Super Savers Make These Sacrifices to Boost Their Cash Reserves

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 23, 2021

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Here's what it takes to be a strong saver.

Saving money isn't the sort of thing that happens without effort. To build a hefty amount of savings, you may need to make your share of sacrifices. But if you're able to, you'll reap the reward of financial security.

So how do rock-star savers sock away so much cash?

Principal recently surveyed a group of Americans between 19 and 56 who are considered super savers -- those who either save 15% of their income or more for retirement, or who contribute 90% or more of the maximum annual limit for employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. These super savers not only do a great job of funding their retirement accounts, they also make a point of funding their emergency savings.

So what are their secrets? Here are some of the things super savers have given up to get to where they are today.

1. Driving newer vehicles

A good 44% of super savers say driving an older vehicle makes it possible to sock more cash away. If you have a car that's older, but safe and functional, hanging onto it could be your ticket to boosting your cash reserves. This especially holds true if your car is fully paid off.

2. Owning fancy homes

For 35% of super savers, owning a modest home has made it possible to do well on the savings front. Housing is the typical American's largest monthly expense, so keeping those bills to a minimum can free up money for savings. If you're thinking of buying a home, you may want to opt for a smaller one with a lower mortgage payment, lower homeowners insurance premiums, and less maintenance.

3. Traveling

A good 38% of super savers gave up traveling as much as they'd prefer. While giving up travel entirely isn't necessarily something to aim for, you can take steps to keep your trips more affordable. That could mean driving to nearby destinations instead of flying, and skipping fancy hotels in favor of private homes rented through sites like Airbnb.

4. Help with house cleaning

If you work full-time and maintain a busy schedule, paying to have your home cleaned could enhance your quality of life. But 36% of super savers don't have a house cleaner, and that's money they can bank instead.

5. Help with home projects

Some home improvement projects are indeed best left to the professionals. But going the DIY route can be a major source of savings. In fact, 36% of super savers say they've tackled home projects solo to free up more cash for savings.

What are you willing to give up to save more?

When it comes to saving money, it's important to strike a balance. If you deny yourself every luxury, you might wind up miserable. And that's no way to live. At the same time, it's important to build savings for both emergencies and retirement, and to do that, you need to give some things up. The key, therefore, is to set priorities.

You may decide you're willing to live in a more modest home and drive an older car if it means getting to travel more. And you may pay for a house cleaner to free up a few hours a week for some much-needed downtime, while spending less in other areas.

You don't have to make every possible sacrifice to be a strong saver. Just pick a few effective methods to free up more cash, but spend a portion of your earnings on things that make you happy or lead to an easier life.

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