In 2016, Chris Reining quit his IT job at age 37 with more than $1 million in the bank by living a modest lifestyle, saving and investing more than half his income and putting his money to work. For nearly three years, he's been living comfortably off of his investments in Madison, Wisconsin.
Achieving such a high savings rate didn't require that he follow a strict budget, though. In fact, "budgets don't work," the self-made millionaire and early retiree writes on his blog. "I don't believe in them mostly because people can't stick to them."
He compares budgeting to dieting: "How many people do you know that are always going on new diets, trying this and that, and never succeeding?"
Doing what actually works can require a mindset shift, he says. "Reaching financial independence, like dieting, is about being conscious, making changes slowly, setting yourself up for success with measurable and attainable goals and making this your lifestyle."
That's why, instead of creating a highly-detailed budget that allocates money for different categories, he recommends tracking your money — what's coming in and what's going out.