If You Want An Early Retirement, Cut Back on These Things

Credit: C.J. Burton

Retiring young is hard enough without expenses piling up.

If you have an inkling of early retirement in you, then first of all, I am so sorry. You’re in for some tough times. You need to make a lot of money, and your saving practices need to be laser-precise. It definitely seems like a Sisyphean task, to be sure, but it is possible. If you’d like to level the playing field a little bit, though, there are actually a few things you can cut back on that will save you a respectable brick of cash down the road.

New Phones
With how frequently new smartphones are released into the wild, it can feel like your current model is outdated the moment you buy it. This is just a marketing trick, however; buying a top of the line model every time you think you need one is will drain your coffers like nobody’s business. Rumors of planned obsolescence aside, you can get a lot of life out of your phone if you treat it right. Heck, even if it’s damaged, the important thing is that it still works. Unless your screen is completely shattered or the battery has inflated into a perfect sphere (speaking from experience on that one), you don’t need a new phone.
Lottery
Are you seriously playing the lottery while trying to save for retirement? There’s no shortcuts to early retirement, and even if there were, the lottery sure as sugar wouldn’t be one of them. A cheap ticket once every few months is fine, but if you’re buying entire rolls on a weekly basis, to say nothing of betting lump sums on horses or whatever, then your priorities are completely out of whack. The odds of getting an actual return on the lottery are nearly nonexistent; even if you won, you’d just be making back everything you spent, so in the end, you get nothing.

Credit: G-Jun Yam/The Washington Post

Cable TV
It still surprises me a little that anyone pays for cable television when there are so many streaming packages available. I don’t; the only cable service I have in my home is internet, and internet provides all the entertainment I could want. You could get a Netflix subscription for a fraction of the monthly cost of TV, or if you really like live stuff, there are plenty of web-based alternatives like Sling TV. Don’t bother with a triple cable bundle when all you really need is the internet.
Clothes
I never realized how expensive clothes actually were when I was a kid, and it’s for that reason that I very rarely buy new clothes now. If you’ve got a reliable dresser full of shirts, pants, and the occasional piece of formal wear, why do you need new clothes? Do you even have room for them? Unless your entire wardrobe has spontaneously gone up in flames, I don’t think you need any new apparel, and even then, you should buy second-hand to keep costs down.
Impulses
When I say “impulses,” I don’t mean a Hershey bar at the checkout line. That’s fine, you can still do that if you want. No, I’m talking large purchases made completely spontaneously. If you wake up one day and decide you need to buy a brand new Peloton, then I think you need a few more hours of sleep. Large, sudden purchases on something you might not even use that much are the antithesis of saving. No, I don’t care if you think you “might need it someday;” that’s hoarder talk. That kind of talk is going to land you on an A&E special.

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