Would you share a tea bag with your partner if it meant saving six cents a day?
Two bags for one cup is possibly a step too far for most.
But for Aussie mum Serina Bird, it’s just one part of her daily money-saving strategy that might have you thinking twice.
The FIRE movement – which stands for ‘Financial Independence Retire Early’ – has a small but growing community of people around the world living very frugally in order to retire early with millions in the bank.
According to Scott Phillips, director of research at The Motley Fool, the movement really took off in the last four to five years, especially among the millennial generation.
“It’s becoming almost gamified savings. The whole idea that… a few decisions made in your 20’s and 30’s can have really big ramifications by your 50’s and 60’s,” Phillips told Your Money Live.
Followers of FIRE go by the principle that if they save while they’re young and invest wisely, they should be able to retire decades earlier thanks to compound interest.
But this isn’t your regular savings hack.
Bird, who has been a long-time supporter of the movement, told Your Money that it’s an entire lifestyle choice for her and the family.
In addition to saving on tea bags, she and her husband both ride bikes in favour of a car, they bake bread for lunches and they spend less than $90 a week on groceries – for a family of four.
While they rarely eat out, Bird says they enjoy home-brewed beer and the odd $5 bottle of Aldi rosé for special occasions.
While these might seem like tough sacrifices, Bird says she’s been doing it for so long, she doesn’t even notice.
“You track your spending, you look at what you’re spending on, you look at what’s important to you and then you gradually reduce things over time,” she said.
So far, it seems to have paid off. Bird and her husband own a number of investment properties and they plan to retire more than a decade early in the next few years to travel.
Her book, The Joyful Frugalista is about her path to becoming a multi-millionaire.
Among her top savings tips:
- Write a shopping list to avoid buying in excess.
- Always take homemade lunches to work and school.
- Bike or walk instead of driving or public transport.
- Don’t buy coffees and snacks out.
Watch the full interview above.