Want to retire rich? If you can save $10 per day, it could be enough to make you a millionaire. Contribute $70 per week, or $3,650 per year, to your IRA for 30 years, and you’ll end up with $540,000 before taxes, assuming a 7% return on your investments. Add that to whatever you’ve saved in your employer-sponsored retirement accounts, and you could be looking at a seven-figure nest egg.
An extra half million for retirement sounds pretty great, but to get there, you need to come up with an extra $10 to save each, every day. That’s where many people would throw up their hands. “My budget is already stretched to the limit,” you might say. “I’m saving as much as I possibly can,” you lament.
Not true, according to personal finance experts. Many people are wasting hundreds of dollars per month on random purchases. Cutting back even a little would free up more money for savings without requiring drastic lifestyle changes.
“Most zero-savings people blow dramatically more than $200 a week just in random purchases,” wrote personal finance blogger Mr. Money Mustache. “Spas, yoga, fingernail treatments, bottles of wine, six packs of beer, shoes, electronic gadgets, ice cream cones, movie tickets, plastic crappy toys for toddler birthday parties, books from Amazon.com instead of your local library, lawn-care services.”
Slash just a few of those extra from your budget – or even indulge less frequently – and you could find yourself with nearly $300 more in your bank account at the end of the month. To get an idea of where you can save, check out these day-by-day tips that will help you save $10 or more with almost no effort.
1. Sunday: Skip brunch cocktails
One or two mimosas with your Sunday morning eggs benedict can turn an affordable meal out into a pricy indulgence. Go easy on the cocktails and you could save yourself $10 or more, or just skip the booze and order coffee or juice instead. Or plan a DIY brunch at home with your friends to save even more — and avoid a long wait for a table.
2. Monday: Cut back on dry cleaning
At $2 or $3 per shirt and $15 or more for a suit, the cost of dry cleaning can add up fast, especially if you work in an office where professional attire is mandatory. Teach yourself how to wash, dry, and press your own dress shirts and you could save $10 on your weekly dry cleaning bill (assuming you wear a new shirt every day and it costs $2 to have them cleaned). Many other “dry clean only” items can be washed on the delicates cycle. You can also stretch out the time between washes – men’s shirts can be worn three or four times if you wear an undershirt, according to the style experts at GQ.
3. Tuesday: Pack a lunch
The average American spends more than $2,700 per year on lunch, according to a survey by Visa. With the typical midday meal out costing $11, you can save big if you brown-bag at least once per week rather than buying a gourmet salad or fancy sandwich from the bistro down the street from your office.
4. Wednesday: Work from home
Telecommuting one day per week could save you $10 or more if you drive to work. The average sedan costs $0.57 per mile to drive, according to AAA, including the cost of gas, insurance, and wear and tear on your car. If you commute 10 miles each way to work, you could save $11.70 by staying home one day per week.
5. Thursday: Skip yoga class
Staying fit isn’t cheap. Yoga classes can run from $10 to $20 per session, while trendy spin or barre classes may be more than $30 a pop. The costs are so high that some people are going broke to stay in shape, Racked reported. Skip your typical Thursday group class and work out on your own instead and you could save $10 or more. Try online yoga tutorials (some are even free), or look for no-cost classes at your local rec center. Or shake up your workout by going for a run or playing tennis with a friend at your neighborhood park.
6. Friday: Plan a discount date night
Date night doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With the average movie ticket costing $8.58, skipping the multiplex and renting a new release instead will save you more than $10. Or head to the theater but pass on the overpriced drinks and popcorn, which are marked up by 500% or more. You’ll save nearly $15 by not ordering a large popcorn and a soda, according to research by Richard McKenzie, author of Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies and Other Pricing Puzzles. Other ways to save on your next date? Attend a free poetry reading, crawl galleries in your local arts district, or plan a dessert-only night out, rather than splurging on a multi-course meal.
7. Saturday: Save on groceries
A family of four that’s not closely watching food costs can expect to spend between $204 and $244 every week on groceries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can easily save $10 on your weekly trip to the supermarket by signing up for your store’s loyalty program, shopping sales, sticking to a list, and clipping coupons.