Day in and day out, those of us categorized as “middle class”, punch the clock, pay the bills, and repeat. During that time, we all dream of retirement. A time where we no longer have to wake up and take orders from someone else in order to receive a pay check.

We picture ourselves barefoot on a beach, soaking up the sun, or maybe you see yourself in a cabin in the woods getting lost in a new novel each day. Regardless of where your retirement dreams take you, it’s possible to get there sooner than you may think.

On Friday nights sitting at home watching the Shark Tank on ABC you get inspired to build something big. Very big. Being realistic however is also key as it never makes sense to risk it all and go into debt if your business ventures do not work out. According to a recent Huffington Post Article says that saving to get rich doesn’t work but smart saving and smart investing should have been the key focus from the article.

With a little will power, penny pinching, and patience, it can be done. The first step in reaching this goal is to determine where you want to be. What age do you want to retire? Where do you plan on living? What is the cost of living at this time and place? You’ll need to sit down and review your income and expenses. You will also need to clear up any bad debt you may have. There are a lot of cases where a monthly income stream is there from an annuity that you can sell off or keep depending on your financial situation and your goals.

Now that we have that figured out, its game planning time. Time to figure out where and how to save. Determine how much you will need on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. Decide how much you need to put away now to accomplish your goals. Evaluate everything you spend. Pinching pennies, being cheap, going generic, these are all terms you can use from here on out.

Everything you buy, you will need to bargain, downsize, and skimp on. Couponing has become one of the biggest ways to save on not only groceries, but clothing, furniture, household products, etc. DO IT. Seriously, once you get into the groove of figuring out the method, you will save a ton of money, and also stock up on everything you may need (some will even last you until your retirement!!!).

Do you know what’s better than cheap? FREE. Take hand-me-downs, go to yard sales, and check the newspapers for items you may need. Each and every cent you save, you have to decide how much to put away in savings. Remember to keep this amount realistic. You don’t want to over or under do it. You can use a piggy bank or an actual bank. Either way, once you deposit these savings, absolutely do not touch them. For “emergency” situations, keep a separate emergency account. Keep in mind, this will take a lot of discipline. Your beach dreams won’t happen overnight, but with patience and determination, you can do it!

photo by alamosbasement

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