Everyone has heard the analogy of how cutting the daily latte can turn you into a millionaire by retirement. And that is one way, but believe it or not, there are tons of small things you can do every day that can make a huge impact on your financial life. So why don’t more people do these things???
Because we have a tendency to underestimate the impact of small things in life. We place too much emphasis on only the big things – thinking financial windfalls are the only things that can really change our situation. The truth is, in the long run, it is all of the little things that add up to make the biggest impact.
Here are four small ideas that you can begin implementing today to see some big changes. They don’t have anything to do with a daily latte splurge.
1. Patience, Young Grasshopper
Get in the habit of telling yourself “one more day” or “one more week” when you think of something you want or need to buy. I love doing this, and it often becomes like a game to see how many more days or weeks I can go without pulling the trigger. By simply waiting one more day or one more week, you can tremendously lower the amount of money you spend over the course of the week/month/year! Think about how much more money would be in your bank account if you added one more week between each haircut, manicure, housekeeping visit, landscaping visit, clothes shopping run, order on Amazon, etc! So practice patience and see how thing small change can have big results.
2. Meal plan.
Seriously, people – meal planning is WORTH the time and energy that goes into it. When you get really good at it, it will help you to not only save money but time also. You won’t have to run to the store so frequently, spend time each day figuring out what you are going to cook, dig thru the pantry trying to see what you have, etc. All you need to do is spend 30 minutes a week making a plan for your meals. Browse thru the weekly ad for your grocery store, make a note of whats on sale, and plan your meals around those sale items. Avoid convenience packaging and spend 10 minutes pre-packaging easy to grab snacks for the week (like cutting up celery sticks, bagging up baby carrots or chips/crackers, etc to make them easy to grab or pack on the run!).
Need more inspiration? Check out this Fiscal Fitness Podcast with Dr. Michael Simon of Crossover Physical Therapy.
3. Cut It Out Once a Month
Once a month challenge yourself to find one thing you spend money on to reduce the cost of or cancel. This means once a month, look over your expenses and see if there is something you aren’t really using that you can cancel or pause until a later date. Maybe there are expenses that you could price shop or ask for the cost to be lowered (car insurance, home insurance, cable bill or direct TV, cell phone plan, gym membership, monthly memberships and auto-ship, iTunes expenses, etc). Make it your goal to find one thing each month that you can let go of or reduce the cost of. And make sure you don’t add two new expenses in their place.
4. A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Small amounts really do add up. Some people don’t start to save or invest because the amount they can contribute seems so small. If feels like it won’t even make a dent, so it doesn’t matter. I’m telling you, it does! Even if it’s $5 here and $10 there, it all adds up. And more importantly, what it does is create a healthy habit of saving and investing. Getting in the habit of saving is more important than the amount. Because someday you may have a lot to contribute and the habit will already be there. If you haven’t started – start now. Begin to build the habit and watch it grow with time.