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The Smart Cookies' Guide to Couples and Money by Andrea Baxter, Angela Self, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn and Sandra Hanna
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The Smart Cookies' Guide to Couples and Money

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The Smart Cookies' Guide to Couples and Money by Andrea Baxter, Angela Self, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn and Sandra Hanna
Paperback $17.99
Dec 28, 2010 | ISBN 9780307357991

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“The book goes well beyond how to avoid bickering over bills and also includes tools, techniques and strategies — such as the Perfect Day exercise — that couples can use to realize their dreams, whether it’s buying a home, starting a family or planning for retirement.”
Winnipeg Free Press

Author Essay

Small Changes Count: How to Cut Down Your Spending

You’re bound to come up with plenty of your own ideas for cutting costs. Remember that even small changes count. When you add them all up they can make a big difference in your overall savings. Here is a list of ways we cut down our spending. Take a look at these and then spend some time going through your daily routine and coming up with your own list:
• Make your own coffee, or your own lunch, and you can immediately trim your daily expenses.
• If you need a fancy coffee, order one straight up with a shot of vanilla syrup instead of a vanilla latte and pay half the price.
• If you’re eating out at lunch, buy a pre- priced sandwich instead of loading up at the deli bar, where the food is weighed and often much more expensive. Or opt for a $2 bagel with cream cheese or a spread for lunch instead of a $7 sandwich.
• Meet a friend for coffee or brunch instead of dinner, and cut the cost of your meal by at least half.
• Make a big meal on Sunday, as Stephanie does, and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers so you can just heat them up quickly for lunch or dinner during the week.
• If you and your partner or husband want to check out that expensive new restaurant, go ahead, but save a little money by taking a seat at the bar and split a dish or a couple of appetizers. That way you’ll still get to experience being there, and you can sample the food so you know whether it’s worth paying more for a full meal.
• If you want to get some friends together but don’t feel like spending a lot on refreshments, why not organize a potluck where each guest brings a dish or beverage? We regularly have Girls’ Nights In, where we each contribute about $6 to get a pizza, or some other inexpensive food, and a bottle of wine. You can do the same with your friends— or even just plan some date nights in.
• Are you in the mood for a movie night? Pick up a cheap bottle of wine, or pop, and some snacks and rent a romantic DVD or something from iTunes. It’s a lot cheaper than shelling out $10 apiece for theatre tickets— not to mention another $5 to $10 on snacks (and if you rent from iTunes there’s no fear of late charges!). And you can curl up together on the couch while you watch the movie at home, instead of sitting in a crowd of strangers in uncomfortable seats.
• If it’s a cultural experience you’re after, check to see if either of your employers has a  relationship with any of the local museums, so you can get a discount. Or check out some of the free events in your area. Cities often sponsor free outdoor movies or concerts in the summer, and theatres sometimes have pay what you can nights. Bookstores host free readings by famous authors. Many art galleries are also free to the public (assuming you don’t buy the art).

5 Ways to Make Your Spare Change Add Up

Need some help finding extra money right away? Here’s a list of five seemingly small daily purchases that can add up to a lot of money, along with a few alternatives that will help you end the day with extra cash in your pocket:
COFFEE: We’re not saying you should go without your daily java, but do the math. There’s a reason why personal finance guru David Bach’s Latte Factor became a household term. If you both get a daily $3.50 caffeine fix, that adds up to more than $2,500 a year! Just by substituting a specialty drink with a regular $1.50 cup of coffee on weekdays, and saving the lattes for weekends when you can linger over them, you could save more than $1,000 a year.
DRINKS: Even if you only go out one weekend night, and stick with a couple glasses each of reasonably priced wine (say, $8 a glass, including tip), you’re still spending at least $1,664 on alcohol a year as a couple—and that’s just one night out. (If you live in a major city like Toronto, you can expect to pay even more. A glass of wine in a down town restaurant can cost $11 or more, not including tip.) Again, we’re not advising that you stay at home or stick to water, but you can save a lot by scheduling a date night in and buying a bottle of inexpensive wine, for example, or having friends over on the weekend and splitting the cost of refreshments.
BOTTLED WATER: A big bottle can average about $2. That adds up to nearly $1,400 a year, if you’re both buying a bottle of water a day. It’s really easy to cut that cost—and do your part for the environment— by buying one bottle and then refilling it at the office water cooler (or with your own filtered water). Or springing for a Brita water filter and a couple of Thermoses.
VENDING MACHINE SNACKS: It’s midafternoon at the office, and you’ve got the munchies. But you don’t have time to go far for a bite. So you head to the vending machine for a pop or a snack. If both of you do this daily at work, it can add up to more than $500 a year (assuming your snacks are about $1 apiece)—not to mention the extra, often empty, calories. Vending machine snacks aren’t so good for your waistline or your wallet. Why not buy some healthy snacks in bulk—think dried apples, baked pita chips, or veggies and a low-fat dip— and pack a sack to bring to work. You can save yourself money and unwanted pounds.
WEEKDAY LUNCHES OUT: This was one all our couples cut back on. Even if you’re just running out for a sandwich and chips or a drink, you could easily end up spending $7 or more on lunch. Between the two of you, that could add up to more than $3,600 a year. Why not spend about $20 a week on bread, lunch meat, veggies, and condiments instead, and make your own sandwiches. You could save a whopping $2,500 a year!

Table Of Contents


About Us
One Cookie at a Time
Chapter One
The Other “M” Word: Why Money Is So Hard to Talk About
Chapter Two
The Baggage We Bring: How Our Money Histories Shape Our Habits
Chapter Three
Do You See What I See? Planning Your Perfect Day Together
Chapter Four
Do the Math: How Does Your Relationship Add Up?
Chapter Five
Save More Dough: How to Pay for a Trip to Tahiti . . . or a Trip Down the Aisle
Chapter Six
Get Back in the Black: How to Deflate Your Debt and Fix Your FICO
Chapter Seven
Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff: What to Know Before Buying a Home or Starting a Family
Chapter Eight
Watch Your Dough Grow: How to Make Sure You Live Happily Ever After
Live Your Richest Life Together


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