A Hassle-free Way to Save an Extra $127,000

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One of the greatest debates in the personal finance community is: Can skipping out on your daily morning coffee make you rich? 

In other words, should you worry about chasing micro savings? Can saving a few bucks on your morning coffee actually make a difference?

Let’s explore this idea. For most people, monthly expenses look something like: 

monthlyExpenses

Food, housing, and transportation are the big three expenses for most people. But there’s also a ton of tiny categories like entertainment, insurance, cell phone, cable, dining out, gym, Netflix, fun money, and other miscellaneous that all fall under “Other random stuff”.

Individually, these tiny categories really don’t make a difference financially. Paying 8 bucks a month for Netflix won’t break the bank. But I would argue that finding ways to save in many of these tiny categories actually can make a difference.

As an example, here are some ways I have found micro savings in these tiny categories:

Coffee

Earlier this year I was gifted a Keurig, which I use almost every day now. I typically buy a 48 count k-cup package for $24. This means each cup I drink costs 50 cents.

Typical coffee: $3

My alternative: $0.50

Total Yearly Difference: $912.50  ($2.50 * 365)

Phone Bill

By switching from Verizon to Ting, I dropped my monthly phone bill by $32 each month.

Verizon monthly phone bill: $50

My alternative: $18

Total Yearly Difference: $384  ($32 * 12)

Online Savings Account

Most online savings accounts pay virtually nothing in interest. Ally, however, pays 1.05% 1.15% annual interest. I typically keep around $4,000 to $5,000 in my savings account at any given time, so I earn roughly $50 per year in interest.

Most savings accounts: $0

My alternative: $50

Total Yearly Difference: $50

Bringing Lunch to Work

There are huge financial benefits to bringing lunch to work. I pack my lunch every day and it only costs me about $2 per meal.

Typical lunch at work: $8

My alternative: $2

Total Yearly Difference: $1,560 ($6 * 5 days* 52 weeks)


My total yearly micro savings is $2,906.50

But can an extra $2,906.50 each year really make a difference? Let’s see what it would look like if I invested $2,906.50 each year at 7% interest for the next 20 years:

microSavings

At the end of 20 years I would have $127,494 thanks to a few simple micro savings.

I only have one caution to micro savings: Unless it’s a convenient, time efficient alternative then the micro savings aren’t worth it. If I had to drive an extra 10 miles each morning to save a dollar on coffee, it wouldn’t be worth the hassle.

The point of micro saving is to find cheaper alternatives to the mainstream approach. Ideally, you should use a “set it and forget it” method. For example, once I bought my Keurig I no longer had to drive to the coffee shop each morning. I can wake up and make a cup of coffee in my own kitchen. Once I took the time to transfer from Verizon to Ting, the hassle was over and my savings are automatic each month. Set it and forget it. Even packing my lunch is stress free because I turned it into a habit. It’s just part of my daily routine now.

Conclusion

I don’t think saving a few bucks on your morning coffee will make you rich. But I do think saving a few bucks in many different categories – coffee, phone bill, daily lunch, etc. – can make a massive difference in the long run. So go find some convenient micro savings. You’ll thank yourself in 20 years.


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10 Replies to “A Hassle-free Way to Save an Extra $127,000”

  1. It always amazes me when I see the numbers calculated out over several years… the”minor” changes can make a major impact! It helps to keep up the motivation on the day-to-day basis as I am confronted with so many ways to spend money. I try to keep the long game in mind and stick to the needs!

  2. Agreed! And if you can cut your major expenses like food, housing, and transportation, you’ll reap significant savings over skipping the Starbucks. For example, last year we moved across town to save $400/mo on rent. $400/mo ain’t no small number! So if you can cut these major budget-busters, you can be more efficient with debt payoff or wealth-building.

  3. The more you cut back when you are younger, the more you can enjoy your life as you get older. We had a Keurig for years, then we upgraded to Aeropress. After all the savings from making coffee at home for years, now I can go to my favorite coffee roaster and buy coffee once or twice a week and it doesn’t faze me. Being FI is a great feeling. It is not a sacrifice to cut spending, it is choice.

    1. I think cutting back when you’re younger in an effort to build up a huge sum of money to let compound over time is a great strategy, and one I hope to follow. It’s nice to hear from someone older than myself that the hard work I’m putting in now will all be worth it. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. I bring lunch to work, but may treat myself once a week. I also have coffee at work, but will treat myself to a frozen Dunkin coffee a couple times a month. The savings definitely can add up and it’s important to make those savings work for you 🙂

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