My mother was born a saver. It is in her DNA. To prove this let me share one of her stories:
“One of my favorite pastimes (when I was a little girl) was counting the change in my piggy bank. I always engaged in the ritual alone in my room. I would lie on my bed and turn my bank upside down. Using a kitchen knife, I would cajole the pennies, nickels, dimes and my prized possessions, quarters out of the bank and onto my stomach. I loved the feel of money falling onto my belly.”
My mother got a high off of counting her money, and this created a very strong habit of saving money. I, on the other hand, have struggled until recently with saving money. In the game of life I am a sprinter, not a marathon runner. I am an instant gratification junkie. So clearly I find it very discouraging to save money every month, and look back at the end of the year and see all that hard work and sacrifice doesn’t amount to much. Research shows that I am not alone in my struggles, but I wanted to share a really easy way to keep yourself motivated while saving money.
Like I said above, I struggled until recently. I have found a way to get high off saving as well, and it doesn’t include an Indecent Proposal type scenario (although that would be fun). The reason my mother kept saving is because she could literally see her mountain of money growing before her eyes. In this day and age our money is just an ephemeral number on our smartphone screen. It isn’t tangible. Here is my way of making my money and my savings seem a little more tangible: do the math.
- Start saving and earning interest as early as possible.
- Expect an average return of 5 to 10 percent.
- Only save as much as you can afford to save. Don’t dip into your savings.
The Math (Based on True Life events)
I pledge to save $100 a month for 30 years at 5% interest. The first year I personally save $1,200, and make $60 from interest. This isn’t awe inspiring, but I made $60 by doing nothing! The second year I save the same amount, but I make $78. And so on….
- The third year I make $189.15 doing nothing
- 4th year – $258
- 5th year – $331
- 6th year – 408…..
- 10th year – $754
- 30th year – $4,000
That comes to a total of $47,529.95 for which I did nothing! I didn’t work for it, it worked for me! I mean I made more than I saved. I only saved $36,000, and made almost $50,000. Now if that doesn’t give you a nice little endorphin buzz, and keep you motivated I don’t know what will!
Below is a simple way to calculate your savings growth by yourself, or you could just use this handy-dandy Future Value Tool for free.
Year One Total Savings = (1st Year Annual Savings x Percentage) + 1st Year Annual Savings
Example: 1260 = (1200 x .05) + 1200
Second Year & On Savings = (Prior Year Savings + Current Year Savings) x Percentage + (Prior Year Savings + Current Year Savings)
Example: 2583 = (1260 + 1200) x .05 + (1260 + 1200)
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