Here I am sitting on a Sunday early afternoon, thinking of what post to write. I am currently updating my actual expenses for the month, after coming home from the Grocery store, where I spent $27.76. I looked at my portfolio, reviewed articles online, took a sip of my coffee and thought, what the heck am I doing? What is in my surrounding to inspire me to write a post that can attract readers, get people interested and showcase a passion of mine. I looked in the mirror as I was brushing my teeth and noticed the grey in my hair. Then.. it hit me.
Every dollar counts
I have grey hair, sure it has more to do genetics than anything. However, a lot has to do with unnecessary/or some can argue “needed” stress throughout each and every day. We all work so hard, on everything that we do, such as saving money. I then clicked enter on my keyboard later that morning to see what amount I had “remaining” after expending more of the monthly income and it dawned on me. It really dawned on me, seeing myself, seeing the numbers, seeing it all, while sitting in my kitchen area chair. Every. Dollar. Counts. Some people may think I’m completely nuts to save $12-$15 per month for switching my cable from AT&T (T) to WOW! networks or if I drum up the argument about Netflix (NFLX) potentially raising rates again in the future. But you know what – It’s my money and the power of each and every $1 is surreal on how much each of those, currently, George Washington’s actually matters in the savings & investing game. How much each of those $1 bills matter in the retire early game and challenge that myself and others have taken on.
I read an article on Saturday, the 25th, that you should only focus on reducing your big expenses, because everything else is a waste of time and energy. That you should spend more time investing in yourself, your career and more side hustles to produce more income. Here is my question: What if you’ve worked on your big expenses, feel like you’ve done a pretty damn good job working on your career and already have side hustles going? What then? I then focus on these $1 differences. Why? Because every single dollar does in fact matter. In the end, a few big wins for each and every $1 saved combines to form an even bigger mass to use.
I don’t necessarily mean “not doing things” either. What I mean is I choose to shop at Aldi instead of the big branded grocery stores – because my $1 goes further for what I need at the house. I prefer to have people over or go to others homes with a group of people, as a case of “cervesa” or a bottle of wine, is a heck of a lot cheaper than going out for drinks at anywhere from $3-$8 per drink (you also have to drive there, find/pay for parking and somehow “make sure you’re okay to drive”…). I prefer to be healthier, always, by trying to eat in more and in hindsight – that saves quite a bit of money, and you feel better, as well as having fun making a new dish.
While I do like to try new restaurants, and I would have to say after the last few years, if you don’t go to one 3-5x per week, it makes that one or two times THAT much more special and fun. I prefer to run and workout inside/outside the home – as that saves me 30-45 minutes of driving to my rec center, time is money and driving is gas. What I’m trying to drive at is – I try to be frugal, save (as we know, we aim to save over 60%) and have experiences with the loves ones in my life over what the typical crowd wants to do, and I am extremely happy for that reason. Every dollar counts, in my book.
How does every dollar get you closer to retirement?
The math to the equation is very, very easy. Every $1 saved is the first big step. The next big step is taking each and every $1 saved and doing what is BEST for that $1 at the moment in your life. Maybe it is for a wedding gift (Like I did with Bert’s weekend or my other best friends wedding early on in May), maybe it is for a trip somewhere (the lady and I went to Punta Cana in April/May) or maybe it is for investing into the stock market. When your $1 produces something tangible that produces more cash flow – the dollar just became extremely real. An easy example is with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which is one of our Top 5 Foundation Stocks. What if you had invested just one of those dollars in 1972? Where would you be, right now? And… intro to this graph:
One dollar invested would equate to an 8,997.49% return. What is wild – is if you could have bought 1 share, you would now own 76 shares. That would produce you almost $250 per year! How is that for food for thought? Wouldn’t you be inclined to think about the dollar you may spend on even a coffee while you are walking into work? Wouldn’t you also think about the $13 you may spend on your lunch break at a fast/restaurant style place as opposed to just packing? My answer is yes. Everything DOES have a balance. But when it adds no value to my life, that one dollar is staying in my pocket. I’ll then reach into that pocket and use those savings to buy investments, such as JNJ above or another example – Target (TGT), that I purchased recently or even go off the Richter scale and check out Bert’s watch list.
This is why I and others in the community are so determined to save, be frugal, be smart and investment like made people, I mean hell – we are the gosh damn Dividend Diplomats for a reason! Without challenging every cost that I have in my house (even though Property tax & house insurance have kicked my ass – see my recent housing expense update), and trying to think of fun ways to enjoy the weekends (though with weddings and family events, it’s been hectic), while saving money is important – No way I would have been crushing over $7,000 in projected dividend income without saving a dollar here, 12 dollars there, 50 bucks here, etc.. and then pumping that back into undervalued stocks in the market place. Therefore, there are 3 words I’ll continue to repeat – EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS.
After my rampage above with my words, how does the community feel, relate or debate that? Do you know and feel that every dollar counts? Are there other challenges you face into protecting your hard earned money? Do you go for experiences > material possessions? Are you frugal or cheap or neither? I know I am now in my frugal routine with my grocery shopping, fun weekend festivities, house living – all while balancing out experiences, moments and having a great time doing this. It’s all about getting the most out of each dollar. I know today, it smacked me in the face when looking in the mirror and looking at my financial spreadsheets, that… EVERY. DOLLAR. COUNTS. Now the question is… can YOU make every dollar count? LET’s HEAR IT!! Please share your thoughts, feelings and comments below!