This post was originally published in 2011, but I wanted to remind everyone to send in your Box Tops to school because they really add up!
When it comes to saving money, you hear people say "it's the little things" and "little things add up" all the time. In fact, David Bach became famous for coining the phrase "The Latte Factor" in reference to money that people spend on things like coffee without thinking much about it.
But when you're trying to reach your "big picture" financial goals, it can be hard to see how $2 here and $5 there is going to help erase your $20,000 credit card debt or $100,000 mortgage.
Whenever that happens, I recommend thinking about the Box Tops for Education program. It's a marketing campaign by General Mills - selected products have a "Box Top" that can be cut out and sent in to General Mills for a 10-cent contribution to a participating school.
The average school earns $574 in Box Tops per year - that means an average school redeems 5,740 Box Tops! Side note: The highest earning schools get $50,000+ from Box Tops, but after discussing this with our Box Tops coordinator, I'm guessing that these schools won a contest, and didn't actually redeem 500,000 Box Tops.
My son's school earns over $2,000 in Box Tops each year - that's more than 20,000 Box Tops at 10 cents apiece. Each individual 10-cent label may not seem like much, but add them to all of the others and it really does add up to real money. It's money that our cash-strapped school can put to good use for the students.
And similarly, every dime or dollar that we save for ourselves adds up to real money that we can use to achieve our financial goals. So instead of getting discouraged, get inspired and look for all the different small amounts that you can pool together. Before you know it, you'll have a meaningful amount of money to help you reach your goal.
P.S. If you know a child whose school participates in Box Tops for Education, save those Box Tops for him or her! Their school can definitely use the money :)