$331,850.49 | The Long-term Benefit of a 15-year Mortgage

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The Spend | Mortgage Payments

When buying a new home, you have a choice in financing options. You can choose to make payments for 15 years or for 30 years. Let's say you decide to go with 15 years, cutting your repayment period by half while paying a little more per month.

After 15 years, you payoff your mortgage, host a badass mortgage burning party, and breathe a well deserved sigh of relief because you're completely debt free and a major step closer to a comfy retirement.

Let's see what that retirement looks like by shortening up your mortgage from the typical 30 years to only 15. Based on today's 15-year mortgage rates, you can get a loan for $100,000 at a rate of 2.80% that results in 180 payments of $410.89 per month or $4,930.68 per year.

The Opportunity | Retirement

Once your mortgage is paid in full, you'll then be able to invest that money for retirement. You'll have a full 15 years to do this without breaking a sweat. After all, you've been paying this amount of money to a mortgage company for a decade and a half.

When you decide to do this, you'll end up saving a total of $10,577.83 per year thanks to $2,121.21 in tax breaks, $3,525.94 in employer matching, and that $4,930.68 that you were paying to the bank instead of yourself.

The Long-term Benefit | 30-year Value

Assuming you invest the retirement savings equivalent of your former mortgage payment for the 15 years after you paid off your mortgage, you'd end up with $331,850.49 added to your retirement nest egg.

Considering that's $331,850.49 per $100,000 you borrow, that's a HUGE sum of money, so let's use HUGE letters - THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS AND FORTY-NINE CENTS.

15 Years > 30 Years

A fifteen year mortgage is a great, great thing and it beats the pants off its 30-year cousin. You'll own your home faster, get out of debt 15 years earlier, reduce the chance of buying too much house, have 15 years afterwards to save for retirement, pay a lower interest rate and less interest, and on and on.

When you go home shopping, do so with a 15-year fixed mortgage in mind, and set yourself up to reap the benefits over the long run.

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$148,118.12 | The Long-term Benefit of Food Stores

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The Spend | Food Stores

Four times a year, we save $80 in a given week by eating the food stores in our fridge, freezer, and pantry. We still go to the grocer to pick-up a few items to complement these stores so we eat some pretty tasty meals. Instead of spending $100, we spend $20 or less.

The Benefit | Retirement

Thanks to this habit, we have the ability to add $320/year to our retirement savings. While that may not seem like a lot of money at first glance, when you add $137.67 in tax breaks and $223.83 in employer matching, the total addition to our nest egg is $686.50/year.

The Long-term Benefit | 30-year Value

When you repeat this year after, the total savings amounts to $148,118.12 - nearly three times median annual household income in the U.S.

Imagine. Eating food you already have, ensuring as little food goes to waste can add ONE HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN DOLLARS AND TWELVE CENTS to your future.

Giving to Others

This rhythm that we set wasn't our idea, it came from our local church, Crossroads. Each year, the church does a 'Beans and Rice Week' - an exercise in sacrificial giving. You sacrifice your air quality and give what you saved to some folks in need.

It works for giving. It works for saving. It's a good habit to have - even if only four times a year. That said, try to avoid living on beans and rice. Beans and other legumes are not easily digested and eating them all day, everyday results in many foul and not so mysterious odors.

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$55,488.75 | The Long-term Cost of Big Box Gym Membership

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The Spend | Gym Membership

While memberships to box gyms have come down a great deal in price thanks to consolidation in the industry, these companies continue to thrive thanks to no-show members. If you're one of these no-show members, you're not alone, but you are wasting money.

Even at $9.99/month, you end up spending $119.88/year for a membership you're not using.

The Opportunity Cost | Retirement

That $119.88 is quite a bit more if you invest it in retirement. Your hard earned dollars could deliver a $51.57/year tax break and another $85.73/year in employer matching contributions (based on a 50% match). Total it up and the retirement opportunity cost is $257.18 per year.

The Long-term Opportunity Cost | 30-year Value

When you choose to save money for retirement instead of paying for an unused gym membership, the money adds up over time. Without getting too fancy with your investment portfolio, that $257.18 per year adds $55,488.75 to your retirement nest egg in 30 years.

If you were to receive a check in the mail for that amount, it would read, "FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-EIGHT AND 75/100 DOLLARS"

Wouldn't you want to get a check like that in the mail?

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$24,994.93 | The Long-term Cost of Movie Tickets

[pictured above:  Star Wars Rogue One coming December 2016]

The Spend | Movie Tickets

Who doesn't like to see a movie on the big screen? No, not that miniature 100" TV from Best Buy, I'm talking about that hundreds of inches big screen at your local theater. It's HUGE, right?

If you're like the average American, you'll likely go to the movies five times each year. What price you pay will largely depend on when you go. In the great city of Florence, Kentucky (that's Florence, y'all!), you can choose to pay $10.90 or $5.50 for your tickets.

In the interest of saving a few bucks, let's say you decide to pay $5.50 instead of $10.90 five times each year. That saves you $5.40 per ticket. And, since you're not likely to be a solo moviegoer, let's double that savings to $10.80 per visit to include your significant other.

Each year, that adds up to a nice sum of $54.

The Opportunity Cost | Retirement

By choosing to pay the low price of $5.50/ticket, you can save $54 toward retirement this year. Add to this $23.23 in tax incentives and $38.62 in employer matching contributions, and you end up saving a total of $115.85 per year.

The Long-term Opportunity Cost | 30-year Value

When you make a habit of paying the lowest price instead of the highest price and saving the difference for retirement, good things happen. Over the course of thirty years of paying low prices, saving for retirement, and investing in the markets, you end up with $24,994.93.

If you're writing a check, you can spell that out as TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED NINETY-FOUR AND 93/100 DOLLARS.

Go Cheap or Not

The choice is yours: pay the low price and add $24,993.93 to your retirement years or pay the high price and miss out on what that $24,993.93 could do for you in your golden years. Either way, you see the same movie, on the same screen, eating the same popcorn, drinking the same soda, feeling the same vibrations from the same amazing sound system.

Only difference is one decision adds about twenty-five grand to your life and the other doesn't.

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