From Where I Sit
Money Well Spent
Volume 21 Issue 19 2013-05-24
What do designer coffees, magazines, bottled water, fast food, and cigarettes have in common? According to money experts, they are standing between you and future wealth. David Bach first coined the expression ďlatte factorĒ to identify those small, unconscious, often daily purchases many of us make. He contends that if we invested the money we would have blown on these incidentals, we could be rich. To do the math on your own vices, check out his website for the latte factor calculator.
I believe him. Really. For starters, heís got way more money than I do. Heís an international speaker and the bestselling author of a gazillion books. It makes sense. You look at your numbers, Iíll look at mine. Itís a worthwhile reality check.
If you are worshipping daily at the Timmyís/Starbucks shrine, if you buy magazines off the rack, if you canít remember the last glass of tap water youíve had, if the people at Mickey Dís greet you by name, and if you hover five metres from doorways puffing away, chances are you can make some adjustments. Your sacrifices may even benefit more than your bank account.
But as with most things in life, perhaps some perspective is in order. If youíve got only one or two splurges, maybe itís not the end of the world. Or maybe you can figure out ways to save on those things you canít or wonít give up. Buying a case of water on sale has to be cheaper than buying water from a convenience store. Using a coupon or buying the special at Arbyís or A&W will save some dough. If you smoke, thatís just badóand you should run, not walk, to whatever is out there to help you quit.
A quick tally of my magazine subscriptions shows Iíve got nine different publications coming into my home each month. Iíve got to admit Iím surprised. That snuck up on me. If youíve read the usual offers, you know Iím saving up to 70 per cent off the cover price And getting a free gift for replying today in the postage-paid envelope! Donít laugh. I can wear my free watch from Chatelaine and not get a rash (and this after spending hundreds of dollars on Fossil and Roots watches over the years).
My point is this: Iím getting value from these magazines. Three home dťcor titles tickle my fancy and appeal to my design esthetic. Three others are intended for the ďmatureĒ reader and have valuable health and money features. The final three are womenís magazines that keep me in the loop about fashion, homemaking, and lifestyle issues.
Best of all is my new rule. The only time I can read a magazine is when Iím walking on the treadmill. It makes the minutes spent exercising fly by. It ensures that I read rather than skim. It makes sure the mags get read in the first place. It feels like money well spent, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka's first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.
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