Small tricks for building a nest egg

There really are tons of little things you can do to build a nest egg for the future. Here are ideas you may not have considered.

Small tricks for building a nest egg

There really are tons of little things you can do to build a nest egg for the future. Here are ideas you may not have considered.
  • Building a nest egg for the future may seem like an impossibility in today's economy, but there are small steps that you can take that will eventually pay off for you and your family. Most of us don't have much discretionary spending in our family budgets, but consider these ideas for building your financial future:

  • Cut-backs

  • Giving up small things now, can add up to future savings. Here are some ways to save every week.

    1. Giving up one soda a day at $1 (low-end) will save you $365 per year.

    2. Quit smoking. Cutting out one pack per day of cigarettes at $4 saves you $1,460 per year.

    3. Cut back to one shopping trip per week and save a bundle in gasoline, oil, wear and tear.

    4. Brown bag your lunch for around $1 and save around $4 a day. Multiply that by five days a week for 50 weeks and you'll save $1,000 per year.

    5. If you live in or near a city, often mass transit (bus, train, subway) monthly passes will save a bundle on your commute.

    6. Rent a video rather than going to the theater. For television, use a streaming device instead of cable or dish.

  • Set asides and forget-about-its

  • Small savings can add up to a big rainy day fund. The best part is you won't even miss the pocket change with these ideas.

    1. When you spend cash, throw the change in a large jar, can or piggy bank and forget about it.

    2. When you coupon, put the money you saved into that same container.

    3. Have even the smallest amount taken from your automatic bank deposits and put into savings rather than checking.

    4. Round up when you balance your checking ledger and then deposit the overage amount into your savings account.

    5. Look for checking and savings accounts that pay interest.

  • Around the house savings

    1. Cutting back on the number of years you pay on your mortgage drastically reduces your total cost. Check on a 30-year or even 15-year rather than a 40-year mortgage and see how much you'll save.

    2. Turn your thermostat back even a few degrees to save.

    3. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater or check into instant heaters for your faucets.

    4. Weatherproof windows and doors to cut back on draft and heating/cooling bills.

    5. Change your air filters regularly.

    6. Unplug any unused appliances. They use electrical current even when they're not in use.

    7. Keep freezers full, even if it's only with bottles of water, for more efficiency.

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  • Clothing costs

    1. Thrift shops, consignment shops and yard sales are great places for not only kids' clothes, but adults also.

    2. Learn to mend and repair, rather than replace damaged clothing.

    3. Washing with cold water cleans as effectively as washing with warm or hot water and saves a bundle in utilities.

    4. Swap bags of clothes with other families who have growing kids.

  • Automobile savings

    1. Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle(s) — they are a large investment.

    2. Lowering your speed even a few miles per hour will save on gasoline.

    3. If you live in an area that salts the roads in winter, make certain you wash the undercarriage regularly.

    4. Have tires rotated to make them last longer.

    5. Avoid sudden stops to make brakes last.

    6. Get repairs done as soon as possible to reduce further damage and more costly repairs.

  • Savings on food

    1. Use coupons for foods you normally buy.

    2. Cut back on meat and replace it with beans, nuts and grains.

    3. Make a menu and have your family stick with it.

    4. Remember, carrots and celery are a much better bargain than chips and cookies.

    5. Make your milk go further by mixing hydrated dry milk with regular milk in the carton.

    6. Store leftovers in proper containers.

    7. Have a leftover buffet once a week to clean out the fridge and avoid wasting food.

    8. Make your own mixes rather than purchasing convenience foods.

  • Smart decisions on debt

    1. Cut up credit cards or freeze them in a plastic container of ice to avoid impulse purchases.

    2. For loans and credit card debt, pay off the largest debts first and work your way down, adding the amount you would have paid onto the next debt and so on.

    3. Give yourself 24 hours of evaluating and praying before making any large purchase.

    4. Remember, a bargain isn't a bargain if you don't absolutely need it.

    5. Understand the 1 to 10 percent you get back on credit card purchases doesn't even begin to touch the interest you are paying. Save for things you need.

    6. Remember it's OK to have money left over from your paycheck.

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  • These are just a few ideas to get started. Use your imagination. Keep a ledger of all expenditures and see where your money goes each month. Get the family involved. Have monthly meetings to set goals and track progress. Give a small reward for money-saving ideas. Make a chart and put in a common area of your home to get everyone involved. Let the kids take turns monitoring everyone's contribution. Implementing even a few of these ideas can really add up over the course of a year.

Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom.


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