278 comments

Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post

stashcashHi there. If we haven’t met, my name is Mr. Money Mustache. I’m the freaky financial magician who retired along with a lovely wife at age 30 in order to start a family, as well as start living a great life. We did this on two normal salaries with no lottery winnings or Silicon Valley buyout windfalls, by living what we thought was a wonderful and fulfilling existence. It was only after quitting the rat race that we looked around and realized why we had become financially independent while most people, even with higher incomes, end up stuck needing to work until age 65 or later.

I’m writing this post to use as kind of a permanent “Hello!”, since at any given moment in time, about half of the readers of this blog are pretty new, and casting around wondering where to start on a giant site like this with over 400 published articles. Most people arrive with the same question:

“I hear Mr. Money Mustache writes some useful stuff and many people are building happy, wealthy lives for themselves using his advice”, they are saying, “but I am a busy person. How can he make me rich Right Now!?”

Great question. Let’s begin.

We’ll start with a rant, which links to a bunch of other stuff. You can right-click any of those links and open them in a new tab for later. If you get through every link, you’ll be well-equipped to fix most of your life –  just like that.

For almost six years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of financial advice from what you see in the newspapers and magazines. The standard line is that life is hard and expensive, so you should keep your nose to the grindstone, clip coupons, save hard for your kids’ college educations, then tuck any tiny slice of your salary that remains into a 401(k) plan. And pray that nothing goes wrong in the 40 years of career work that it will take to get yourself enough savings to enjoy a brief retirement.

Mr. Money Mustache’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. Or two thirds, or more. Sound like a fantasy? Not to readers of this blog.

What happens when you can save more of your income? As it turns out, spending much less money than you bring in is the way to get rich. The ONLY way.

And the effects are surprising: if you can save 50% of your take-home pay starting at age 20, you’ll be wealthy enough to retire by age 37. If you already have some assets now, you’re even closer than that. If you can save 75%, your working career is only 7 years.

So remember my freaky magician story up in the first paragraph? There was not really any magic – my wife and I just saved about 66% of our pay without really noticing it, and in under ten years we woke up and realized we didn’t have to work for a living any more. Our son was born shortly afterwards, and he’s about to have his eleventh birthday party. And we’re still going strong.

But how can you save so much?

The bottom line is this: by focusing on happiness itself, you can lead a much better life than those who focus on convenience, luxury, and following the lead of the financially illiterate herd that is the TV-ad-absorbing Middle Class of the United States (and other rich countries) today. Happiness comes from many sources, but none of these sources involve car or purse upgrades.

No matter what the herd or the TV set tells you, this is the truth. Far from being a social outcast, this new perspective will make you a hero among your friends. This is not a fringe activity anymore – millions of people are fixing their lives these days. And the earlier you can accept it, the sooner you will be rich.

Is that all too fluffy and philosophical? OK, fine. Here’s how to cut your life costs in half. Start by getting rid of your Debt Emergency if you have one. Live close to work. Move to another city if you enjoy adventure. Don’t borrow money for cars, and don’t buy stupid ones. Ride a bike wherever you can. Cancel your TV service. Stop wasting money on groceries. Give your kids the opportunity to achieve greatness without being pampered. Lose the overpriced cell phones. Learn to appreciate the life-boosting joy of using your own body to get things done. Learn to mock convenience. Practice optimism.

That should do it – about half of your expenses, gone in one paragraph. Keep going, as many readers do, and you can save closer to 75% of what you make – especially for those with above-average incomes.

But then what do I do with all the money?

You invest it. In stock index funds, in paying off your own house, in rental houses if you are interested in local real estate, and in other sources as you continue to learn about making money work for you. As of 2016, my own retirement income comes from a dead-simple asset allocation: a bunch of index funds at Vanguard and Betterment which pay quarterly dividends.

How long will the money last?

If you can get 25 times your annual spending saved up and working for you, that is enough to live off – forever. Don’t worry about the details – just do the saving for now, and watch as your lifestyle transforms and your worries about safety melt away. This blog is not so much a financial nuts-and-bolts blog as it is a story about lifestyle and attitude transformation. And believe it or not, your attitude determines your lifetime wealth much more than your knowledge of financial nuts and bolts.

So welcome! I’m glad you’re here, and let’s get started. For the long-time readers – let’s keep going!

 

  • Doug in London, ON March 1, 2013, 10:18 am

    How timely this subject is, as today is the 18th anniversary of my “retirement”. In 1995 I took a buyout from full time, permanent employment at age 34 and that date was my first day of being free. Yes, I have worked on and off since, having time off for other pursuits. I also found that although I wasn’t making as much money, my expenses dropped also. If, for example, my old model car was out of order I could take my time fixing it myself rather than have to throw money at the problem because I needed it for commuting.

    I also found I had more time to manage my investments. For example, in 2007 and early 2008 when stock markets were high I took some profits from equity funds (I mostly had mutual funds in those days) and invested it in fixed income investments. Then the stock markets took a dive during late 2008 and early 2009 so I moved back into equities. To this day I hear or read of many people bellyaching about how they lost all that money during the 2008-09 financial crisis. That’s strange, I actually MADE money off the crisis! Buy low, sell, high, what’s so hard about that? Such may not have happened if I were still working full time and didn’t have time to manage my investments.

    Now I am rearranging my portfolio to provide income, so I can FULLY retire once and for all, and do my good deed to society of freeing up employment for younger people who really need jobs.

    Reply
  • partgypsy March 1, 2013, 10:37 am

    I have a general question, about what to do when frugal values contradict? We have a home that has a small footprint that is close to the kids’ schools and our jobs, allowing us to be a 1 car family. However it is on a very small lot, and other than herbs and such we do not have space for a garden, or the kind of garden we would like. What would you do in our situation? Obviously where we live is economically more advantageous than growing some of our own veggies, but it is partly a quality of life question as well.

    Reply
    • Jimbo March 1, 2013, 11:49 am

      Is there a community garden nearby? Often cities have those… If not, you can even ask your city to implement one. It’s not a difficult thing to implement…

      Reply
    • Gerard July 25, 2013, 7:02 am

      Community gardens are a great idea. If that’s not an option, might you have a neighbour who’d be interested in having you turn part of his/her yard into a garden in exchange for a share of the results? Failing that, there’s always Square Foot Gardening, and/or accepting that your big Mustachian choices (small house/yard close to everything) trump your small one (gardening).

      Reply
  • Jose March 1, 2013, 11:45 am

    This post is going to get bookmarked and reread a few times. You lay out some no BS facts and by the end of the post I came to the conclusion that you are 100% correct. I need to change some of the things I do in my personal financial life, The debt is the first to go, then I need to sit down and crush some numbers and see what in the world I really need to spend in a year to live off of. I’m probably closer to 25 times that number (whatever it may be) than I think and am well invested so may be able to get there sooner than later. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Bridget March 1, 2013, 8:17 pm

    I actually enjoy my job as a librarian but there are awesome tips and perspectives in this blog that I’m putting to use immediately.

    Reply
  • Kath1213 March 2, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Just popped in to say thanks for being so “Mustachian” and authentic. Ever since I found your blog in May, not only have I not missed a post, but I became even frugaler in my quest for debtfreedom.

    Looking forward to a Colorado meetup :-)

    Reply
  • Mr. Doomsday March 7, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Hi MMM,

    Reading through your blog and applying many of its lessons. I’m looking to make a sizeable deposit into a Vanguard account. Are you still holding VFIAX for long term returns even though the S&P has returned to 2007 levels? I understand your philosophy on holding VFIAX long term, but my intuition and research tell me to hold off and get in once another collapse occurs. I want to avoid trying to play the market, but in 2007, GDP was 2.5% vs. 1.6% today, our debt is 75% of our GDP vs. 40% then, U.S. debt has increased over $7 trillion and the U.S. has been doungraded to AA+. Why are the Dow and S&P setting new highs even though things are vastly worse since the last high in 2007? It just seems like another crash in the near term is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wise to wait in order to buy cheap rather than investing now?

    Reply
    • Leslie April 5, 2013, 6:21 pm

      Reply
    • llbigwave June 29, 2014, 6:47 am

      S&P 500 index at closing March 8, 2013 (day after your post): 1551.18

      S&P 500 index at closing June 27, 2014: 1960.96

      If you’re still waiting in order to buy cheap, you’ve missed out on a 26.4% gain.

      Reply
      • Doug June 29, 2014, 9:31 am

        As I said in response to the post About That Stock Market, you should respond to the stock market like an engine with a governor. By that I mean go on a buying spree when it’s on sale, like the governor that responds to a drop in speed by giving the engine more fuel. When the speed climbs up it gives it less fuel. The time to buy was during the sales of the last 5 years. Now you should be fully invested, and if you have any margin debt sell off enough holdings to pay it off. If a correction occurs, buy some stocks again.

        Reply
  • Vanessa April 26, 2013, 4:48 pm

    Just found your blog, Mr. MM – my husband and I have been living a similar lifestyle (though we’re not retired yet) – we’re saving our income aggressively and always felt “odd” as most people around us seem to WASTE so much. I always say “I’d rather retire early than drive a fancy car” and most people roll their eyes but it is so good to find others who are like-minded. When we look at how people from many other countries live and how creative they have to be with scarce resources, one realizes our society is, in many ways, spoiled. Keep the great advice coming!

    Reply
  • Jared Kreft April 27, 2013, 6:35 am

    I stumbled across your blog today from someone’s dating profile. While I haven’t been a reader/follower, I’ve been living a similar philosophy myself. Even while I was in graduate school making about 12k/year, I was saving about half of it. Once I started getting real paychecks, I was saving 75%-90% of my earnings. Now I’m 35.5 and retiring at the end of this month. I have more money invested than I’ll need for living expenses for the next 50 years (and earning more income annually on those investments than I need in living expenses each year). Even with unexpected financial crises in the future, I shouldn’t need to work for someone else ever again.

    Which doesn’t mean I won’t be productive. I will now have unfettered access to my own time to finish writing my books, spend endless hours learning everything I can. If I find something worth doing, I no longer have to worry about who will pay me to do it, I can just roll up my sleeves.

    How? Well, like the blogger, I’m frugal. My two cars have both been worth <$5000 and driven until they were no longer worth repairing. I make most of my meals cheaply (and I love to cook!). My hobbies are cheap. I don't borrow money. I don't rent (I bought an inexpensive house for cash as soon as I could afford one.) I need around 6k/year to live on. I have over a half million in investments from ten years of relentless investing.

    28 years of education. 7 years of employment. The first half of my life is over. That leaves 35+ years to live without fetters. Retirement is NOW.

    Reply
    • John January 9, 2014, 3:57 pm

      well sir, it looks like you have officially kicked life in the nuts. I bow to your badassity and will strive to do the same in a short 10yrs at the young age of 46.

      Reply
  • Dr. Zaius April 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

    I am a new reader and am really liking what I’ve found. Your story is inspiring and is causing me to rethink things. I thought of myself as being fairly frugal- but you’re lifestyle is amazing. Great food for thought.

    I do take issue with a couple of your assertions (one in particular) that others could follow your 7 years to retirement plan.

    You describe you and your wife as having “normal salaries.” This really isn’t the case. By age 28 your household income was $170k. This is well within the top 5% of median household income. I don’t know the breakdowns by age, but I’m willing to bet for your age group you were within the top 1% of income. It’s still an amazing achievement that you were able to accomplish this, but I wouldn’t exactly call this “normal” income.

    Reply
    • Crystal July 9, 2014, 10:34 pm

      I agree with you. This is not normal income. With my master’s degree, I started around $37K and now I’m at $52K at 42 (Pre-tax). Also, if you are single, it’s different numbers. I love my career and don’t want to change it just to make more money. I’m crunching the numbers and it’s not adding up. And to think I’m considering getting into activism which would mean even less pay. Many of the jobs that we love don’t pay as much.

      Reply
    • Milizard August 19, 2014, 10:17 am

      I agree with this as well, and it was precisely this kind of assertion that turned me off from this blog when I first heard about it a couple of years ago. (I was always frugal, but only started at $20k after finishing college in 1998 and barely doubled that salary after 14 years.) Since then, I inherited some money, which doubled my net worth, so now I feel that I can hang with the high earners a bit better.

      Reply
  • Stephen May 3, 2013, 5:09 am

    Hey, MMM.

    Your blog is awesome, man. What investment advice do you have for a fresh college grad interested in taking your approach?

    Reply
    • Melissa May 3, 2013, 6:01 pm

      I would say to read as many MMM entries as you can–they are very motivating and information-filled. But here’s a good one to start with: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

      What I tell my college aged son and his friends is save now, before wives and children and the expenses of family. Save (invest) 50% of your income if you can. Be sure to take advantage of the company match in the 401K at your job. Start a Roth. You’ve got many years to let those investments grow-and you’ll thank yourself later. And, Congrats on graduating!

      Reply
  • Michael Smith May 4, 2013, 6:14 am

    Wow, this is inspiring! My monthly expenses can likely be cut down to the range of ~$1,500, and as an aspiring freelance writer, this goal is actually within my grasp. I’m 23, and ready to begin living this lifestyle!

    Reply
  • The Phroogal Jason May 17, 2013, 11:13 pm

    I read this and was like this is absolutely it. The truth about happiness. It isn’t about the car you drive, the bigger house or the purse you carry. Those are all fed to us and consumed like water (or coke).

    I realized this a few years ago and that changed the way I looked at life and expenses. I got rid of the car to bike to work. I stopped paying for cable and that in turn made me stop watching TV shows. I had more time to do the outdoor activities I enjoyed.

    I have people ask me how do I live a life without having to work and it all boiled down to understanding my place of contentment. It’s drastically transformed how I look at the world. Yup, philosophical mumbo jumbo to some.

    Reply
  • Timothy Mobley May 28, 2013, 10:22 pm

    The best things in life are free, right? But is also may be the most difficult thing to realize, and I meant truly believe it and not just say it. Your blog is amazing!!

    Reply
  • One Man Team May 31, 2013, 2:40 pm

    What do you suggest if you already have the mindset proposed in this blog, but you have a significant other who is the exact opposite, hampering your ability to live this way, and causing constant arguments?

    Reply
    • Jonathan Browne Menzies January 27, 2015, 9:18 pm

      Good point, OMT. I’ve read that money is the number one source of conflict in relationships. It’s not a good feeling when your hard earned sacrifices are wasted on excess by your spouse.

      Reply
    • IAmNotABartender September 3, 2015, 11:05 am

      A few options: a) keep your finances separate, b) establish slush funds, or c) find a new significant other. It all boils down to communication to figure out what will work for both of you.

      Reply
    • dpfromva September 4, 2015, 8:36 am

      Never quite figured this one out. We would argue for hours and end up cancelling the New York Times subscription (only thing we could agree on), then miss it and re-subscribe. Spouse was willing to be put on an allowance by me, but we realized that would make me the “bad guy” and was a little too parent-child (we had already tried that method for healthy eating and it was a disaster, resulting in midnight chocolate cake sneaking, etc.). Might work for some couples. We just bumbled along with the added stress — the good aspects outweighed the problematic. As I always tell my daughters, men are like the blue plate special, no substitutions allowed. You can’t say, “Gosh, I love the chicken and potatoes, but I hate the peas, can I substitute corn?” You have to be able to say, “I love the chicken and potatoes so much I’m willing to put up with the peas.” Otherwise the relationship is probably not going to work.

      Reply
  • Brian McBride June 3, 2013, 8:56 am

    I live in Berlin – check
    I have ZERO debt – check
    I don’t have a car – check
    I live close to work – check
    I have no TV – check
    My grocery waste is down to 5% – check
    I don’t have Kids – check
    I’m optimistic – check
    I use my body 100% of the time – check (what else would I use?)
    I ride my bike wherever I go – check
    I’m always out of cash – check!

    Well, if you live in a city where the historical income always has been low, but cost of living has exploded the past 10 years, than I must say one hardly gets by with what one has earned month to month.

    I’ll keep reading your blog from today on for a little while and see if there is anything that will convince me that you have it all worked out. Sofar I read: “a penny saved is a penny earned!”

    Reply
  • Trevor June 6, 2013, 11:19 am

    I hope that by the time I can grow a beautiful full mustache, I will be debt-free and saving like crazy. Thanks for the blog. It sounds like in order to retire early and happy you’ve got to go through some hard times with little spending and little luxuries. But, like you said, they don’t have to be hard times if you focus on happiness!

    Reply
  • JAMES KIMANI June 15, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Kudos Mr Money Mustache for a very very sensible approach to personal finances. l just came across this website the other day. l am from Africa and l live here in the US and apart from those situations that require l follow what l call expected standards, e.g housing (l could as well put up with bears in the woods), l haven’t basically changed my attitude and behavior as regards money. l grew up very very poor and hungry in Africa and the poverty experience gave me all the key lifestyle skills you teach here and much more. Whenever l come across young people in their 20’s and whenever possible, l always urge them to take some time out, say a month to 6 months (or more if they can afford) to travel to the third world and see and experience for themselves how others live. My poverty experience was very nasty as l went thro it but today, l look back and appreciate it for its worth-teaching me the best personal financial skills that l could never have found anywhere else. Today, l earn a very modest income but l am so happy living far within it and l often wonder what is wrong with folks who earn twice what l make and are forever in financial crisis mode. Many people in this country who think they are poor are soooo rich and tragically, they’ll never know. Once again, thanx for your nudgets of financial wisdom that you share with folks on this platform

    Reply
  • Erin June 17, 2013, 10:56 am

    What do you suggest if you don’t have 2 incomes, just one? We also have 3 kids (2 under 5 years old). We do a lot of what you suggest (husband bikes to work, we have one used car bought with cash, try to live cheap) but our income just isn’t that great. It’s ok and we find we can save money, but it’s just not adding up to $100,000 :)

    Reply
    • MilwaukeeMN July 7, 2013, 10:12 am

      Well, you need more revenue streams. And I’m not saying getting a 2nd or 3rd job necessarily. But there are sources of passive income out there. It sounds like one parent stays at home and cares for the children, perhaps a neighbor or friend would pay you to watch their child(ren) for some hours. I make a salary less than most Americans, spend below the poverty level and have saved up more than most. Would it be easier at MMM’s salary, yes, but I might get there.

      Reply
  • Rob June 25, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Amen Brother. Just discovered your blog. I’m loving it. My story. 48, married, we have 13 kids, yes 13. My wife has never worked for pay. I’ve never earned over 100k per year. We live in an expensive area, DC suburbs. We are debt-free and have a nice net-worth. Not enough to retire yet but getting there. Thankfully I work from home, which is huge. We do own a lot of cars but they were all bought for in cash. Most by my teens that drive. We do have a large van to haul the brood around in. and I have 2 classic cars that I have restored and are worth lots more $$$ than I paid for them. We live fairly simply, especially compared to our friends and neighbors. Don’t eat out a lot, grocery shop smartly, love hand-me downs, kids do activities but not every damn activity out there. Anything extra they do they have to pay for. They pay their own: college, cell phones, iPods, cars, car insurance, car expenses etc…..We don’t pay $4 for a cup of freaking coffee, take reasonable vacations, bought a foreclosure and fixed it up and paid it off in 12 years. Haven’t carried a credit card balance since 1988. I bike or run to do a lot of our errands. And we don’t give a damn what everyone else is doing with their money and possessions that seem to possess them

    Reply
    • Doug June 27, 2013, 8:03 am

      Wow, that’s awesome Rob! I’m single and hear those tired excuses over and over again about how it’s so easy to accumulate wealth when you’re single but absolutely impossible if you have kids. You’re living proof that’s not true, and even with kids (13 at that!) and in expensive Washington DC you can still accumulate wealth if you are efficient with handling money. You’re a world class mustachian!

      Reply
  • The Famous Ashley Grant July 23, 2013, 7:16 am

    Definitely inspired to get my financial act together. I turn 30 next year and my financial status is in shambles, but hopefully the ideas on your blog will set me on the correct path to an early retirement.

    Reply
  • Ju July 23, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Love your blog! I am 34, live a very simple life and love it! Have never owned a car, never had a credit card, don’t have a TV. I can pack all my stuff and move anywhere in he world in about 2 hours… the only thing I would prob leave behind would be my bicycle. I LOVE the freedom. I keep getting rid of more and more and getting less and less and i like it! Very liberating. I see a shift in the way people think. It’s still small, but I think it will get bigger and bigger. From small houses, to sharing cars, to growing stuff instead of fancy useless backyards, sharing stuff etc. And that all leads to spending a lot less money! Because of my lifestyle I have money saved, zero debt and even a ‘travel savings account’, because I just cannot not travel from time to time. :) But even the traveling is very frugal (and great!). No fancy hotels for me – too expensive and way too boring! Anyway, I have also sent this link to a few people and will keep doing it! And the plus is: you are pretty funny! :) Thanks!!

    Reply
  • John July 29, 2013, 3:52 pm

    My buddy discovered your site and sent it over to me since we both love financial concepts and the market. I appreciate that this site exists and love the content. I’m 35, married with kids and stuck in the rat race. I make good money but it is always spent on something other than my asset column so my main concern is security for my family. I wish I would have know about this stuff when I was 21 but there is still plenty of time to become a die hard Mustachian now that I can fully comprehend the whole picture.

    I officially started on my journey yesterday and will do whatever it takes to “retire” at 49. My wife is a little hesitant to give up the 7seat SUV and the cable but she’s coming around after reading some of the posts and the comments from the forum.

    I’m ready to be a financial badass.

    Reply
  • Insourcelife August 2, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Since this is an introductory post, I think it would be cool to add a link to that video interview from Yahoo Finance. It was interesting to see MMM’s household in action living in a beautiful home, hanging out in the garden, riding bikes, going to the library etc. Most people will appreciate a glimpse of the good life in early “retirement”!

    Reply
  • Sarah August 5, 2013, 7:56 am

    Just wanted to let you know that since I started reading you just over a year ago, I have completely gotten myself out of debt (again), but this time I have new habits thanks to you and I won’t be getting into debt again. Thanks for helping me see that I am truly a grown up and in charge of all my own decisions and lifestyle choices. I will be retiring in 6 years when youngest child graduates high school and hitting the road full time in my 1997 RV. That’s my idea of bliss.

    Reply
  • JohnnyP August 6, 2013, 11:03 pm

    I’ve started the journey by jumping in wiith both feet. 35 married with a couple kids. Really wish someone turned me on to this when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I’d be retired by now. Anyway, the site is great and I just started cutting the spending not 3 days ago.

    1. Cell phones reduced by half (saved 100.00/mo)
    2. Changing job next month to reduce healthcare costs by half (saves 700/mo)
    3. Changing job to eliminate commute and the gas/insurance costs associated with it (saves 225/mo)
    4. Moving to basic Cable and solid internet speed to keep streaming Amazon Prime movies and TV when needed (saves 85/mo)
    5. Starting to research selling the SUV(and eliminating the damn high payments) and replacing with a used Sedan for the car seats (would save 497/mo)
    6. Got the wife onboard using the MMM articles about making your spouse love frugality. Thanks for that!
    7. No more buying TV series/No more buying ebooks for Kindle(use the library)/No more buying movies on Netflix or Amazon (will wait until they are free) (will save 20/mo)
    8. Updated my Mint account to track income/expenses/budget
    9. cancelled gym membership and got the garage cleaned enough not to die while working out. (saves 10/mo)
    10. no more fast food work lunches…..at all (saves 60/mo)
    11. starting to price out the additional insulation for the attic and also repairing the leaks around the old windows to cut down the energy bills
    12. replacing this weekend all standard lightbulbs with CFL’s.
    13. dropping some weight to reduce my life insurance premiums (will save 100/mo)
    14. property taxes dropped by half (saves 100/mo)

    This is a solid start and should allow me to destroy my insane credit card balances from a failed biz venture in less than 9 months. (will save 1000/mo in payments)
    Then will destroy the 2nd mortgage (saves 457/mo)

    In less than 2 years i’ll be at a point where I can drop my living expenses down to 3692.00 from almost 8K while keeping my income in the 10K to 12K per month range. That’s when it will get interesting. Thank you for having this site.

    Reply
    • Burak June 18, 2014, 7:22 am

      Wow, that seems great. How have it turned out up to now? Any news? More suggestions? Which things worked well, which of them did not?

      Reply
    • Dean August 1, 2014, 11:08 am

      A lot of states have programs to help with insulation, CFL’s and window replacements. Check out what your state has to offer.

      Reply
  • Chad W. August 8, 2013, 1:57 am

    I’m new to this website I’m only 20 years old but I work a dead end job getting minimum wage. I dont have anything really to my name. I only have about 4k in the bank. See I’m one of those kids that got the deffered action from obama- I want to be financially stable in the future. I dont know where to start really. I mean first of all its hard to find a good paying job just being out of school for two years not really having the direction or guidance I dont have any expenses I just pay my phone bill but I dont have a bog income. I understand your whole concept but I honestly want to eventually start a family with my high school sweet heart. But i just dont think I’m cut out for it. Since I dont even have a car. I mean I can understand going with out most things but a car is a neccessity around where I live everything is pretty far. I just want to settle down and live a nice life but I just dont think a min wage job will help much with savings. I mean I know my job is the first problem but I dont really know about stock index funds or anything like that. Besides I dont even know my eligibility due to my non permanent status here in thw U.S. I mean its more of a re-applying for temp residency. But the point I’m trying to make here is. How the hell do I start or even do. I’m stuck I can save 100% of my income but that’s honestly like 1400 a month and that’s including overtime. I dont know what to do honestly. How can I even plan to settle down or have an independence with low income and a lifestyle that requires bigger expenses and still manage to save money to retire. . :^/

    Reply
    • pc95 January 12, 2014, 9:34 am

      Start with JC, and build to an Associates, and if possible transfer to 4 year. Choose a practical field that you might like to work in….See if you can wing 3 classes with work. Have a goal and realize that it could take years. There’s also military volunteering or ROTC as another way to pay for University.

      This site is intended for someone who already has made it to a mid-level income in their late 20s or early 30s I thnk

      Reply
  • K August 16, 2013, 1:46 am

    Start by getting rid of your Debt Emergency if you have one.
    -Never had one. Never use credit, cash only.

    Live close to work.
    -Always have (this links to a point below about riding a bicycle).

    Move to another city if you enjoy adventure.
    -Actively working on it.

    Don’t borrow money for cars, and don’t buy stupid ones.
    -Haven’t owned a car in 5 years. Always had basic and reliable cars.

    Ride a bike wherever you can.
    -Ride to work every day of the week (easy 25 min ride)

    Cancel your TV service.
    -Never had one.

    Stop wasting money on groceries.
    -Only buy quality food and no junk

    Give your kids the opportunity to achieve greatness without being pampered.
    -Plan on it.

    Lose the overpriced cell phones.
    -Just did this. Dropped my $45p/m phone plan to a $5p/m plan as I didn’t need it and was out of contract.

    Learn to appreciate the life-boosting joy of using your own body to get things done.
    -Definitely. I repair, maintain and extend the life of anything I can. Don’t be afraid to have a reliable network of friends so you can borrow a trailer, power tool or extra set of hands to help out rather than paying someone or buying new gear that you might only use once.

    Learn to mock convenience.
    -It is convenient.

    Practice optimism.
    -$$$ in the bank, flexible and well-paid job, no debt and good health. How could I not be optimistic? :)

    Reply
  • TheGooch August 29, 2013, 11:32 pm

    I’m on board with living frugally. I was thinking that retirement was the goal of life( the earlier the better) until I started reading the 4-Hour Work Week. I’m barely into it but it has me thinking about mini-retirements so that you can enjoy life while you’re young ( do you want to be 40 when you climb the Himalayas) .

    The idea of saving half is pretty nice. Clark Howard ( from the talk/show Web site ) said that his dad taught him that and he’s done it his entire life.

    Anyways, nice site, I like it so far, I’m going to visit often to get exposure to more ideas/philosophies to add to my arsenal!

    Reply
  • Fredrik von Oberhausen September 25, 2013, 3:42 pm

    Two years ago I started saving around 50% of my salary and I have been pushing all of that money into stocks. Today I am very happy I did that because I was forced to step down to half salary recently. It took some time to get used to but I was not building up debt and I was not forced to take from my savings. Today I have even adjusted my lifestyle one step further so that I can on my half salary save around 10%. It is not as much as I would have hoped for but at least it is a joy to see the saving account rising (as soon as the amount is high enough I buy stocks) and not just standing still and this salary cut will also only be temporary.

    Thanks for a great blog with excellent advice on all aspects of life!

    Reply
  • Drea October 14, 2013, 2:07 pm

    For the ultimate in living cheaply, here’s a brief article about a man who neither earns nor spends money at all. Pretty fascinating stuff.

    http://banoosh.com/blog/2013/10/12/the-man-who-lives-without-money/

    Reply
  • Sunny Kid November 7, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I have been on disability for several years after crippling injuries from an accident that was not my fault. Unfortunately I was up against five attorneys for two big corporations and they tied things up in red tape until I had no choice but to settle. I have no debt. I save a little at a time. The blessing in disguise is that I cut down on just about everything. There is something wonderful about not being extravagant. You feel better about yourself. When I used to make more I felt guilty about whim purchases and usually didn’t like what I had bought. Now I question every single thing I buy out of necessity. And that’s okay. My home is clutter free and I only have what I need. Maybe it’s not for everyone. But after going through hard times I know I can save and not spend. And that in itself is a feeling of security. I hope to make more money in the future if my body can recover enough. Then I will have the discipline and vision to save every penny. I will feel good about it.

    Reply
  • Tahnya Kristina November 16, 2013, 10:51 am

    Great post. As someone who used to be over $50k in debt and now I am building wealth I agree that small changes make all the difference in our financial habits. Our lifestyle starts with our money and once we get that right we can start loving our lives.

    Reply
  • Bastiaan December 28, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Great reading !

    We are living in the heart of Europe, on the French-German boarder. We have lived through highs and lows, much of what you teach-preach we learned from rock hard reality of life ! But we love your blog and the new things we learn.

    And… if you are good with a butcher knife, you can even more cut down on your cost of living ! We initially bought processed/prepared chicken, beef and other meat. Yeah, easy it is, and costly. So now we buy complete chickens, half a pork, half a cow and butcher it ourselves. The cost savings are dramatic. And for those of you living on the edge of town, countryside, or even apartments with balcony, try growing your own veggies. The savings either help you get out of the dark deep or go straight into savings ! Here in Europe, this is not so unusual, and a growing number of people rethink life.

    There is an indirect side effect of living more cost conscious, the smart way, it helps you to live healthier and as such also reduces your health care budget. Processed and prepared food often implies treatments, chemicals, anti-biotics, E-XXX colorants and conservants, etc.

    And in the end, home grown food is tastier !!

    Reply
  • Elaine January 12, 2014, 10:03 am

    Hi. great blog. I found it when I was trying to figure out what kind of car to buy because my very reliable 2003 Honda civic was having some major problems – caused by not doing my own fluid top ups – nightmare!!!
    I am a single Mom and 3 of my four girls are now independent, One of those lives at home and pays cheap rent for a basement ‘suite’, helping her save her stash for a home purchase,and helping me too as I try to save money to build my passive solar small house in the country. Reading this blog helped remind me that when they were small I used to live a happier life on A LOT less money. I make approx $50,000 per year and should have been saving more than I have been, but still have a healthy net worth and NO DEBT – it was the way I was raised.
    Anyway, the car seems to be fixed at considerable expense, and I’m hoping I won’t be the only one paying for someone else’s mistake… and now I have the incentive to get back on track to make my country independence dream
    come true sooner rather than later.
    I came across a situation that might be of interest to those looking for cheap accommodations but too old for the college experience of sharing a house with several roommates. The population is aging and most want to stay in their homes but can’t/don’t want to handle the yard work anymore, and if they’re alone, they like having someone around who can check on them. Result: Cheap and sometimes even free rent in exchange for shoveling, yardwork and a bit of company. A win/win situation if you ask me!

    Reply
  • David February 9, 2014, 1:41 am

    is the benchmark 25X annual living include what you stash in a 401k or is that separate

    Reply
  • JAFO February 9, 2014, 12:11 pm

    I have always had that frugal attitude and never understood the need to impress anyone in materialistic ways, but I have been struggling with incurring student loan debt, a mortgage in the most expensive market in the country, and having two young children. My gross income might be nearing the 1%, but I have huge expenses. Being “educated” means so many different things, but being educated financially is the most important lesson in life. I’m glad I stumbled on your blog while flipping Flipboard. There is no more important thing to me than my kids and my ability to spend time with them and you have helped me immensely towards that goal. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Bryan March 21, 2014, 9:52 pm

    MMM – It really has been great reading through the beginning of this blog and applying some of the advice you’ve shared. My partner and I were typical consumer driven young folks, but after getting into your blog, we made some major changes and are starting to see some real progress financially.

    We had two car payments, some after-college furniture that was financed, credit cards, bundled cable/phone/internet (and cell phones) and about 150k in student loans between the two of us – you name it.. we have/had it. In six months we have managed to cut most of the fat, pay off all the credit cards, any other random outstanding debt, my car, and his will be paid off in a few months. All in all, amounts to about 30k in outstanding debt paid and it feels great!

    Once that is done, we’ll have very little overhead, and only student loan debt to work on. I would say that I’ll check back with you in a few years when it is finished, but I’m headed to Medical school in a year so that probably won’t happen. Not the best scenario, but I feel so much better going into this next stage free of so many of the meaningless debts that we had gotten ourselves into. Also, moving closer to work wasn’t an option for us, but we’re only five miles away, so I bike it anyway! My poor car is just sitting, but it’s an awesome little civic, no frills, great gas mileage, and I’ll probably have it for a long, long time now that we are using some of your methods. Thanks for being inspiring.

    Reply
  • Court April 1, 2014, 5:54 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for this blog and the inspiration MMM! I recently graduated and got my first real job a little less than a year ago which is also when I happened to come across your blog. I’ve always been thrifty and your blog has helped me realize that there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it’s great being thrifty! Because of you I am motivated to save 50% of my salary every month (I’m actually getting closer to 60% as of late). I’m on the path to be a mustachian in no time! Thanks again for everything!

    Reply
  • John May 15, 2014, 5:02 am

    But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities!

    -Ben Franklin

    Reply
  • brandix2 May 30, 2014, 8:07 pm

    I am a late bloomer… or an assbackwards kinda human….. I guess I love a challenge. I have two kids (one is graduating next year, one in 4), recently had to purchase two vehicles that we have to make payments on, AND in between jobs. SMH. Can not wait, to see what kinda magic I can make with MMM assistance

    Reply
  • Mike Collins July 30, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Dude, you instantly captured the top slot on my list of lifestyle blogs to follow. Expect more gushing as I dig deeper.

    Reply
  • Shona November 16, 2014, 10:07 am

    Well I just found this blog. I’ll dig around…and tuck the information away. While I’m interested in financial freedom (I do have an MBA after all), I feel like it’s not in my reach. Why? Salary. I definitely do not (cannot?) spend less than what I make. I’m 35, have a negative net worth (thanks to 6-figures worth of student loans). My annual income is $36K, but I’ve been unemployed 9 months in the past 3 years which financially devastated me. I don’t have cable, a cell phone, my car was sold to me by a friend for $500. However rent and utilities wipe me out every single month (my rent is reasonable at $600/month, but utilities are just as much…at $500 – $700/month). I live in a low income area where most of my neighbors qualify for welfare and other government subsidies. However my gross income disqualifies me for everything. Real estate is cheap, but with my debt I can never qualify for a mortgage (it also doesn’t help that the average home prices are $50K here…which is too low for major banks to bother writing a mortgage for). Also I have no kids. It’s just me. And still, I can’t save. I do have $100 in stocks (sadly I cashed out the over $1000 of them when I was unemployed). I definitely have the attitude of not needing stuff (I haven’t brought any new clothes in like 5 years). But income in and debt will most likely be the nail in my coffin.

    Reply
    • IAmNotABartender September 3, 2015, 2:21 pm

      What’s the breakdown of your utilities? $500-700 seems high.

      Reply
  • Kate December 4, 2014, 10:53 am

    I’m a new mustachian, but am no stranger to tight budgets. Less than a year ago on $17k a year my husband and I were feeding ourselves and two friends who had fallen on hard times. All while paying my student loans from my singular year at a private university (major waste of money in comparison to the education I am getting now from a public university). As far as the 1-7 level, we are at about a 5. Things have gotten better. We are now making $39k with my husband getting a job, and myself a raise. Plus, our friends have moved out.
    At this point we have decreased our credit card debt to $4k (as opposed to $5k), with $30k student loans (as opposed to $40k), but now have a $5k car loan, and $2k in medical debt. We canceled our cable, changed our grocery shopping habits, moved closer to work, and are saving up for two bikes.
    However we are faced with a new situation that we aren’t familiar with: extra money.
    We want to retire ASAP, but aren’t in the state we want, and are still renters. We aren’t sure what would be a good balance for our extra money. How much of it do we use to pay off debts, how much to invest in a stock index, how much to start saving up for a down payment on a mortgage.
    Oh, and we’re 21/22, so social security or any government assistance with retirement is very unlikely.

    Reply
    • IAmNotABartender September 3, 2015, 2:24 pm

      Throw it at the debt – especially that credit card debt. I’m guessing the rate on that isn’t close to 0.

      Reply
      • Joe Warren September 3, 2015, 3:39 pm

        Not a bartender is right. There is power in focus. Focus on the CC Debt and kill it. Then move on to the next debt. Sounds a little Dave Ramsey, but it works.

        Reply
  • kofi December 22, 2014, 12:55 pm

    I stumbled on this wonderful blog a few months ago and it’s had a tremendous effect on me…. I was one of the “retire @60 people ” but now at 31, I want to retire at 40(and do something I luv more )….I have done my projections and am going to be living on 50% of my earnings for the next 9yrs….Here in Ghana there are no index funds but there are mutual funds doing very well …I have already stated investing…. Thanks MMM.

    Reply
  • George MacDonald December 31, 2014, 8:49 am

    Mr. Money Mustache!

    Thank you for your blog. I’m heading into 2015 a Mustachian. I think that what I like most about your blog it’s given me a GOAL at work. I know why I’m working, why I’m saving money, and why I’m spending money when I do. Working everyday is not my favorite thing in the world, I do have other projects I want to pursue, and now I get it. I’ve got to save my money because that’s how I retire. Very simple. When I saved money before, I thought “this is money I save because I can spend it when I’m 65.” Why would I put $1000 dollars in a retirement account when I’m 26? I can spend that money NOW!

    But if it means I can be free of work sooner… I get it. I didn’t need to spend that money in the past. I lived for a long time with an INCREDIBLY low cost of living. College life and unemployment after was Frugal. But once I got money, I kind of needed a reason not to spend it. It’s not like it would be tricky to spend $1000. It’s quite easy. A new guitar, a few nights out in Manhattan with a date to impress, new clothes,

    But I didn’t do that!

    I am 26, living in NYC, with an income slightly over the median for someone my age. I have just killed my 20k of student debt and I am officially debt free. I’m also going to increase my contribution to my 401k, put all of the money I would be contributing to my debt to my Roth, and yes, I did put that $1000 of my bonus into my Fidelity account which will be distributed into some select stocks and the S&P. (I know selecting a few stocks is generally a bad idea, and I’ve picked a bad one or two, but I invested in Facebook at the right time and made 125% back on my investment so I keep some money available for picking up the right, well researched stocks at the right time). My next goal is to reduce the amount of money I spend on food. Lunch went from $10 to $4 a day once I started reading, but I want to learn to cook and reduce that a lot more. ThugKitchen is my first purchase. They speak a language I understand.

    I’m also helping. I’ve got a friend who needs to get out of debt and step 1 is that SUV. She already pays monthly for a subway pass to get to and from work, she does not need an SUV. And it’s not because of the car, or the gas, but because of the Parking! She pays $100 a month to park in Queens and she can’t use it to get to or from work. It’s just for occasional trips. So I’m working on her.

    I’m also weighing my real job and my passion against each other, and I think I’m closer to finding a balance. I need to get back into music, teaching guitar lessons, AP music theory lessons, performing, and getting commissions for pieces of music. This work can be very lucrative when it comes to me, much more lucrative per hour than software. But I still need the software job for health insurance and a steady income. I’m getting a firmer grasp of how those two can live together in the same head and the same work week. (4 days software, 1 day music, more on the weekend if I can!) It’s a gamble, but I’m young and it’s the time to make a gamble.

    Thank you for the blog. It’s given me purpose at work and a purpose to save money.

    Reply
  • Gustav Olsson January 5, 2015, 10:37 am

    Hi!

    i really like this concept. But what if I WANT to work in a certain area of profession because it gives me a thrill and are challenging me everyday? I wouldn’t take a job I don’t want and I have saved as much as 90% of what I earn (This was when I was living at home working for a year at Volvo). 2014 I saved 30% of my income, I am currently studying at University so it’s pretty much my limit for savings. I invest in both stocks and other things. I own my own apartment since I year ago. I am 24 years this year and both my parents have a low income job and I have never gotten any money anywhere where I haven’t worked hard for them.

    My point is, I would rather live in a tent than to have a work I don’t long to at Sunday evening. I want the weekend free so me and my beloved one can travel, cook, take walks or w/e we feel like doing. In the weekdays I want to work and contribute to the world (My main goal in life, which not regard me or my family, is to leave this world with a net plus in the worlds account from what I have used, taken and given back). So my point is that I really like your view of beeing free. Freedom for me is to have the option to quit whenever you want and that is what I aim for. My goal is the following: When I turn 30 (In 6 years and approx 3,5 month) I don’t have to work a single minute more if I do not wish so to maintain the living I feel comfortable living for the rest of my life.

    What do you think about that? Does it clash with your point of view or does it cooccur?

    Warm greetings from the cold country Sweden!

    Reply
  • Jason January 8, 2015, 2:23 pm

    I’m lucky today in finding this forum, Mr. Money, your the man!!!!. I’m on this very path but don’t have a clue in investing in stocks. I’ve dabbled in real estate in nyc but suffered immensely. Real Estate in nyc for the working class is not ideal for many reasons. I’m 38 yrs old and want to retire by 40. I have 500K Liquid cash and some extra cash in 401k’s. I currently own an underwater owner occupied 3 family house in nyc, tenants cover all of my expenses. I’m single with no kids and I’m ready to retire in the Caribbean. I’ve worked my ass off from growing up in the south bronx (Welfare Kid) to where I’m now. I’m desperately in search for financial freedom to enjoy life. How to have my earnings work for me? Thank you

    Reply
  • Alex January 10, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Hi Mr. Money Mustache!

    I only recently found your blog and I’ve been scarfing down your posts and learning a lot! It’s great, so thank you! I’ve read probably 20-30 of your articles so far, mostly the first year’s posts and then a bunch of other random ones. I also have started taking a lot of initiative based on what I’ve read here including: riding my bike 6 miles to work in 20 degree weather after a snow storm (in fact I saw a guy SKIING on the bike trail), researching retirement options, opening a Betterment account, and eating out less.

    But after my first week of hardcore Mustachianism, the question I find myself asking is, what do you say to someone who *likes* all the conveniences and luxuries of the typical middle-class life, as I think most of us do? I just find it likely that within a week or two of living like this, I’m going to be craving sitting in my car for an hour driving to work in traffic and eating out every day for lunch. And at that point, what’s the point in living like this anymore?

    I know you can make the money argument, as you did, for example, in your ‘cost of commuting’ article, but if I’m really getting you right, this whole thing isn’t really about money. Your real message is that people are missing out on a really good life by playing into what marketers and conventional wisdom would have them believe; you actually remind me a little of “Walden” by Thoreau, kinda getting up close and dirty with life. And it sounds great! Every article of yours that I read gets me excited about it! But…. it’s really cold and biking is hard and my car is cozy and I can listen to music in it and Starbucks tastes really good……

    Am I just not built for the spartan Mustachian life?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 12, 2015, 11:06 am

      That’s the thing – everybody THINKS they like the lazy Sucka Consumer life, but in reality they are just plain wrong. Because it leads to a less happy and satisfying life.

      Consider an only slightly more extreme version: everybody who tries it LIKES being high as a kite on heroin. Does that make it a good choice for everyone to partake during all waking hours?

      Reply
      • Alex January 12, 2015, 11:14 am

        Haha, ok. Point taken. And btw, today was my second day riding to work, this time in freezing rain. It’s actually been great, as I’m pretty much the only person willing to go out on the trail in this weather and the coldness is refreshing once your body warms up.

        My cargo trailer and bike child seat are en route :)

        Reply
  • tlars699 January 13, 2015, 11:50 am

    I’m running into a problem whenever I come and visit here: All of this money saving stuff, I am already doing, or it is in the plan to do.
    Save on groceries? We go shopping for most of our stuff at Aldi’s- 120 bucks every two weeks- with snacks and awesome food stuffs.
    Save on cable? We don’t have it. We have internet and Netflix- at 60$ a month. We also splurged recently on Hulu for an additional 8$ a month, but it’s hard to argue with having more access to new episodes of MLP: FiM for the boys on treat T.V. time.
    Save on phones? I already had us consolidate our phone bills, and pay just as much as we did a year ago, and we now have a tablet for the same price. Once the year or two is up on it, cutting out an additional 40$ for that.
    Save on cars? We have one paid off, and he still needs to use it as a delivery driver for Pizza Hut. Once he graduates in 3 or so years, he won’t need it anymore. The other only has 1200 on it left, and the plan is for me to bike to work once the spring thaws come.
    We moved/bought our house to make it a 14 mi round trip for this purpose- I just had a baby, and it’s currently January in Wisconsin with no bike snow tires. It’s in the long term plan, but need to work up to it.
    Once it’s March, baby will be able to hold up his head on his own, and already have a trailer and helmets for everyone, so…like I said- long term plan.
    Grow a garden? Bought a house for this purpose(previously lived in apt. with no yard available to convert). Came with apple trees, and a grape vine on the back fence. Worth it? We’ll see.
    Don’t use credit? We try not to excepting to keep accounts open and credit score up. What with baby, and recent house purchase, we have to pay some back, but once it’s paid off, then yes- don’t buy what you can’t afford to pay for directly- use credit, and then directly pay it off immediately.
    Save(cash), save(pay down debt), save(invest)? We do when we can, but currently our income is about 36K total with 3 boys. … the only alternative is to get Scott through school, so he can learn something invest-able (Computer programming/software engineering- in the werks), and for me to somehow get more income and implement aspects of our long term plan that we haven’t been able to yet(attempting- currently waiting to hear back from latest interview).

    It just bugs me to think that I am already doing everything possible, and that I’m still not making much headway. :(

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 16, 2015, 6:13 pm

      You are doing an AMAZING job! Defying the laws of finance, according to most people. 3 boys is no small burden, and you are doing that job with more financial success than many families who earn $120,000.

      Earning more is not essential to leading a good life, but it IS probably the best way to get you ahead financially. Time to get angry at $36k, because some people make that much in a month. Time to go out and get your own bigger slice of the gigantic money pie that is out there.

      Have you read this one?
      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/

      Reply
      • tlars699 January 19, 2015, 7:57 am

        I had, actually(like I said, scouring for anything useable)- I could do painting (family were painters by trade), buuuuuttt.. (and here’s my whiny-pants showing) I don’t want to leave the comfort of reliable paycheck, which would demand of me needing to do this sort of thing on second shift, at least to start out.
        Butt Scott is on second shift with his driver’s job, and he doesn’t want to give that up just yet.
        Butt there exists no 2nd shift daycare, butt my brother just graduated from school so he doesn’t want to come and babysit as much, butt butt butt butt.

        v_v I know. It all amounts to a bunch of butts, butt most of all I want to actually see my kids sometime in the day, and I don’t really have the free money available to invest in a bunch of painting equipment, and my dad, being a borderline hoarder, doesn’t like to allow use of his tools if he’s not receiving a benefit from them somehow. :\

        There’s also the added difficulty of there actually being a professional painters’ group in town: collegepainterpros.

        I’m not really sure how super professional they are, but the house of their employees happen to be our next door neighbors, and they seem to be fairly with-it/friendly.

        I suppose I should stop whining about needing to wait for current long term plans to come to fruition, and just be content with the progress we *have* made thus far.

        Maybe when Scott has his job after graduating, then I can move into something more satisfying financially/physically. :)

        Reply
    • Alex January 17, 2015, 3:31 pm

      Wow, sounds like you’re doing a great job all things considered. Just a minor side note, speaking from experience, delivering pizza is not very profitable once you factor in all the added car costs (gas, maintenance, increased chance of ticket/accident since you’re driving faster to earn a good tip). Once you consider those costs, jobs like being a waiter or cashier turn out to pay more per hour and are much safer.

      Reply
      • tlars699 January 19, 2015, 7:37 am

        Turns out, not so much- Base rate of pay for a driver *on the road* is $5.25, but while *in store* is $7.25/hour- the same as waitstaff.
        He takes care of his vehicle currently, so maintenance fees per month aside from gas is about 80$(including the occasional big repair, but not including commerical insurance policy), which he makes in about one evening in tips as a driver. He gets compensated mileage (I forget how much , but $0.41 sounds about right) I can’t quite convince him to keep a log book for further deductions via the tax man, but *shrug* it’s his money, currently.
        Waitstaff get paid the minimum wage, which here in WI is $7.25/hour, and get tips of about $3-5 per table, and here in our spot are lucky to get about 7-10 tables in a given shift.
        Drivers get that many deliveries minimum in a 4 hour shift- not even closing shift which is 6-8 hours (5-12:30pm average)and can get you about 5 deliveries an hour.
        If you’re risking driving faster to “get a good tip”, then you’re risking the car and your life which he knows- you’re also risking your insurance rates, which as the commerical policy totally outstrips any regular policy in costs, is where you end up losing money; he prefers to maximize driving runs instead to save time. Also, he prefers driving on bad weather nights- better tips that way, and the customers tend to be a bit more forgiving.

        There was a vacancy in the shift manager position, and I was able to convince him it would help out in the long run, which it has(makes him feel good, and get used to the idea of being in charge of something, responsibility, etc) and it hasn’t(we haven’t noticed any growth in available funds, and the current manager is a complete tool with hours/scheduling).

        So the alternative is to get him to go through school and get him software engineering, which aside from accountancy or some sort of professor job or crazy inventor, is the best bang for the buck. He’s got a shoe in the door at Sentry Insurance, so one can hope all will work out in that direction.
        Once I can get him to get up in the morning to drop the kiddos off at daycare, maybe I’ll start biking to work a bit earlier than my plan.

        Reply
  • Matt February 27, 2015, 2:02 am

    Dear Mr Money Mustache,

    I have just been directed to your website by a friend who shares your passion, as well as our joint interest in simplification of life etc. I have scanned through some posts and will be sitting down with some quiet me time this weekend and invest some quality time in reading deeper. I am genuinely excited by what I have read so far, and am hoping to get inspiration and motivation to change our financial situation into something really positive. It’s not bad, but not great.

    I am 35, husband to 1 and father of 2. I have a well paid job with little stress, unless itself self made. I work full time Mon-Fri (08:00 – 16:00) with no pressures to work overtime or weekends. No commute as i work from home so any driving for work is covered by fuel expenses. I earn a good salary, current exchange rates put me at around $79,000 with my wife’s income being around $18,000 ish from two days a week. We have two debts, our mortgage and my stupidly generated credit card debt which is now on a 5 year loan to balance payments by direct debt with options to over pay each month, which my initial plan was to at minimum double my payments to pay off in 2.5 yrs.

    I have reviewed out outgoings many times with a desire to reduce them further, but can’t seem to find away to do it, or real desire to do it. But, our savings are not increasing, the big bills when they come in our covered each month, or split over two to three months. We don’t go overdrawn and we manage OK. But, it feels like there should be more. More comfort in the monthly/yearly family balance. When I mean comfort I don’t mean buying nice things, I mean growing saving etc. My biggest fear and worry is that I currently have no pension or long term investment for when I retire. I used to work for a global company which I paid in to a work place pension, but 5 years ago I joined a small firm which doesn’t offer a pension, I have to manage that myself. I haven’t yet.

    I have to be honest, I have never really looked at our family finances in the detail you have written about here, why because we are not scrapping a living or fearing the bailiffs, what I am doing instead is being irresponsible for allow it to all just happen and one day it’ll bite us in the arse. I am instead wasting fuel by using the car to pop and get some milk when I could organise myself better and spend 30 mins walking to the nearest supermarket, I have 2 in easy reach. Or buy a backpack and cycle.

    I look forward to spending time on your blog and looking into financial reality and improving my families situation. I now see we can be happier.

    Matt

    Reply

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