Everyone has heard this phrase. But what does it really mean?
These days, a penny doesn’t seem to be worth anything. It’s not like you can go into the store and buy something with one lowly little penny. In some countries, pennies have been eliminated from circulation. People are on death watch for them, just waiting with baited breath for them to die.
You probably have heard of the superstition some people have that finding a penny with heads up is good luck. While I don’t believe this to be true (I try not to be overly superstitious), I’ve always had a habit of picking up coins that I see laying on the ground in parking lots or sidewalks. Recently, I had a streak of spotting a penny on my walk from the car to the office three mornings in a row. And I did pick up those pennies. Is it a sign of good things to come? Who knows, only time will tell. Admittedly, I did buy a lottery ticket after that third find… which was not a winning decision.
When I pick up coins I find laying around they go into the coin jar at home. Eventually the contents of this jar ends up in my back account.
We may not think a penny is worth that much. Or for that matter, a nickel, dime, quarter, dollar bill, twenty-dollar bill. And by themselves, they really can’t get you that far given what inflation has done to the price of everything around us. (i.e. the increase in prices over time).
But here is the catch, every little bit helps. What may not seem like much today can add up over time – and that’s the important piece.
When it comes to saving – time is your friend.
As we think about our personal finances, it’s important to think longer term – and recognize the importance of shifting our mindset from a short-term view to a longer-term view. Granted, for many of us we need to think about the bills and expenses right in front of us. I don’t want to diminish that – it is very important to make sure your short-term needs are covered – but that doesn’t get you off the hook on the long term thinking front.
I also want to take a brief moment in this post and encourage you. Even if it is a very small amount that you can save today – even just pennies or a couple of dollars here and there – the first step is just starting a program to save.
Over time, your efforts will be rewarded. I know a friend who saved spare change over a long period of time – after he retired, he took all this change to the bank and ended up with a very large deposit to his bank account. It may not have paid a lot of “bills” but over time it will generate some interest income for him.
While interest rates have been historically low in recent years – and sometimes it doesn’t feel like saving is worth it, good personal finance habits will help you whether the storms of life down the road.
Find ways to save when you can – every little penny helps! And your future self with thank you!