Another month gone, another month closer to retirement. My savings rate for May was a modest 64%. So far in 2014 my overall savings rate has hovered just around what it was last year (67%). Putting aside 2/3 of what you earn might sound psychologically difficult at first, but “flexing your frugality muscle” gets easier with practice, and I could not be more happy with the way things are going. The only thing I’ve needed to cut back on are frivolous expenses like frequent trips to fancy restaurants and bar drinks marked up 300% because somebody hands it to you from behind a counter. These things alone allow me to indulge in luxuries like travel and live entertainment without compromising my plan to retire by 35.
My major expense this month (besides rent) was a plane ticket to my bachelor party in August. Nothing crazy folks, just a lake-house weekend in the Catskills. A few weeks after that I’ll be going to Jamaica for a week with my future wife; that trip is already paid for. I suppose I could give up these things and retire by 32 instead, but that just doesn’t seem worth it.
So what can I do better? I bought a lottery ticket this month. The Powerball craze got to me. $3 down the drain. Although we did hit one of the numbers.
I also bought a computer game for $15. I had torrented it for free, but enjoyed it so much I bought a legitimate copy in order to receive the developer’s frequent updates. Now the novelty has worn off, and I am not sure the benefit of owning a legitimate copy was really worth it.
On our recent camping trip I got lost on my way to the campsite and had to buy an overpriced map from a gas station for $8. I really should have bought a more reasonably priced map (or written better directions) when I gave up the data plan for my cell phone, but I’m saving so much money from that switch that I can’t really be upset.
Great stories, eh? Everything above is small potatoes, but adds up over time in a positive way just as surely as a cigarette smoking habit adds up in a negative way. By living below my means I was able to pay off the debts my younger, foolish self incurred and build up significant savings that will multiply themselves over time. Now I don’t need to worry about federal student loan interest rates doubling on July 1st, or making payments on a car. The benefits of extreme saving will only increase over time, and things are looking pretty good already.