How to Retire Early: 10 Frugal Ways to Save & Earn Money

by HomeSteadHow

Here at HomeSteadHow we want to share valuable insights on how to retire early. We purchased our homestead 6 years ago and have been living a life of freedom.

We are free to do what we want when we want. We’re free to work on projects and hobbies we're interested in, and most importantly, we’re free to spend more time with our family.

Nothing that's worthwhile is easy. We did a lot of work to get here. Here are some of the methods we used to save money during the 10 years leading up to the purchase of our homestead.

Buying used cars

1. Don’t buy new cars

We have never purchased a new vehicle. We've always bought used cars, usually priced at around $500. We've run the math, and in those 10 years, this decision alone has banked us $74,324.

Our used car gets me from point A to point B. It runs excellently, and I never have a stressful car loan hanging over my head.

Buying used phones with a no-contract service

2. No fancy new phones

While most of our peers always have the latest and greatest new iPhone or Android device, we have always had a cheap used phone.

We use a no-contract service that costs us about $20 per month. My phone has 99% of the bells and whistles that new phones have, but I pay about one-fifth of the cost.

Getting used phones and a no-contract service has saved us $80 more per month. That is $1,000 a year in savings. In the ten years leading up to the purchase of our homestead, that's another $10,000 saved.

Buying clothes at thrift stores and rummage sales

3. No new clothes

We never buy high-end or expensive new clothes for ourselves or our children. We buy our clothes used from Goodwill thrift stores or rummage sales. We buy the clothes used and when we don’t want them anymore we resell them at a consignment store.

Our clothing cost is a fraction of that of the average American. The average family spends $800 per year on clothing. We spend $500 which allowed us to save another $15,000 in the ten years leading up to purchasing our homestead

Fixing up a property to sell

4. Invest in fixer-uppers

Most of our peers bought renovated homes in trendy neighborhoods. We've always done the opposite, only purchasing fixer-uppers. We paid $86,000 for our first home. We fixed it up and sold it five years later for $125,000. We rolled the profits over into our next house.

When we got to house number three, we had a significant stockpile of earnings to help pay for our homestead. We had a $45,000 total profit from both homes. We put in hard work to fix up these houses but made a considerable profit.


5. Cut your own hair

It costs at least $20 to get a haircut, then you have to tip, and pay for gas there and back. If you get a haircut once a month, that's around $360 per year. In 10 years, I've saved $3,600 by having my wife cut my hair.

Growing food

6. Grow your own food

Growing food at home instead of grocery shopping is a great way to save money. Not everyone has land to grow a lot of produce, but most people have room for a small garden. Even growing a small amount of your own food will help you save.

Doing your own repairs

7. Do your own repairs

I never pay people to fix something for us unless I really can't do it. You can find a YouTube video to teach you how to fix anything broken in your house, car, or appliances. In 10 years we’ve saved at least $5,000 doing our own repairs.

Crafting videos on YouTube

8. Turn your hobbies into a business

My wife loves crafting. She started doing it for fun and then she turned it into a small business. She makes about $500 a month in YouTube revenue and another $500 a month selling crafts to local consignment stores. She's making well over $1,000 per month doing crafts that she would have done for free. 

9. Don’t get cable TV

There's so much good content on YouTube right now. Cable and Netflix are just not necessary. We’ve saved $85 per month. Over the course of ten years, we’ve saved $10,200.

How to retire early by saving money

10. Don’t shop at big supermarkets

The big supermarkets overcharge because they overstock with a variety of options for each category of product. This means you end up paying more. We’ve saved $6,000 over ten years by shopping frugally at Aldis instead of going to the big grocery stores.

If we tally up all that we saved in the 10 years leading to our homestead's purchase, we saved $185,924. We purchased the homestead six years ago for $115,000. We put a lot of those savings into fixing up the property. 

How to retire early

Start investing in yourself. So many people my age invest in 401KS and retirement plans. I think it's a lot smarter to first invest in yourself. That could be as simple as remodeling a room in your house or investing in a hobby you can turn into a small business.


Keep your job and take on a side hustle. Get some income going on the side. Besides saving money you learn how to grow income passively. There’s no bigger return on your investment than if you invest in yourself. 

That’s how we set ourselves up to pay off the mortgage on our homestead and retire at 36 years old. We've been able to regain our freedom and live an amazing life. I hope that you guys out there can experience the same thing.

What are some decisions you've made to save yourself money? Feel free to reach out if you guys have questions. If you're struggling and you want to implement some of the saving tactics I shared here, I'd be more than happy to assist.

Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.

Join the conversation
  • Thefiddler13 Thefiddler13 on Dec 11, 2022

    I’m from a family of savers and everything you’ve mentioned on saving, we’ve done, and it all works! When I was in grade school my mother and grandmother sewed our clothes and what the didn’t sew, they bought at thrift stores. I learned to sew from these women and sewed my clothes, then went on to sew for others and getting paid for that. There is money to be made in doing alterations and sewing for the public. I wish schools still taught Home Economics that’s where so much of saving can be learned. Thank you for sharing on saving!

  • Joni Vance Joni Vance on Dec 18, 2022

    I have been doing such of being frugal,i have cut my own hair for 8 years& my friend grows a garden every year,get clothing at goodwill,make up my own designs on wearing over at times,have done ,thanks for more on though of ,happy Holidays to you & yours& i donate to the less fortunate also