this is something you get or you don’t. I’m much the same way and I get it. I’m also financially savvy, no debt, savings and so on.

    Peter clearly doesn’t get it – also seems to think you are unhealthy! Mind you, I thought you were a glam blonde as per the photo!

  6. susie says:

    very true. we also have discovered that if we bulk buy our snacks/munchies we will also consume them faster. so now we buy smaller amounts more frequently.

    and to peter – just because they are snacks does not mean they are outright unhealthy. our snacks mentioned above consist of fruits and vegys.

  7. Gail says:

    So true. After years of fighting with my weight, i gave myself permission to have a certain chocolate snack, I buy it on sale with no apologies even when I stock pile it on sale and then I have my limited daily treat with no remorse. Now I don’t apologize for what I eat and it is no one else’s business but mine, but I found when I gave myself permission to have a limited amount of the snack the huge cravings that made me eat everything in the house has died (except days of extreme stress which I’m still working on). Jeffrey you are so right in that we have to not only know ourselves but we have to figure out what drives the impulses to spend, eat, gamble, drink too much, smoke, etc. So many people are trying to fill voids in their lives with the wrong things and it is a costly business.

  8. Ralph says:

    Like peter, I also feel compelled to comment, and I say, excellent post!

    Knowing yourself is so cool, especially when you use that knowledge productively like you are doing. Zen-like thinking is popular for a reason. Self-mastery is an amazing thing, especially how it builds on itself.

  9. Myron J says:

    Jeffrey, I must say that I can completely relate to the grocery store stock up in bulk to save cash debacle. I am closing in on the big 4-0 and what I used to be able to eat ends up sticking to my abs like glue.

    I no longer buy granola bars or pudding cups, both low fat, due to the same reason you encounter; if they are in my fridge or kitchen cabinet they WILL be consumed rapidly.

    Once I finally figured this out, and cut out the bulk, my grocery bill dropped 20%. I also am a runner, so they effects are very noticable on me. “Oct 10′ wt. 166/ bf 16.6%. Apr 11′ wt. 146/ bf 10.7%”

    Your motto of know thyself is great advice for anyone regardless of circumstance. Thank you for such a great post!

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