In response to my last post, Would You Ditch A Car For $1,000,000?, a reader made the comment: “As a grad student in an urban area, I don’t have a car (nor could I afford one) and I use public transit. … I wish there was a “big ticket” item like that that I could easily cut out of my life, but there just isn’t. Instead I try to cut back on small things and aggressively invest for cashflow.”
While savings do accumulate faster when you cut back on the biggest budget-buster categories (housing, transportation, insurance and taxes), the little things do add up. Take for instance:
My Million Dollar Lunch Recipe
- Replace your $9.50 restaurant lunches (sandwich, fries, soft drink, sales tax, tip and mileage) with a nutritious $3.00 lunch brought from home.
- Deposit your $143 monthly savings ($6.50 daily, 22 working days a month) into a Roth IRA retirement account.
- Invest in equities (stocks, mutual funds) at a 10%* annual long-term average rate of return.
- Let your account simmer for 41 years.
Recipe Yield = $1,000,837
Serve: During retirement with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Total deposits = $70,356
Total interest earned = $930,481
Total taxes paid = $0
Total Saved= $1,000,837
Combine with a 20 minute walk to the park for lunch.
Yield: 1,277,232 calories— enough to keep off (or lose) 365 pounds! (Calculated for a person weighing 140 pounds walking 4mph for 20 minutes (1.33 miles) 5 days a week for 41 years.)
Pack a lunch for your spouse.
Yield: An additional $1,000,837
- Add a group of supportive friends for lunch to work on the Baby Steps to Financial Freedom together. Yield: Financial freedom – with friends who will have the resources to enjoy it with you!
Isn’t it amazing how much money you can amass by investing small amounts over long periods of time?
Once you think in terms of investing instead of spending, look for ways to duplicate this process in other ways. Consider the following actions:
buy staples in bulk and invest your savings
invest your employee bonuses
invest unexpected financial gifts and inheritances
invest your tax refunds
buy a term life insurance policy instead of a whole life one and invest your monthly premium savings
buy a used car instead of new and invest the difference in price
borrow books, movies and music from your local public library and invest your savings
- save and invest your pocket change
Imagine this: Starting with $0 and depositing $5,000 annually in a Roth IRA account over 41 years (at a 10%* annual rate of return compounded monthly), you will have $3,081,554.
Total deposits = $210,000
Total interest earned = $2,871,554
Total taxes paid = $0
Total Saved= $3,081,554
Choose affordable and cost-effective options and rather than feel deprived, feel excited that you get to invest the difference in yourself and your future.
~ Bon Appetit!
*The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2008, the average annual compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 9.7% (source: www.standardandpoors.com).
Total savings are calculated in actual dollars (not inflation-adjusted). A common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has a long-term average of 3.1% annually, from 1925 through 2008.