52 comments

Maximum Mustache March – Update

Hiking the Dunes

Wow, this special month of ours is really zooming past.

By the time you read this, the Money Mustache Family will be deep in the high desert of Southern Colorado, camping out at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

But I thought it would be handy to share some thoughts on the hardcore savings challenge some of us have embarked upon this month.
The best part of the challenge is simply seeing people excited about hacking their own lifestyle to bring themselves greater efficiency, and having fun in the process. Check out this recent comment from a reader:

There’s still a week left in March, but I’m doing so well! Turns out that by bringing in my lunch every day (why stop at 3-4 times a week?), the frugality seeped into other areas of my life as well – I’ve gone out for dinner just once per week, and I’ve done absolutely no extraneous shopping. The results? I’m going to be saving close to 60% of my take home pay this month! I guess saving “at least half” wasn’t an ambitious enough goal!

Next on my list: I’m going to see if I can get my phone moved over to the company plan (fingers crossed!), and then I’m going to break the news to my cats that we’re living a frugal lifestyle now and they’ll have to make do with slightly cheaper food.

Nice.. very nice. Now I not only have consumer products companies, husbands, and wives begrudging my frugality-spreading ways, but cats as well. I should probably stop publishing my picture all over the place soon.

The MMM family has embraced the challenge as well, with the following points of success:

  • The car has only been used three times this month (two for hiking trips just outside of town, one trip to the store for building materials)
  • Grocery spending is down, due to more vegetarian home cooking, some tweaks to the menu (food planning article still in the works), and reduced impulse shopping on my part for things like dark chocolate and various organic foo-foo food temptations.
  • I made a plan to accept one day of paid work, but it ballooned into about four partial days for various people, yielding at least $600 in extra income for the month.
  • We scaled down our road trip – the original plan was to get all the way out to Vegas and even the Grand Canyon, but once we plotted out the days of our young lad’s spring break, we realized we could stay plenty busy and have fun without traveling so far. And save a bundle in the process.
  • Both Mr. and Mrs. MM. did exactly zero lunches and dinners out, and made zero purchases other than groceries (excepting of course the supplies I bought for my work days, which were billed to clients). This seems to happen pretty often, actually – we already have so much stuff that shopping is only necessary in the rare months that something wears out.

The final thing I did, just to put the Maximum in MMMarch, was signing up for another one of those ridiculously-high-cash-bonus credit cards in order to get the $500 signing bonus. A couple of months ago, I did an article on a $400 business card I signed up for. I was a bit skeptical, but the transaction did go through, I collected the bonus, and I ended up keeping the card and just abandoning my previous business card.

When setting up the credit card referrals page for this blog, I found a $500 Visa card in the mix, so I applied for that one as well. In theory, I will actually get a commission for signing up for a card from my own website, plus the bonus. Now THAT is maximizing the mustache. I promise myself that I won’t spend all my free time doing stunts like that, but just this month I thought it would be fun. This is the card I used , in case you decide to try the same thing*.

When you add up all of these efforts, I estimate that I earned or saved about $1900 more than I would have if the challenge had not been thrown down. With so much already chopped out of our spending compared to the average middle classers, I find that income boosting has a bigger effect than spending cuts for our family. But for people with fixed salaries and high expenses, the opposite will be true. Either way, I’m excited to invest my $1900 to further boost the stream of lifelong investment income. (At 5%, it translates to an extra $100 per year for as long as I live!).

Regardless of the specific actions we’re all taking for MMMarch, I am hoping that the overall experience turns out to be like the one in the quote above. Setting short-term challenges and making things a game for yourself can be a powerful way to trick yourself into acquiring new habits that actually stick.

In our household, we’ve created permanent improvements in our eating habits, just from trying a few new recipes this month and finding that they were easy to make and rather yummy.  I’ve really been sticking to my workout regime and expanding on it, and while it seemed like hard work the first week, it now seems like an easy habit to follow from our vantage point here at the end of the month.

I hope you have had a great month as well. What have YOU discovered about frugal living and even extra income this month?

 

Editorial note: The camping trip has us out until Monday night. Unpredictable writing schedule until then. Try the Random Article Selector above whenever you want to pretend there are new articles.

*Be warned that this blog will get a ridiculously nice commission if you do get the card through my link, so if you don’t want that to happen, you can also apply directly on the Chase website.

 

  • croomsta March 24, 2012, 6:41 am

    take lunch to work – check!
    credit card with reward points – check!
    reduce grocery bill – check!
    bike to work (nope) that idea went over like a lead zeppelin. My folks lectured me about it even though I haven’t lived at home, or even in the same state for well over a decade. They tell me potential medical bills will kill any possible savings. I guess parents are always parents. My spouse is also asking me to reconsider, so I might have to back down. We live on a two-lane road full of hills and curves and no shoulder where the posted speed limit is 40 MPH & most drivers go much faster. Since we carpool & my job is on the way to his job, I guess it’s all the same, except for the exercise component. We do have bicyclists that use our road, but they travel in groups and bike on the weekends.

    Reply
  • Fangs March 24, 2012, 8:40 am

    Before switching to a cheaper cat food, please read the labels. Feeding Wal Mart cat food is like feeding sawdust and our fur kids deserve good, wholesome food. And by that, I mean good food. Yes, good food for pets is pricer–for example, Blue Buffalo is way more expensive than Ol’ Roy–but it’s quality food and you save money in the long run because your animals are healthier. Feed children rotted fruit and vegetable leavings mixed with sawdust or tons of cheap, processed food is cheaper than feeding good fruit and veggies but the child will pay in the long run. Same with companion animals. Good food and preventative medical care may seem pricy but it’s far healthier for them and your wallet in the long run.

    Reply
    • The cat lord's wife March 25, 2012, 4:23 am

      True that.
      I have a cat with urine crystalline problem. Cost of premium veterinary food: another 30$ per month. Cost of vet bills: 600$ (every time the problem reappears, which could be as little as 6 months without the special food).
      Do the math.

      Reply
    • mercurymustache March 25, 2012, 8:02 am

      I’m not really sure how to confirm this scientifically, but I have heard tell that when animals are fed the cheap stuff they will eat more of it to compensate for the lower nutritional density.This may just be marketing jargon from expensive animal food sellers. I know that my dog definitely doesn’t stop eating when he has reached his nutritional maximum; he is a miniature schnazuer and once snuck up onto our kitchen nook and ate an entire caramel apple pie :x

      Reply
      • Fangs March 26, 2012, 11:06 am

        They can optimally eat less–a high quality food provide more nutrients with every bite, so they need less to be healthy. Their bodies use more and therefore there is less waste. That doesn’t mean they want to eat less, however. Like many people, many cats and dogs love to eat.

        Reply
      • Oh Yonghao August 19, 2014, 4:11 pm

        It’s important to do the research on this. Cats get most of their water from eating and suck and drinking water in a bowel. A large problem with dry cat food is they will be dehydrated most of the time.

        Interesting thing about dehydration, at least as a human, is your body will tell you to eat instead of telling you to drink. Not sure how our feline friends cope, but since their main source of hydration is their food when you feed them dry food you are taking away their source of water.

        Reply
      • Amanda M. October 6, 2014, 10:51 am

        I love this. It reminds me of our miniature schnauzer Sebby, who one inhaled an entire slice of pizza in in breath. He had amazing eating abilities.

        Reply
    • Marianne March 26, 2012, 11:22 am

      This was a problem for us. Our cat got a urinary tract infection when he was young and when I told my vet what I was feeding him (grocery store food- not even the cheapest available) they reamed me out like I was some kind of animal abuser. While I think their reaction was a bit overkill, I really didn’t realize that it made a difference. I thought cat food was cat food. Unfortunately, the cat food I was feeding my cat gave him a costly infection and my savings were negated by the expensive vet bills. I feed him Blue Buffalo now actually which is funny because it’s mentioned above.

      Reply
    • Lea March 26, 2012, 1:22 pm

      I went shopping for cat food over the weekend and what I did was continue my all natural wet food, but just got Purina One SmartBlend dry food instead of the Wellness dry food I used to get. Do you think that’s a reasonable plan?

      Reply
      • Fangs March 26, 2012, 4:00 pm

        The best way is to compare the labels. If the first ingredient is anything grain (corn, rice, etc.) or meat by product, it’s not quality. I think whole cat journal may have listings or you can google. Wellness is a quality food, I know, as is Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Solid Gold, and more.

        Reply
        • Lea March 26, 2012, 4:25 pm

          Well the first ingredient in what I got is salmon, but the next three ingredients are grains and by-product. It was the first time I bought food for my cats that had by-products in it, so I definitely felt a little guilty. It’s just SO much cheaper than the Wellness food I was getting before.

          Reply
  • Sean March 24, 2012, 9:05 am

    Are you already a chase member? I’d love to use this, but my Wife & I already have a Chase card, and I’m afraid we don’t qualify. Isn’t MMM in the same boat because the last card was a Chase card?

    Please tell me if this works!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache March 26, 2012, 7:23 pm

      I’ll definitely let you know, the approval should be coming any day now. I don’t think there is any requirement to have no other Chase cards – after all, when I applied for the Chase Ink one for business, I already had a different Chase personal one at the time too.

      As long as you don’t already have exactly this card, I imagine there should be no problem. We’ll see.

      Reply
  • The Stoic March 24, 2012, 9:54 am

    Hope you and the family are having a great time on the camping trip. Sounds like fun!

    I agree with the reader comment you shared, once you start trying a little frugality in one area of your life it begins to spread. Before long the impact it will have on a saving rate is phenomeneal.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  • Stackfault March 24, 2012, 10:11 am

    I concentrated on fixing my insurance this month. I eliminated the larger of my two life insurance policies saving $181 a month and eliminated an old policy on my wife for an additional $30. After years of saving, we really don’t need as much life insurance now. (I will keep a policy through work where the premiums are paid with pretax dollars.)

    I’m also working on increasing the deductibles on my car insurance. I don’t have the new quote yet but increasing the deductible from $100/$500 comprehensive/collision to $1000 or $1500 is bound to result in a decent savings. I will look at doing the same for my homeowners insurance but since that already has a $1000 deductible, I dont expect much savings by going to $1500. Of course a side benefit of this exercise is that now I actually know what my deductibles are. Before I went looking for savings,I had no idea.

    Reply
  • jlcollinsnh March 24, 2012, 12:37 pm

    The Chase Safire card is one I’ve used for years and we just rejected their offer to upgrade to the “preferred” version as a year from now they plan to charge me $95 per year for it. not gonna happen.

    Actually, they didn’t just offer it to us, they sent us the cards and signed us up automatically. fortunately, my eagle eyed wife caught it. still we had the hassle of calling to say nope we don’t want to pay you to consider us “preferred” even if the first year’s free.

    besides we had just done a periodic analysis and determined that our AMEX card’s rewards were now better so we are focusing our charges there.

    congratulations on for great month. Think I’ll take my wife and our saved $95 out to a nice dinner this evening and toast your success over a fine bottle of wine. Cheers!

    (Any irony detected is purely intentional)

    Reply
    • smedleyb March 25, 2012, 7:31 am

      Another strategy to employ is to get the $95 card for first timers (fee waived first year), then before the year is up, seek to reduce the card to the non-fee version, or cancel it altogether, thus avoiding any fee.

      Notice: rumor is Chase Sapphire is getting the bonus reduced to 40K real soon, so anyone interested might want to act sooner rather than later.

      Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache March 26, 2012, 7:27 pm

      JL – I agree – I don’t see the benefits of the “Preferred” version, other than the fantastic signing bonus. In the long run, I only keep around cards without an annual fee, unless there are amazing ongoing perks that outweigh the fee and cannot be found in other cards.

      Reply
  • Ben March 24, 2012, 8:03 pm

    Just got my $500 back from that card on Monday! By the way, Chase is very good about making it easy to redeem your rewards- you can redeem (to the last penny) as long as you have at least $25 to redeem, and can apply directly to your statement. Citi makes you redeem in $50 increments, and will only mail a check. Even though I won’t keep the Preferred card after the ‘free year,’ I think Chase Freedom is here to stay- more than can be said about either of the Citi reward cards I have signed up for.

    Reply
    • carolinakaren March 25, 2012, 9:20 am

      Hey guys, I just used the link MMM provided to access the Chase Sapphire site. It didn’t really specify the rewards in dollar amounts, so I was wondering if I somehow was on the wrong site. It did say that you had to spend $3000 in 3 months to get a certain amount of reward points. Does this sound familiar? Just wanted to make sure it was the right one! :)

      Thanks,
      Karen

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache March 26, 2012, 7:28 pm

        Yes, that’s the right card! They seem to emphasize travel and other “rewards”, but there is also the option of trading points for cold hard cash at 100 points to the dollar. Obviously, that’s my personal favorite :-)

        Reply
  • TheNewGeneration March 24, 2012, 9:59 pm

    Hi MMM!

    I’m a full-fledged reader, and looking forward to your 1 year anniversary post! Congratulations!

    My question is in regard to the signing bonus stipulations on the card. The fine print seems to read that you must spend $3,000 in 3 months for the 50,000 points to be applied to your account. Maybe I’m missing something, but I couldn’t find anything about this in your original post either. That level of spending should be a laughable and unattainable sum for MMM readers!

    Reply
    • Everett December 2, 2013, 12:42 am

      Way late to the party here (mmm isn’t even a chase affiliate anymore), but don’t let minimum spending requirements keep you from raking in the huge sign up bonuses available. There are lots of cash equivalent purchases (amazon payments, prepaid visa gift cards, etc) that can easily get you over the minimum threshold without buying crap you don’t need. You used to be able to buy cash from the treasury with credit cards until they finally wised up.

      Reply
  • Joe @ Retire By 40 March 24, 2012, 11:17 pm

    I have Chase Freedom and will consider Sapphire. I hate signing up for a credit card, but the $ bonus is pretty tempting. Have a great time on your hike.
    Driving 3 times/month is really great.

    Reply
  • Gipsy queen March 25, 2012, 3:01 am

    Having to move across the Atlantic, and deciding what do I take with me, what do I ship later, and what do I need to store/dispose, this month has automatically turned into a “Buy Nothing Month” – just the thought of having to find a place for it gives me the creeps.
    Also, I realized three things that I never thought could be possible:
    *I have too many books
    *I have too many clothes
    *I have too many shoes

    When space become the most valued thing, you inherently need less stuff. You also want less stuff, because then you have to pay for it in space.

    BTW, any tips about how to live in Cambridge MA for 42,000$ per year?

    Reply
    • Marianna March 25, 2012, 8:05 am

      I live across the river in Boston, saving around 50% of takehome of 39K – ride your bike to work!! (and bring your work lunches from home, and look for cheaper housing in Somerville)

      Reply
      • Gipsy queen March 27, 2012, 4:00 am

        Thanks!
        I was thinking about walking to work (where I currently live, I walk everywhere, including to the market and back with vegetables – wonderful weight work), so Somerville is not an option – 30min of walking are all I can afford before becoming a bio-hazard in the office.
        How many people are you in the household? Can two adults and two cats live on the same amount?

        Reply
        • Marianna March 27, 2012, 6:58 am

          I live with my boyfriend and no cats (oh god whyyyyy) – the two of us splitting a $1375 one bedroom is about the same cost a person could expect to pay for 1 bedroom in a 3-4 room “flatshare”, so aside from cat costs I think we’re probably same range. I suggested Somerville because it is a Mustacian Practice to “get cheaper housing” but it is one that I’m not practicing myself, so I get you. I’ve been told cats usually cost like $30/month, which is my beer budget, so I think you’ll make it :)

          Reply
    • Emmers March 26, 2012, 10:17 am

      This comment reminds me of an article I read a while back —

      http://almostfearless.com/2008/06/02/the-10-unexpected-costs-of-owning-things/

      A friend sent it to me when he was entering a Zen phase, trying to get rid of as much of his clutter as possible before moving overseas.

      Reply
  • smedleyb March 25, 2012, 7:38 am

    Look, I can’t lie: I’m addicted to the card sign-up bonus game. Between myself, my wife, and getting my mom to switch her CC spending to Chase and gift me the points (that’s the beauty of Chase Ultimate Reward points, you can transfer them to anybody, instantly, a rarity in the points game) I’ve accumulated over 300,000 Chase UR points in less than 7 months. That’s 3K in cash, or even better, nearly 5K-6K in travel credits when redeemed smartly.

    Reply
  • Miyazaki March 25, 2012, 7:40 am

    I think the MMMarch is a great idea, but I hope it can encourage people to continue moving towards their desired lifestyle, rather than rebound like a fad diet.

    Reply
  • carolinakaren March 25, 2012, 9:03 am

    Wow! I’m gonna check out this rewards card. I haven’t played the credit card game in a long time. I keep one card and rarely use it…don’t even think it has rewards anymore. The 0% on balance transfers were a handy little bonus that I used frequently in my early 20’s. It was a great way to pay off debt without paying interest, but I think those offers are rare now. Besides, I no longer have any debt except the mortgage!

    We didn’t do very well with grocery expenses this month, but we made a trip to Sam’s Club that will last for a couple of months. Taking that into account it wasn’t terrible, but we could do better. Food expenditures are where we feel most challenged. I’m finding less expensive alternatives and trying to learn more budget recipes.

    Reply
  • Luke March 25, 2012, 10:47 am

    I live by myself…how am I supposed to spend $3k in 3 months to get the Sapphire rewards? From what I can tell, I can’t make a credit card payment on my mortgage. Groceries and gas aren’t going to cut it unless I buy $2000 worth of toilet paper

    Reply
    • smedleyb March 25, 2012, 2:35 pm

      I got a friend who’s a plumber. He was able to charge a $2500 furnace on my wife’s Citi premiere card, which instantly got her a $500 credit. My mom and dad bought their annual ticket to Europe with my card, knocking off another 3K spend limit for $500 cash back.

      Sometimes I prepay my bills several months in advance right before the 3 month limit; I pay my homeowners and auto insurance with the CC at no additional cost, so I plan on getting cards around the time that stuff is due.

      But yes, a true mustachian will struggle to make these spending limits, since we’re such bad conspicuous consumers. I’m a real bad spender, but I’m finding ways to get it done.

      And I do it all because I hate CC companies and truly enjoy being a bad, bad consumer of credit. Which is just to say that I cost Chase, Citi, and Amex thousands of dollars a year.

      Reply
  • Buzzard March 25, 2012, 11:33 am

    Speaking of some baddassity and credit card offers.

    Unfortunately, when my wife and I recently married, I took her hand in matrimony, and I also took her $44,000 in student loans on board. Unfortunately, due to some clever marketing, she was duped into Citiassist now called the student loan company which is not a federally serviced loan. Its private, and they hastily increased her APR up to 9% (ahhhhh!!!!!).

    Consequently, I recently opened a Chase Slate card which is featuring 0% for 15 months with NO transfer fees.

    My plan is to siphon over $15,000 to the Chase account (which is the amount I have budgeted through badassity ($1000/month) into paying down her existing card. Since 15 months of 9.15% APR on $15K is roughly $1715.65, thats what I’m planning on saving in interest charges with this arrangement. Plus we are dipping into our non retirement short term money stache to knock another $4500 off as we speak. Feels good knowing that they will not have the pleasure of my employees working for them much longer.

    $44000 will become $29,000 which will become $24,500 soon. I’ll still have the balance of $15,000 over at the Chase Slate, but I’ll also have the pleasure of knowing that every bit of my $1000/month payment for the next 15 months will be chipping it down to nothing at no usury charge.

    Here’s to you MMM!!!! Thanks for the motivation in baddassity!

    Reply
    • Quark October 30, 2013, 9:27 am

      How do you pay a student loan with a credit card?

      Reply
  • Dee March 25, 2012, 6:11 pm

    I’ve stuck to my resolution of only bringing lunches to work (not buying them). Unlike the Mustachian quoted in the post, I am very much looking forward to the end of the month and going back to bringing my lunch 3-4x week instead of all the time.

    I’m also finding it hard to quantify my savings. While you’d think it would simply be the difference between what I would have spent buying lunch ($6-7/day) and what I spent at the grocery store on the lunch I brought instead… well, figuring the second is a little difficult… and, I truly think there are other savings in terms of a lot less wasted food. I haven’t noticed a discernible difference in my grocery spending either, so that’s another sign that the savings may be more than they would first appear. I may be saving more overall because many of my lunches consist of meals I also have for supper, and I have been cooking more overall (and therefore spending less than I probably would have eating cereal, cookies and the like for supper, at least on occasion). On the other hand, if I calculated the extra time planning groceries and meals, cooking and preparing them and cleaning the kitchen and washing tupperware and attributed a dollar value to that time… then, there’d be a lot less saving. All to say, good challenge and I will see it through but I don’t think I will make it a permanent part of my journey to mustachianism.

    Reply
    • Gerard March 26, 2012, 6:08 am

      But Dee, by not quantifying your savings and by focussing on the extra time it takes you to prepare stuff, you’re missing out on the motivation to continue. You’re eating better! You’re saving craploads of money! Stick with it!

      Reply
    • Lea March 26, 2012, 1:42 pm

      Hi! I’m the quoted commenter in the post. I didn’t do the math of how much it costs to make my lunches at home, but I was routinely spending $6-12 on lunch every day, with most days being around $10, so I knew the savings would be significant. I’m not the type to budget down to the cent, I think I would go crazy if I did that.

      As I mentioned in my post, by doing one frugal thing, it made me want to be more frugal in other areas of my life as well. The only charges on my credit card this month are groceries, eating out 3 times, one trip to the gas station, and my phone bill. So the savings are much more than just the difference between buying lunch and making lunch, but that was the change that inspired me to make other changes.

      Reply
      • Gerard March 26, 2012, 4:16 pm

        Sorry Lea, didn’t realize I was responding to two different posts at once! Glad to hear your frugality snowball is having a good March. The second bit of the post (which I guess isn’t yours?) combines the non-tracking with the focus on the work, and I was hoping to be encouraging (and a bit naggy) with my reply to that.

        Reply
      • Dee March 27, 2012, 8:13 pm

        That’s excellent Lea!

        This challenge didn’t resonate with me as much this time. (Yes, yes, I’m on the edge of being a complainypants…that is, if I haven’t crossed over yet!) But I have stuck with it (only 3 more lunches to pack) and maybe the next one will be more of a catalyst for me, too.

        Reply
  • Luke March 26, 2012, 7:22 am

    I’ve been really pleased with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You do have to spend 3K in the first 3 months in order to qualify for the points but it turned out to be pretty easy when using it for all expenses in that time. What’s really nice is you get a real human whenever calling the number on the back; I’m impressed every time that happens.

    The card has a lot of other really nice perks….concierge, roadside assistance, so on and so forth – it also has a $96 yearly fee, which is waived for the first year. Oh, be warned – you will get a lot of comments on the card from cashiers. It’s heavier, thicker, and has a different look than regular cards. This is Chase’s way of making you feel *special* so you use the card more.

    Reply
  • AEBinNC March 26, 2012, 7:34 am

    My wife and I agreed to eat out once every other week. We also biked on the greenway 8 miles to Trader Joes. It’s a completely flat ride along a river. That was more of a trial run, we’re aiming at do our TJs runs by bike in the future.

    Reply
  • Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple March 26, 2012, 9:23 am

    My March hasn’t gone exactly as planned since I haven’t gotten myself into the biking shape I require if I want to start riding to work. I’ve got all kinds of excuses but that’s all they are and that’s pretty lame, I must say.

    We’ve done pretty well on all the other fronts and we put a bunch of money towards getting more rental properties so I guess I did ok.

    Reply
  • BDub March 26, 2012, 9:31 am

    I already have a Chase card (not a Sapphire). The offer states “Previous and existing cardmembers/accounts are not eligible for this bonus offer.”. Does that apply only to Chase sapphire card holders or ALL chase card holders???

    Reply
    • Andrew U March 26, 2012, 2:19 pm

      I already have a Chase Freedom card and I called and asked the same question. They said I could get the Sapphire card cause it was a new card. I applied and my account has been set up online but the card hasn’t showed up yet. I think they don’t want people signing up for the same card over and over to get the same bonus multiple times. but new cards are fine. There are a lot of other rewards cards offered by chase that i’m thinking of signing up for if this works out.

      Reply
  • K March 26, 2012, 10:16 am

    Still maximizing my March.. My goal was to bike to work every day.. as of today, my record is: 11-2-1 (bike-SUV-motorcycle — I consider motorcycle a ‘tie’). I also changed my work schedule so that I get a ton of Fridays off while only actively working 36 hours a week without losing any pay! :-) This is the coolest thing I can imagine short of dropping down to part time work! Last Friday, I drove to various hardware stores for certain items I needed for projects around the house. THIS Friday, I have all the stuff I need to keep me busy with various hobby and cheap, money saving home improvement projects — I’ll definitely indulge in a few Mustachian Retirement Activities throughout the day, as well ;-)

    Reply
  • Lo March 26, 2012, 10:42 am

    My March is going pretty well so far, even though some gardening expenses came up (seeds, sprouts, mulch, etc.).

    *Reduced cell phone monthly from $59 to $35
    *Reduced vehicle fuel costs by hypermiling (32 mpg for Subie Forester) and working from home 2 days/week–should be able to have a dollar figure by month’s end but am saving $$$
    *Reduced food expenses to $25/week (it’s just me at home, and I’m cooking more)
    *Reduced electric bill by $15 and natural gas by $10 per month each (can probably do more with this)

    I think I’m still on track to knock off $150/month from my expenses, and I have two freelance gigs coming up that could net me $500 or more this month.

    But for me the biggest Mustachian badass thing this month is that I biked to my local library, which at first doesn’t seem like much since it’s only 4 miles from my house…but I did carry about 8 or 10 pounds of books in my backpack. I’ll probably get a cargo bike after I’ve saved for it, but it was great proving to myself that I could do it.

    Reply
  • FreeUrChains March 26, 2012, 10:58 am

    Lol, never owned a credit card and now never will, and i am debt free and without a mortgage (french for Death Lock), and will be saving for a very small home in cash.

    Thus Credit Reports mean absolutely nothing to me or my way of a mustachian ERE lifestyle :) Insurances will cover most extreme extreme emergencies, and I have emergency funds + liquid non-401k (not needed if you are planning to retire by age 35) Freedom Funds.

    Ya, you could potentially make some passive income with a little bit of money organizing and time, but my expenses rarely add up more then $700/ month, unless work requires i pay travel and lodge upfront and they reimburse me 2 weeks later. (usually $1700, because consumer workers like to eat out every night on company expense). To me it still wasn’t worth the risk and struggles of a Credit Card. It’s like dangling on a tight rope over a valley of spikes.

    Reply
  • FreeUrChains March 26, 2012, 11:08 am

    This March my Comcast Performance Speed Internet crept up to $62.95/month for 20MPS, from being $29.99/mth for 12 months. I looked at deals for existing customers and even went face to glass wall comcast store face asking for a better rate for the same speeds. The best they could do is $10 less/month.

    Online, 6MPS was $49.99/month ! YIKES!. So all i could do for now is bring it down to $52.99/mth. Though i believe i can get a better rate if i call them personally. (I also own my modem, which saves me $5/mth+ fees and taxes in renting theirs).

    We do use the internet at home for about 3 hrs/every other day to relax and stream movies. But i just want my $29.99 old rate, and Verizon is higher prices, and I don’t get Time Warner in my area. Seems to me they care only about new Subscribers and Initial Money they can use to Invest, and not Customer loyalty any more. (Most Service Corporations are like this).

    Reply
  • Lea March 26, 2012, 1:45 pm

    I’m feeling pretty honored that my comment made it into a post! I will definitely take into consideration the comments about the quality of cat food and see if I can strike the right balance between frugality and nutrition.

    Reply
  • herbert salisbury March 27, 2012, 12:54 pm

    as I eat burritos for as many meals as possible, I tried the idea of making my own tortillas. Tortillas are stupid expensive when you consider what they are.

    I don’t own a tortilla press or rolling pin, so my first attempt was interesting, it turned out more like that bread stuff yummy ethiopian food comes on. I guess I will have to cave in and use actual lard next time. And use an old wine bottle to squish it instead of the crepe method…

    Reply

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