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Living in her grandmother's basement and skipping out on expensive drinks when out with friends helped this woman save 30 per cent of her income

Name: Sara Shantz, 32

Amount saved: $100,000

Reason: Wanting to have a home she could come back to when she wasn't travelling, Sara and her husband put a down payment on a condo at Yonge and Sheppard in Toronto. She hopes to use a substantial amount of her savings furnishing it the way she wants.

How she saved it: Sara has been saving-spending-saving-spending for the past five years. A few years ago, she read the Wealthy Barber, which advised always paying yourself first, so she makes sure she put money away from each paycheck. She has consistently saved 30% of her yearly income for the past five years. She still goes out with her friends, but doesn't buy alcohol or expensive dishes at restaurants. She and her husband also live in her grandmother's basement, where they pay just $500 per month on rent.

Sara finds that spreadsheets work best for budgeting because it gives her a realistic idea of where her money is going. She put $40,000 toward the deposit of the condo, keeping $15,000 in an RRSP. The remaining $45,000 will be split on closing costs, appliances, updates to the 1,000 square-foot condo, furniture and a trip to Scotland/Wales for her best friend's wedding.

How long it took: Five years

What she would do again: Sara looks for opportunities wherever she can. "Living in my grandmother's basement wasn't the most luxurious thing ever, but it enabled us to save enough money to do what we want to do now." She said she continues to look for ways to curb her spending while not forgetting to live.

Why was it important: Sara didn't want the constraints of a bottom line holding her back from what she wanted. She wasn't planning on buying the condo for the next two years because her best friend's wedding is happening in Wales, but her savings did not force her to choose. She can do both.