Stop Spending and Start Saving

Money Matters so Pay Attention!

Updated on March 22, 2024 Updated on March 22, 2024
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You don’t need to be a math genius to handle your money matters and build wealth. It takes a bit of common sense, the will to learn, and self control.

Money matters, we can’t go on our awesome vacations and buy our fancy iPhones without it.  Since we need to pay for our homes and buy our organic toilet paper, we wind up working at least 40 hours a week.

Let me just say that 40 hours a week is a lot of time.  Do the math, 40 hours a week for an average career length of at least 40 years (25 – 65), that’s 83,200 hours of work or about 9.5 full years of our lives spent not relaxing and doing what we want when we want.

Well, working till 65 is a fact of life… everybody does it.  Or do they?  A quick Google search on early retirement will give you over 82 million results.  Wow!  Maybe this is more achievable than we thought.

As it turns out, it doesn’t take the luck of being the first janitor at Facebook or an heir to the royal crown to build wealth.  It takes a bit of common sense, the will to learn, and self-control.  The self-control to keep yourself from spending all the money you earn. There are two ways to have more money, the most obvious way is to make more money and the less popular and practiced method is to spend less.

Finally, you need a positive attitude.  You’ll find (and I’m sure you have already) that everyone will tell you all the reasons you can’t retire early and be financially secure.  It could be out of their fear or need to justify their own actions but it will happen.  Also, life’s going to be really good at throwing you curve balls and you’ll need to stay positive, remember your goals, and don’t make excuses.


Where Am I Going To Find This Money To Save?

You can always try and make more money, and you should.  Be assertive, demand it! However, more money is not always an option, and in many cases, it’s not possible at your current job. That’s fine because chances are you’re already wasting plenty and we can stop that.

I like to think of my spending in terms of “life energy“.  How much life energy has X cost me?  For example, let’s say I make $10/hr and I love coffee as much as many of us New Yorkers do. Two Starbucks coffees a day is about what I would earn for a full hour of work after taxes.

Over the course of a month, I would wind up spending half a week’s wages just on coffee, that’s crazy!  Maybe I’m not so fancy that I have to drink overpriced coffee, I could also be smart.  I could drink a regular coffee brewed at home in the morning. For example, a Bodum Brazil 12 oz French press which is really simple, quick, and convenient, does not cost much on Amazon. You could buy nearly 9 of these French presses for the cost of one month of Starbucks.

By the second month of using a French Press, you would have saved more than it costs to buy a new phone. It’s not that you have to spend all of that money but you have the freedom to choose. You still get coffee only you save quite a lot of money.

Do Something With Those Savings You Found.

If we’re going to go out of our way to save all this money, we might as well do something with it, right?  Let’s say we only save money on coffee for a whole year, and we don’t spend it.

That’s $5.95 two times a day for five days a week, 4 weeks a month, and 12 months a year.  That’s over $2,800.  Now we can’t forget to subtract the price of that French press though.

Now we put that in an index fund like the S&P 500, nothing fancy here.  We ride the ups and downs of the markets but don’t really care because it’s just coffee money, right?  If you let it just sit there for 10 years ignoring it, your savings would be worth roughly $54,831 if the S&P did roughly the same thing it has for the past 10 years.

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With Money Matters, the Possibilities Are Endless

The point is, we have a choice and it doesn’t always have to be hard.  It’s not a problem to be solved today but one we need to work on.  Start with making your own coffee and who knows, maybe you can retire early too.

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Andrew Fiebert - Chief Nerd Andrew Fiebert is a thirty-something father of twins, data nerd, and has prior Data Engineer for Barclays Capital and iHeartRadio. He's spent the past six years growing this site into a multi-six-figure business with over 500 hours of free personal finance education that reaches over 1 million people every month. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science and has been featured in Quartz, Forbes, Business Insider, and The Telegraph.

Current Project: Making bloggers money with Lasso.

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