Maybe thinking about one facet of your lifestyle might help the other? Many people would probably consider my own food purchasing style quite eccentric - but then maybe that goes hand-in-hand with investing style.
So, how do you shop for food? Do you have a shopping list, or are you an impulse buyer? Do you just buy the well-known brands or are you a fan of cheaper 'own label' alternatives? Do buy more 'ready meals' than raw ingredients? Do you prize healthy food - and look at labels for hidden dangers? Do you make a big weekly shop or make smaller, more frequent purchases? Do you do it on-line? Do you use the supermarket or speciality shops?
Hopefully you are beginning to see what I am getting at here: the behavioural parallels between food shopping and investing.
My own food shopping habits are now based around three criteria:
- Has the item been reduced in price (usually by more than 50% - often by up to 90%)?
- Is it something that we can freeze or can use in the near future?
- Is it something we like and reasonably healthy?
These rules mean that shopping is an adventure in serendipity. We have no shopping list usually (although sometimes we may need to buy the odd essential item) - instead we rely on the supermarket price reductions for menu suggestions. This can lead to some unexpected ingredients, including some we have never tried before (and some we will never try again). But it is fun, and challenging sometimes to match up odd food items into a single meal. It's a game.
All the supermarkets make reductions - you just have to learn the best times to go - usually late afternoon or early evening. We are fortunate in having three supermarket outlets within walking distance (with a backpack), and the near daily visits have become a regular exercise feature for us (hopefully providing health benefits). Being retired means we have time to do this - not everyone has that freedom, obviously.
We tend to think of ourselves as 'professional' food shoppers - sniggering at the people in the check out queue who have paid 3 or 4 times as much for the same item. We also are wary of the other 'professionals' who snap up the best offers. The ultimate achievement is to get the supermarket to pay you to take the reduced goods away. It does happen occasionally - usually with reduced multi-buy offers.
So, what are the parallels with my investing style?
- regular visits to the market
- willingness to look at a wide range of products
- a focus on value, in particular, value that other people haven't seen or noticed (or even are interested in)
- a 'financial health' check on any purchase
- some individual purchases ('raw ingredients') and some ETFs ('ready meals')
Pretty similar, huh?
How about you?
I am not a financial adviser and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.