Chances are, it’s not one big financial decision you make in your lifetime that hits the bullseye for future wealth. It’s about all those small choices you make, perhaps with little thought about a lifetime impact.
Those everyday choices become habits. Habits become a lifestyle…a lifestyle to which you become accustom…easily. It’s hard to break a habit, good or not-so-good. When it comes to money, you might not even notice some seemingly insignificant habits, that over your lifetime, can really pack a punch. You probably didn’t start out thinking that habit would save you thousands of dollars. I didn’t either.
If you want to see what I mean, check out these 4 real-life examples…about lunches, haircuts, pennies and sewing.
My first story is about a friend who recently retired. Early in his career, he made a choice to go to the gym over his lunch hour, then ate his brown bag lunch after exercising. This was his routine habit five days a week, 50 weeks a year. Oh sure, he would occasionally go out for lunch, but generally he packed a lunch because he wanted to fit in his exercise regime. He really didn’t think much about the savings he would reap, since he didn’t skimp on eating or buying the groceries he wanted.
But the end result was remarkable…He conservatively figures he saved about $45,000 on lunch costs over his career. $45,0000?! Wow!
Like the sound of that ka-ching?
Yes, small savings add up, even when you aren’t expecting it. Check out a few more true savings stories that started out as a simple little habit…
- Find a penny, pick it up. Now I have several friends who pick up pennies on the sidewalk, but when I heard this news story on American Public Media, I was amazed —it’s about a runner who found spare change on the ground nearly every day for 33 years. While Craig Davidson was obsessed with running, it appears he was even more compulsive about finding a penny or two every day. The result? He collected more than $8000, and paid for a vacation to Hawaii for his wife and himself. Wow!
- A cut above. My brother, a busy young dad, opted to give his apprehensive 9-month-old son a home haircut when he didn’t have time to schedule one. The end result (in addition to getting better with scissors)? Now 23 years and three kids later, he estimates he saved over $10,000…and a lot of hassles and time waiting. Wow!
- A stitch in time. As a young girl, I learned sewing skills by making clothing and home dec projects for 4-H, fairs and such. After seeing me sew dozens of Halloween costumes and window coverings, I wasn’t surprised when one daughter (who sews herself) decided to make her own drapes (with mom’s help). She figures she saved about $14,000, based on two professional quotes..Wow. (More on that big project in a later post!)
- Home Is Where Your Mom Is? I know several parents who have grown kids returning to live at home…not sure this counts as saving money but hey, it’s a start, right? ; )
Do you have a habit that packs a wallop? Please share!