Sometimes you can’t help but wonder what the future will bring.
In some ways it feels like the future is now, especially when we jump back in time to 1985 when the first film of the hit trilogy Back to the Future came out. Parts of the second film were set in 2015, and while some of the predictions and gadgets have come to pass, others are long past, like the fax machine. Well, okay, some people still fax, but you get the idea.
There are endless things we don’t know and can’t fully control, even the future state of our finances. No matter how hard we might try to save, things can happen. Many of us saw our loved ones, or ourselves, lose a lot on their investments not that many years ago. Homes can devalue; all sorts of things can affect our nest eggs.
But…we are certainly still better off aiming to attempt to control what is in our grasp, or at least better our odds. And while my books and blogs make references to savings accumulated in a year, let’s toast the Back to the Future trilogy and think instead in terms of thirty years worth of savings.
Even if you can’t make much in the way of cutbacks, now and in the future, imagine easily saving $50 a week on a variety of things and multiply that by 52 weeks and 30 years. The total is $78,000 but that is without any interest. Let’s guesstimate a modest 5% interest rate for your long term savings and figure what the totals could be in thirty years.
On thecalculatorsite.com I was able to see what the savings would be with compound interest based on a monthly deposit of $215 at 5% interest for thirty years. $78,000 in deposits and $98,000 in compound interest total a mighty fine $176,000.
So let’s look at a few things that could go towards painlessly helping you save $50 a week or over $200 per month.
Buying dental floss, soap, cotton pads, and cotton tips at the dollar store or more affordable pharmacy to save $5 a month.
Instead of buying two magazines a month, buy just one and get the other from the library saving $5 a month.
Instead of ordering movies get them from the library and save $5 per month per movie (or save $15 for a trilogy!).
Look for the toilet paper that is less of a rip off and get more squares or bigger squares, more plies or thicker plies, and more substance for the same expense, and save at least $5 per month.
Get the big bottles of shampoo and conditioner that will last you longer and save $2 a month.
Buy the chocolates from the bulk bin for 25% discount and save $5 a month.
Get the socks in a big bunch (e.g. a six pack for $8 instead of $2.50 per pair) and save $15 a year.
Buy a box of the no name water filters for half the cost of the big name brand and save $20 a year.
Instead of buying crackers and granola bars at the supermarket, get them (even the same brands) from the dollar store and save $16 a month.
Find the pet store where you can get the same cans of dog or cat food for $1.50 vs. $1.90 each and save at least $4 a month.
Use more substitutes in your food that are bulky, healthy, and cost efficient like cabbage and potatoes, and cut down even just a tiny bit on meats, saving $20 a month.
Instead of spending $25 each on several gifts each year, aim to spend $20 each and save $50 a year.
Lower the temperature in your house just a smidgen, during the low peak times in the day, and overnight, and save $100 a year.
Instead of having big bowls of ice cream, like I like to do, make ice cream sandwiches with cookies instead and spend $10 less per month.
Buy denser yogurt and get eight servings from one container instead of five from the thinner brand and save $6 per month.
Easily make your own dips like hummus and guacamole and save $20 per month.
Okay, we’re over halfway – we’ve saved $118 per month so far without breaking a sweat or even looking at any “big” expenses like travel, or clothing, if that happens to be one of your “big” expenses! And I’m seriously rounding down some savings that could be big time – e.g. the library savings could be much higher per month.
These are of course just examples that may or may not apply to you, but think through your personal expenditures and what can be slightly adjusted. When it comes to the more flexible expenses, I’m sure you can come up with options that don’t involve any kind of deprivation.
While remembering that savings don’t need to be a fantasy, let’s aim for smooth passage through space and time into the future, like riding in Doc’s DeLorean, and think of yourself in thirty years, and imagine what you can do with all that money you so painlessly saved.
And have fun on your flying skateboard. And faxing.