Small Choices Make a Big Impact

This past week has been a busy one for our clients at A. Farber & Partners.  As trustees in bankruptcy they help consumers deal with rising debt loads. They’ve also become a well regarded source for media on related topics. 

Jeremy Kroll’s interviews with the National Post and Toronto Star, and Andy Fisher’s interview with the Globe and Mail reminded me that although making sacrifices is never easy, there are simple ways to cut discretionary spending. While you may have seen/heard these suggestions before, they are still good reminders of how easy it is to save some of our hard-earned dough.

Java Joe’s a No:  Instead of buying that daily latte from your local Starbucks, why not use the coffee percolator that you have stored in the kitchen cupboard to get your morning caffeine kick. I know that my daily coffee at Timmy’s costs me $1.28 (double that on days when I feel like I need an extra ‘wake me up’). If I made the coffee at home each day, I could be saving more than $450 annually.

Read What you Want and Save Along the Way: If you’re a magazine junkie like me, you need to start thinking about subscribing to your favourite rags rather than buying them on the newsstand.  For example, a subscription to Shape magazine costs just under $15 (U.S.) for 12 issues. Buy it at your grocery store at $5 per issue, and your annual spend for the same reading pleasure is closer to $60.  While the annual saving may seem small, when you subscribe to several magazines like I do, the cumulative benefits cannot be overlooked.

Air Dry vs. Tumble Dry: Two summers ago, we started hanging our clothes to air dry instead of using the dryer. Although it takes longer for clothes to dry indoors during the winter, the inconvenience of having a couple of clothes horses lying around is worth the $100 we trimmed from our regular electricity bill.

Dishwasher Does Double Duty:  We recently found further savings by replacing our older dishwasher with two new, high efficiency models (we keep kosher at home, so one is for meat dishes and the other for milk) that consume significantly less water (and energy). By not washing dishes under running tap water (a big no, no!), we saved a whopping $200 off our most recent water bill. The first year of savings will cover our initial outlay for the dishwashers. And to boot, we are doing our part for the environment!

These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative ways to keep more of our hard earned dough in our back pockets. If you are looking for more insights, this article published in the Seattle Times looks at ‘seven built-in bad money habits and how they can be cured’.

~ Jodi Echakowitz  (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)

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