Secrets of extreme savers

You can put away a lot more than the average American without living a deprived life.

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Super Saver: Tiffani Murry, 33
Savings Rate: 20% to 25%
Home: Atlanta
Occupation: Recruitment technology manger for a major consumer products company

Tiffani Murray's friends call her an extreme saver, but Murray prefers to call herself a smart saver. "From the time I was a kid, I liked to have money so if I wanted something I could buy it myself," says Murray, who opened her first savings account at age 12. Twenty years later she regularly uses coupons, always files for rebates, buys plane tickets with credit-card points and earns free stays at hotels in exchange for writing reviews about the service as a mystery shopper. "I have found many ways to stretch a buck and still live the lifestyle I enjoy."

Murray, who earns a six-figure salary, owns a three-bedroom home in Atlanta and drives a three-year old (recently paid off) Infiniti Coupe. "I could afford a bigger house or fancier car, but what I've got is just fine," she says. What's more important is her long-term goal of retiring by age 55.

To find more money to save, Murray turns her free time into extra cash. After work and on weekends, she writes freelance articles on career advice, retools résumés and even does event planning. This work she enjoys can add up to $25,000 a year in extra income. "I'd like to retire early and when I do, I won't have to want for anything," she says.

NEXT: Live below your means
Last updated July 19 2010: 9:04 AM ET
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