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This is not an article on how to invest $25 a week and turn it into a million-dollar gold mine. It's not even an article about how to turn it into half a million dollars, unless you have 40 years to wait and incredible investment returns.

This is a piece about figuring out a way to add just a little bit more to your savings plan -- say, $5 a workday, $25 a week, $100 a month -- to give your retirement years a nice little boost.

We're talking about the kind of money that'll afford you a couple of extra vacations, or a new car, or the ability to spoil the grandkids every now and then. You know, the little things that turn life from mere existence into a pleasurable journey.

Can You Spare $5 a Day?

We all have to find a balance between living our lives today and socking away money for our futures. But if you look hard enough, you can probably find $5 in your daily routine that you can live without spending and not substantially affect your lifestyle.

It might be the premium coffee you can replace with a mug of home-brewed joe. Perhaps you could brown-bag your lunch a few days a week instead of swinging by the cafeteria or the fast-food joint near your office. Or maybe carpooling or taking public transit instead of driving will save you enough in gas, parking, and wear-and-tear on your car to come up with that $5 a workday.

Make it a reality, and that $5 a day adds up to $1,250 a year -- above and beyond what you're currently investing -- without really affecting your lifestyle.

Even better, if you've still got the ability to contribute to your traditional 401(k), 403(b), TSP, or deductible IRA, that $5 may well cost you a mere $3 or $4 worth of spending ability after the tax deduction.

Make That $1,250 a Year Multiply

The table below shows how much extra that $25 a week could possibly add up to, based on various potential rates of return and time until you spend it:
Years to Go 10% Annual Return 8% Annual Return 6% Annual Return 4% Annual Return
40 $667,256 $366,717 $208,486 $123,433
35 $399,999 $240,748 $149,081 $95,404
30 $237,818 $156,282 $105,065 $72,454
25 $139,401 $99,645 $72,451 $53,662
20 $79,679 $61,667 $48,286 $38,276
15 $43,437 $36,202 $30,381 $25,678
10 $21,445 $19,127 $17,114 $15,362
Data from author's calculations. Assumes weekly contributions and compounding.

If you're just starting out in your working life and get strong enough returns throughout your career, that extra $25 a week may be enough to be truly life-changing cash in your golden years.

For the rest of us, however, it's a little bit of sacrifice today that can make the difference between a merely comfortable retirement and a truly pleasurable one.

Can't Get There Today? Maybe Next Year

If you've looked through your budget and cut out every expense you reasonably can but still can't come up with that extra $25 a week to sock away, no worries. As long as you stick to your baseline investing plan, this extra bit is something that can certainly wait.

Just consider it for the next time you get a raise. After all, if you were living on your old salary before the raise, you can probably afford to take some of that new money you'll be getting and sock it away without feeling the impact.

The table below shows the same information as the table above, only with one fewer year of savings and compounding. As you can see, the numbers do drop, reflecting the shorter amount of time you're putting toward the plan:
Years to Go 10% Annual Return 8% Annual Return 6% Annual Return 4% Annual Return
39 $602,630 $337,344 $195,139 $117,370
34 $360,782 $221,053 $139,192 $90,440
29 $214,020 $143,075 $97,738 $68,389
24 $124,960 $90,789 $67,022 $50,334
19 $70,915 $55,729 $44,263 $35,551
14 $38,119 $32,221 $27,400 $23,446
9 $18,217 $16,457 $14,905 $13,535
Data from author's calculations. Assumes weekly contributions and compounding.

Still, it's that much more you'll have available to put toward those extras that make life worth living.
So what would you do with the eventual rewards from socking away an extra $5 each workday? Let us know in the comments box below.

Chuck Saletta is a Motley Fool contributing writer. For more on making the right financial decisions today to make a world of difference in your golden years, learn about The Shocking Can't-Miss Truth About Your Retirement in this free report from The Motley Fool.

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Jetncat

Except now you are getting less than 1% on your return more like .60 of interest now. Not worth keeping it in the bank better off investing in precious metals. Gold, silver etc bring a better return now

June 05 2013 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ga7smi

Ilive on SS - $25 a week is my food budget

June 05 2013 at 1:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ga7smi's comment
mary_finn

I'm subtracting money from my accounts. Maybe it's time Wall Street look elsewhere for the big management fees they were getting on my IRA and 401k. You can't save what you don't get.

June 06 2013 at 8:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply