Last week I was making a coffee for Scott and I was thinking about the fact that we each make his coffee in different ways. I think my way is probably better. No, this isn’t going to be a bash of Scott we just think about it differently that’s all. (But I’m probably right.)
We have an espresso machine so I was just making him a standard Americano. For those of you that don’t know it’s basically espresso and hot water. Scott has a little bit of sugar and almond milk in his coffee and we have different approaches when it comes to making coffee.
How the Coffee is Made:
I like to put the sugar at the bottom of the cup and stir the sugar in while the coffee is being made. Once the sugar is dissolved I add some almond milk and stir some more. Scott puts the sugar in at the bottom of the cup as well but he stirs after the espresso, water and almond milk goes in. Basically he stirs the sugar after the coffee is finished.
The result is a cup that I make for him has sugar incorporated through the coffee as the sugar has dissolved. The cup that Scott makes has some of the sugar incorporated but most of it is at the bottom.
What is the Difference?
In my option he does not use the process of making coffee to his advantage. The coffee is still hot while I’m stirring so the sugar is being dissolved with help from the hot liquid. The coffee he makes takes more effort to make and still doesn’t give the result he is looking for. A coffee that has the sugar incorporated throughout.
How Does This Relate to Money?
Often we don’t take advantages of the opportunities that are presented to us. Just like the hot coffee and water helps to dissolve the sugar quickly taking advantage of a situation or the financial opportunities presented to you will help get you ahead faster.
4 Financial Opportunities You Might Not Be Taking Advantage Of:
Company Match Program:
Do you have the opportunity to participate in a company match program? According to a report by Financial Energies in the US 1 in 4 people are missing out on full matching and leaving an average of $1,336 on the table per year. This amounts to $24 billion dollars across all people. $24 billion dollars is a lot of money and it is money that should be taken advantage of if possible. According to the Financial Post Canadians are leaving out as much as $3 billion dollars in defined contribution payments on the table.
It is important to understand your company plans to make sure if it is right for you. If you can, you should contribute to them fully, especially when there is matching money on the table. This doesn’t have to be your full retirement or only investment strategy. But free money is free money and should seriously be considered. If not you are not only passing up money but the compound interest or return that you could get.
Continuing with what your employer is able to provide think about your benefits. If you have benefits you should make sure you use them effectively. Some companies offer a set amount of money each year for certain types of expenses. Things like massages, vision care and other health related expenses might be included. Some companies allow you to carry over money but for some it is a “use it or lose it” policy. So don’t lose it. This is money that you can use to support any needs that you might have. There is a great article on Money Sense (directed at Canadians) but the principles can apply to others. You should consider company benefits as part of your total pay so you shouldn’t just throw away part of your pay cheque.
My job has a decent commute so I listen to a lot of books in my car. Due to space and cost I have not purchased them but I have taken them out from the library. We were picking up an audio book one time and we noticed a huge selection of Blu-Ray’s available. While we do have a Netflix account there are some movies that we wanted to watch that were not available. Take a look at the free services or products that you have access to and take advantage of them. Whether it’s free yoga at the mall, free plays in the park or Blu-Rays at the library there are opportunities out there. They can all go a long way to stretching your budget and reduce overall consumption for single use products.
Living at Home:
While this isn’t an opportunity that everyone has, if you are fortunate to have it take advantage of the financial opportunity that you have. Not everyone gets the opportunity to not have to pay rent, or a reduced “family” rate so save some money while you can. So many people view this opportunity to spend more money. I have to say your expenses will likely never be this low ever again. If you can pay off all your student loans or save up a ton of money for a house or investment do it. Don’t use it as an excuse to accumulate more stuff.
Life Changes – Leverage While You Can:
Things could change at any time and it’s important to leverage any and all opportunities that you have in front of you. There are so many opportunities where you can get free money or resources that can see your savings grow or allow you to invest more of your savings by spending less money on other things.Be open to all opportunities, you never know when the door will be locked Click To Tweet
Just like stirring the sugar in the coffee while the coffee is hot, use your unique situation to make things easier for your current and future self.
My way is better – I promise.
Take Care – Sarah
Quote of the Week: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work”. Thomas Edison
Are you missing out on any opportunities to make your life easier and save or get some extra money?
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