KW: retire early
Numerous people have retired in their 30s, 40s and 50s, taking time to relax, travel or pursue their dreams. If you envy them, you don’t have to. With proper planning, a little discipline and a few smart moves, you, too, can Retire Early. Here are 15 tips that, if you put them into action now, can help get you on track to living life outside of the work environment at an earlier age.
1. Save Like Crazy
KW: savings account
Rather than frittering away Money on unnecessary things — like specialty coffees or a thirtieth pair of shoes — put that money in the bank. Living sensibly now can help you form better spending habits and save more money. This, in turn, can help you prepare to retire earlier so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
Beyond a savings account, you also need to open and feed into Retirement accounts. This might take considerable discipline for some people, especially those who are susceptible to the idea that they need to buy all the “stuff” that companies — and even friends and family — tell them they must buy.
Read: How to Retire With at Least $1,000,000
2. Avoid Debt
KW: credit card debt
Don’t fall into the trap of using available credit to live on, or spend your hard earned wages paying for the debt to get those non-essential things you’ve been eyeing. If you overspend and carry a balance, you will be tied to paying off the debts plus interest when you could be saving that money for retirement instead.
3. Cook Rather Than Eat Out
KW: reduce your food bill
Not only does eating out cost considerably more than cooking for yourself at home, it also tends to involve more calories, sodium and fat that do not contribute to your well-being. Instead, creating batch-style meals can cut your costs and plan your meals in advance so you don’t fall into the takeout trap. Even creating a garden for some vegetables can help reduce your food bill.
4. Cancel the Overpriced Services
KW: monthly expenses
Of course, it’s important to allow yourself a balanced life — making time for entertainment, exercise and spending time with friends and family, and so on. However, there are things you can do to cut back on expensive monthly services, such as cable TV, internet and phone. Instead, look for alternatives like new on-demand streaming services and affordable mobile phone plans.
5. Ditch the Car
KW: car payments
While we love our rides, these vehicles cost a significant amount of money, in terms of the gas and maintenance, as well as the initial investment and ongoing car payments. If you live in an area that allows you depend less on a car, take advantage of it. Find opportunities to walk, ride a bike or take public transportation whenever possible, and reap the benefits of healthier and more cost-effective living.
6. Turn to Nature for Recreation
KW: cheap hobbies
Instead of pursuing hobbies that cost a lot of money because they require lessons and a lot of equipment, stick to activities that nature provides for free. Some popular outdoor activities that you can enjoy on the cheap include taking a walk, hiking or riding a bike. Or, go tent camping rather than taking an expensive vacation.
7. Get Off the Couch
KW: early retirement
Rather than watching hours of television, you can do something productive with that time, including taking on additional projects to sock more money away, or just get out and do other things that remind you of your mission to retire early. Sitting on the sofa does not keep you focused on your goal.
8. Don’t Spoil Your Children
KW: spending on children
This might be a difficult task for some parents to follow, especially for those surrounded by other parents who buy their kids whatever they want. However, when you are more discriminating with what you purchase for your children, you’ll become more conscious of the impact your spending has on them. You might also find some good opportunities to teach your children to have better spending habits themselves.
9. Do It Yourself
KW: cut household expenses
Although you might be busy, it can make more fiscal sense to do certain things around the home yourself. This means no maid service, gardener or pool technician. While paying for these services are convenient, they might not be necessary.
Look at what household expenses you could reasonably cut, and channel that money into your retirement fund. An added bonus: You could even get in better shape as you take on more of these responsibilities. Also, you get the satisfaction from doing the work yourself.
10. Focus on the Positive
KW: positive thinking
Many early retirees and successful people in general will tell you that staying positive helped keep them on the right track to accomplishing their goals. People who stay positive are also less likely to become ill, and are better able to cope with hardship and stress, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Instead, they find satisfaction in those priceless things like family and friends that lift them up. As corny as it might sound, this positivity habit could help keep you from overspending, and help you stick to your goal of early retirement.
11. Be Mindful
KW: spending habits
With each choice you make, try to frame it in terms of whether that decision will make you happy or add satisfaction to your, or someone else’s, life. Impulse can lead to poor choices and bad spending habits. Don’t just be mindful, be present with your choices and how they contribute to your major life goals.
12. Create a Plan
KW: retirement plan
While these tips can help support your retirement goals, you do need a strategy to get you there. Figure out what it will cost for you to get into retirement, and how much cash you will need to comfortably live on. A solid plan can help direct all your actions toward reaching the goal of an earlier retirement, and hopefully with less stress.
13. Get Financially Educated
KW: financial education
If you’re not sure where to start, or even if you do, but know you have more to learn, take classes on fiscal responsibility, investing and saving. There are numerous financial advisors and consumer education sources that offer classes and literature — online and offline — that can help you learn more, so you can make better decisions.
14. Don’t Wait
KW: saving for retirement
No matter what age you are, don’t wait to get started on saving for retirement. It’s easy to get caught up today and forget about what tomorrow brings. The longer you wait, the longer it will be until you can comfortably retire.
15. Don’t Give Up
KW: retiring early
You might think that, because you’ve hit a certain age, it’s too late to retire early. It doesn’t have to be. You can start implementing any of these tips at any point, and start seeing the results. Even saving a little bit can start the momentum toward building wealth for your retirement.
Now is the time to think about working toward a time of enjoying life rather than working yourself into the ground. Some of us want to work forever, but with planning and proper action, you can let that be a choice rather than a mandatory sentence.
Read: 20 Tricks to Retiring Rich
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 15 Tips and Tricks to Retire Early
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