Pinching pennies reduces painDanny Kofke, author of "How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary," is a big believer that trimming small expenses can add up to big savings and better spending habits.
Kofke and his family of four in Hoschton, Ga., have been able to live exclusively on his $37,000 a year salary -- and save money -- by making adjustments to small expenditures, such as switching to cheaper cell phone plans, using the library instead of buying books and making their own coffee at home.
Saving money on little things has a snowball effect that can lead to better financial habits, he says. Once people cut down on a few things and see the positive financial impact, they are often motivated to cut back on the big stuff.
"Small steps are the best way to form habits that will stick," Kofke says.
Saving money is like losing weight, Kofke says. Trying to make drastic, wholesale changes can quickly become discouraging. However, if you cut back a little at a time, you'll have better success.
While he acknowledges that big expenses can pose outside risks to a person's financial stability, he contends that it's a mistake to overlook the power of trimming back on smaller spending.
"I know many people who got into trouble because they bought big-ticket items they could not afford," Kofke says. "But I think those smaller everyday purchases also played a major role in our country's economic problems.
"Little things do add up."