For every $18.12 you save, you buy back an entire day of your life (+ calculator)

Takeaway: Saving money is basically a way of buying back your own time. If you’re 30 (the average age of a visitor to ALOP), and you retire at 62 (the US average), for every $18.12 you save today you buy back one day of your life in the future. Plug in your own numbers below to figure out how much a day of your life is worth!

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 14s.



Saving money is basically a way of buying back your own time—and after you add in the powerful effects of compound interest, you quickly realize just how much of your future time and freedom you can buy back with very little cost to you today.

I recently got my hands dirty and ran the numbers for just how much time you buy back when you save money. The result is incredible: if you’re an average reader of this site, for every $18.12 you save today you buy back an entire day of your life when you retire.

This calculation takes into account a few (relatively boring) assumptions that you can safely skim over if you’re not in the mood for your eyes to glaze over. It assumes:


Want to see how much you need to save to buy back a day of your own life?

I asked my buddy Ryan to program up a simple calculator to calculate exactly how much money you need to save today to do just that. Just plug in your own numbers (don’t worry, I’m not recording anything), and the calculator will spit out exactly how much money you need to save today to buy back one day of your life.



Money needed to buy back a day of your life:


But wait… there’s more

But it gets even better.

This idea is powerful, but it doesn’t take into account two things, both which make the effect even more profound.

  1. It assumes that you’ll spend the money you save immediately when you retire—not part-way into your retirement like you likely will. Interest rates compound like crazy over time, which will only make your money travel that much further.
  2. As you get accustomed to saving more money, you may also become accustomed to spending less. That means you’ll need less money to live off of when you retire, which will make your savings travel that much further.

I think the point of productivity is to get more meaningful things done in less time so you can make more time for what’s important to you. Saving more money accomplishes the same thing—albeit over a much larger timeframe—and it may be one of the smartest things you do with your money.


Quick heads up: I’m still gathering and piecing together my thoughts from my experiment to go vegetarian for 60 days. Expect that article in a week or two!


  • The newsletter had no link to this post ;)

    • Gah!! Just noticed that as well. Just sent out an updated newsletter, sorry about that!

  • Christina Estrada

    Great article….love the calculator too. Although, I boosted the retirement income up to $70k and have set my retirement age at 55.

    • $70,000 a year? Nice! You’re going to be ballin’ in retirement ;-)

  • Flannel Guy ROI

    Great stuff! I’ve often wondered this and wanted to write about it myself, but it all depends on the variables. This is really helpful and helps put all sorts of spending decisions in perspective.

  • Liam Robichaud

    I’ve been interested in this topic for some time, but it seems to me that the average person has several debts of varying amounts, and that the average debt interest rate is 10-30% whereas the average interest rate on a savings plan is 0.25-6%. Unless I’ve run my numbers wrong, it stands to reason that it would be better for every person with debt to focus on paying down/off their debts rather than saving money (aside from setting aside an emergency savings). What do you say to this line of thought?

  • Harpreet

    Is the calc down right now? I’ve been trying for the past 30 minutes but can’t get answers to the numbers I’ve put in.

    • Sorry about that—had a minor site issue. Should be up and running now!

  • Ron

    8% return? Not these days! You are lucky to break even. The days of high returns of are over.

    • JohnWick

      haha Ikr. these idiots think that the old days can come back are sorely mistaken.

  • I’m not sure how saving money buys back a day – pls can you explain that concept? How can you buy a day? I’m missing something veyr simple here.

    • He’s saying that saving $18.12 a day today will allow you to pay yourself a yearly “salary” of $37,500 when you retire (assuming of course you make 8% returns on your investments and inflation stays around 2.3%).

  • Mioto Hamura

    Interesting, but just imagine, that through 30 years, money will be means nothing and all your saving will be crashed down. The retirement is exist now, but what if it will be changed somehow and sometime…And you will have all these money, remember your hard work, and, what if, to be sorry that you didn’t use it right, for instance, to study, travel, to discover the other world, to know other people…Or what if you will never see your retirement…It’s bad and a little scary. But if just work and saving money, work and save, work and save, you will not live, you will just exist, waiting for your old age… 今を生きろ as it says. You never know what will be next. I agree we need to think about the future, but the more important thing is we need to think about the present to live.

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