You aren’t likely to find a thousand dollar bill hiding in your sock drawer or in the creases of your wallet. No, saving a grand after the bills are paid is an accomplishment, and often a combination of earning, saving and discipline. That’s why you may want to think your plans through and not fritter it away with mundane expenses (new blinds for the window? You need to try harder.) You sweated for that cash — how can you ensure you’re getting the maximum reward from it?

We pit investing $1,000 in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) against instant spending on a decades-long hypothetical journey. Our calculations are based on a 27-year-old with extra cash in her pocket, who wants to retire in 38 years at age 65. How her funds grow are based on assumptions below.*

What Can You Do With $1,000?