I recently saw a study that illustrated how two individuals fared at retirement, investing $200 a month, one starting at age 25 and the other at age 35. Obviously with compounding interest and time on her side, the one starting at age 25 doubled their retirement investment. But as I read the article, a more important point came to mind: can we afford to invest $200 a month? I know for a long time I couldn’t. Here are some steps to get you in that direction.

Couples Share a Cell Phone

I know it sounds controversial but, my wife and I have had a lot of success sharing a cell phone. Yes, we have privacy as well. We are not as busy as we think we are in the 21st century. People got along just fine without them generations before. Besides, do I really need to check my email or Facebook every five minutes?

Download Free eBooks

Amazon has a really cool section of ebooks that are the top 25 of every category, paid and free. Take advantage of the free ones if you’re looking for a read. There are often a few gems. By the time your done, another will arrive. Otherwise, take advantage of your library’s lending program. Most libraries have ebook lending. Guess what, there’s an app for that!

Get rid of your Cable/Satellite

You’ve probably heard this one a million times now and it’s probably getting trendy now to have a TV but honestly, you don’t need it. You can get everything you want online, most of it free and legally. If not, Joining Amazon Prime is dirt cheap compared to those cable bills and lets you have what you want when you want it. What’s so wrong with that? Go to the bar to watch the game. Getting out is healthy.

Tablet or Computer: Choose One

Some friends still call me gramps but I don’t see the need to have so many gadgets. Don’t we have enough on our plates, having fun with family and friends, responsibilities, jobs and then leisure? What do we do most on those gadgets anyways? If you answered: randomly surf the web and play silly games for hours, you’re correct! You can do that crap and the important stuff like word processing and email with both. Choose one.

Buy Fresh Food

Most people still don’t believe me on this one but, buying fresh food is usually much cheaper than the canned, frozen or processed alternative. On a cost by cost basis this is absolutely true. I saw it everyday working in the grocery store yet it amazed me how many still bought the stuff. Don’t have time to cook? You can still eat fresh stuff. It doesn’t have to be cooked. Not to nag but, you’ll probably save money on health insurance down the road.

Dress Well Not Fresh

I never got into the idea of keeping fresh and buying new things all the time. Who are we trying to impress? People on Facebook, our former high school classmates? No one cares and the people who mean something in your life definitely don’t care. Buy, nice, affordable and well-made clothes that are stylish and you will be able to wear them for years and still look great. Besides, most of the good looks are in your confidence. Can’t buy that!

Starting Investing that $200!

Cutting out just a couple of these things should net you an extra $200 a month. For me, following all of them actually saves me close to $1,000 per month! Even if you cannot get $200, you should be able to get something. Even with $50 a month you can start saving for retirement. Open a no minimum account with TD Ameritrade and trade 100+ ETF’s commission free.

 

7 Ways to Find an Extra $200 a Month for Retirement

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