It’s a given that saving money is easier done a bit at a time, rather than large amounts. A ten-spot? Fifty cents a day a month, with a few days to fudge on. A hundred dollars a month, on the same principle, is a little less than $3.50 daily — skip your morning coffee, or choose a cheaper entree at lunch, and you’re part of the way there, nearly painlessly.
Tuck the accumulating money in a higher-interest online account, like Ally Bank. Sure, interest isn’t high right now — a $1200 deposit (i.e., 12 months of $100 monthly) will only earn you a little more than $10.00, at the current rate of .84%. But that’s ten bucks you earned with no effort.
Your best asset in this process is time. Interest rates won’t be low forever; even if they hang on the tip end of nowhere for a while, your growing savings will qualify you for a higher-interest CD, instead. (Check out the best current deal at Bankrate.com.)
Other things in life benefit from compounding. Take food. Instead of a steak tonight (around $7.00/lb as of this writing), choose a steakburger or pork loin ($3/lb or less). Use the extra money saved to buy steak when it’s on sale. (Holidays like Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth, or Labor Day often feature fancy cuts for much less.) Or put it into fruit you crave — apples, pears and oranges are a lot cheaper in a ten-pound bag, than by the piece or pound. (Save that extra to invest in higher-quality coffee, travel mug and a coffeepot with a timer — fresh coffee when you wake every morning, and no stops for bitter coffee in a paper cup.)
Don’t forget to compound your time, too. Shovel your walk soon after the snow stops, so the sun can finish the job. (Smugly read the paper while watching your neighbor scrape ice off his porch — priceless.) Putting away tools after use means they’re ready again when you need them — and you won’t be buying unnecessary extras because you can’t find one. (Not that I’ve ever done this!)
Clean, put away clothes mean less urge to go out and buy new ones. And a little water swirled in pots and pans right after cooking (unless they’re cast iron) means less scrubbing time afterwards. It may not seem like much at the time — but it is, with these helpful tips:
*Save a bit at a time…more as you can afford it.
*Go without — or choose something less, even if just this once.
*Put the saved money into quality items. They taste better, and reduce your cravings for junk. Higher-quality clothes, tools and furnishings wear longer, and look better while they’re doing it.
*Use it, clean it, put it away.
*Every minute counts — even if it goes to something relaxing.
Let the positive power of compounding change your life, a bit at a time.
This post is by staff writer Cindy Brick. Cindy is a quilting expert with several published books on the subject and has also had many published articles on a variety of subjects. You can visit her business website at CindyBrick.com or visit her personal blog.