When I was a young adult, my parents used to lecture me on "too many Cokes." That was shorthand for frittering away one's money on unnecessary and temporary things. If you spent a buck on a Coke, after all, that was a dollar you weren't saving for something else.
Of course, like most young adults, I blew off my parents' wisdom and spent the dollar on a Coke. And another dollar on a bag of chips or a pack of gum or whatever. But I thought about Mom and Dad when I read this article on the difference $10 can make.
If a person were to save $300 a month (approx. $10 a day) and invest it to get a 5% yearly return, that person would have $20,402 in the bank after five years. On the other hand, if a person ends up spending $300 a month more than he has and puts it onto a credit card that he doesn't pay off over the same 5 year period, that person will owe $36,259, assuming a 26% credit card interest rate. After five years, the difference between saving $10 and spending $10 each day results in a $56,661 gap in net worth between the two.
Liberal nuts will argue that poverty is far more about victimization and historical discrimination than individual actions, but even the $10-per-day experiment shows that in large part, it's based on personal behavior. The problem is that the system we have doesn't encourage different behavior.