In order to reach FIRE (Financial Independence with the option to Retire Early), you will need to save more money. In fact, your savings rate is one of the most powerful FIRE tools there is. I’m here help you find your way to FIRE by hacking shortcuts so you can get there faster. I’ll write about all these individually at some point, but here are five things you can do right now to save more money.
You likely flinched here. I get it. A life without cable TV seems impossible. You will live, and you will actually live better. There are several things you can use as alternatives to cable including using an old-fashioned antenna. You can wean yourself off cable with things like Netflix and Amazon Video which comes as a great feature on an Amazon Prime membership which you can try for free. This one step can save you around $1000 a year. That amount adds up compounded over the years. I wrote more about not paying for cable here.
You spend way too much money on data for your phone. This trick actually has a fairly easy step that will likely cut your consumption in half. You can save more money on your data consumption by simply turning off data on your phone and leveraging WIFI. Most businesses offer free WIFI these days. It’s also likely that the place you work has WIFI you can access, and you likely have access to it at home. Basically, you’d only need data when you’re commuting. You shouldn’t be using your phone if you’re driving anyway. Once you realize how little actual data you need, you can lower your mobile phone plan by choosing a less expensive plan. Better yet, you could use a service like Google’s Project Fi and only pay for the data you actually use. I use Fi, and I only pay ten cents per MB as I go. It comes with free calling around the globe and tons of other features. I wrote more about lowering data use here.
You can save more money, way more than you’d think, by delaying every purchase you can. Delayed gratification is a powerful tool for achieving true happiness. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but for some weird reason it works. How can I save more money by delaying purchases? It goes deeper than this, but basically you won’t wind up buying a large portion of things you’d buy if you just purchased spontaneously. If you cut even half the sodas at the convenience store, the drinks with dinner, or the super-sized lunches you buy, it will all add up. I wrote more about delaying purchases here.
Save More Money by Brown Bagging It
Seriously, I don’t know how people afford eating lunch out every day. Actually, most people can’t afford it. Many people are only paying the minimum balance on their credit cards and are upside down in their mortgages. Yet, they still seem to think they can pay $10 a day for lunch. I see this every day with people at the place I work. I even know people who actually have budget, but they have a line item for eating lunches out. Seriously? I know you think it’s beneath you or too much of a hassle to make your lunch and take it to work. It’s not. I’ve done it since I could remember. I’m likely at least $1000 a year richer than you are as a result. Care to catch up?
Save More Money by Writing a Budget and Actually Sticking to It
I saved this one for last on purpose. It’s actually more powerful than all others as far the emotional energy and far-sighted boost it can bring. Once used correctly and you start reaping the benefits of a well-written and well-thought-out budget, you will actually grow to appreciate it. I dare say that in time you will actually grow to like it and maybe even love it. Make sure you have categories for savings. You should work to increase that category while working to decrease all the others. Make sure you track all your expenses. You will be shocked how much money you spend on things that don’t really enhance your life. A budget will rock you at first if you pay attention. It will center you if you let it. A budget will guide you to the life you really want if you point it there.
Many More Ways to Save More Money
There are many more hacks that can save you more. Remember, the idea isn’t to save on these things so you can spend that savings on other things. It’s to SAVE MORE MONEY! You need to increase your savings rate, the percentage of your income that you actually save and invest each year. That’s the real thing we’re after. Your savings rate is the thing you need to focus on increasing. It will get you to financial independence faster than almost anything.
What are some other ways you can help us all save more money?