Where to find money to save - MoneySense

Where to find money to save

Most people spend without even thinking about it. I’m always telling people about how easy it is to find the money you need to save. A little here, a little there. Track and see for yourself!


It isn’t a matter of cutting back to the point where you’re having no fun at all. But wouldn’t it be interesting to see just where your money goes when you’re really paying attention?

Cut out just $5 a day in some wonton expense and you’ll have an extra $1,800 a year to save. That’s better than a kick in the bum, isn’t it? That’s what you’ll be doing to yourself if you never bother to get started saving and end up looking at your retirement watch and an empty savings account.

Make yourself up a weekly tracking sheet to see just where your money is going. Put the days of the week across the top and some typical categories down the left-hand side. Include stuff like coffee, snacks, lunch, cigs, gas, magazines/newspapers – everything you spend money on in a day. Leave lots of blanks on the left because you’ll be amazed at what you’ll add when you see all the places where you’re shopping.

As you go through your week, write down what you’re spending. You’re going to add it up so there should be a column on the far right for Total Spent for the week for each category you’ve included on your worksheet.

Are you surprised at what you’re spending? I’ll bet you a cuppa tea you are. And I’ll bet you the brownie to go with that you can trim $5 a day out of your spending, no problem.

Do you know that in drugstores and convenience stores, all the stuff around the cash register is called “the kill zone?” That’s the stuff they know you’ll buy on impulse. And since there’s a whole breed of consumer who doesn’t even consider change to be money, they’re counting on you dropping coins here and there on stuff you don’t really need.

So is nickel and dime-ing it really worth it? Yup. If you save $5 a day 20 days a month and put the money in your retirement plan earning 7% on average, in 20 years you will have $55,000. That’s gotta be worth $5 a day, and a little time to find it.