Half of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand for financial emergencies, and almost a third have no retirement savings. Now meet the world’s superstar savers. Forbes has compiled stories about ordinary people who have made headlines by accomplishing amazing financial feats, whether that’s buying nothing for a whole year or retiring at age 30. Their stories are full of smart spending, saving and investing moves that you can apply to your own life, and you’ll see what it takes to commit to good, wealth-building habits—and what to do with the occasional financial slip-up.
The best way to develop successful money habits is to learn by example: Many of these people were heavy spenders and acquired massive amounts of debt before deciding to take small, but meaningful, practical first steps toward saving their cash. None of these people stumbled upon their future wealth by winning the lottery or inheriting a trust fund. The most repeated conclusion among these frugal superstars is this: Trade in your consumer impulses for the most valuable thing money can buy—your financial freedom.