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Suze Orman's simple 21-day challenge for cutting costs and identifying what you really need

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Suze Orman's 21-day challenge to save for retirement

If you have 30, 40, or even 50 years until any potential retirement, it may be difficult to figure out how to trim your budget and keep your spending on track so you can save for the future. 

But for many people, being able to have a comfortable retirement comes down to what you're spending on today, money expert Suze Orrman says. Orman, who released "The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+" earlier this year, is a proponent of living below your means, but within your needs. 

That means only spending on what you actually need to get by, rather than on the things you just want. Of course, sometimes that distinction can be tricky to figure out. To help you get better at identifying the items you really need in your life, Orman recommends trying a simple challenge for the next 21 days. 

"Every time you walk into some place, ask yourself: Is this a want or is this a need? If it's a want, walk away. If it's a need, you have to buy it," Orman says. What's the difference? If you're hungry, for example, dining out at a restaurant is probably a want, whereas going to the grocery store to buy food is a need, Orman says. 

"Try that for 21 days and you will be shocked at how much money you can save," Orman says. 

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Figuring out your wants versus your needs and cutting back on spending on those wants earlier in life can be critical to saving enough for retirement, Orman says. Especially since the investing environment may not be ideal when you're getting closer to retirement age or already retired. Look at the current circumstances, for example. 

Many people retiring now can't rely on high interest rates. "There is no place for them to get a good interest rate, no safety because of the stock market," Orman says. That means retirees may now have to cut back their lifestyle because "they have to ask less from their money because there's no way for them to get more money," she says. 

"If you are younger, now is the time to cut back," Orman says. If you cut back on unnecessary expenses today, you will have more money to put into a retirement account. The more money you put into a retirement account and the more years that retirement account gets to grow, the more money you will have to live comfortably in the future.

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