After barely leaving the house for the last few months, while entrenched in my books, I wouldn’t be surprised to have developed a serious vitamin D deficiency. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I do get outside to go for walks, do errands, and my very local paper route, where I even get paid to deliver a paper to myself!

But still, I can’t take it for granted that my sun exposure or bone density is what it should be after this intense process. After years of writing my six book series, I’ve also been my own editor which isn’t recommended, but what can I say, sometimes I do the opposite of what is recommended.

Hiring the pros for everything just isn’t always possible when funds, as much as I work at stretching them, can only go so far.

So I’ve tried to cover most angles by myself including cover designing. I may be a bit artsy, but I sure am not a qualified graphic artist, so it’s been a challenge.

At one point, I thought the cover designs were good to go, that is, until I found out about pixel requirements. I still barely know what a pixel is, but after upgrading my covers and comparing them with the older versions, I find the new ones are much brighter and hopefully better. And in general, I’ve found through many experiments with Picasa that pictures or collages I was previously happy with end up seeming just okay when compared with improved versions.

The most modest alterations and edits to a book, a cover, a photo can have dramatic impacts that you can’t recognize until after the fact.

What about other comparisons in life where you don’t know better…until you know better?

Like thinking a dry biscuit is fine until you have a moist chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Or thinking your old lipstick is good enough until you try a new colour that is actually flattering.

So let’s shift that idea to money. You may be doing a decent job with your saving and spending habits but could you do even better? Could you make a few subtle easy changes and save more money?

Does your picture seem good enough when it could actually use a little more cropping and brightening and a touch of vitamin D to keep your financial bones stronger?

Try to get an approximate idea of how much you spend in the main categories of life like housing, food, transportation, clothing, household, health expenses, etc., and compare with the averages for your part of the world to see where you fall. (E.g. you can go through a month’s worth of receipts and/or debit charges to check for things like grocery expenses, but for some true totals you’ll need to assess several months’ worth.)

For a sample listing of average household expenditures, check out: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil130k-eng.htm.

Even a modest decrease in percentage of overall expenditures can have major long term effects. And sometimes being less than average is by far the greener, brighter, and stronger side of the fence to be on, and when you’re on that side, you’ll never look back.

Let me know of where you think you can or should make cutbacks or where you have successfully already done so.

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