Back in 1913, the assembly line workers at the Ford Model-T plant in Detroit were paid the princely sum of $5 a day.

Henry Ford wanted reliable workers, but he also assumed they would want to buy the Model-T themselves, rather than taking the streetcar to work.

It would still take some serious saving to buy the automobile, even at the cost of $300.

Many people often drop small sums of money on regular purchases they don’t really care about without even thinking about it.  They buy out of habit – weekly lottery tickets; out of boredom – a pop and a bag of chips from the vending machine; and to be part of the group – drinks after work.

Related: What are you saving for, anyway?

What would you get if you saved $5 a day?

In one month you would have $150

Instead of mediocre fast food lunches, why not brown bag it and use the money for a great romantic dinner once a month?

Some other things you could do:

  • Book a spa date
  • Buy a new outfit – or a great purse or pair of shoes
  • Take a course in a subject you’ve always been interested in
  • Buy a single cup coffee maker so you don’t have to wait in line at Tim’s every morning
  • Take the family to an interesting attraction in your city, or a few kilometers away

In 6 months you would have $900

You could:

  • Start an emergency fund
  • Buy new tires for your car
  • Buy a Samsung 55-inch HDTV
  • Rent a luxury beach front mansion in Costa Rica for one day
  • Take a professional chef cooking course

In one year you would have saved $1825

With this amount of money you could do the following:

  • Pay your credit card
  • Take a fun trip that will give you memories for a lifetime
  • Buy your girlfriend an engagement ring

What if you invested it?

The above scenarios involve spending your money on things you would value, but what if you invested it for the long term instead?

If you invested $1,825 every year at a rate of 4% compounded annually, in 35 years you would have around $140,000 (depending on the calculator you use).

With this amount of extra money you could:

  • Pay off all your debts, including your mortgage
  • Quit working 5 – 10 years sooner
  • Start a business
  • Take your spouse on a luxury trip


The message here is that little amounts of money do add up.  Why are you moaning about not having the money to do, or buy, something fabulous?  Where are you throwing money around indiscriminately?

Related: What’s busting your budget?

Think about what your money can do for you, even as little as $5 a day.

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