If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that the real power of wealth comes from time. Little actions today, like spending a little less each month and saving a little more, when added together over a longer time frame, say 15 years, can result in quite significant sums of money, provided you’ve invested the money diligently.
Let’s start with a simple example: Take a saving of 100$ a month, compounded at a return of 8%. In 15 years’ time, you’ll have over 35.000$, which at 8% will be yielding a monthly revenue of over 200$ a month, double the amount you’ve been saving. Pretty staggering, right?
So, the power of long-term is key to the attainment of wealth. However, that assumes one is saving money and investing on a regular basis.
But how do you save more each month? With our lives of increasing expenses and static pay checks, stressful jobs and little down time, isn’t it hard to save?
Yes, it can be very hard. But it doesn’t need to be.
With a little rigor and some practice, you can find yourself saving in no time at all, without actually stopping to spend.
I’ve found over time that cutting items out or stopping to spend on certain things completely can be virtually impossible. I tried it at one stage, thinking it would help accelerate my investments, but I found that I just felt miserable as I was cutting out all the discretionary stuff, like TV and entertainment, and given my long hours in the office, I felt I needed these things to relax. I was a frugal person by nature unfortunately.
This made me look for alternative methods to save.
Below is the fruit of my pursuit, to reduce spending without stopping to spend. These are 10 simple ways to spend less, save more and get rich in the long-term.
1. Mobile Telephones
Mobile phones are practically a necessity now days. So much so, that maybe we shouldn’t even consider them to be discretionary spending?
Nevertheless, these little black and silver boxes can cost us quite a bit of money each month.
But they don’t have to.
Competition in the mobile phone sector is explosive and a little shopping around can go a long way. The same service can be 10$ or 20$ less a month somewhere else than with your current provider. You just need to take some time to evaluate all the various offers.
There is another thing to. Thanks to the rise of Wifi, we can almost go the entire day without touching our data packages. Next time you are out and about, do a quick Wifi search and I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the number of networks you can pick up, and often they are free to roam onto.
Being diligent about surfing on Wifi can go a long way to saving you an extra 10$ or more a month.
Gone are the days of Cable TV.
Seriously, do you really need it?
But the next match, I here you say? Do yourself a favor and go watch it at a friends’ house or down at the local bar. Save yourself 20$ a month without having to sacrifice the luxury of watching the game.
Movies? Netflix, Amazon and others have such competitive packages now days, that Cable TV is practically obsolete. Sure, you’ll still be spending maybe 10$/month on TV but you’ll be savings versus what you were paying before.
Remember even few dollars counts.
3. Examining prices before you buy and using coupons
This one is so easy but something so few do, given the belief that we don’t have time to waste. Those tomatoes, or apples might be quick to buy on amazon prime delivery or from the shop across from you, but is the price per kilo or pound really that competitive? Would a few minutes of healthy walking to a shop down the road not end up saving you 10$ on your grocery bill? If it would, would you take the extra time? Well, you should.
Speaking of groceries, remember coupons? Something your gran used when you were a kid? Guess what, they are still around and taking some time sorting through them can save you 5$ to 10$ on a shopping trip. That might not seem like a lot now, but compounded every month over 15 years, 10 dollars can become over 3.000$ and yield 23$ a month at 8%.
4. Restaurants, eating out and wine/alcohol
We all like eating out. It can be a luxury for some and a weekly occurrence for others. Despite the fact that eating in saves you money versus eating out, there are other things that can sneak onto the bill that you could easily avoid.
Want to know what product restaurants make the most markup? Alcohol. Want to know what is usually the biggest single expense line of a restaurant bill? You guessed it, the alcohol.
Do yourself a favor and cut down on the wine or alcohol when you eat out. Not only will you feel better in the morning, but you’ll also save yourself 10 to 30$ without any effort.
5. Public transport vs taxis
This is for those of you who live in places where public transport is accessible. A taxi is a luxury. No, it is not just a form of personal transport, it is a luxury. You need to understand that, or you’ll never get this one.
Buses and metros may sometimes be full. They may sometimes smell funny and sometimes they even break down. But people, they cost a fraction on a taxi. Taking a pass on that next taxi ride and spending a few extra minutes on a bus or metro can save you easily 10$ or more. It is effortless and don’t let your ego tell you otherwise.
6. Bikes vs Cars
Unlike Number 5, this one demands some physical effort. That is a good thing, as when you are retired, enjoying the fruits of all your savings, you want to be in good enough shape to appreciate your money. However, I will admit it takes a bit more sweat riding a bike versus taking a car. You want to know something else? Your sweat is free, gasoline isn’t. Bikes can be cheap, cars are rarely cheap. A bike costs little to fix, a car always costs money to fix.
If you have access to a bike and your next trip somewhere is a relatively short distance, go save yourself some money and leave the car at home.
7. Used goods and Outlets vs New goods
A few decades ago, you had few options if you wanted to buy some clothes or a new dining room table. You either paid the price for something new or tried a thrift shop. Or possibly you could find something good in a yard sale.
Today, it is almost effortless. You want a new bed for your kid’s room? Fire up the computer or smartphone and within minutes you are browsing through a long list of available options. A click away, and you’re looking at used items, at a 10th of the cost and savings huge amounts of money.
Shopping used goods or on outlet sites (whether physical or on-line) takes a bit more time and determination, and you don’t always immediately find what you are looking for, but the payoff can save you more than any of the above combined, depending on the item you are after.
Remember, the only person who will know it is used, or from an outlet, is you and you will smile at all that future wealth it has generated every time you see it.
8. Paying yourself first each month
You may not have heard of this concept, but it is powerful and a quick way to start putting savings aside. When you get that weekly or monthly paycheck, take a part of it first: for you. Before you pay anything, take some money out and put it into a savings account or investment account.
Pay yourself first.
Paying yourself first can be the least painful way of building investments and wealth. It is simple, quick and it works.
9. Selling old stuff rather than throwing it away
This is the opposite of number 7. That old dining room table has seen better days and which you are looking to replace. Guess what? Someone will be willing to buy it off you. It takes some time and patience and potentially a few strangers coming into your house, but it can be worth it. The difference between leaving it out on the side-walk or giving it away and selling it could be several hundred dollars. That is a tidy sum as you work your way to wealth.
Today’s internet sites practically do the selling for you. You just need a camera (smartphone), some time and you’ll be counting all that money right to the bank.
10. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
My wife always says this “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. It is a short phrase, but it can be hugely beneficial.
I’ve been pushed by this simple framework to ask for raises and then unexpectedly get them. I’ve asked people simple questions when shopping, like “could I have a discount” or “can you give me a better price”. And I am always amazed when people say “yes”.
They don’t say it often, but when they say it, it can easily mean a 10 or 15% discount. A short question is enough to save you money and get you firmly on the road to riches.
So next time you’re looking at a new top or a new bike, ask the question!
The above 10 things are simple, and they work. I’ve been applying them for years.
Each little bit saved has been added to my investment portfolio and I have seen it grow steadily over the last 15 years.
Wealth is a question of patience, diligence and, most importantly, time.
Don’t believe that little amounts don’t help! Little amounts go a long way and eventually grow up into big amounts.