Money & Career

Give up your vices and save

If you have vices, maybe there’s where you need to look to save money

I have relatively few vices: I like good tea, I buy my television on DVDs because I go to bed early (and it’s still cheaper than a TiVo), and I don’t skimp on my ingredients when I’m in an all-out cooking frenzy. I haven’t smoked in about 14 years. I gave up coffee, cola, and all the other bad-for-me crap when I was pregnant with my first child. And I’ve never been a booze hound.

Sometimes I’m a little surprised at what people will spend money on even when they’re in debt or not saving a penny. Exorbitant bank fees…really? You can’t walk a block to your own ATM? Hundreds of dollars a month in liquor and wine…really? Not even for a few months can you give up your numbing juice? And as for the people who still smoke…lord, love a duck!

The Stats Man says that Canadians spend about 2 percent of their income on alcohol and tobacco. You can’t tell me you don’t have money to save if you’re watching your money go up in smoke or down the potty. With Canadian household debt growing by 6.5 percent, how can we justify spending $18 billion a year on booze?

That’s the price we’re willing to pay for a good night’s sleep, it seems. Charles Morin, a professor of psychology at Laval University and one of the authors of a study published in the journal Sleep, says that 8 percent of folks report using alcohol as a sleep aid. Oy!

Perhaps all we need to do to sleep better is rebalance our lives and shift our priorities so that we’re financially stable. I sleep like a baby not worrying about overdraft, outstanding balances and whether I’ll have enough to retire on. And if I’m having a little trouble getting to sleep, a nice warm homemade chai latte does the job. No need to numb out to pass out.

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