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Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth

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Chapter 9. Sweating the Big Stuff

"Count the dollars, not the pennies.”

Elizabeth Warren

While it’s important to save money on everyday stuff (see Chapter 5), it’s even more important to save on big purchases. By making smart choices on big-ticket items, you can save thousands of dollars in one blow.

In the next few chapters, you’ll learn how to save on big stuff like insurance, housing, and transportation. This chapter gets you started by looking at money-saving tactics for buying a new or used car and booking vacations.

Counting the Dollars

In Chapter 1, you learned that to be happy, you should focus on the most important things in your life before you worry about the little stuff (see the box on Living a Rich Life). Turns out the same is true of your finances.

In All Your Worth, Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi write, “Savvy money managers don’t spend a lot of time looking for ways to save a few pennies. They charge right ahead to the big-ticket items, looking to make high-impact changes in the shortest period of time. They don’t sweat the small stuff.”

As I mentioned in Chapter 5, by making a few small changes to my daily habits, I reduced my spending—and boosted my cash flow—by almost $200 a month. But as powerful as frugality can be, it’s saving on the big stuff that’ll really improve your cash flow.

You want to make sure you don’t negate your daily scrimping and saving by making silly choices on big things that’ll burden you for years. It’s great that you fuel up at the cheapest ...

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