How 3 Fall Budget Tweaks Could Turn Into $500K

Isn’t fall great?

The air is cool and the pumpkin spice lattés are hot.  This season’s already looking good!

You’re this close to pulling a Julie Andrews—arms thrown open wide, reeling with joy. No one would notice if you broke into song in grocery store parking lot, right?

Okay, maybe they would.

That just means you need another way to channel that fresh burst of autumn energy. And we’ve got the perfect idea: Why not use it to breathe life into your retirement fund?

Not sure how? Here are three budget tweaks to get you started.

Budget Tweak #1: Switch Up Social Outings

After juggling work and home life all week, it’s nice to meet up with friends or family for a weekend dinner out. No one has to cook. No one has to clean. It’s a win-win for everyone.

But what if you traded weekly outings for a relaxing dinner in? You don’t have to prepare a gourmet meal for the crowd. Keep it simple by hosting a potluck. If you can trade a $75 restaurant experience for a $15 dish twice a month, that’s $120 you can stash away for the future.

True friends won’t judge your messy house. (Hint: Theirs is probably messy too!) Best of all, your families can enjoy loud laughs and energetic play without disturbing the next table.

Related: 5 Ways to Keep From Overspending on Your Restaurant Budget

Budget Tweak #2: Cash In Your Caffeine Habit

Don’t worry. We’re not going to tell you to give up caffeine. (You can exhale now.)

But the summer heat inspired you to get extra frapp-y with your coffee. A little whip here, a lot of caramel there. Blend it all together, and you’re shelling out $30 a week for your morning wake-up call.

Now that we are moving into the cooler temps of fall, you don’t have to ditch the fanciness altogether. (Did we mention it’s pumpkin spice season?) But dialing your daily habit back to two days a week—and downsizing your drink of choice—could save $80 a month. If that doesn’t perk your nest egg up, nothing will!

Budget Tweak #3: Shop Consignment

If you’re like most families, someone’s always outgrowing something in your house. So a good chunk of your budget probably goes toward keeping everyone clothed. Consignment offers an easy way to keep costs down—and it’s not just for kids anymore.

You can find your favorite brand-name threads—purses too!—in great condition for a fraction of the original cost. To top it off, it’s super easy to ship your former fashions and earn a little consignment cash of your own.

Let’s say you budget $150 a month for clothes and accessories. What if you could cut your clothing budget in half just by shopping consignment? That’s an extra $75 a month you can funnel toward retirement.

Let’s Add Up the Savings

By refocusing your budget in three common areas, you could free up an extra $275 a month. 

Social Outing Savings Caffeine Savings Clothing Savings Total Savings
$120 + $80 + $75 = $275

Sure, you’ll need to make some tough decisions with your money. But you’ll feel better about your future.

How much better? Invest your newfound $275 in good growth stock mutual funds each month, and you could retire with $350,000–500,000 in 25 years. That’s a solid start on your future! You can build an even bigger nest egg by upping your contributions as your family’s income increases.

Now It’s Your Turn

Summer has a funny way of relaxing the purse strings in all sorts of places. The great thing about a budget is you always have the power to spend your dollars differently.

Maybe you don’t pay big bucks for coffee or weekly get-togethers. But we bet if you look at your budget hard enough, you can find opportunities to shift your focus to the future—even if it’s just a little bit at a time.

Find an Investing Professional

Once you know how much extra you can put toward retirement, work with an investing professional who can help you stay on track with your retirement goals. It’s free to sit down and look at your options. They’ll take the time to explain their recommendations in terms you can understand. Find an investing professional in your area now!