"A small hole can sink a great ship." Benjamin Franklin
Anyone who has started or ran a business knows that it takes a lot of money to operate. Depending on the business you are in, businesses have to buy equipment, tools, product, etc. to operate. On top of that we have to pay employees and taxes, but we often forget about the little things in our budgets. It is easy to track the big purchases because they are usually well thought out and planned for. We often forget about the little purchases. For example, office supplies (paper clips, post-its, notepads, paper etc.), screws, bolts, and the list can go on. Anybody reading this might be saying those are so cheap they don't really matter. Think of it over the long term. If I buy a box of jumbo paper clips each week for 5.00/box (just an example not sure the actual cost), then I am paying around 260.00/year on jumbo paper clips. The number may not be accurate, but the point is. The little purchases that might be 5 bucks or less will add up to a significant amount of money over a year and imagine what that number looks like in 10 years.
The same goes with our lives, We forget about the little things in life that make us happy. We often are looking at that vacation we have saved for for 5 years, or that new car purchase we have wanted for 20 years, or our first home. These are large rewards for our hard work over the past several years of our lives. We budget and plan and work hard for them. Sometimes we get so focused on them that we forget all the little joys in our lives. A vacation might keep you happy for a week upon return. A new car can only stay new for so long. It is the little things that should be recognized. The time your spouse unloaded the dishwasher (my wife is always shocked) or did laundry so you could rest. The movie you miserably sat through, but your kids thought it was awesome that you watched with them. Helping someone in with their groceries. Every little thing you do that brings joy to you or someone else doesn't go unnoticed. It just gets pushed into the back of our mind because we are wired to see the big things as rewards.
In business and in life the little things will make or break you. The big things are great, but they are only on occasion, are usually well planned out, and will briefly bring joy to us. If we forget how important the little things are to our daily lives, we will live years broken and broke.
4 WAYS THE LITTLE THINGS WILL IMPROVE YOUR BUDGET AND LIFE:
1. Several small things outweigh one big thing
For those who have kids, siblings, or children in their life that are close to you. Christmas is upon us and many of us will go out and purchase a large gift for those close to us. Children get excited about these gifts, but as we all know that excitement dwindles and the big gift we just spent a lot of money on sits and sits. The real gift for people is not saving, saving, saving, and buying that extravagant gift once a year, but rather spending time with that child. throwing the football, watching a movie, playing a game, etc. Those are the little things that keep smiles on our faces. When we see our loved ones grow, progress, and become influenced for the better, that is way more important than the 500.00 gift sitting in the corner. Large gifts only go so far and eventually become worn out, but the simple, small things we do daily or weekly can last forever.
2. Small business purchases
In business it is easy to focus on and track our large purchases. It is easier to go out and buy lunch, dinner, small office supplies, etc. because they are small purchases. These small purchases are the ones we should pay close attention to. These SMALLpurchases actually add up to LARGE purchases. Thinking of the examples above, we spend large amounts of money on little things at our offices, shops, etc. Over a year or the life of your business they will add up significantly and could sink your business budget. Seems silly that a box of paper clips or a bag of cheap pens could cut deeply into our margins, but they do. Businesses should have a budget for the little things and keep track of the 6 cent bolts you buy. Business margins can be gouged by "simple spending" because those are the things we generally forget or do not pay close attention to because they are not "significant purchases." PENNIES ADD UP TO DOLLARS. So when you think it is just a couple bucks, don't forget that a couple bucks might add up to hundreds of bucks by the end of the year.
3. Small personal purchases
If you do not live on a written budget, you should. If you don't know how much money you spend on little things, take 30 minutes and add it up in one month. My wife and I live a frugal life. We are savers and we are cheap by today's standards. We do not like to see money going out. So, we took Dave Ramsey's advice and made it fit us. We take out cash at the end of each month that is put toward the next month. We label them Groceries, Misc., Personal, and Kids. This has made us pay close attention to our spending. As we have done this, we realized that the big purchases were not hindering the growth of our bank account, but it was the small items. I would walk into a store and purchase a couple of items and it was just 5 bucks. Spending just 5 bucks 20 times is 100 bucks. We were spending WAY more money than we thought. We have always kept track of our large purchases, but we never paid attention to the small ones. If you eliminate overspending on the little things, you will be surprised how much money you can save. Just say NO to the cute pair of shoes you don't need, or the quick stop to McDonald's and watch the money pile up in your savings.
4. The consistent little things you do, will outweigh the big things.
We all notice when the 60k SUV rolls up and the person gets out dressed in fantastic clothes. The first thing that pops into our heads, they must have a lot of money. BUT DO THEY? In America, we have seen a great deal of inflation because my 9 year old has the ability to finance whatever he wants. That might be an exaggeration, but you get my point. According to Ramsey Solutions, 1 in 3 households lives paycheck to paycheck. A lot of people live on credit so they can "appear" wealthy, but in reality they might be broke and broken. Don't be deceived! In America, our status is based on the size of our home, how nice our car is, the clothes we wear, etc. Those things make us happy......for a while. It is the little things that mean something. Holding the door open, helping a neighbor, helping your spouse, spending time with people you love, etc.We can do the little things every day and find joy each day. The big fancy things might keep us happy for a while, but usually fade quickly. Doing the little things consistently will outweigh doing the big things sporadically. We have been made to believe that it is the big things that we have to have to be happy. Realistically, they will please us for a short period of time. If we focus daily on doing the right little things, they will add up to greater bigger things.