“Financial independence, retire early”—or FIRE—is a savings strategy that first made waves in the 1990s. People who use FIRE to fast-track their retirement attempt to live extremely frugally in the hopes of socking away 50% of their annual earnings, or more.
When you hear about people who paid off their mortgage in two years—or scrimped and saved enough they were able to retire by 40—it’s easy to romanticize the idea and consider trying it yourself. That’s what this 28-year-old journalist did for a month—and he detailed the painful process of eliminating his social life in favour some extra money in the bank.
Understandably, this type of saving method is a little extreme for most people—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned from it. As the author notes, most of us spend a lot of money on unnecessary things. Whether it’s clothes, home décor items, food we never get around to eating—it’s just all too easy sometimes to click a button and make an impulse buy. Or grab extra produce off the grocery store shelves thinking that we’re going to spend time roasting brussell sprouts during the busy weeknight rush.
In this vein, if you’re looking to save a little more—and maybe pay off your mortgage a little faster—it might be worth your while to sit down and evaluate your spending. With the numbers in front of you, are there areas you can trim? If you’re prone to making impulse buys, some of these strategies might help you curb them—and I would add unsubscribing from retail sales emails (which is definitely something I plan to do). If food waste is an issue, consider meal planning, researching proper food storage, or implementing one of UBC’s 5 tips.
Long story short: You don’t have to sacrifice the life you have now to enjoy living in the future. By making small changes, it is possible to add a little to your savings account—and maybe even tackle more of your mortgage principal by upping your mortgage payment—so you can have an enjoyable retirement.