From Where I Sit – Money Well Spent

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 ?latte factor? 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, he’s got way more money than I do. He’s an international speaker and the bestselling author of a gazillion books. It makes sense. You look at your numbers, I’ll look at mine. It’s a worthwhile reality check.

If you are worshipping daily at the Timmy?s/Starbucks shrine, if you buy magazines off the rack, if you can’t remember the last glass of tap water you’ve had, if the people at Mickey D’s 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 you’ve got only one or two splurges, maybe It’s not the end of the world. Or maybe you can figure out ways to save on those things you can’t or won’t 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 Arby’s or A&W will save some dough. If you smoke, That’s just bad?and you should run, not walk, to whatever is out there to help you quit.

A quick tally of my magazine subscriptions shows I’ve got nine different publications coming into my home each month. I’ve got to admit I’m surprised. That snuck up on me. If you’ve read the usual offers, you know I’m saving up to 70 per cent off the cover price And getting a free gift for replying today in the postage-paid envelope! don’t 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: I’m getting value from these magazines. Three home d├ęcor titles tickle my fancy and appeal to my design esthetic. Three others are intended for the ?mature? reader and have valuable health and money features. The final three are women’s 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 I’m 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.