MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Most people can only dream of retiring at age 35, but Russell Perkins is not like most people. Last month the 35-year-old officially retired, and he did it by giving up his daily dose of fancy coffee.
Six years ago, Perkins was worried about his future. Like most Americans he was living paycheck to paycheck. He had no savings and no assets except for his childhood comic book collection, which he knew would totally be worth something someday. But he also knew it wouldn’t be enough to see him through his golden years, so he sat down and took a good look at his finances. That’s when he made a starling discovery.
“I couldn’t believe how much I was spending at the fancy coffee house,” he said. “I was going there once, sometimes twice a day. Cutting that one expense would save me a fortune.”
Perkins quit cold turkey, but it was anything but easy. He missed the rich aroma of specialty blends like Turkish Delight, the aspiring writers working on their laptops, and the European folk rock blasting from the speakers.
“The first few weeks were rough,” he admitted. “You have no idea how much you crave the pretentiousness until you quit. I came close to falling off the wagon more than once.”
He eventually quenched his thirst by substituting indie films and trips to the organic market, and his savings began to grow. In six months he had enough money to pay off his student loans. A year after that he had enough for a downpayment on a house. Now, six years after giving up fancy coffee, he is looking forward to a long and happy retirement.
Though he has enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life, Perkins has no intention of resuming old habits.
“Financial security requires diligence,” he said. “When you’re saving money, you’re making money.”
True to his word, he is currently building a rainy day fund with the money he saves by reusing plastic cutlery.
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