This is referring to a Consumer Reports article describing how a "typical" American
household can save $500/month. The result is presented as a fantastic return on investment
(really?), because it's after-tax savings and thus better than a raise (okay, now I _know_
you're just yanking my chain).
I'll be off to read the source article in a minute, but here's the highlights:
$65 monthly by getting cheaper car insurance.
$110 by optimizing life insurance.
$200 with smart food shopping.
$35 in phone costs.
$25 in bank fees.
$65 by paying off credit card debt.
In addition to "what bank fees?" and "what credit card debt" and "what life insurance", I'm kind of suspicious that "smart food shopping" is somehow "not belt-tightening. It doesn't mean a drop in your standard of living. It's efficiency, not penny-pinching."
Really? I'll be right back.
And I'm back. He's full of shit. This is belt-tightening. From the August CR on "Smart Food Shopping" (which includes eating out less, which is absolutely a meaningful drop in standard of living):
"How to do it. Plan menus around sales on fresh poultry, fish, meat, dairy, and produce, and make use of leftovers. Avoid costly prepared meals. Eat more low-priced, high-nutrition foods such as beans and potatoes, says Andrea Carlson, a USDA economist. Shop in lower-cost stores such as Aldi Foods, PriceRite, Costco, Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club, but be sure to compare prices. Try less-expensive store brands. Sign up for store discount cards. Stock up on sale-priced staples."
Eat beans and potatos and shop at discounters, use store brands. _Please_. That is penny-pinching. Maybe necessary. Maybe worth doing for health reasons. Whatever. But this is not "efficiency". Pity you can't apply this kind of shit to the garden you are growing to save money on produce and eat locally.
Under the bank fees entry, 52% of consumers spend nothing on bank fees each month.
Look: I'm not slamming CR -- they have sensible, useful advice at a low cost with no advertising tilt to it. I _am_ going after a syndicated columnist for being a jackass.