The average American household has $4,830 in a savings account. Not particularly great, but not entirely hopeless either. Financial experts recommend saving at least 10% of your income, but what if you could save more? I recently read an article about a man who paid off his mortgage early and he recommended that people save 70% of their income if they want to do the same.
When you’re considering financial independence, it’s all about the numbers so the more you save, the closer you can get to becoming financially free.
Is 70% too much? If this was even possible, how could you save so much of your income and not feel deprived? If you’re hoping to reach this savings percentage or see if it’s even an option, you may need help with a strategy. Check out these tips to help you save 70% of your income without feeling deprived.
Downsize Your Housing Situation
Housing is usually the most costly monthly expense. The general rule of thumb has always been to keep your overall monthly housing costs under 30% of your take-home pay.
If you’re trying to save 70% of your income without feeling deprived, that means you only have 30% left to live on. As a result, you can’t afford to spend your entire remaining budget on housing. Your housing costs need to be around 5% of your income or 10% at most – which is till a stretch.
Commit to downsizing and living in a smaller home. I enjoy living in a small ranch home because I have less to clean and maintain but still feel like my family has plenty of space. We get pretty creative with how we organize furniture and store things, but it’s so worth it.
You can also house hack and rent out your spare room or basement for extra cash. Another option would be to have roommates. I’ve even seen people get super creative and live in an RV, rent a studio, or offer to maintain the property in exchange for free or discounted rent.
Realize that you don’t have to live like a nomad to save money on housing. You can likely buy a duplex and rent out the other unit to keep your housing costs low and still have plenty of comfortable private living space for your self.
Find Creative Ways to Get Around
Driving and maintaining a car can also be another expense that could potentially be cut or reduced. If you have a two-car household, see if you can downsize to one car.
Sharing a car won’t make you feel deprived if you communicate well. You’ll essentially be able to cut your costs for maintenance, repairs, fuel, annual fees, and insurance in half.
You can also try getting by without a car at all. Look into options like public transit, walking, riding your bike or even renting or buying a scooter. These alternative transportation methods will still help you get around and can even double up as a form of healthy exercise.
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DIY As Much As You Can
Ditch apps like Instacart and Amazon Grocery if you’re trying to save 70% of your income. Carefully plan out your grocery list and give yourself one hour to do your shopping and get it out the way.
You’ll also want to get into the habit of cooking a majority of your food. You can still budget for dining out but you don’t want to go overboard so meal plan and prep as often as you can. This doesn’t mean you have to be in the kitchen cooking each night.
I often prep a few meals on Sunday night for the following week and I let my husband cook on weekends. Other things you can DIY in your household include haircuts, cleaning, home maintenance, and basic repairs, basic landscaping, and so on.
DIYing lots of things may seem time-consuming, but you have to choose what’s best for you and which specific skills you want to develop. You’re not going to be great at everything, but learning some skills to help you avoid paying for certain products or services can really go a long way.
Reside in a Low Cost of Living Area
Where you live matters when you’re trying to save money. If you’re in an expensive area like Los Angeles, you’re going to have a harder time saving 70% of your income than if you were living in a small town in Nebraska. Still, there are ways to compromise.
I live in a suburban area outside a large city. I live close enough to visit the city when I want to but don’t have to deal with the high cost of living there. Instead, I chose to live in a quiet, working-class area with good schools and good work opportunities.
Pay close attention to cost of living when you’re considering your next home. Where you live can dictate how much groceries cost, fuel, transportation, childcare, services, and so on. You can naturally enjoy a frugal lifestyle without feeling deprived if you don’t live in a high cost of living area. Even if you have to sacrifice some convenience – like not living in the heart of downtown in a big city – it’s worth it.
Try to Earn 6 Figures
I don’t want to end this post without covering one of the most important factors when it comes to being able to save 70% of your income – income itself! Saving 70% can be a tough feat if you’re not earning enough.
Think about it. If you take home $50,000 per year and want to save 70%, that means you’ll only have $15,000 to live on every 12 months. It’s not impossible, but that doesn’t leave you with much wiggle room at all.
The people who are most successful with saving 70% of their income earn 6 figures. Do you have to be a doctor of lawyer to save 70% of your income without feeling deprived? No, but you should try to focus on increasing your income as often as you can.
If you live in a dual-income household, two teachers earning $50,000/year could easily reach 6 figures.
You can also gain new skills that would boost your worth in the workplace, go back to school to advance your credentials, start a side business, or climb the corporate ladder. Whatever your strategy is, aim for 6 figures. This will help you reach your aggressive savings goal while still enjoying a comfortable lifestyle in the present.
A few years ago, I challenged myself to save 50% of my take-home pay and the results were amazing. Of course, I had much more money to put toward goals like building my emergency fund, saving for retirement, and paying off debt.
If this is what you’d like to experience as well, commit to increasing your savings rate. You don’t have to pursue 70% right away, but you can work your way up to that by using the tips highlighted above.