The Teeter Totter of Decreased Costs and Accelerated Goals

Alright, so admit it…you might have clicked on this link because you were overcome with playground nostalgia. That carefree feeling of the wind in your hair as you & your playground bud are bopping up and down on that incredible structure we like to call the teeter-totter (such a funny word whether you read it silently, or out loud). I’m feeling pretty audacious because I decided to write about this (incredible) playground feature to depict how decreased costs and accelerated goals can be feasible.

We each have several expenses that can be evaluated to determine areas we can save on. I’m not talking about breaking down your budget to bare bones, but simply determining additional ways to save can be pretty awesome. The reason it’s awesome? Decreasing costs can accelerate your financial goals. Generating more savings in one area of life, can allow for allocation of money towards increasing momentum for a money goal you have set for the future. The simplicity of this concept lies in the glorious teeter totter.

Here is an image for the teeter totter analogy:


(Shout out to my awesome fiance for taking 3 minutes of his time to generate the friendliest looking teeter-totter graphic ever)!

Think of it as when you save money on certain expenses, instead of spending that money you can take it and throw it towards a financial goal (i.e. paying down student loans, saving for a down payment, working towards a future travel adventure). Finding expenses to decrease costs on can actually get you to where you want to be faster. Or more-so, referring back to the teeter totter: flying high – because you know you always wanted to get that giddy, adrenaline rush of being up in the air instead of planted in the bark dust (yuck, who likes bark dust slivers getting stuck in their socks & light up LA gear shoes?! Which by the way, are WAY more snazzy now than when I rocked them as a kid).

Now on the contrary, the opposite can happen. If you so decide to increase costs in certain expenses, your savings goals may experience a decrease, or slow down. Thereby which putting those goals back to experience biting the (bark)dust. This is to highlight that really digging into your expenses and their costs can propel you, or ultimately keep you in place. Which part of the teeter totter would you like to be on?

Now, I know all of us aren’t visual learners. Some of us would much rather see the hard numbers. So let’s ditch the friendly teeter totter up above for a second, and break down how decreasing costs in one area of life can accelerate your financial goals.

Let’s take this one big, chunk-o-money that typically accounts for most of our monthly expenses: living costs.

Hypothetically, let’s say that Katniss & Peeta are living in an apartment in a central part of the city. They enjoy living in a bustling part of town, but Katniss would like to get back to her roots of being able to hunt in the wild in a more remote area (her bow is getting pretty rusty sitting in the storage closet of their small apartment). Moving to an area outside of city limits will decrease their rent expense, as well as move them both closer to their work offices. Katniss & Peeta also realized that moving to a new part of town will decrease their costs of utilities that this different apartment complex offers which creates even more areas of decreased costs.

Their current major savings goal is for a downpayment on a house for the future which they currently have a total of $8,000 saved for.

Check out how their decreased costs can accelerate their financial goal, numbers style:

Current saved downpayment for future home: $8,000


Previous: $2,200
New: $1,325
Difference (previous – new) = $875


Previous: $350
New: $125
Difference (previous – new) = $225


$875 + $225 (difference of rent costs + difference of utility costs) = $1,100


In one month………..($8,000 + $1,100) = $9,100
In two months………($9,100 + $1,100) = $10,200
In three months……($10,200 + $1,100) = $11,300
In four months……..($11,300 + $1,100) = $12,400
In five months……..($12,400 + $1,100) = $13,500

How about in a few years versus months? I am now taking the monthly savings total of $1,100 and multiplying by 12 months of the year to equate to $13,200 worth of savings just for the first year!

In one year…….($8,000 + $13,200) = $21,200
In two years…..($21,200 + $13,200) = $34,400
In three years…($34,400 + $13,200) = $47,600

Now those…are some pretty staggering numbers! Just think about how much money you can put towards a financial goal just by decreasing the costs of 1 or more expenses you’ve got. I have to admit though, the teeter totter of decreased costs and accelerated savings is not for the faint of heart. But I have faith in you that your savings goals can absolutely soar! When decreasing costs, you have to make the effort to take that savings and put it towards your future goals. It may be challenging at first to not view that saved money as extra discretionary spending money. The way to think of it is, if you were paying that much for a major expense prior and living just fine, then taking that money you would have been paying prior can be put towards a financial goal without any issues. It takes the effort to move that saved money towards a goal, but just look at how much your savings can grow.


How do you accelerate your financial goals? Have you experienced the teeter totter explained above? Ever thought you would revisit the playground days? Let’s chat below!


13 thoughts on “The Teeter Totter of Decreased Costs and Accelerated Goals

  1. I love this! This is essentially the method that I have always been following but the teeter totter makes so much sense when you lay it out graphically!

    I accelerate my goals but finding ways to increase my free cash flow. This might be by getting debt paid off so I don’t have the obligations each month or decreasing certain expenses. It also includes trying to make additional income so my cash flow base is higher each month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so great! I’m glad the teeter totter makes sense. 🙂 Yes, that absolutely sounds like a perfect plan! Creating additional income definitely allows for accelerated goals as well, which is one of the best ways to go about it.


  2. I’m starting to gain a little traction here. Nothing dramatic like $1000/ month, though. With changing my cell phone plan and buying my modem instead of leasing it, I’m saving ~ $100/ month. An extra $1200/ year to save!
    … Now what else can I challenge?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Traction is always great!! Even if it may be small now, it’s the focus that counts. It’s amazing how $100 per month can add up exponentially! I know there’s always the common things to challenge: cable, home cooked meals vs. going out, car/gas costs, taking on tasks vs. outsourcing. A lot of what I choose to challenge is if I have the knowledge something can be more inexpensive than face value, or I can learn how to create it myself I will try to research and take it on myself! It makes everything more intentional and I like that challenge!


  3. So true! Decreasing your costs and putting it towards your savings goals will propel you forward much quicker. I’ve accelerated my financial goals (getting out of debt is primary right now) with the help of ReadyforZero. I’ve cut down costs to help get closer to this goal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so great! Congratulations on working towards getting out of debt. It sounds like you have the drive! Taking the actionable steps is one of the best parts and will definitely allow you to crush your goals. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That teeter totter graphic is the cutest thing ever. 🙂 This is a great way to break down the positive effect of cutting costs. Since we’re on the early retirement path, we also think of it in future terms — every dollar per month that we can avoid spending now is of course a dollar per month we can save, but it’s also $300 we don’t have to save for retirement, which is huge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Definitely have to give the credit to my fiance – he can make many graphics look great! The positive approach and viewing it in that sense is absolutely fantastic. Switching to that view makes it much more less of a task to cut costs. It allows for more excitement to put towards all your future adventures!


  5. Yes, we have definitely experienced it but I have never thought of this concept as a teeter-totter. It’s a great analogy for sure. We have been working on lowering our “set” bills (cell phone, internet, etc). Each time we can get a savings we put it towards our monthly savings. Now I will think of this as teeter-tottering!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes putting personal finance concepts to the most simple analogies really helps. 🙂 Lowering the set bills always seems the greatest first place to start. I’m glad I can help you think of it that way!


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