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Fight Stealth Costs

March 28, 2013

Below, you will find some suggestions on fighting stealth costs.

 

  1. Credit card interest, fees, and late charges; low insurance deductibles; “designer” coffee is an attitude, not nourishment; buy fewer books and use the library more; bring a water bottle with you instead of buying one at each stop; shop in less expensive stores; buy generic where quality is the same; eliminate cable stations you watch infrequently; turn off the light switch – maybe it will be small savings, but it heightens the “savings” and “conserving” attitude; lower your thermostat at night in winter a half hour before you go to sleep and raise it in summer and also don’t change it until you come home from work, and set it 1 to 2 degrees lower or higher than you normally would – wear a sweater if you are cold; and put in new washers to stop leaky faucets
  2. Reduce extended credit purchases.  In many instances you will be making payments on some purchases long after your acquisitions are distant memories.  Debt interest is very expensive and frustrating.  Debt requires current and future payments on past excess spending – think about that – it seems stupid.  Actually, our federal government is doing this and look at the problems its debt has caused
  3. Watch spending – you can never get back a dollar that was foolishly spent.  It’s the same as never getting back lost time.  Suppose you went a year without any new clothing purchases – what ill would befall you?
  4. Pay down your mortgage.  Many people believe that taking the largest mortgage possible is the best strategy to save taxes because the mortgage interest is tax deductible. They will save taxes that way, but the choice will be poorer in the long run since they will be paying more interest than they need to. Even if they are in a combined federal and state 40% tax bracket, 60% of the interest paid is still their money!  A simple way to look at this is to examine whether or not you are earning more in your investments than the interest rate you are paying.  If not, you would be richer by paying down the mortgage
  5. Eat less, cut out between meal snacks and junk food.  Save some money while improving your health – not a bad double header.  It also doesnt hurt to weigh a few pounds less
  6. Get mad!  Waste is an enemy!  Waste dissipates energies and your future security and freedom. Attack waste and stealth costs!
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ray Russolillo permalink
    March 28, 2013 12:46 pm

    All common sense things to do, proving once again that “common sense” is anything but common and implementing it is learned behavior and not innate! Also, most of what you recommend will NOT devalue our lives (regardless of what we might initially think), but only make our approach to it a little different.

    BTW, “wear a sweater?” Who are you, Jimmy Carter? JK!

  2. March 28, 2013 3:04 pm

    Mr. Rogers?

  3. March 28, 2013 3:05 pm

    A friend emailed this to me and I think it s/b posted, so here it is:
    Ed,

    Most of what you wrote in the new post is “write-on”, but I would add to or modify some of the items in the first paragraph:

    1. Credit card interest, fees, and late charges; low insurance deductibles [insurance is supposed to protect us against a catastrophic event, not to pay $150 to replace a cracked windshield in our car or broken window in our home; ask your insurer how much you will save by raising auto and/or homeowner’s deductible to $500 or $1000 and appreciate that that whatever amount you’re told you will save every year]; “designer” coffee is an attitude, not nourishment; buy fewer books and use the library more; bring a water bottle with you instead of buying one at each stop; shop in less expensive stores; buy generic where [you can be sure that] quality is the same; eliminate cable stations you watch infrequently[*]; turn off the light switch [and/or switch to compact fluorescent or even LED bulbs**] – maybe it will be small savings, but it heightens the “savings” and “conserving” attitude; [if you have an older “analog”, (circular) thermostat, replace it with a digital so that you can set the temperature cycle, for example,] lower your thermostat at night in winter a half hour before you go to sleep and raise it in summer and also don’t change it until you come home from work, and set it 1 to 2 degrees lower or higher than you normally would – wear a sweater if you are cold; and put in new washers to stop leaky faucets.

    * regarding cable stations, I believe that the cable company sells access in “packages” so, unfortunately, you can’t pick-and-choose in order to eliminate individual stations that you either don’t watch or watch infrequently.
    ** The NYTimes recently had an article on LED bulbs (March 20). This type of bulb used to be very expensive and even though they are cost-effective because they last decades, we were all hesitant to spend $30-$40 for a single light bulb. However, the cost of LEDs has come down significantly. I just saw an ad from an online bulb supplier charging $5 each for a 50-watt equivalent bulb, which can be used in a desk lamp or track light. And Home Depot has a 40-watt bulb for $10 and 60-watt bulb for $13-$14 (“Cree” brand).

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