finance

At 20, Grant had $2.95 to his name. Here's how he saved $1 million by 30.

Grant Sabatier logged online to check his bank balance one day, and saw that he only had AU$2.95 (US$2.26) to his name.

He couldn’t even afford the burrito he wanted for lunch, and he knew something had to change.

The 20-something had finished college, but was living with his parents, unemployed and – as he had just realised – completely broke.

grant bank account
Grant was "broke" in 2010. Image via Millennial Money.

By the time his 30th birthday arrived, Grant's bank balance looked a whole lot different: he had managed to save AU$1,308,306 (US$1 million).

So, how did he do it?

Grant, now 32, shared his money-saving tips with The Washington Post, and writes about his journey on his blog, Millennial Money.

The first step on his way to becoming a millionaire?

Realising his full-time job wasn't going to pay the bills and help him save.

piggy bank
Let's fill this little guy up. Source: iStock.
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He was earning US$50,000 a year at a marketing agency, but started multiple "side gigs" to bring in extra cash - doing consulting work, building websites for other companies and even selling concert tickets.

"If you just view your full time job as they way you're going to get ahead it's just going to take a lot longer," he told The Washington Post.

LISTEN: Canna Campbell shares her top tips for women to get empowered about their money.

Grant worked tirelessly, often giving up time with family and friends so he could work at night and on weekends. Soon, he was able to quit his 9-5 job to focus on the odd jobs that were actually bringing him more money.

Grant quickly had to admit that setting himself a goal of saving $1 million was a daunting experience. But, he learned to "bring the future into the present" to make his dream more achievable.

He set himself daily targets of saving at least $50 a day, and when he was well and truly into the habit, he sometimes saved hundreds or thousands of dollars in one day to reach his target.

But the real secret to his money success?

Investing. Smart investing.

He also began investing his savings into "stocks and bonds", which gave him "a much higher return than he would have earned through a savings account".

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Grant went from $2.26 to $1 million with these money-saving techniques. Image via iStock.

He also cut his monthly expenses: he moved from a "really swanky apartment" that was costing him $1,500 in rent each month in Chicago, to one half the size (and half the price).

"That's $700 more that went straight into my investment account," he told the publication.

Even an avid saver like Grant caught himself getting "comfortable", though. Last year, he splurged on expensive food, wine, and holidays to the Napa Valley that drained his bank account of thousands of dollars. While he could technically afford these things, it's a trap many high-earning individuals get caught in, he says, one he calls "lifestyle inflation".

"Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should,” he said.

So even with a huge sum of money behind him, Grant is back to drinking $12 bottles of wine, and cooking homemade meals instead of dining out.

Do you hear that, millennials? Hand back the avocado toast, please.

Now that's impressive.

What's your best savings tip? Tell us below...