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Do you know that a short lunch break has changed one person’s life? Yes, she was once in debts and
now one of the youngest millionaires in her country. Sarah miller struggled in her early 20’s and had
a fragile lifestyle till her mid 30’s.
She got married, and brought her first home with her husband when they were 28. She used to work
for a non-profit organization which was a 9 to 5 job.
She and her husband lived in cities including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. They
didn’t have any debt and they dutifully put part of their monthly pay-checks into savings.
But one birthday, Thames had an epiphany.
“When I turned 30 in 2014, I just had this realisation that I was not living a life that I was passionate
about and that I was not doing what I should be doing with my life,” Thames, now 34, told INSIDER.
Her husband, Nate, had the same feeling, she said.
“We realised at that point, if we don’t change something about the way that we live, principally
about the way that we use our money and the way that we use our time, we’re going to wake up
and be 40, 50, 60 and never have really done what we want to do with our lives,” she said.
“That realisation was the origin point of our decision to start saving at a very high rate and work
toward financial independence and ultimately moving to a homestead in rural Vermont.”
They transformed their shopping and household habits.
Thames and her husband stopped buying anything from the grocery store that was pre-made or pre-
packaged. They bought only raw ingredients, mostly in bulk.
“For example, instead of buying bread, we made our own bread,” she said. “Instead of buying pre-
made hummus, we made our own hummus. We stopped eating out. We made all of our own food at
They stopped spending money on non-essential items, like new clothes and dry cleaning.
“We found ways to make do with the clothes that we had and we stopped buying really anything
discretionary,” Thames said. “We didn’t buy any furniture. We didn’t buy anything for our home.”
To live a frugal lifestyle, you have to ask yourself the tough questions.
Thames writes about personal finance because she is passionate about money management and
helping people better understand their finances in a country that she says lacks financial education.
“Certainly moving to a homestead does not have to be your goal, but you can still take away the
basics of where to start with just getting a better handle on your money,” Thames said.
She said people should ask themselves the questions she asks herself.
She realised that each dollar she is spending every month is not aligning with her priorities. She
mentioned that people should first start tracking their money and then start seeing where their
money is going?