Here’s a sobering reality: Most Americans are struggling to save just 5 percent of their disposable income. While putting away any money is smart—and it’s okay to start small—this savings rate won’t cut it over the long term if you’re aiming for big money goals, like buying a home or enjoying your post-work life.
Whether you’d like to save an extra $50 per month or another $1,000, these super savers can inspire. Here’s how they’re tucking away at least half of their take-home pay.
“I never pass up free food or entertainment!”
Kaitlyn Tessmer, 25, a marketing and technology specialist in San Jose, Calif.
“I graduated college with $15,000 in student loans in 2013, which felt really overwhelming—especially since I was only making $30,000 at my first full-time job. I wanted to be debt-free, so I created a budget and put all my extra money toward my loans.
That meant saying no often—to everything from happy hours and vacations to even Internet and TV in my apartment. Instead, I focused on taking advantage of anything free, like WiFi, DVDs and books from the library and food from work. My first year, I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at work, thanks to my company’s fully stocked kitchen.
I know that sounds boring—and that level of frugality probably isn’t sustainable long-term—but it set me up for success and helped me wipe out my loans entirely within the year. Even though my income has doubled since my first job, I’ve resisted lifestyle inflation in order to keep saving (though I’ve allowed myself a few luxuries, including Internet at home). Now, I have a nine-month emergency fund, a well-stocked retirement account and have started saving for a condo.
The biggest benefit of saving 50 percent of my take-home pay has been the peace of mind. Last month, I was laid off from my job, and haven’t stressed about it. I know that my frugal habits and emergency fund will carry me until I find a new gig I love.”
Her advice for others: “Learn that it’s okay to say no to yourself and others. You probably don’t need that candy bar from the CVS checkout line. Your friends will understand if you want to have them over instead of going out. The power of saying no today is that you’ll get to say yes more down the road.”
November 13, 2017
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November 13, 2017
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