7 Simple Adjustments to Make to Save More and Retire Early

by David Ning · 5 comments

retire earlyWe cannot change the cards we were dealt, but we can certainly increase our chances of success by changing how we play the hand.

Tweaking our outlook can dramatically improve our life. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, there are plenty of tricks we can employ to improve our finances by adjusting how we view the steps needed to achieve financial freedom. Here are a few ways to help you do what’s necessary by just changing how you look at each situation.

save and retire early1. Try to think of the day you can retire with each contribution.

If you are struggling to feel that your retirement savings are making a difference. Obviously, you will need a plan in place to figure the date out first, but whether it’s an hour, a day or a week, being able to see how your retirement date is getting closer will help you save more.

2. Look at the exact date when you will become debt free.

Similarly, if you can’t find the urge to make extra mortgage payments consistently check the date. Just make sure you really celebrate when that day comes, because it’s a major milestone. (Like this tip? Here are 25 more ways to pay down debt.)

3. Setup a intermediate goal for your savings. 

If you can’t seem to stop buying today because you can’t see the benefits of tomorrow, start with short-term goals. For example, setup a vacation fund and you will instantly start comparing the $5 coffee against delaying your trip.

4. Visualize a timeline.

This works for those irresistible car purchases too. All you need to do is think of how much longer you’d have to work in order to pay for that vehicle which sits idling most of the time. You may still end up buying the car, but at least you know you really love the drive.

5. Find the motivation.

Finding the motivation to look for part time work is tough, because you are often concentrating on the low hourly wages. Think of how much more you can spend on your hobby with the money you make on your part time job, and this will entice you to apply. (When you are ready, here are 15 ways to earn extra money.)

6. Lower your exposure to stocks.

If you can’t seem to save, how about being able to not even look at the stock market because you don’t need the potential returns? I know my life would be simplified (and probably quite a bit more comfortable) if I have so much saved that I can drastically lower my exposure to stocks.

7. Carve out the time like it’s your job.

And if you really can’t find the time to clip coupons, think of whether you have time to deposit the free money if someone just offered the sum to you on the street. You know you have the time, and money is money whichever way you can get them.

Sometimes, adjusting our view is all it takes to turn failure into success. Try it. The tactics work with money, and everything else too.

Editor's Note: I've begun tracking my assets through Personal Capital. I'm only using the free service so far and I no longer have to log into all the different accounts just to pull the numbers. And with a single screen showing all my assets, it's much easier to figure out when I need to rebalance or where I stand on the path to financial independence.

They developed this pretty nifty 401K Fee Analyzer that will show you whether you are paying too much in fees, as well as an Investment Checkup tool to help determine whether your asset allocation fits your risk profile. The platform literally takes a few minutes to sign up and it's free to use by following this link here. For those trying to build wealth, Personal Capital is worth a look.

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  • bryan says:

    Great article. I have another adjustment. Whenever you are about to buy something, think about whether or not you will still be using it 5 years from now. If the answer is no, then don’t buy it.

  • Marbella says:

    My basic rule of all saving is not having credit, down payments or loans. With cash you can always get better prices and contracts. I do not take high risks in shares, bonds or mutual funds. Also do I not any impulse buy, I plan all my purchases at the right time. There is my retire plan.

  • I like the act of comparing your $5 coffee to what you really want/need.

    Once you sit back and look where you are spending your money, you’d be amazed at where it goes to waste.

    I’d suggest looking at your credit card bill or receipts and markup the charges that can be done away with.

    Then, take that extra money and put it towards your savings account…or something that you want to buy in the future.

  • Mint.com has an excellent way to save towards a goal. You can setup various goals, tell it how much you can contribute, and it will calculate how long it will take. It will also tell you how much more you would need to contribute in order to move the date up. When you have leftover money in your budget, it reminds you that you can “retire 3 years early” if you apply the money towards your goal. It has really changed the way I save for my goals!

  • Great advice. So many of us get caught up in the marketing of life and loose track of what is really important, like working for our things or working for something more, like retiring early.

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