178 comments

Frugality: the New Fanciness

This is my fancy, homemade “construction radio”. Booming bass, workplace toughness, extra plugs, 25 foot cord. Made almost entirely of stuff I got for free. Bonus: people tend to get a good laugh out of it.

I grew up in a pretty low-key family, financially speaking. We always had plenty of money for groceries and my parents never went into debt, but if you were one of the Joneses* living down the street from us, you’d be hard-pressed to notice any flashy spending.

This upbringing occurred in a pretty small town (we only got our second stoplight around the time I reached high school), and there wasn’t a lot of wealth to be flaunted around there. The closest thing to riches was a very attractive girl in my class named Kim who got to drive her parents’ brand new 1992 Mercury Cougar to high school every day.

This town was located in another country, the one called “Canada”, and we were known at the time for being less wealthy and flashy than our neighbours to the South. Hearty dudes with big beards and plaid shirts were our iconography, even if my own area was a bit more clean-shaven.

And finally, all of this happened over twenty years ago, at a time when all of us had simpler and less flashy lives. The very first cell phones – the ones that were tethered with a coiled cord to a base unit as big as a car battery – were only things to ogle curiously and were priced at $1999 on the last page of the Radio Shack catalog.

Even in university I was barely aware of wealth. We Engineers are notorious for our lack of cash-flaunting (and status-detecting) skills, so I thought of all of us as equals. There were a few rare kids that had expensive mountain bikes or laptop computers at the time, but for the most part, we all paid our own tuition and lived in cheap basement apartments.

So for most of my early life, I wasn’t even aware that money was something that could be flaunted to others. I thought it was a tool for buying your groceries, or if your parents really did well, a back yard swimming pool.

I think I experienced my first flaunting experience just after I had graduated and started working full-time in the software field. Some friends and I went on a summer trip to “Sherkston Beach”, a low-budget Canadian version of what they call “Spring Break” here in the US.

Beers in hand, we walked along the shore to join the party. I noticed that a long line of very clean and shiny cars had been parked along the strip, and each was playing some sort of boo-tss-boo-tsss dancy music from an upgraded stereo system. The owners of the cars, invariably tanned and bare chested dudes with expensive sunglasses, frosted hair tips and their little muscles carefully flexed, were busily walking around their cars, tending to this or that, setting up beer coolers or polishing volleyballs or otherwise keeping themselves busy.

“What is going on here?”, I wondered at first. “Why are their cars so clean? Why are they so well-groomed on a camping trip?.

“Oh… I think I get it … they are attempting to show off their wealth for the benefit of all the fine ladies around here.”

The whole scene seemed a bit amusing and evolution-driven, like the complex bird mating dances in Madagascar that David Attenborough likes to teach you about:

At the time, I was working in my first engineering job so I was probably making more money than any of the dancing bird boys. I even had a nicer car, since I had not yet learned of the folly of this type of purchase. I remember my car, dusty and parked over next to my tent, getting a bit of positive attention from men and women alike… and I admit it felt pretty nice at the time.

When I got older and moved to the US of A, however, everything stepped up a few notches. I saw parking lots just casually filled with cars fancier than anything I had seen in my entire childhood. I learned about neighborhoods where people talk about each other’s wealth, and even enforce gardening and house painting standards upon each other to “preserve their property values”.  I heard about “Golf Club Memberships”, a bizarre concept where you pay thousands of dollars in advance, for the privilege of paying hundreds of additional dollars each time you play golf at certain courses. And I learned that people consider it prestigious to spend money on these expensive things, even while they consider it a hardship to lead a life that does not include the expensive things.

When newcomers stumble across the Mr. Money Mustache blog, they are immediately excited by the idea of early retirement and a lifetime of freedom. But then they are immediately dismayed when they realize that to earn this freedom, they will need to spend much less money than they earn, for several years.

“Damn!”, they say. “I want the reward, but I really don’t want that hardship and struggle that it takes to get there. I will be viewed as a lesser person among my peers if I dare to embrace such frugality!”

Well guess what? You can now drop your fears of looking like a loser, because things have changed. If you haven’t heard the word, here it is: Frugality is the New Fanciness.

Let me explain, for those still not convinced.

In the olden days, times were much tougher. Most of us struggled to keep food on the table and to keep the water from leaking through our roofs. The economic system was simple, based on slips of paper in bank vaults and file folders, and gold coins. The credit system was in its infancy so the average Joe couldn’t just go out and borrow money to buy whatever he wanted.

In these conditions, it took real skill to get ahead. A man had to really master the system to pull himself up out of material scarcity. This meant studying financial concepts, understanding the emotions of fellow humans in order to rise into a position of leadership, and even conquering his own fear and lethargy to avoid the temptation to sit at home and do nothing all day.

Only after mastering these tasks, could someone start a successful business or earn a promotion to the top of an existing one, and only at that point would he have enough cash to buy a flashy house, or expensive artwork, or jewelry, or whatever else the status symbols of the day were.

So when the successful olden-days businessman walked down the street with these trappings of success, it could reasonably be deduced that he was actually somewhat badass. Of course, if he later passed on his wealth to children who would then flaunt the wealth without having earned it, he’d be watering down his own badassity. But for a moment, let’s suppose that a good chunk of the wealth in early 20th century America was self-made. Because of this, showing your wealth was a sign of status, as it was proof that you had taken a more difficult path and succeeded.

Now let’s fast forward to the present day. Everything is fucking amazing – we all have touchscreen computers in our pockets that can listen to our voices and speak back, while accessing the sum total of humanity’s knowledge instantaneously through invisible radio waves. We have cars that can shoot us across the country in climate-controlled comfort, yet they’re cheap enough for teenagers to buy them on minimum wage. And most significantly, credit is so widely available that anyone with a heartbeat can sign up for tens of thousands of dollars in debt. You can buy anything you want, even if you have no money at all. People buy houses with an 80% mortgage, and then get a second mortgage for the other 20%, and cars are bought with zero dollars down as well. And almost every single person does this.

In this environment, the easy path is to do what everyone else is doing. You see an ad for the iPad, or the Chevrolet Traverse, and you are excited by the power and the sleekness. You’ve got no money, but thanks to the advertising and peer pressure you’ve got plenty of desire. So you swipe a card or sign some paperwork, and now you too have the fancy stuff.

Everyone likes going out for sushi on Friday nights, and buying a few bottles of Kirian and Sake to go with it. They laugh and have a grand old time. They’re not worried about the fact that they don’t own their own houses and even their cars are borrowed. “This is socialization, it’s important!”, they rationalize. “And besides, sushi is extremely yummy!”. You too want to participate. You drive yourself to the restaurant in your own borrowed car and live “the good life”.

It can be pleasant to indulge in these things, and it sure is easy. But there’s another path available: the more difficult one.

Certain rare people live in the same society, and work the same jobs as the folks described above. But they’re a little bit better at math, and they can think a little bit further into the future. They see that money is useful for spending, but even more useful as a tool for earning more money. So they train themselves to master finance, and hard work, and self discipline. And they figure out how to have just as much fun as the big spenders, while being sure to do it in a way that allows them to save at least 50-75% of their income.  It has already been proven that these people can meet or exceed the happiness levels of the more spendy group. The only difference is that they are able to spend less.

To top it all off, research comes in that the spenders are in fact consuming too much of the world’s resources. Oil reserves, Ice caps, and Ecosystems are taking a huge hit. The spenders refuse to believe this, latching on to any information that justifies the continuance of their lifestyles. The companies that provide their consumables are only too happy to furnish this information. Only those with the ability to understand scientific research are able to see through the haze.

In this situation, which group is more badass, more skilled, and thus more worthy of social status? The spenders, or the savers?

See? Frugality is, quite obviously, the new Fanciness.

The only reason to maintain a non-frugal lifestyle in the face of all this evidence, is if you’re too stubborn and stupid to accept it. Will you continue to fight against frugality, to show the world how stubborn and stupid you are? Or will you wise the hell right up right now and start showing your better side?

The only thing that has been missing for the rich world’s Fancy Frugal people, has been a support community. When you’re smarter than 99% of your neighbors in a way that intimidates them, you’ll tend to run short on people to invite to your weekly poker nights.

But now the times are ‘a’ changin’. The Mustachian Nation has been born. Look around at the comments on these articles and in the Forum. These are real people, tens of thousands of them, who have collected here on a less-than-one-year-old website that does no advertising or promotion. These people were already out there, and they are growing in number every day as more people see the light.

A great thing about frugality is that it still allows you to show off in a hilarious and social way. In the olden days, the executives at the golf resort felt camaraderie as they showed off their Rolexes and BMWs and thousand-dollar titanium drivers.  It wasn’t the actual nature of these products that made the situation fun, it was the fact that they felt close to each other as they joked about their latest purchases.

When Mustachians gather, they show off the way they have modified their 30-year-old work trucks to work harder than brand new ones while burning less fuel. They bring their home-made radios to the campsite and share tales and tips of how it was made using entirely leftover materials. They discuss strategies on how to feed a family with peak nutrition and deliciousness, for less than $1 per person per meal. And unlike those who compete to consume more, these people actually have something to be proud of – they are blazing the necessary path towards a sustainable life for everyone. Eventually, all humans will have to learn to live on what the planet can regenerate each year. When you use more than that, you’re stealing resources from your own kids, and from the rest of the people you share the globe with. You don’t have to feel guilty about this.. you just have to feel good when you stop doing it.

This appreciation for our badassity is still rare, but it’s growing. If you adopt a frugal lifestyle, you may occasionally have to endure some misguided shit from clueless consumers around you. I took lots of it from the MSN readers back in January, although nobody has hassled me in real life so far. But you will also find you start getting some envying looks and respect from other people for your frugality skills.  Eventually, just like the BMW-financing 21-year-old gets respect at Spring Break today, you will in due time become a hero in your own community for doing what’s right.

But ironically, the same skills that will get you there, mean that you won’t give a shit what they are thinking.

Onwards, my Fancy Frugal Friends!!

 **Update**
Shit!  I just realized, one day after writing this article, that I had been planning for months to include a reference to this article by A.J. Kessler. Just to try to embarrass him, because he dares to mock both my shopping habits, and my writing style in this blog’s very first post. He and I became friendly frugality arch-rivals after somebody forwarded me his post months ago. So even though I missed my big chance, please click on that link so he’ll see the flurry of visitors and know we are talking about him.

*we really did live two doors down from the Jones family. But they didn’t buy much of anything either.

Further reading on the current trend of misguided spending as a silly social cue:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/garden/the-holiday-gimme-guide.html?hpw

 

  • Lars March 9, 2012, 5:07 pm

    Although I’d like my frugality to be the next cool thing – the next fanciness, I just don’t think it going to happen. Frugality fails one critical test of status symbols – they must be expensive. The expense can be money, time, or access such that it is difficult to have and keep. Frugality by choice seems to similar to frugality by circumstance. Now doing certain frugal things that take a huge amount of time to do, only to save a little money – I can see that catching on a status symbol.

    Reply
  • Hanah March 10, 2012, 12:05 pm

    This thread is a couple of days old now, but some of you may enjoy this amazing article by an 89-year-old who lived through the great depression, and is worried that we’ve come full circle:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/facts-and-arguments/the-essay/is-this-generation-great/article2362016/

    Reply
  • James Petzke March 10, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Great article MMM! My generation is definitely one that thrives on over consumption, I hope that what you write helps to change that.

    Reply
  • riley March 13, 2012, 6:52 pm

    “When you’re smarter than 99% of your neighbors in a way that intimidates them, you’ll tend to run short on people to invite to your weekly poker nights.”

    Only if it’s penny poker.

    Was thinking as I read this, how many Mustachians are Engineers (as I), and don’t care to waste time attempting to impress anyone?

    Reply
  • Jimbo March 23, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Wow, I just re-read this for fun, and it still got me all riled up again… Good stuff.

    Reply
  • Alison Yeager October 24, 2012, 5:18 pm

    I have a few friends who try to out-frugal me. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  • Sam Silvers February 12, 2013, 9:10 am

    Bahahahaha! Go read the comment I left on AJ Kessler’s blog! ;-)

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 12, 2013, 9:25 am

      Nice.. your husband sounds like quite a badass :-)

      Reply
      • Sam Silvers February 12, 2013, 9:39 am

        He is – he totally worships you. For quite a while you were “he who must not be named” in conversations b/c I would get so pissed off about how insane he was driving me. Though, he cut me a lot of slack because I was pregnant at the time and I tend to be insane with all those pregnancy hormones surging through my blood. ;-) For other readers, here is the comment I put on AJ Kessler’s (so you don’t have to click anymore than you have to):
        “I was so on your side ten months ago. My husband started to become Mustachian. Started biking to work (23 miles round trip in Florida storms/heat all hours of day and night). He sold his car, putting us down to a one car family (of 5! Three adult drivers!). His parents and I threatened to get an MRI of his head because I was concerned he had a brain tumor. Then he put window tint on our living room windows (I tore down, cut up and threw out) and stopped using shampoo to save money. I threatened him with a divorce. Then I balanced the checkbook and realized with only HIM doing Mr. Money Mustache over 6 months we had saved $100,000! So then I figured I should shut up and start to read Mr. Money Mustache!”

        Reply
  • RMKLEIN March 10, 2013, 10:12 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I am a new reader– found you through Northwest Edible Life– and my mind has kind-of been blown. My husband and I are totally on-board. Though we already live very simply (grad-student and newly stay-at-home mum) we live so happily. It is actually *exciting* to think about continuing to living this way and save the rest as incomes grow. This post in particular is brilliant! For me the mustashian lifestyle speaks to me because it is so much more than just money.

    Thanks for writing this– you are really making a much needed difference. You have probably already been forwarded this article, but maybe, just maybe, there could be a trend?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ref=general&src=me

    Reply
  • Tyler March 12, 2013, 7:33 am

    Absolutely EPIC.

    This article needs to be shown to the world :)

    Is MMM really that young???

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache March 12, 2013, 12:54 pm

      Thanks Tyler! .. but where does this “young” question come from? I didn’t mention age in the post, did I?

      I’m 38 right now. Perhaps you thought I was 88 or so due to the extreme wisdom exuded through these posts? ;-)

      Reply
  • Johnny Austin September 20, 2013, 3:14 pm

    I Loved this article! I knew I was a bad ass, but now I have the article to prove it… That’s what we look for when debating others, an article to prove our argument… Thanks Mstash!

    Johnny Austin!

    Reply
  • Francisco Gonzalez-Soldevilla January 30, 2014, 10:27 am

    MMM, A friend with similar concerns referred me to this article and your website. I’m in awe of finding someone publicly interested in bettering our society with practical advice and factual information to fend off the temptation of doing what everyone around does so carelessly. I commend you and acknowledge my sincere appreciation for your pleasant style of writing and your voice, raising awareness among the young of your generation to a life of personal responsibility and individual effort to enrich their quality of life. Kudos!

    Reply
  • TonyBoy November 4, 2014, 7:54 pm

    Very nice article
    I got a question on the economic viability of the mustachianism. If suddenly a lot of people start consuming much less to save more and retire, how can their money might be generated on the long term? I mean with less consumption, businesses will make less money, so dividends will fall and interest rates might fall too so you will get a lower return and you will need to retire later. Am I right or there is something that I don’t understand?

    Reply
    • Geraldine March 25, 2015, 1:35 pm

      I was wondering about the exact same thing. From an economist point of view, the textbook solution would be — high saving rates -> less domestic demand, which can lead two ways: if domestic products sell on the world market, this will lead to an export driven economy (see China, Japan, or Germany). These countries faire well despite much higher saving rates than in the US for example. If the mustachian movement becomes a global phenomenon, though, or domestic industries are unable to produce for the world market, it might in fact become problematic, leading to less investments, higher unemployment, which in turn forces the central banks to reduce interest rates by flooding the market with cheap capital in order to restart the staggering growth motor. This would probably mean that the mustachian way won’t work, or that one would need to save much longer in order to finally retire.

      BUT, that’s just the textbook solution, in fact I believe that economies are chaotic systems and can take surprising turns. I don’t think there is any country on the planet where the average saving rate is between 50 to 75%, so who knows how it would turn out. Would be an interesting experiment ;).

      However, I’m a strong opponent of the equation frugality=environmental protection. I don’t believe that’s true. First, because using resources is not necessarily a bad thing, the question is more how we handle the consequences. So far, the most pressing environmental problems are situated in transition and developing countries. Although the resource usage per capita is low in these countries, the consequences for the environment are devastating because these countries are too poor to set up systems that handle the consequences of resource usage properly. Secondly, our level of richness allows us to spend considerable resources on the development of new environmental friendly technologies. We can only do that because we have created such a surplus in our economy, so we finally start carring. It’s easier to care for polar bears when your tummy is full, speaking of Maslov’s pyramide of needs.
      So, my equation would rather be conscious-resource-saving-high-quality consumption and investments = environmental protection. But that’s not necessarily very frugal.

      Reply
  • Teltic January 21, 2015, 10:31 am

    I did a little math….
    Par30 led dimmable bulb: http://www.amazon.com/Feit-Electric-PAR30-Dimmable-Replacement/dp/B00AEXSFIC
    Par30 halogen bulb: http://www.amazon.com/Bulbrite-H50PAR30FL-PAR30-Halogen-Flood/dp/B003P1QDJ8

    cost of bulb + electricity for bulb (as shown on box)

    Par30 led dimmable: 16.85 + 1.81x
    Par30 halogen: 8.88 + 6.02x

    Break even would be…

    16.85 + 1.81x = 8.88 + 6.02x

    Break even point (X) = 1.89 Years
    LED ROI = (6.02-1.81)/16.85 = 24.98% ROI

    As long as my math is correct, its a no brainer to change bulbs to LED now in 2015 (price of LED lights are too good).

    Reply
  • Joe Average April 8, 2015, 8:31 am

    http://deadspin.com/5959212/the-haters-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog

    Reading the comments section was entertaining and enlightening. Folks plainly discussing how they could not afford what they were buying from the company while they worked for the company. Some of the folks were “all in” on the luxury goods.

    Reply
  • David September 15, 2015, 9:17 pm

    Reply
  • Abner October 6, 2015, 1:30 pm

    I’ve read this post a few times now, and just heard this – http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/stuffocation – interview with the author of Stuffocation on the radio a few days ago. The two don’t align perfectly, but can certainly work together. Take a listen. I haven’t read the book yet, but plan to soon.

    Reply
  • Keith October 21, 2015, 3:32 am

    Just food for thought on your comparison between yesterday’s measure of material wealth and that of the present day. Before our age of plenty, poverty or a depression was measured when the majority of working class families could not afford to put shoes on a child’s feet. Or maybe put a decent meal on the table. But listening to a recent radio documentary here in the UK made my blood boil a little. Some consumer groups have determined that the new poverty is when someone cannot afford to run a car. Yet in the past few years we have an increasing number of people queuing at food banks because they cannot afford to put food on the table. I wonder if they drive a Mercedes?

    Reply
  • IanJames February 25, 2016, 7:35 am

    Please post more pictures of the construction radio. I’mean interested in how you put it together. Great job by the way.

    Reply
  • Chandra gm March 1, 2016, 12:54 pm

    MM, I need help. I am a addicited shopaholic. We have two houses, an electric car and also debts and also three children. I am also an immigrant to America and still trying to figure things out here. I have a part time job that makes around $800 a month. My husband is the one with a high paying gig in silicon valley. i want to learn to spend less and yet be happy. and i do want us to retire sooner rather than later. one house has a loan of around 200k on it, another a loan of around 500k on it, WE had some lucky silicon valley start up breaks but we used a lot of the money up in fanciful, wonderful vacations. time to turn this around and make the best use of our luck and live so we can enjoy and retire. i am trying not to get tempted to buy clothes but i love them so much that every day i am fighting against temptation. i am putting $10 aside whenever i can like you advised. can you help me with more specific advice? Thanks, c

    Reply
    • Nice Joy September 18, 2016, 4:00 pm

      A lot of immigrants do a lot of financial mistakes. They feel like it is very affordable to get a new car. You may be able to work an extra shift and make your monthly payments for your new car. [ this is not possible in India where I came from]. On the other hand we did not come to this country only to make money and pay bills. It is a freedom when you become a MMM follower it really make sense to me. I don’t do any more over time. I do drive an older car. But I am better of my co-immigrants. I enjoy my free time and freedom. You need to have some thick skin to face your fancy friends. I am refusing to be in a financial prison.

      Reply
  • Richard March 17, 2016, 10:39 am

    “So when the successful olden-days businessman walked down the street with these trappings of success, it could reasonably be deduced that he was actually somewhat badass. ”

    This is an interesting bit of revisionist history, as though hereditary aristocracy has not been the norm in civilization as long as there has been civilization. I get that it’s not central to the main idea, but it’s a little bit of false nostalgia to imagine a time when there meritocracy was more common than aristocracy. If anything, that time is now.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache March 17, 2016, 5:24 pm

      Well said, Richard. I felt that flaw glaring at me as I wrote that as well. But I wanted to stress the difference that consumer credit has made in our ability to show false wealth.

      So, the olden-days flashy person may have not actually been badass, but perhaps they were more likely than a modern flashy person to actually be wealthy.

      Reply
  • suburbanbadassity March 21, 2016, 7:09 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog/website recently. I think this post nicely sums up what I like about your ethos. I’ve been living below my means for many years and eventually, slowly (years ago) convinced my wife to join me in this adventure. As a result, we have amassed a substantial ‘stash. Yet nobody knows it except our lawyer and accountant. Friends, family and acquaintances just think we’re relatively poor. This suspicion is fuelled by the fact that I semi-retired in my mid 40s. But nobody really knows that. They think I’m lazy (true, now) and curiously happen to be available pretty much all the time.

    But the thing that I like about your ethos is the concept of badassity.

    With my significant leisure time I sometimes meet people that have made large sums of money and retired early to very affluent lifestyles. But I have never been a fan of affluence and don’t really like hanging out with these dudes. It’s all about Type-A competitiveness. These aren’t badasses. They are still defined by consumption and seeking approval.

    And then I meet people that are living a frugal life but have no real savings or plan for financial security. They typically come across as bitter and resentful for the life they covet but don’t want to work for. These aren’t badasses, they’re just deliberately poor.

    Being badass is having financial security that you have built yourself but not insecurely flaunting it or being defined by it. A substantial ‘stash is a tool for freedom and happiness, not a frilly plumage to attract a mate or friends.

    It would be great if I could find a few true badasses to recreate with and enjoy the stress free life of financial independence without the banality of competitive consumption. I know that folks like me are few and far between, but it seems the community that follows your blog might draw out a few badasses in my city. I’ll check the forums and proceed cautiously.

    Thanks for spreading the word!

    Reply
  • CubertAC September 17, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Part of me gets a little nervous when I read about gatherings of frugal types. Having never been to one, I’d hope it’s a pretty relaxed affair without any subtle judging going on. I can just imagine gearing up for the annual Longmont Frugalistas Picnic with situations like this… “Okay, Honey, please make sure you wear your jeans with the holes in the knee. No, no, Dear… The ones with holes in BOTH knees … and grease stains.” Better than country-club type envy, I reckon. But I’ll still iron those jeans.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache September 18, 2016, 8:56 am

      Haha.. having been to a bunch of “official” Mustachian gatherings, I can tell you we are mostly high income workers who don’t take this stuff too seriously. Also, we don’t notice clothing.

      But you definitely elevate social status if you ride a bike to the meetup instead of driving a car :-)

      Reply
  • Be October 2, 2016, 8:28 pm

    The funny thing about how I discovered your blog is that I found it because of a scratch ticket that a coworker bought another coworker. It was called “mustache money” and I wondered what the phrase meant so I looked it up on Google. That coworker gambles a lot and throws his money at everything – buys breakfast and lunch for coworkers constantly, blows money on big parties, drinking at casinos and bars and is deep in debt. He asked me the other week how to get out of debt and he didn’t like my answer…

    Reply
  • DrMoneyMustache January 23, 2018, 5:50 pm

    I am completely inspired by this nlog.
    I spent four years in medical school living frugal and racking up 175K in debt.
    I then spent 6 years training to be a surgeon living frugal and earning about 55-60K/year
    I finished residency/fellowship training in 2013 started in private practice in orthopaedic surgery and immediately
    started making 10x more than I had ever seen in my life previously.
    With that, came a wave of spending–big house, two fancy cars, a golf club membership–you name it
    And yet nothing about my life became truly more fulfilled or satisfying. I just had a lot more stuff and big bills to go with it
    Then I started doing some self-reflection and realized it was the hard things in life that truly made me happy–
    training to be a surgeon, learning to run marathons, being an involved father, donating my time to people for free
    and then I found this blog and realized I had simply been brainwashed my whole life to want material things
    So now I’m on a journey back to the source of badassity…
    Wish me luck

    Reply
  • Shin Adachi July 10, 2018, 12:43 am

    Recently discovered your blog, and wow, I feel like you’ve said all the things I’ve been trying to tell my friends about (not just on frugality and early-retirement, but your views on insurance, Groupon, debt, living close to work, and the list goes on…) Except that you’ve said them much more eloquently!

    Have you read the book “High Cost of Free Parking”? If not, I highly recommend it. I’m like you, and I generally believe that we should all be conscious of what we consume, because more consumption means more harm to the planet. But on top of that, this book allowed me to see is that educating everyone about the consequences of their actions is just one-half of the equation. It’s also about designing a society in which people are nudged to make better decisions even unconsciously, and that may start with charging a more appropriate market-price that fluctuates with demand for the parking spaces (instead of requiring businesses to have certain number of free parking spaces). Surprisingly that comes with so many side-benefits that I didn’t even imagine, as the book explains. More cities are starting to follow the findings of the author’s research, and it made me hopeful that we can one day have a very cool Mustachian society of all bicyclers!

    Also, a minor nit-pick: the beer is called Kirin, not Kirian. Unless there’s a drink called Kirian that I don’t know about.

    Reply

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Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

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