Who wouldn't want to retire early? Even though doing so is easier said than done, there are all sorts of things we can do to increase our odds of achieving an early golden era. It just depends on how badly we want to get there.

For example, you might try to wear out something you own. Many of us are accustomed to using things only until we get bored with them or something new comes along. That's true of our cars, and our clothes, and sometimes even our mates! But you can save a lot of money if you actually try wearing out some of your belongings. Wait until your answering machine dies before getting another one. As long as your bicycle is still serving you well, put off trading it in for a fancier model. Next time you're eyeing new furniture, ask yourself whether you might do well to just keep your existing stuff.

Another idea is to sell your home and live in a cheaper abode, such as a small apartment or even a camper. That's hardcore, but you'll also reap a little windfall simply by selling much of your furniture to make the move.

More importantly, you'll probably be able to save thousands per year, and those thousands, when invested, can turn into much more over time. For instance, if you can earn a 10% return on what you invest, your money will quadruple in 15 years. If you choose some individual stocks carefully and well, your money may grow even faster. Companies with average annual growth rates above 10% over the past decade include:

  • Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST): 23%
  • U.S. Steel (NYSE:X): 19%
  • MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM): 17%
  • General Dynamics (NYSE:GD): 16%
  • Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL): 12%
  • Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO): 11%
  • National Beverage (NASDAQ:FIZZ): 11%

You don't have to sell your house and live on wheels, though. There are plenty of other ways to trim your expenses. For example, I called my cable/phone/Internet company last week, to discuss how I could reduce my monthly bill. I ended up losing my call waiting, getting an additional premium channel, and spending $30 less per month.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Fastenal. Try our investing newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.