I used to think that small amounts of money didn’t matter. What difference could $5 here or $10 there make when we were more than $100,000 in debt (not counting the house and cars)?
So what if I increased our debt by such a small amount—it wouldn’t really matter because we already owed so much. I used the same argument for not paying anything more than the minimum monthly payments on our credit cards because that too would make no difference.
Boy, did I have a lot to learn. The truth is that we five-and-10-dollared ourselves to death. It was the little things that added up to create a huge monster. Thinking that the little things didn’t matter freed us to think $2, $5 or $20 didn’t matter … then $50 didn’t matter, and on and on it went.
Ironically, it was the little things that turned us around, too. Sending an extra $2, $5 or $20 every month to rapidly repay the debt we were targeting helped us find a way to make the payment $22, then $35 and soon a $100 payment became standard.
I’ve had people look at me like I was a little weird when I suggested they should not use a first-class stamp on a postcard. I mean, does 15 cents really matter? I think it does, not so much for the dime and nickel, but for the attitude. You see, if you casually throw 15 cents away when it comes to a postage stamp, it’s much easier to begin thinking slightly larger sums don’t matter, either. And soon you’ll be on your way to thinking $20 is not a big deal. Then you’ll be headed for trouble.
Yes, my friends, 15 cents does matter. If you understand that, then $1.50 matters and $15 will matter even more, and on and on right up to $15,000.
Some wise person once said, “Watch the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.” I have proven that to be true and I hope you can, too.
Here are three easy ways to stash cash:
Coins. Don’t spend them. Save them, instead. Every evening, empty your pockets, purse and wallet of all coins. Even if the bill comes to $4.05, hand the clerk a $5 bill and stash the difference. When you accumulate $25 or so, roll, wrap and send them off to your savings account.
Windfalls. No matter how small, make it a habit to bank all coupon savings, rebate checks, refunds and other “found money.”
Save an extra 10 percent. Stash 10 percent of your pocket money, grocery money and any other “walk around” funds you control in your secret savings spot. Chances are you won’t even miss it. But soon you’ll discover that $2 here and $4 there really adds up.