Every so often you come across a story of an ordinary person, or couple, who accomplished an extraordinary financial makeover. In what seems like record time, they’ve knocked out big debts or saved enough to retire early or to take a year off to travel the world.
While these individuals have differing backgrounds and goals, their strategies can be boiled down to a simple set of instructions: Spend less, save more. Sure, this is easier said than done, particularly with ballooning student loan debt, stagnating wages and rising rents.
But to help you get started squirreling away more money, here are some top tricks culled from the superstar savers:
Sometimes it’s as easy as eating out less, canceling unread magazine subscriptions or riding your bike more often. In taking a hard look at where your money goes, it could also mean challenging yourself not to buy clothes for a year, finding a side gig or downsizing to a smaller house.
What is clear when you talk to superstar savers is that the challenge can be extremely rewarding. Take a husband-and-wife team in Cambridge, MA that has set their hearts on a very-early retirement (at age 33, to be exact). The self-described “frugal weirdos” have found that it’s actually pretty great to try and do everything for themselves–from replacing rotted window frames to cutting each other’s hair–rather than to pay someone else. “It’s a really joyful cycle, to gain a new skill and have an experience,” says Mrs. Frugalwoods, who goes by this moniker so as not to tip off her employer to her early retirement scheme. “It’s kind of become a game for us and we really enjoy the challenge.”
Living frugally doesn’t have to be a death knell for your social life. When one New York City family put themselves on a budget, they refrained from telling friends and family for a while. “We made up in our minds that we were branded with this scarlet letter,” says 30-year-old Johnny. It turned out, however, that a lot of their friends were in the same boat and also didn’t want to be shelling out for pricey dinners and nights out all the time.
Don’t underestimate the power of having a goal either. Saving more for the sake of saving more is often harder than saving in pursuit of some goal, whether it’s knocking out debt, saving for a down payment on a house or building up a retirement kitty. This couple saved more than 70% of their income because they wanted to retire in their 30s to travel the world.
source: forbes.com by Lauren Gensler