NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Increasing a personal financial investment is no longer just for big income earners.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, so-called “super savers” are setting the bar for how to tackle debt and come out on the other side.
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Ali and Josh Lupo were newly married social workers. About four years ago, 75% of their salary was going to rent, car payments, a six-figure student loan and more.
“We were spending close to $500 a month on what we call ‘snackies’ from the local gas station,” Ali Lupo said.
When Josh lost his job, they knew they had to make a change.
“We took pretty much all of the very limited life savings that we had at that point,” Josh Lupo said.
They used that money to buy a duplex in upstate New York. They lived there and rented out half, a strategy known as “house hacking” in the super-saver world. That reduced their rent, saving them enough to buy another home — and that wasn’t the only move they made.
“Ali had a really nice car with heated seats and cameras on it and we sold that, and we ended up finding a nice used Toyota Corolla,” Josh Lupo said.
“It wasn’t nice and I cried the whole way home, but I’m so glad we did it,” Ali Lupo said.
Today, their student loan is paid and Ali works only one or two days a week. They say these financial changes are something anyone can do and share their journey online as the FI Couple.
“We don’t want to sugarcoat it, it has been really challenging, but every time that we felt like giving up, it was like we have this bigger purpose,” Ali Lupo said.
Insider Economy reporter Alcynna Lloyd agrees real estate could be a path to building wealth.
“There are different programs used to assist people that they would like to make a down payment on a home,” she said.
Including FHA loans for people with lower credit scores.
Andrew Murnane isn’t buying a home just yet but saves on his rent by living in a six-floor walkup in New York.
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“I’ve always been a little bit more frugal with things,” he said.
The 26-year-old approached his financial plan by making a list.
“On one side of the list, it was things that made me happy that cost money, and on the other side, it was things that made me happy that didn’t cost money,” he said.
He said while he’s found the most happiness on “don’t cost” side, he’s also making some money and putting resources into his dream of becoming a successful podcaster and content provider, while still working in digital advertising.
“I can get there within the next couple of years and be you know, before I’m 30, be sort of like retired,” he said.
Super savers often have a side hustle, says Kathleen Elkins, a senior investment reporter at Insider.
“A lot of them have multiple revenue streams,” she said.
Justin McCurry was just 33 when he retired, finding financial independence in real estate while still a student.
“I used my loans to get a mortgage and own a condo in Chapel Hill,” he said.
While McCurry and his wife worked, combined they made less than $150,000 a year, but became a super savers with an eye to the future.
“I just started saving and investing a lot more heavily,” McCurry said.
The McCurrys travel with their kids in a 13-year-old minivan and like to cook at home. On his website, he says his net worth is now over $2 million.
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Experts say there are saving apps to help get on that super saver path.