Would you like to be better off financially, and end up retiring early? Then, it’s time to change the way you live – maybe even where you live. Thomas J. Stanley is the author of Start Living Like a Real Millionaire. He says too many North Americans are “aspirational spenders,” people who spend money to make themselves look richer or more successful than they are. To get real wealth, Stanley says you typically have to spend a lot less than you earn and invest the rest. Here are a few tips that can make you more of a saver than a spender, courtesy of MSN:

  • First: Choose your neighborhood wisely. Studies show that where you live has a direct impact on the amount of money you spend. In other words, the more expensive your house, the bigger your mortgage, and the more you spend on heating, cooling, insuring, and maintaining the place. You’re also more likely to overspend on cars, vacations, home décor, and entertainment in order to keep up with the Joneses. On the flip side, studies show that people who live in more modest areas tend to spend less, regardless of income.
  • Next: Be careful who you hang out with. According to Stanley, the ideal neighborhood is populated with teachers and engineers, because as a whole, they tend to spend less, and save more than people in other professions. If you’re around people who talk about investments, IRAs, early retirement, and saving for dream vacations, it can have a profound effect on your own spending, in a good way.
  • One final way to become more of a saver than a spender: Don’t buy a vacation home. Most people think having a vacation home means they’ve arrived, but people who own a second home accumulate a lot less wealth than people who have just one house. Stanley points out that houses cost a lot to run and maintain – and you may end up pouring money into a property you don’t use very often.