I’ve lived extremely frugally for years now.
A thoughtful approach to spending has been a key component to the overall lifestyle that has allowed me to retire decades before most people.
If you’re not familiar with my story, I retired in six years on a $50k salary — going from below broke at 27 years old to retired at 33.
But nothing I did is off limits to you or anyone else.[ad#Google Adsense 336×280-IA]Everything I did (and still do) to save money can be replicated by anyone.
To prove that point, I’m going to discuss five real-life changes I’ve made over the years to my own spending.
This is the fifth (and final) article.
Before we begin, I’m going to note that most of the changes I’m going to discuss could be thought of as extreme.
But extreme results oftentimes require extreme measures.
If you want to retire decades before most people, you’re probably going to have to operate way outside the norm. As you can probably already tell, this series isn’t going to be talking about just “cutting out the daily latte”.
So I’m going to show you, via real math, what the implications are to making these changes, and how these methods can lead to real and lasting wealth for anyone.
This real and lasting wealth can then be used to generate the passive income necessary to quit your job and live life on your terms.
So if you’re serious about retiring early – I mean, really serious – consider implementing some of these real money-saving ideas in your own personal budget, which could substantially speed up retirement.
Money-Saving Method #5: Stop Spending So Much On Your Phone
Mobile phones are ubiquitous these days.
Everywhere you look, you see someone on a smartphone.
People almost cannot operate without their devices.
This phenomenon is in part why I’m invested in companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and AT&T Inc. (T) in my personal portfolio – a portfolio that’s chock-full of high-quality dividend growth stocks that generates enough (growing) dividend income to cover the bulk of my core personal expenses, rendering me essentially retired in my early 30s.
You can argue the necessity of these devices, and you can argue whether or not it’s all adding to (or taking away from) our quality of life.
However, you can’t argue the expense of it all.
Before I started getting serious about saving money and retiring decades before most people, I was spending over $80 per month on my mobile phone bill.
This was way back in late 2009.
I had an iPhone 3G. And I had a nice data plan via AT&T that allowed me to perform world-saving tasks like looking up the calories in my dinner on the go.
Really important stuff, I know.
But I realized that this was such a waste of money.
And so I substantially cut my spending on this category.
Yes, I still have a mobile phone. But I spend very little on it these days.
I signed up for a cheap prepaid plan with Cricket Wireless.
I did this for a couple reasons.
First and foremost, it saved me a ton of money.
Their basic plan (which should really be more than enough for most people) offers unlimited nationwide talk & text, along with 1 GB of high-speed data access.
All this for $30. And that’s taxes and fees included. So $30 flat. Plus, no contract. You can leave any time you want to.
Let’s just take a quick look at what the savings add up to here.
Going from $80/month to $30/month is a savings of $50/month.
If you’re able to sock away that money and invest it at an 8% compound annual return for 20 years (ignoring taxes and inflation for brevity), it would turn into almost $30,000!
And that’s starting from zero. That means you start from zero and just invest the savings from reducing your spending on your mobile phone plan.
That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?
One little change that probably isn’t even noticeable, yet you could end up with a very large chunk of money at the end of it.
So I mentioned I did this for a couple reasons.
The other reason is that Cricket Wireless is a subsidiary of AT&T.
I was using AT&T beforehand. And as a shareholder, I love contributing to the profit of the companies I’m invested in. In my opinion, that’s thinking like an owner.
After all, you don’t want to buy from the competition, do you?
Well, this move allowed me to save a lot of money while still being able to use the service that one of my investments provides.
That’s called having your cake and eating it, too.
Moreover, AT&T’s network is one of the biggest and best. I didn’t want to cut my spending if it meant that I wouldn’t be able to reliably make phone calls (especially in an emergency).
Now, there are countless prepaid options out there.
If you don’t want to use Cricket, that’s fine.
But I think you should give serious consideration to cutting down on the mobile phone spending.
That spending could be delaying your retirement.
Sure. You may have to cut down on the mobile data usage. Although you’re still getting AT&T’s excellent network with Cricket, the low-end plan means your speed will drop down after you hit your cap.
But is being able to look up the weather after you’re already outside really worth delaying your early retirement? Is that really worth thousands and thousands of dollars?
Keep in mind, too, that public wifi is practically as ubiquitous as mobile devices. As such, I try to use this “free” bandwidth as much as possible.
Food for thought.
I hope you enjoyed the series. These are real-life, practical everyday tips that I actually used to retire decades before most people. Some of these ideas are extreme. But the idea of retiring in your 30s is also extreme. Can’t expect extreme output without extreme input.
So I hope you found value in the series. And I hope you consider implementing some of these changes.
Early retirement is too amazing to keep all to myself. You should be enjoying this, too!
Think about your money. And then your money will think about you.
Thanks for reading!
— Jason Fieber[ad#sa-income]