Guest Post: Save what you can

by: Mr.My Money Counts (MMC)

Say you’re playing video games with friends and your stomachs start making those gurgling noise that can only be translated to FEEEED MEEE!!!  You’re about to clobber this sucker and the last thing you need is some interruption from an – at this moment at least – ‘unimportant’ part of your body seeking attention.  At least, your fingers have a reason to be yelling WE’RE SORE!

The game’s over and you decide to run down the corner to get some street meat, but there’s a problem, you don’t have enough change.  Sure you can use your credit card, but 1. You’re broke and 2. You’ve maxed it out so you’re s.o.l.  Just then you remember that a toonie dropped out of your pocket a couple of days ago into the couch but you were too lazy to get it then.  Well aren’t you in luck, as the sofa is torn apart and you try to find that bloody polar bear.

You find the bear assuring those ‘poor’ chili dogs will find a home today.

Ah, collegiate days, good times!

The story isn’t to highlight how far you will go to get a chili dog.  But a better question is how much energy you would spend searching if the money was a fiver, ten, twenty, dollar, or a penny.  If it was a penny, I would have settled for ramen and called it a day. And I’m pretty sure many would agree as well.

But therein lies a problem.  A few years back I read an article on a career website, can’t remember which one, about how the employee participation rate in employer sponsored defined contribution plans (Group RRSPs) was less than half for eligible employees.  This was awhile back so I’m hoping the stats have improved, but it was still scary nonetheless.

We all know the old adage: a penny saved is a penny earned.  Would you reconsider turning your sofa inside out for that last penny to get the chili dog? Maybe, maybe not.  However, almost every month there’s a news article in the Globe, Post, Star, or whatever news source about how Canadians aren’t saving enough.

This post isn’t to brow-beat you, dear reader, to start saving.  As Pam has alluded to in the past, ‘saving’ hasn’t always been a part of our vocabulary.  Instead, I hope you will read this and resolve to maintain the course even if it’s only a penny that you can sock away.

The story above is partially true (I substituted chili dogs for pizza).  It was 2009, and I had been working for about a year while attending school.  I became eligible to enrol in the company’s group plan which would take about $25 (ouch!) off my pay and the company would match 100%.   Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, $25, biweekly, still in school, at minimum wage, hurts.

But I stuck with it, and fast forward a few years later before moving to Alberta, those biweekly deductions had morphed to over $6,000.  Thanks to one of the greatest bull markets in financial assets and Einstein’s eighth wonder of the world: compounding.

Save what you can. You WILL get over the initial sting of living on less (the sting usually lasts about a couple of weeks).  With time and compounding, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll be able to sock away on that minimum wage salary.

by: Mr.My Money Counts (MMC)

Categories: Guest Posts, Savings

Tags: , , ,

2 replies

  1. The tax free savings account is a great way to invest money. Its good that you are automating your savings as well, making sure that you save each month. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. Yes, have started doing this. A deduction out of my account each month into a GIC for retirement, in Canada. I do have some in an RRSP but this one is tax free so good as I start to build. Love your advice!