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Retirement always seems far away — until it’s a reality. The idea of retiring early may even seem crazy, but if you are realistic about how much you need in retirement, plan carefully and save diligently, you may be able to leave your 9 to 5 behind sooner than you thought. Check out some ideas below to cut costs now so you won’t have to worry later.

1. Refinance Major Purchases

If you can afford higher payments on large purchases like cars and homes, you might be able to refinance. This can possibly get you a lower interest rate and if you shorten the time of the loan (like by refinancing from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage) you can save money in the long term by paying less interest overall. Before such a large commitment, it’s important to run the refinancing numbers and make sure you can afford the new payment without putting a strain on your budget. You’ll need a decent credit score to be able to save money this route. (You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

The important thing here is to make sure you are still contributing to retirement funds while paying off the purchase and then directing the money that used to go toward the purchase each month to help with retirement once you’re done. 

2. Trim Excess Costs

In addition to big savings, there are small savings that can help you get to retirement sooner. Trimming unnecessary costs like cable or dining out frequently can add up. By putting that money toward retirement instead, you give the money time to grow. It’s a good idea to evaluate your monthly budget every so often with the intention of making sure it matches your goals (such as retiring early).

3. Contribute to Your 401(k)

Putting money into retirement accounts like a 401(k) allows your money to grow. Also, if your employer offers a matching contribution, this is free money that can get you to retirement more quickly.

4. Re-Evaluate Your Insurance

While insurance is an important security against possible emergencies, it’s important to pay only for the coverage you need. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to review your existing plans every once in a while. This includes looking at coverage amounts, type of events actually covered, your deductibles and your premiums for things like health, car and life insurance.

5. Get a Side Gig

You might also want to consider looking for easy ways to earn extra income. This can be by utilizing your skills in a part-time job or turning your hobby into a money-making venture. The important thing to remember is to put the money made from your side gig directly into your retirement funds.

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