Open an Ameritrade savings account, contribute $100 once a month for a year, keep the money in there for a year, get $100. You’ll have saved $1300 and, when you squint your eyes and think about it, made about 8% interest on that balance–twice that of the current highest savings account APY available.

You have an extra $100 a month. It’s around $3 a day. What do you spend $3 a day on?

Coffee?  Make your own. I got a really cute french press and mug set at a thrift store and created a morning ritual to replace that of the addictive latte-buying process.  No time, you like the socialization, you just can’t give it up?  That’s fine; try something else, but stop complaining about being broke.

Cigarettes?  Start to cut down, right now. Eliminate the ceremony of one cigarette a day.  If you really want to know how I quit my five-year, pack-a-day habit, I’ll tell you, but it’s a personal process and you’re better off figuring it out on your own.

Lunch?  Bring your own.  Try, for a week, to make the foods you usually buy at lunch.  A week’s worth of lunches can be made organically and healthfully for the cost of one or two days’ worth of eating out.  Recipe suggestions available on request.

Gym membership? Do you use it only for cardio stuff, if at all?  Try replacing driving to the store once a week with walking to the store a few times a week. Save on gas, get exercise, learn about your neighborhood, take pride in your urban exploration.

Movie rentals?  Do you really watch enough movies a month to make Netflix worth it?  Alternatively, start reading–books are free, and libraries often have free movie rentals, too.

It’s altering or doing away with the littlest habits that will have the biggest effect.  Just like a workout regime or any goal-oriented project, this is a long-term process.

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