I recently talked about whether small savings make a difference to your life. But the bigger question, is do they really ever result in wealth?

Since I’ve been on my money mindfulness journey – and since I started The Broke Generation – my friends and family have become more aware of my money saving strategies. Mostly because if I’m not harping on about it over lunch, I’m splattering it all over the internet. So, can you really blame them?!

But recently, as I was practically having a fit over the $1 McCafé coffee offer, my boss asked me ‘do you think these savings actually equate to wealth though’?

It’s a really good question, and one I hadn’t actually ever thought about.

As humans we get a great big rush of dopamine when we score a bargain or save some money on something, but that’s where the story ends.

The answer to her question really lies in what you do with those savings – and what your idea of wealth looks like.

On the surface, no, saving $3.50 bringing your coffee from home to your job where you earn $55,000 won’t equate to a life spent attending yacht shows and swagging around in a Porsche. Much like having one salad won’t mean you drop 20kg.

But it *could* mean a more comfortable family life, or a more abundant retirement. Which to be honest, is what wealth means to me.

It all depends on what you do with those savings.

If you bring your coffee to work and save $3.50, but you eat Uber Eats every night for dinner, it probably won’t make a huge difference.

But if you invested or saved that $3.50, it could equate to wealth – especially if you start early.

In my interview with the couple behind Instagram account @TreadingFire, we chatted about investments, and why starting early is key.

If you saved $3.50 a day on a coffee for 10 years, that adds up to $12,775. If you invested that $12,775 into the stock market between age 25 and 35, you’d be looking at being the proud owner of $1.5million by age 65. Between that and your compulsory superannuation, that’s a pretty tasty retirement. But, if you wait until the ten year period between age 45-55, you’ll only wind up with about $380,000.

How do those small savings look now?

It’s really about what you do with your savings, and whether you’re compensating in other areas. Looking at the bigger picture is hugely helpful when you’re on your money journey, because a few dollars here and there is easy to dismiss. But stick at it and you could actually create serious wealth for later in life. It’s all about time.