If you're 30 years old, you need to set aside $448 per month for next 35 years to become a millionaire -- if you earn a reasonable 8% annualized return in a retirement account. Don’t have $448 to spare -- or even $248? Maybe you do and don't realize it. Let's take a look at how you can come up with the cash.
Save $219 Per Month on Taxes
Here’s How: The average refund for the 2008 filing season so far is about $2,500. If you received an average refund and you are in the 25% federal tax bracket, you could be entitled to three extra exemptions worth $3,500 each. That would boost your take-home pay by $219 a month. A couple of reasons you might be eligible for more exemptions: becoming a new parent or buying a house.
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Save $100 Per Month on Food
Here’s How: Bring your lunch and snacks to work. Considering that the average meal at McDonald’s costs $5 and Dunkin’ Donuts charges $2 for a large cup of coffee, the brown-bag windfall can be substantial.
Save $80 Per Month on Entertainment
Here’s How: We're talking about one fewer dinner-and-a-movie night every month. That assumes you and your significant other pay the average $33 per person for a restaurant meal (according to a recent Zagat survey) and that you spend $7 per ticket, the average price at the movies (according to the Motion Picture Association of America).
Save $28 Per Month on Health Care
Here’s How: The typical family spends $1,321 on out-of-pocket health expenses each year, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can pay those costs with a flexible spending account, which lets you set aside pretax dollars.
Save $10 Per Month on Auto Insurance
Here’s How: The average consumer pays $829 annually for car insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000 can save you 15% or more.
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Visit the Banking & Budgeting Center
Save $8 Per Month on a Well Maintained Car
Here’s How: Keep your car’s engine tuned and tires inflated to the proper air pressure. Those minor improvements can save you up to $100 on gas each year.
Save $6 Per Month on Generic Non-Prescription Medicines
Here’s How: The average American spends $185 annually on over-the-counter medications. Generics cost up to 40% less than their brand-name counterparts and work just as well.
$451 Saved in Total!
Invest the found money every month in a retirement account that earns an average of 8% return over the next 35 years, and you'll have $1 million. That wasn't too hard, right?