How is it possible for one family to live debt free while sending 13 kids to college and plans for an early retirement?  The answer is by being frugal.

Rob and Sam Fatzinger have 13 children, live in one of the most expensive regions of the country, and only Rob works making a little over 100 thousand a year.

After marrying 27 years ago, Sam and Rob started a small Christian bookstore and soon had a daughter. Rob said the couple never earned more than $36,000 a year in the business. Still, they saved 10 to 15 percent of their earnings. By the time they shuttered the store in 2000, they had seven kids.

Yet they paid off their mortgage early four years ago. They have no debt and Rob is on track to retire by 62. They do it by being frugal and focusing on FIRE, an acronym for financial independence/retire early.

Aspirants often strive to save at least 25 percent of their take-home pay over the years, or even twice that to feel financially secure or to pursue a new career. Others yearn to quit their jobs for the long haul, even in their 30s.

A few key principles to frugalism: How much you save, as a percentage of your paycheck, will foretell when you’ll be able to build your own business or retire. Small financial changes can make a big impact. And it’s not really about your income; it’s about your savings.

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