Three perspectives about saving more money
Saving money is one of those things that sounds so simple to do but yet one of the hardest things to do because it requires discipline, effort and awareness. Here are three perspectives to help you on the path to save more money.
Small things add up to big differences
David Bach, author of the Automatic Millionaire, coined and trademarked the phrase “The Latte Factor”. His theory is to focus on finding those small, day-to-day purchases that, when eliminated, can actually provide you with a significant sum of money. It really comes down to finding $5 a day that can be saved and invested instead of spent.
The point is to understand that most of us let too much money slip and not even realize it. For example, we might be the person who stops by Starbucks every morning for a $3.00 cup of coffee and a $2.00 muffin. Or, we might be the guy who eats fast food every day, instead of bringing a bag lunch to work. Maybe our guilty pleasure is eating out for dinner regularly because we get home too late to cook. We could be the gal that buys a couple bottles of water a day when it's free at the tap. Or maybe you are the person who is paying $10 per month in bank service fees when there are so many ‘no fee' alternatives.
Whatever the case may be the Latte Factor brings real meaning to the saying that small things add up to big differences over time.
Don't sweat the small stuff
At the other end of the spectrum, you might get a lot more mileage focusing on the big ticket items instead of the little stuff. Saving $5 a day for a year will save you $1300. However, $1300 is pretty small when you start to look at the two biggest expenses for Canadians – homes and cars. Living within your means when it comes to these two expenses can make much bigger differences. For example, buying a $20,000 used car instead of leasing a $40,000 new car translates to big yearly differences. Rethinking that $25,000 renovation on your line of credit means saving a lot of money in interest costs. The key is to live within your means when it comes to big ticket costs like vacations, big screen TVs, appliances, furniture, etc.
The next time you are going to spend more than $2500 on something think hard about how that purchase might affect your financial situation. Think about how that money may be better used for RRSPs or paying down debt.
Be aware of your expenses, but focus also on income
The Latte Factor is all about becoming wealthy on your current income. It implies that success has less to do with income and more to do with smart lifestyle choices.
Part of financial success is to also focus on generating more income. I'm not talking about get rich quick schemes. Rather, I prefer to talk about the good old-fashioned approach to making more money – hard work and education. Maybe this means figuring out what it takes to get promoted or getting a part time job or starting a home based business or getting more education. There is no question that there is a correlation between wealth and income. The more money you make, the easier it may be to save.
My two cents
Getting ahead financially requires more than simple cuts (big or small). It involves changing your attitude about money, changing your lifestyle, and living within your means. It's about living life in balance and knowing where you are spending your hard earned dollars. Every financial decision you make today affects your financial future so spend wisely and save wisely.