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Looking to dump your debt or reach your dream faster? Learn how Matt and his fiancée save more than half their income – while still having fun! 

How to Save More Than Half Your Income

Do you think you two could save half your income this year?

Saving over half may seem impossible, but banking a significant chunk of your income can help you accomplish incredible things with your finances and life.

Today’s guest is Matt from Distilled Dollar. He and his wife have saved more than half their income!

Did I mention they live in Chicago? Not a cheap city to live in.

What's also amazing is that even with the high savings rate, they still make room in their budget for fun and occasional luxuries. 

Not an easy journey, but one they feel is worth it. They have grown the gap between what they earn and what they spend so they can tackle what matters. 

In this episode, Matt shares:

  • why he and his fiancée have chosen to be so aggressive with savings
  • how they worked through their spending so they’re now able to save 60% of their income
  • how they stay motivated

It’s not your typical millennial money story.

You can listen to everything right here or read the highlights below.  Hope you enjoy!

If you’re looking additional ways to save half your income, please check out my interview Joe and Kathleen of Stacking Benjamins.

Resources to Boost Your Savings Rate

Want to start boosting your savings rate? Here are some resources to check out:

Getting Out of the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle

Back in 2014 Matt and his now wife were carrying a ton of debt. He was 24 and she was 23 and between the of them, they had around $150,000 in student loan debt. 

This huge amount of debt was affecting their relationship. 

We were obviously heading in the wrong direction. I mean we wouldn't fight about money but there was this underlying current strife and turmoil associated with paying off our loans.

Matt – [2:05]

What's amazing is that they have gone from being deep in debt to becoming financially free. 

They dumped all of their $150,000 of student loans in four years! 

It wasn't an easy process, but it's doable.

Matt shared the strategies and tactics that pushed them to save 60% of their income.  

Financial Freedom, Not Deprivation

No matter how you look at it, a 60% savings rate mean there is a serious drop in spending. 

Now you might be thinking that this means you deprive yourselves of fun, but that's not e case. 

Many times as you define clearly what you want (financial freedom), you begin to see that there are opportunities to dig deeper to still have fun without the needless expenses. 

Here are some of their big money wins:

  • Live tiny, save big. By skipping out on the extra bedroom and strategically hunting for a place that was close to work, they were able to save about $12,000/year. 
  • Skip the car. Tied to finding the place for them, by focusing on a location where walking was a viable option allowed them to dump the car and all of the associated expenses. That meant they could save over $8,000/year. 
  • Meal plan like a champ. Matt saves a ton of time and money with this one. Lunches out with coworkers can quickly add up. Matt thinks they easily save $5,000/year by cooking more at home. 
  • Seek low-cost entertainment. Eating out and going to the movies can be a fun and expensive way to relax. they now watch most of their movies at home and explore free events around Chicago when they want to have a night out together. They estimated about $300/year saved with just the movies at home switch. 

So with these five changes, they saved over $25,000 a year! Do you see how focusing on big wins can speed up your timetable? 

If you want more ideas on how you can save, I created a free course – 5 Days to $5K – that will take you step by step on having big wins without spending a ton of time. Most of my tips can be implemented in about 20 minutes.  

Implementing Instead of Just Reading

Matt admits that it wasn't an issue of not understanding personal finance that was keeping them in this cycle of debt.

He estimates that at that point he had read over 100 personal finance books!

Those books made no difference until he started implementing them. As they started seeing those wins (some big, some small), they were encouraged to keep pushing on. 

As you read some of the big wins they had, did any jump at you? Remember implementation is the key here. 

I don't expect all of them to apply to you, but you two should be able to track out one or two of them and see how it goes. 

You may not save as much as they did, but you can still have some huge wins under your belt (and extra cash in your wallet). 

If you don't know where to start, my suggestion is to first be very aware of your money. do you two know exactly how much is coming in and going out? 

There are some fantastic apps and more that will help you keep tabs on your money. some of my favorites out there include TillerPersonal Capital, and  Mint.

You can also review the Couple Money more ways you can slash your bills, grow your money, and invest wisely. 

Support the Podcast! 

If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word. If you have friends who could boost their savings, please share this episode with them on social media or just email the link!  
  • Leave a review. Every review helps! Please share your honest feedback on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher
  • Visit our Couple Money Toolkit for more info on available apps, tools, and services to master your money together.
  • Become a Patron. 

Special Thanks! 

Like the music in this episode? Our theme song is by Gentle Regime. I also want to thank Lee Rosevere for music in this episode.

This episode was originally released January 2017. Recently updated: August 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..