Manage Daily Spending

Daily spending could be costing you big savings. We often focus on saving money on big items, such as mortgages, car payments and related expenses, and interest on debt. Many people are able to manage those things with experience, but still find themselves behind in their goals. The little expenses that go unchecked can quickly add up and can easily make the difference between achieving your financial goal, or not.

Coffee

Without coffee, the excitement of work alone is not enough for most to make it through the morning, let alone a whole day! As essential as it may be, coffee is an expense that largely goes untracked and most people don't realize how much it’s costing them. And it’s not just a plain old cup of Joe.  We’re ordering Americano’s, latte’s, espresso’s and cappuccino’s. Cutting back on just one coffee each workday ($3.43) adds up to:

  • $823 in a year
  • At a 5% compounding return, that’s:
    • $10,352 in savings in 10 years
    • $12,414, in your child's RESP (including CESG payments) in 10 years
    • $54,679 in an RRSP in 30 years, plus annual tax refunds to apply against debt or put into further savings

Smoking

Not only are cigarettes bad for you, they're also costly. Cutting back even a little can free up cash for your financial goals. Cutting back by one pack per week saving $15.40 weekly adds up to:

  • $801 in a year
  • At a 5% compounding return, that’s:
    • $10,075 in savings in 10 years
    • $12,090 in your child's RESP in 10 years
    • $53,218 in an RRSP in 30 years plus annual tax refunds

Lunch

Eating out is quick and convenient and gives you a chance to eat those deep fried chicken by-products you just can't make at home. It's also a great way to spend time with co-workers. However, it's never as cheap as bringing your own lunch from home. Just bringing your lunch to work two days per week ($2 to prepare at home versus $9 to 25 to eat at a restaurant) adds up from $672 to $2,208 of savings in a year.

Lottery Tickets

It’s a sad fact, but 30% of Canadians recently responded in a poll that they are counting on winning the lottery to finance their retirement. If a ticket costs $2 on average and you buy five in a week, your annual cost is $520.

  • Invested at 5% in an RRSP over 30 years, the lottery will have cost you $34,548 in retirement savings.
  • It also costs you the annual tax refunds those RRSP contributions would have produced (at a 36% tax rate that is $187 per year). And as that money wasn’t, invested into a TFSA at 5%, a further $ 12,424 is forfeited.

This is enough money to take nice vacations the first few years of your retirement, in addition to your regular expenses. Of course, this scenario assumes you wouldn't have won the jackpot, and what are the odds you won't win?