Category Archives: FrugalMostly

1-2-3 Retirement Savings (and a bunch of tips)

  1. Save as much as you can, preferable 15% of your income, in a IRA. Roth IRA, preferably. If you can save this much then you’ll also learn to be frugal in other areas, so when you do retire you’ll know how to make the money go even farther!
  2. Start as soon as you can. Anyone with earned income is eligible to fund an IRA. If you are a parent with working kids you might want to gift them money equal to their earned income into an IRA. Interest + time is the key.
  3. Keep is simple, and cheap. Most investment professionals talk about beating the market but almost never do, plus they have high expenses. If you invest in a cheap index fund like the Vanguard S&P fund then you don’t have to try and beat the market because you’ll own the market, and the fees are negligible. Here are some free bonus tips!
  4. One house, one spouse. Divorce is expensive. Sometimes it’s worth it, but it’s expensive.
  5. Pay yourself first and don’t fund your kids college at the expense of your retirement.
  6. You don’t own stuff, stuff owns you. Everything you purchase takes space and must be fed, insured, or maintained in addition to taking money out of your pocket. Don’t worry about keeping up with the neighbors, instead make considered purchases and buy the appropriate quality. Sometimes a cheap tool will do if you will only use it once or twice but other times it’s worth paying more if you will get lots of use out of it. Often used is the best buy. For example, a new Rainbow vacuum cleaner costs about $2500 with sales tax, but I recently bought a used one that works great for $140. I’d never pay that kind of money for a vacuum cleaner, even a great one like the Rainbow, but if a previous owner is offering that kind of discount then I’m all over it!
  7. Minimize your collection of monthly fees. They’re unavoidable sometimes, like cell phone bills or internet, but the NetFlix, Spotify, Hulu, cable tv and other fees quickly add up. A few hundred dollars of monthly fees multiply out to a few thousand per year.
  8. Avoid interest as much as possible, especially credit card interest.
  9. Always pay your bills on time. It’s easy to schedule payments with electronic banking., Pay 4-5 days before the due date so you won’t get hit by fees when the payment “doesn’t go through” in time.
  10. Learn to cook. Don’t eat out so much. Learn to love leftovers and pack your own lunch.
  11. Ready money is a friend. Savings can mean saving up for something or saving money until the right deal comes along. Be patient. If you wait long enough you’ll often find a great deal on things you’ve been saving for.
  12. Buy a car that’s a few years old, you might get an almost new for about half price. Let someone else take the depreciation hit.
  13. Don’t try to time the market. It’s tempting to pull out of your investments after the market takes a nosedive, but that’s the absolute worst time to do so! The best time is right before the nosedive, but only owners of certified crystal balls can do that. If you pull out when the market crashes then you lock in your losses and miss the benefit of the market’s comeback.
  14. Hot stocks are usually in the news after they’ve had a big run. Investing in today’s market darling can lead to mediocre results.
  15. After you’ve saved, and paid the bills, enjoy what’s left. Being smart with your money doesn’t mean never enjoying it. Being frugal and getting great deals is fun, being a cheapskate isn’t. Use some of your wealth to bless others who truly need and will appreciate it.

In a nutshell, save as much as you can, save as long as you can, and keep it as simple (and cheap) as you can. It doesn’t hurt to earn as much as you can. Remember to enjoy life, and your money, as much as you can!