Extreme saver who retired at 33 explains how to raise kids on a frugal lifestyle

'It comes down to, we have to save more money than people that don’t have kids.'

Justin McCurry retired in 2013 at the age of 33.

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Now 39, McCurry lives with his wife -- who followed him into retirement in 2016 -- and three children in Raleigh, North Carolina.

McCurry and his wife are followers of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (F.I.R.E.) Movement. But even with three kids, McCurry and his wife have managed to not turn back to their jobs in order to cover their family’s expenses.

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“I think kids kind of cost whatever you want them to cost,” McCurry told FOX Business. “We have a lot of the same expenses that everyone else has, so we have to pay for them and we have to plan for them as well … It’s just something that we budgeted for.”

However, that’s not to say they subject their children to extreme frugality, either.

Justin McCurry retired in 2013 when he was 33. His wife (pictured) retired three years later. (Courtesy of Root of Good)

“It really just comes down to, we have to save more money than people that don’t have kids,” he explained. “It goes even further because I think two people can afford to be very, very frugal and cheap with themselves, as long as they’re okay with it. But I think … you can’t do that with kids necessarily. It’s not fair to them to make them live by an abnormally frugal lifestyle.”

“We’re on the cheaper side of average cost of living, I would say,” McCurry explained. “But the kids still have access to good schools, they have clothes, they have shoes, we go on trips.”

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He and his wife plan on helping their kids get a used car when they learn to drive and they’re even planning on helping their children with college when they’re older.

“I wouldn’t want to deprive my kids of a comfortable childhood just because I wanted to retire at 30 instead of 33 or 35 or 40,” McCurry said. “I mean, I would have kept working long enough to be able to have money in the budget to cover things that my kids needed.”

However, up to this point, McCurry hasn’t had to go back to work. He does technically still do “work” including volunteering and taking care of his kids, but “they’re not classically considered to be work,” McCurry said.

He does still do some paying work -- he runs his personal finance blog Root of Good and offers consulting -- but neither job requires many hours.

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“They’re both incredibly part time,” he explained. “Consulting is usually between zero and five hours per month and the blog is, maybe a little bit more, maybe five to 10 hours a month. I usually write one or two articles, so it’s not very active.”

Even with so few hours of paid work, McCurry said he’s never bored.

“There’s always something to do,” he said.

One of the things he and his family spend a lot of time doing is traveling. He said they typically spend three months of the year overseas -- mostly in the summer, for the kids.

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Aside from that, McCurry said the lack of stress is the “biggest positive aspect” of having retired early.

“I think [stress] comes from two parts,” McCurry said. “And there’s one that’s the job itself of being busy, getting up, going to work, dealing with people at work, stressful issues, clients or projects that are stressful or difficult. There’s that aspect of it … And then, I think that the other stressful part of that full-time job is you have so little time in the rest of your life outside of work.”

“In contrast now, it’s very relaxed,” he added. “We’re able to take these big long trips in the summertime. We’re able to spend time with our kids and do things with them and help them out. And I have time for all the leisure activities that I neglected when I was working.”