What is your plan for the future?

By the time I hit 40, I want to have saved enough money to retire. The goal is to no longer have to earn money any more so that I can dedicate myself to other things. For me, this means spending my time reading and writing books. I would also like to spend lots of time outdoors in nature and go on long trips to Canada and the US.

How is it possible to save half your income?

We save almost 50% of our monthly salary! Most of it on food, transport and living costs – we live outside the city, for example. Before we started doing our sums, we had two expensive cars. Now I share one small one with my wife, which saves us CHF 572 per month in running costs. Another tip is to try to strike a deal with your telephone provider. We combined our contracts, which saves us CHF 118 a month. We also adopted a similar approach to our health insurance policies.

How has saving money changed your life?

We have stopped comparing our consumption with that of our friends and neighbours. We go on fewer expensive trips and spend lots of time hiking or cycling here in the Jura region. The important thing, however, is that we still treat ourselves to the things we really enjoy from time to time, such as meals at restaurants on our wedding anniversary.

Is frugalism a way of searching for meaning?

When I started saving money, lots of questions automatically arose. Why shouldn’t I treat myself to whatever I’m saving for now? What is the meaning of life? This bugged me at first. But all these questions have been only beneficial to me – financially, but also interpersonally, as I have learned what is really important.

How does frugalism differ from minimalism?

I love minimalism! For me, frugalism is minimalism with your finances. Living without excess gives me freedom and enables me to dedicate myself more to my creativity and my current thoughts.

How do you invest your money?

I don’t actively trade in shares; I put the money in managed funds. I spend about 30 minutes on this once every three months and otherwise I ignore it. My investment goal is to have accrued a total wealth of CHF 2,156,000 by the age of 40 – including my occupational pension and pillar 3a. Then we will be able to live off the money our assets yield through further growth and dividends. And then use up our savings step by step.

What is your advice for budding frugalists?

If you have a goal, you will find a way of achieving it. The rule of thumb is: Once you have saved 25 times your annual expenditure, you no longer have to work. But don’t be too hard on yourself. It is possible to be very strict for a short period of time, but not for 10 to 15 years. You have to find the right balance, that’s where the attraction lies. And don’t forget that you are doing it for yourself, not for others.

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