NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Saving more money is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions every January, but would you be willing to put away up to fifty percent of your salary?
Some people are, and as CBS2's Dana Tyler reported, it's just one habit of extreme savers whose frugal lifestyles net generous returns.
Extreme saver Jamila Souffrant says her family saved $85,000 last year. Carl Seidman says he did such an effective job stashing away cash, he may never have to return to corporate America again. For Ebony Horton, she says she cuts corners by not breaking the bank on clothes or her hair and nails.
It may sound difficult, if not downright impossible, to live like those extreme savers. But they weren't always like that.
"I couldn't really tell you what we were spending our money on before," Souffrant said. For all three of them, it was a deep desire to retire before the age of forty that drove them to change their financial ways.
"So many people are unhappy with their jobs and so many people are living above their means," Souffrant said. Despite living and raising a family in New York City, she says she now commits fifty percent of her family's income to savings each year.
"It means giving up some of the things my peers spend money on," she said. "So not as many vacations, not going out to eat as much, following a budget."
Ebony Horton paid off $220,000 in student loans in just three years by moving in with relatives and walking to work to avoid commuting costs.
"If you want to save more, you should automatically withdraw a portion of your paycheck each month to put into a savings account," Matt Fellowes, CEO of United Income told CBS2.
While brown bagging it every day can help, Fellowes says most people fall off the financial wagon.
"It's hard to cut things and sustain cuts on things you like," he said. "It's much better to focus on bigger ticket items that are occasional."
Investing expert Neil St. Clair says he and his wife challenge each other to save, and advises making a game out of it.
"Who can do a date night out for the lowest actual cost," he suggests, for starters. He then deposits what they would have spent, the differential, into savings.
"If it takes me one minute to go and post something on social media, what I can do instead is save ten cents," St. Clair said. "Do that every time you have that inclination to go and post something."
Seidman says the exercise in frugality was very uplifting. It's simple tipes like these that he says helped him reach his goal of early retirement at 32.
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