14 Painless, Everyday Money-Savers that Can Have a Big Impact on Your Retirement

By Heather Taylor0 Comments

You might be amazed at the impact brown-bagging can have on your retirement. A recent article in the Waynesboro (Pa.) Record Herald illustrated the long-term effect of bringing your lunch to work and setting aside the extra money you would have spent on eating out:  

A 25-year-old who eats breakfast at home and bags her lunch can save an extra $10 a day. Invested in a retirement account earning an 8 percent average annual rate of return, those savings could generate more than $1 million by age 67.

Inspired by this incredible long-term savings potential, we asked around among our staff: what are some small ways we can cut back that could pay off big in the long run? Here are some ideas nearly anyone can implement that could lead to results similar to the bag-lunch example:
  1. Become a barista. Two cups of coffee a day at Starbucks = $7.50. Make your coffee at home to save that $37.50 a week, minus the cost of a bag of coffee at the grocery store. It cuts back on the time you have to wait in line, too!
  2. Sock away your change. Instead of carrying loose change around, put it in a piggy bank as soon as you receive it. Take it to the bank every quarter or twice a year and deposit it into your retirement account.  
  3. Set aside the Lincolns. Every time you receive a $5 bill as change, put it away in an envelope. Most people won’t miss it. In one year you will be amazed at how much your collection of $5 bills add up.
  4. While you’re at it, set aside your bonus. If you get a raise or a bonus from work, automatically deposit the raise amount or bonus into savings before you get used to having it.
  5. Track your monthly expenses for three months. You might think you have a pretty good idea where your money goes each month, but if you diligently track all your expenses for a few months, you’ll probably discover areas where you can cut back.
  6. Take advantage of credit-card rewards. Some credit cards give rewards, such as money or airline miles, if you hit certain spending milestones. Just make sure you’re paying them off right away to avoid interest charges!
  7. Say “no” to the vending machine.  If you buy one $1 vending-machine soda a day, that’s $30 per month you’re spending on soft drinks. Instead, buy it at the store: two and a half 12-packs will cost you $10, saving you $20 per month.
  8. Say “no” to shopping when you’re hungry. Facing all that food on an empty stomach is a surefire recipe for a larger-than-necessary grocery bill.
  9. Work from home if you can. Think about the gas money you’ll save. You can also save lunch money by eating what you have at home.
  10. Cut the cord. If you find your cable bill isn’t worth it for the few channels you watch, consider cutting back on your service and instead looking into on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
  11. Go online to shop around. In addition to clothing items, try going online to purchase everyday household needs. They’re often cheaper, and many sites offer free shipping.
  12. Shop for your party in bulk. If you’re stocking up on spirits for an upcoming holiday party, consider buying your wine or liquor by the case. Usually there’s a discount if you buy that way. Put the money you saved toward your retirement.
  13. Get a head-start on holiday shopping. Start the next year’s Christmas shopping the day after Christmas – you can’t beat the deep discounts you’ll find at the big sales.
  14. Don’t fear gently used. Resale and thrift shops can be treasure troves of nearly new clothing that allow you to leave a little in your wallet to contribute to savings.
How do you find a few extra dollars to save? Let us know in the comments section!

For more details on savings vehicles that could help you grow the savings you’re generating, schedule a one-on-one IRA checkup with one of our Senior Account Executives.