5 Seconds Can Save Ten Dollars

save ten dollars

Saving money is more impactful to reaching the millionaire status than making more money. Therefore, why not save more? Saving money meaningfully changed my life for the better. It wasn’t always easy to save but I’ve made it a habit of doing it. I take 5 seconds of reflection before making EVERY purchase to make sure I’m spending money on things that add value to me. These 5 seconds have made  a lifetime of difference for me. It’s made it easier for me to save ten dollars when I’m making a purchase.

I’m fortunate to have come from a frugal family where I learned the ins and outs of saving money. My parents gave my brother $5,000 worth of spending money for 1 year of college. It could go towards food, clothes, or anything else. After 1 year, he still had about $2,000 left. Cheapskate? Maybe. However, being a cheapskate isn’t bad, no matter the connotation behind it.

How 5 Seconds Can Save Ten Dollars

Whenever I’m making a purchase, I ask a simple question. “Is the item one hundred percent worth it to me?”. If the answer is “no,” I don’t buy it. Or I look for a similar product with a lower price. Becoming conscious of my purchases influences me to think whether it’s worth it to me.

This is a simple question that has implications. First, it’s a subjective question. I don’t know how to quantify worth. I can’t pick up a product and say “yeah, this is worth 70% to me, 80% to me, and so on”.

However, I can get close. I can say that 90 – 100% is enough for me to buy the item. If the answer is low in the 0 – 40% range, my life would be better off if I hadn’t purchased. Sure, I might experience small and short-lived psychological happiness in the cash register by buying stuff. It’s not worth it in the big picture of my life. 

Asking this question can save you boatloads of money. It’s a small time investment to reflect on your needs that can save ten dollars. It applies every time money is taken out of your life. Online shopping, malls, paying for insurance, and so on. 

Creating the Habit

You won’t just roll out of bed and say “ok! I will start asking myself that question before making a purchase”. It doesn’t happen that way. Since it’s something that you’ve never done before, you will need to create a habit out of it. It took me months of being cognizant for asking the question to feel natural to me.

Starting small and asking once a week is the first step. After that becomes natural asking twice a week is the second step and so on. Give yourself a timeframe to when you’ll achieve the habit. Personally, it takes me about 30 days of remembering to put in the effort to make it a habit. Some habits take me longer, some habits take me less time, but that is a general rule of thumb I’ve lived by.

Following through with this habit can do wonders for your financial life. It can save ten dollars, twenty dollars, even thousands of dollars that adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Wouldn’t you like to be the person with a cool million sitting in your bank account?

Figuring Out Worth

Aside from the subjective percentages you come up with, figuring out if something is worth it is also subjective. As a general guide, if it’s something that you need, it’s almost always worth it. How do you figure out if it’s something you need?

If you won’t be living without having that product in your life, it’s a need. Things like food, a home, clothes, etc.Be careful to not buy something that you need at any price. Now that you’ve figured out the product adds value to your life, it’s time to figure out if the value is worth more than the price.

I generally look at my past purchases to make sure I’m paying the right price. Spending $75 for two weeks worth of groceries is worth it to me, while spending $150 for the same two weeks is not. This is from my personal experience of shopping at ALDI’s vs Trader Joe’s but this is just one example.

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

You can physically see the fruits of your labor by looking at your bank account numbers after one month of implementing this strategy. You may save ten dollars one day which may swell up your balance by ten dollars. That is what I loved about saving money and what I still love about it.

The results of your effort is visible and quantifiable. It’s not like work where you don’t know how much of an impact you’re having to the organization. I have no idea if the powerpoint presentation I made have helped the company. My bosses assure me that it helped but then it raises the question “by how much?”. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer to that question.

You won’t have that problem when it comes to personal finance. You eat what you kill and you can easily know if you succeeded or not and by how much by checking your net worth or account balance.   

Ten dollars is significant. If it was so insignificant, why not just save it?

Conclusion

Five seconds can save ten dollars. It only takes five seconds and some brainpower to figure that out. A penny saved is a penny earned as long as you keep it. The five seconds saving ten dollars equates to an hourly wage of $7,200. Wouldn’t you want to make $7,200 in a month, let alone in an hour?

It starts by creating a habit out of asking if what you’re buying is one hundred percent worth it. It ends with you inflating your bank account to lead a financially secure life. Saving isn’t so scary. Saving is your friend.

Readers, what do you do to save ten dollars? Do you reflect on your purchase before going to the cash register to save money? Let me know in the comments below!

Finance Solver

I grew my net worth to $40,000 as a college student through hard work, discipline, and a little bit of luck. I graduated college in 2016 and will be starting to plan for my retirement once I start working.I am planning on reaching financial independence by my early 30's and I will document my moments of inspiration all the way to desperation here.

My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!

Read more about me here.

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7 thoughts on “5 Seconds Can Save Ten Dollars

  1. Yes, I usually reflect on potential purchases to make sure that something is really worth it for me. But sometimes I’m not sure, so I set a time period to think about it before purchasing. If it’s a big ticket item, I might wait a month or two. If it’s something smaller, I might wait a day or even a week. Sometimes I find that once the time passes, it’s no longer important to me and then I definitely save money.

    • This is something I do as well. I will ask myself if I really want it or if it is just because it looks cool or seems like a great deal. If I’m not sure, I’ll walk away and see if it pops into my head later. Usually it doesn’t.

      And you are definitely right about the importance of creating a habit. I now do this entirely without thinking and it comes very easily.

  2. I have the opposite problem, looking for something that is 100% what I’m looking for and spending weeks trying to find the right thing (last example, our kitchen trashcan). Eventually, I just decide that I’d be happy with something that is somewhat what I need, even if the price point or the color … isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.
    But I’ve used the method you suggest to think before buying if this is really something I need. It has always worked well!

  3. I always make it a point to stop and think before I buy something. I ask myself if buying the item will get me closer to my goals or farther from them? Not every purchase is black and white either so you really have to be honest with yourself and think things through. I’ve saved so much just by asking myself this question and then not buying an item. Not surprisingly, I never missed not having it either.

  4. I think these are the key words from the post above are, “Creating the Habit.” If you can make it a habit to think in this manner before a purchase is made it will be easy to save on impulse buys.

  5. Instinct plays a big role as far as expenditure and savings are concerned. Sometimes the foodie or shopaholic instinct in us may urge us to spend in luxury items we do not actually require. That is where these 5 seconds actually come into play. If we say to ourselves “NO”, immediately our minds will start contemplating further than instincts and we will save largely.

    • Finance Solver says:

      It’s amazing how a short amount of time can have big results. However, I think most people get happiness out of progress. People generally don’t like waiting. That’s why when they are at the grocery store or the mall, they spend the money without thinking twice about it because once they pick up the merchandise, stopping and thinking is not progress in their lives, but putting the merchandise in the shopping cart and moving towards the cashier is progress. Conditioning yourself to think for 5 seconds is a useful skill, however!

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