28-Year-Old Retiree Gives Away Her Incredible Secret To Saving Money

Woman shopping, saving money

When it comes to saving money, there are plenty of easy methods, a number of effective rules-based systems, some great apps that automate the process, and there are even smart ways to apply science.

But sometimes it just comes down to mindset. When faced with the opportunity to splurge, where is your head at?

Retiring Early Through Smart Saving

An interview with J.P. Livingston (pen name), who retired at age 28 with over $2 million in the bank and anonymously founded the blog The Money Habit, contains a number of interesting techniques. One of which caught my eye.

But first, a disclaimer: the MakeIt interview is fraught with disingenuous overselling. Yes, “J.P.” retired at 28 and has great financial advice. And yes, she was disciplined enough to save 70% of her salary during her working years. But she also worked at a Manhattan investment firm and, at one point, was pulling “mid-six figures.”

That last piece isn’t exactly relatable, or replicable, for the average person. This part is:

Saving Money With A Simple Mind Trick

The bit that caught my attention was all about purchase mindset. As she told MakeIt:

“To achieve a high savings rate, start viewing your purchases in terms of units of your time rather than dollars,” she tells CNBC Make It. “So instead of saying a new unlocked iPhone costs $800, you might do the math to figure out it would cost you 60 hours of work, or a week and a half of your life.”

It really makes you question whether the purchase is worth it.

“This is great for big purchases,” says Livingston. “To buy a home with an extra bedroom or one with fancier finishings might cost you $50,000 or $100,000. Is that worth working three extra years to you?”

The old adage, “time is money,” has traditionally been used to shame people into grinding, to not waste time because to do so would be to waste away an opportunity to make more money.

But the reverse is also true: your money is the tangible result of the time you spend earning it. And to waste your money is to waste all the hours you have spent—or will have to spend—earning that cash.

Think about that the next time you’re on the fence about a big splurge.

Ryan Rabasa

Ryan Rabasa is an associate editor at Wealth Gang. His passions are technology, writing, business, and media. He won't trust an investment strategy that doesn't incorporate both technical and fundamental analysis.