476 comments

Is Mr. Money Mustache Ruining Your Marriage?

octoThe following is an actual conversation from my email. Abridged a bit for sanity and privacy.

An Enraged Reader Writes:

Subject: Please Stop

Dear Mutilator of My Monies,

Please stop writing. My husband is enthralled. I am watching all of my dreams of a mommyhood filled with Tahoes, lattes, endless monogramming, and a pottery barn dream house go up in smoke. I am tired of hearing about your stupid blog. My husband actually used the phrase “the power of positive thinking” in conversation yesterday…like it was his original thought!!! Vomit.

I stopped by my husband’s office to visit him yesterday. I walked into the lobby there were patients waiting, so this is good. I walk through to the back, more patients waiting in chairs, so this is good. I walk back to his office. There he is! “Hey Ba – ” What is he doing??! He was reading your stupid blog!!! (I was secretly pleased that he was doing this at work during his time and not in the evenings during our time.) I now watch movies by myself. He lays beside me with one eye on the screen and one eye on his computer. He wakes up at 0500 bc he “can’t sleep” and reads the blog. Wahhhh You’re ruining my life.

I thought I was the most wonderful spouse on the planet because we recently paid off 6 years of student loans. And now here we are planning to scrape by for the next 50 years. I do not want to talk about money every hour of every day for the rest of my life. I don’t want to buy already crapped in cloth diapers for my baby on Ebay!

Please think about female spouses. There has to be a limit to the money talk, and the money supervision, and gearing our whole lives around counting dollars. We already live in one of the cheapest apts in town. We sleep in a double bed that was bequeathed to me at age 8. Our “couch” is a blow up bed. A broken blow up bed. WE ARE TOO CHEAP TO REPLACE OUR BROKEN BLOW UP BED COUCH. I dream sometimes about just coming home from work and stabbing it with a kitchen knife and watching it deflate.We live in a stifling, muggy, suburban town that takes 20 min to get to work. I am NOT riding a bike. I do drive a Prius which is as far as I go. No need to punch me in the face.

There has to be a balance. Your theory is flawed bc it is based on men. Families are comprised of men and women. The number one reason a man is able to save adequately is having a wife who saves adequately. How does a modern, style conscious, professional woman thrive with a male-infused idealism of mustachianism? The two cannot coexist. Women and men have different opinions about what is valuable. I value Starbucks as a treat. However, my husband and I literally drive away from the drive through to the same tune every time “This is RIDICULOUS! I can’t believe people pay this much for coffee!”

Don’t be mad. Just consider that a blog for men is only 50% of the fight. Maybe your wife wears a mustache like you, but this is rare. Very rare. Where is the other 50% for normal people?

I was both interested and amused by this submission from a non-reader. While there were definitely some misinterpretations and complainypants in there (especially with that incorrect attitude about biking), I also thought I sensed some light-hearted humor. So I wrote back:

Mr. Money Mustache Replies,

Dear Enraged Reader,

I sense a mix of sarcasm and real problems in there. Obviously no sane person would mourn the loss of a GMC Tahoe, but an inflatable sofa could be a valid source of long-term concern. Can you tell me more?

You can turn the tables on your husband and have him read ‘Frugal vs. Cheap’ to you. My lifestyle has always been pretty luxurious, after all. (I’m on a train to California drinking wine as I type this on my fancy phone).

On the other hand, you might want to explore your feelings towards challenge. I mean, who is so soft that they prefer a gasoline-powered throne to a muscle-powered bike? And is this weakness something to cherish and cultivate, or to overcome so we can live a more fully human life? We should talk more. I think there is a happy middle ground.

 

Enraged Reader Replies,

Hmm. Well, first to address the Tahoe issue which seems to be the most concerning to you. I drive a Prius. I drive a Prius with 4 hubcabs.

Correction, I drive a Prius with 4 broken, cracked, bent, hubcaps. Actually, I believe I still have a piece of one of them stuck in my side door pocket. Why? I seem to have a blind spot for curbs and large rocks next to curbs. I can’t seem to miss them. I have friends that have the same problem and also want SUVs. SUVS allow you to ignore conventional road side barriers as well as get elusive parking spots other sedans cannot get. The reverse can also be true I suppose. I like the thought of being up high, and I like knowing that I would be safe in the event of a wreck. I just recently discovered that people in SUVs can see TWO cars ahead of them. My whole life, I thought that we were all on an equal playing field, but we’re not. The SUVs know what’s going on before I do. They’re all in the fast lane, while I’m stuck in the slow lane!! I also like the thought of just being able to throw my whole life inside a Tahoe without having to tetris-pack my belongings. For example. “We need to go borrow a latter to paint the living room? Sure! Let’s pick it up in the Tahoe!” Or, “Let’s go by some large bushes or small trees at Lowes, and we can put them in my Tahoe!” Or “I don’t have time to pack- just grab everything and throw it in my Tahoe!” Or, “Girl trip to the beach? Everyone pile in my Tahoe!” When we have little kiddos, I want to be able to keep everything they could possible need in there – diapers, small stroller, jogging stroller, baby toys, extra wipes, etc with extra room for groceries. Sounds great, right?!!!

Also, I fear that the comment, “who is so soft that they prefer a gasoline-powered throne to a muscle-powered bike?” has quite missed its mark. I like “soft.” Remember, I am a woman? I put conditioner in my hair so that it’s softer, I shave my legs, so they’re softer, I put lotion on my arms, so that they’re softer. I even smudge my eyeliner a bit to give it a softer look. “Soft” is a feminine thing to be desired and in no way is it a turn off. Sooo YES! I am SOFT! And if a Tahoe makes me softer, bring it on!!! Also, I’ve never had muscles in my life and am totally ok with it.

Also I feel like you may not have tried to transport yourself by bike through a large suburban town. That means it’s 10 minutes by car to the grocery store, 20 minutes to work by car, 20 minutes to church, 15 minutes to our friends’ house, and 10 minutes to the canal in your car, where most bicycle enthusiasts then unload their bikes from their cars and then go biking along the river. What would be your solution to biking in a sprawling suburbanopolis?

And I guess it’s not just the blow up couch that drives me crazy. It’s the cumulative effect of a cheap life where we scrutinize every penny and are reticent to indulge in simple life enhancing pleasures. We are poor. Not financially, but outwardly, we are poor. My husband has an orthodontic practice, I work full time as a nurse practitioner, and yet we live like going out to eat at a restaurant with waiters will bankrupt us.

We were listening to a podcast last weekend, and you said that some people have a predisposition to the MMM lifestyle. I would like to introduce you to my husband. Watching him research different financial strategies has been like watching one of those toddler toys where you have to match each different shaped block to the appropriate shaped hole in the container and push it through. Mr. C is an MMM block. He didn’t know it until he tried to fit into several different financial holes without really fitting all the way around, and then finally found the MMM shaped hole and slid right in. He wants to retire early and take up hobbies, and travel, and be at home. He wants me to jump on the band wagon. That’s great. Except for the fact that I’m tired of self-induced poverty. My understanding of the MMM lifestyle is that you work hard to be poor while your young so that you can be poor without working when you’re old.

Being poor is okay if that’s what you’re called to or that’s what you’re life situation is. I would be okay being poor if I could stay home and have babies or was doing overseas missions or something. But I work hard Monday-Friday, and I can’t even enjoy a bottle of coke once a week! It is not a lifestyle that I want forever. And my husband would have to loosen up with the little things before I could throw my block into the MMM shaped hole. Something has to give.

 

 

park_cityAs you can see, quite a battle has formed between the three of us, and it scares me a little, since it’s a battle in a much younger couple with a much newer marriage than my own. Are these folks doomed?

They may be. Some people just develop drastically different perspectives, which may not be compatible. For example, my own wife would take strong offense at the idea that women are supposed to be soft. I would personally spend my time shooting holes in those amazing misconceptions about cars, bikes, and SUVs and the concept of “scraping by”.

At the same time, it sounds like the husband depicted in these letters could also use some tips on Selling the Dream of Frugality, as well as the difference between Frugal and Cheap. And if you are battling over monthly spending allowances while simultaneously feeling the desire for $100 golden sandals, something is bound to give.

But by gaining a broader perspective, there may still be hope. Every time I get a chance to meet with readers, I see couples who have arrived from both sides of the gender gap. About half the time, it is the girl who was frugal, and wrangled in the dude. Sometimes (as in this case) the man is the instigator. In my favorite stories, a high-income person, couple, or family spontaneously sees the light and chops a $200,000 lifestyle down by 75% or more, then shows up to report how much happier their lives have become. Doctors and successful financial advisors sell their golf course McMansions and move into the neighborhood next to their practice, and start walking to work and setting priorities straight in life at last.

Successful frugality must come from an alignment of philosophies, not an ever-stricter regime of bean-counting. So in Part Two of this article, I’ll share another story of a different confrontation between partners – one which led to much greater agreement and better results.  Until then, we can all chill out and realize that even the worst of financial disagreements is still a tiny detail in the grand scheme of our excellent lives.

Update: A Word about Internet Troll Speculation

A few dozen comments into our morning here, I can see quite a few speculations about the true intent of this email. Some think our author is a “troll”, which is someone who writes something artificial and inflammatory just for the sake of getting a reaction.

While I can’t prove it because I don’t know these folks personally, I would strongly disagree. Trolls are common on Reddit, but rare in the Mustachian community, because we are a smaller group with a more focused mission. Plus, this was a series of personal emails where the author had no idea it would get published.

More significantly though, is the fact that I hear about battles exactly like this one every single day. The perspective of the typical non-Mustachian consumer really is exactly as you read it here: frugality is deprivation, SUVs are valid road-going vehicles and little luxury purchases make you happy. When you try to spring a low-spending lifestyle on a person with this perspective, this is exactly what happens, and this is why we see effects like 90% of cars in the US being bought on credit. People are buying depreciating mechanized sofas that cost more money than their entire net worth. By the million. Every single month.

This shit is for real, and that is why I believe the sentiments here are genuine. The question remains, then: how can you completely turn this perspective on its head and end up with a person that actually enjoys frugality?

 

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods July 17, 2014, 7:32 am

    I find it interesting that while she’s railing against the frugal life, she seems to be living it (for the most part). I wonder if it’s the absence of a concrete financial destination that’s hindering them… if they BOTH planned to retire early, perhaps the lack-of-Tahoe would pale in comparison to freedom.

    And, for the record, as a woman I do take great offense at the implication that financial planning, the frugality gene, hardness (v. softness), and mustachianism are not inherent to ladies. I am a lady with a ‘stache (albeit one that does not manifest as a hairy upper lip). So I say, thank you MMM from my family, which includes both a woman and a man (who, incidentally, has a righteous beard, which I think compensates for my dearth of facial fur).

    Reply
    • Michelle July 17, 2014, 8:06 am

      I took offense with that as well. As an earlier commenter said, I really hope this was just a very talented troll because women can enjoy reading MMM as well!

      Reply
      • L July 17, 2014, 8:28 am

        I agree with Michelle. I love MMM! I’m the one more into your blog than my husband is. Don’t listen to her!

        Reply
        • Brittany July 17, 2014, 11:31 am

          Add me to the list of women who are outraged by this woman blaming her weakness on her gender. I’ve known plenty of men who spend absurd amounts of money on gadgets, sports equipment, cars, and, yes, even clothes. My brother has over 70 pairs of shoes…I have 8, and I still think that’s too many. In my marriage, I’m the one who takes care of all of our finances and investments. My husband is constantly frustrated that instead of running our clothes through a dryer, I dry them on a wire rack (that has more to do with my desire to live an earth-friendly lifestyle than to save money, but it does save money!). I will challenge any man to a competition of who can travel lighter, take less trash out to the curb every week, and utilize the resources of their local public library the best, for I am an expert in all of those and many more mustachian ideals. My gender is not a weakness.

          Reply
          • theFIREstarter July 24, 2014, 3:53 am

            I am a Mustachian of the male variety but know plenty of blokes that are the spendy one in their relationships. As well as plenty of ladies, as well as plenty of relationships where both are spendy!

            I think if you’ve spent any amount of time reading this and similar themed blogs, and then changing your perspective, philosphy, and behaviour to reflect the concepts presented, then you start to forget how retarded your old and now what you may call “normal people’s” views actually are on life.
            As MMM pointed out in the update, this is how 95% of America and the UK still think, but they’ll soon come round to our way of thinking. If not by choice, then eventually when resources really start to run out.

            Reply
      • Diedra B July 17, 2014, 12:42 pm

        me four

        Reply
        • pogo July 17, 2014, 1:25 pm

          the letter writer sounds like a throwback to the 1950s woman. Get with the times! We as a planet cannot afford to continue living like that, or with buying into stereotypes.

          Reply
        • Rachel July 17, 2014, 5:11 pm

          While I agree the the email writer perpetuated some serious sexist stereotypes, I do think that certain elements of Mustachianism fail to account for those who lack male privilege. A woman riding a bike risks assault in a way that is much less likely than for a man, the MMM budgets that I’ve seen in previous posts don’t appear to account for the costs of birth control (which isn’t universal for all women, of course, but is a significant expense for those uterus-havers whose life is such that they require it), and for those who are working in an office setting, definitions of professionalism are gendered in a way that makes it more expensive for women to meet them (from the cost of pantyhose to the products needed to produce a “professional” hairstyle). None of that precludes frugality, by any means, but it may contribute to her impression that MMM is a blog for men.

          Reply
          • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 5:29 pm

            I propose that you start with the assumption that women have no disadvantages at all (whether that is really true or not), and design your life from that perspective instead.

            After all, plenty of the woman readers sitting right next to you reading this still ride bikes in all seasons, representing most cities, states and countries. Any worthwhile men voluntarily pay equally for any contraception in which they participate. Pantyhose, while inexpensive, are not a universal requirement for any career. And careers themselves are something that can be freely changed as well. And finally, people of either gender have been known to cut and maintain their own hair pretty much for free.

            You don’t necessarily have to do any of these things to become financially independent, but in that quest it definitely helps to assume that you can do, or avoid doing, anything you decide is important.

            Reply
            • Rhonda July 17, 2014, 11:23 pm

              I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! In fact I read it twice simply for the humor factor.
              It is one’s difference in perception that leads her to believe that she isn’t able to live the life she imagines. We all have different perceptions on what frugality means to them. I am a woman, am soft AND am on the road to financial independence! It’s a matter of choice I make all on my own though, and thus far dont’ have to worry about anyone else spending my hard earned dollars but me. I can see where this woman would like a bit of “fun” money, and if all things balance, why not? As you’ve stated MMM, you live a lavish lifestyle even throughout the building of your small empire, and never felt “without.” It’s your perception about things & acquisition of freedom that enabled you to save where you could, but not deprive yourself of some of life’s pleasures. It’s all about balance & perception. And in the end FREEDOM to choose the life you want to live!
              Thank you for this post! I feel it has been one of the best so far!

              Reply
              • LaPriel August 10, 2014, 11:53 am

                “FREEDOM to choose the life you want to live!”

                It is interesting how we all read the same words, but our life experiences change the way we interpret what is written.
                For me, the above statement seems to capture what the reader was saying in her letter. I didn’t choose this life style, my husband did. When one feels forced and pressured into anything, they usually fight back. “You can’t make me”.

                MMM, I love your part two post about this. In fact, I read it out loud to my 16 yrs old daughter. I told her it had some very important tips about relationships in it. It amazes me how two people fall in love, get married and yet have never talked about their goals and expectations in life.

                I hope this couple can civilly sit down together and talk about their goals and expectations in life and make appropriate compromises.

                One of the things I like about MMM is that I can live the principles at any level of luxury that my husband and I choose.

            • Melissa July 18, 2014, 12:06 am

              I agree with Rachel. MMM, it seems like you don’t quite understand her point. While I agree with your philosophy and practice frugality and minimalism in my life, I am also very aware that I am privileged enough to be able to do so. MMM you sometimes make comments that are alienating to people who may have come from different cultural perspectives. I suggest you consider a few things:

              1. As Rachel noted above, being a woman sometimes mean you risk assault in a different way. In my years commuting on a bike, I’ve been cat-called in threatening ways (example: “Hey baby, your ass looks good up there” followed by “Suck my dick, bitch” when I don’t respond. I’ve even been groped while on my bike. I keep riding, but I wouldn’t blame any woman who would avoid riding after a similar experience, especially if she has experienced sexual assault/trauma in the past. It is easy for a man to say “assume that women have no disadvantages at all,” but that ignores the reality that many women face. A women reading your comment might think “Well, this guy is dismissing my reality, therefore his writing isn’t for me.”

              You can encourage women to bike without dismissing their legitimate concerns. I do it all the time!

              2. Pantyhose etc. Forgive me, but your comment about pantyhose is a little ignorant. In some conservative professions, in conservative areas of the country, pantyhose is defacto required, and pants are discouraged. If you google “pantyhose dress code lawyers” or something like that, you can see evidence of that. Of course, I think that is ridiculously sexist and old-fashioned, but I am lucky enough to not work in that world. But it is ok to acknowledge that some people DO have to function within that culture! We can’t all live in liberal areas.

              Not that pantyhose requirements necessarily keep a woman from riding a bike to work! But it does makes things a little more difficult for her- do you see?

              3. On that topic, it unfortunately is a fact that in many professions, women are judged on their appearances more than men. A few studies have come out recently showing that women who wear makeup are seen as more “competent” (ex: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/fashion/makeup-makes-women-appear-more-competent-study.html?_r=0).

              Again, I am lucky enough to work in a city and a profession where I can show up to work sweaty and makeupless, and even take advantage of the shower there if needed. But I acknowledge that many, many women don’t have that advantage. Additionally, I am young, white, thin, and relatively conventionally attractive. It is easy for me to look “presentable.” My hair is straight and thin, and I can cut it myself easily. However, a person of color, or an older person, is working against cultural prejudices that enforce different standards on them in order to look professional.

              Again, this doesn’t keep a person from commuting via bike, but it makes it more difficult. You have a whole series of strategies to navigate, which can be overwhelming, especially if you have no role models to help you, and your biking seems strange to everyone around you.

              4. “Any worthwhile men voluntarily pay equally for any contraception.” This statement is true, but it is an example of your tendency to make alienating statements. You are essentially saying “This message is only for men, or women who are in a stable relationship with a worthwhile man. ” I mean, what about the single women? What about the poor women who work for Hobby Lobby? What about women who are in a relationship with non-worthwhile men? Do realize that there are many many women out there for whom the cost of birth control is a burden?

              It is ok to acknowledge that truth! It doesn’t mean your philosophy is wrong! It doesn’t mean that Mustachianism can’t work for those people! But jeez, try to expand your perspective a little- not everyone has a supportive partner to help pay for their birth control.

              5. “Careers can be freely changed” I’m not even going to touch this one. Privilege. Choices. They are not distributed equally.

              I know you mean to encourage people to overcome barriers to mustachianism. But often it seems like you are dismissing the fact that barriers exist at all. And overlooking the fact that those barriers are higher for people who are not educated white males living in a liberal culture.

              Don’t get me wrong, I disagree with the letter writer in almost every way. But I do think there are some valid criticisms of the way your blog comes off, which Rachel said much more succinctly above. I think you could reach a lot more people if you considered those criticisms.

              Reply
              • Jeanette July 18, 2014, 6:53 am

                Melissa,

                I am sorry if mentioning anything about assault has brought up any hostile feelings that no one can understand but those that have been assaulted.

                I don’t believe MMM is so caulious of a human being that he could not fathom the fear, uncertainty, sadness, or the million of other feelings women and men experience when they have been sexually assaulted. From a fellow assaulted-ee, I don’t feel like your comment can speak for other women or men who have been sexually assaulted. Those of us who have can choose our lives moving on after the event. Everyone pushes through their hardships in different ways but to suggest that we are incapable of moving on, to the point that we are afraid to ride a bike to work in fear of being assaulted makes me sad that your faith of human endurance is so low. I believe there are men and women who are stronger and can overcome their adversities.

                The second point of pantyhose. They are relatively inexpensive, but people can make their own choices. They are not bound by their prisoners (employment). If a woman is “forced” to have to wear pantyhose at a job, well, then its time to find another office to work at. I don’t know much about mandatory wear but I have never worked at a job – corporate or small time – that REQUIRED TO THE STRICISTICS OF STRICT DRESS CODE. And if they did, well, CHANGE JOBS.

                I have responded to Rachel about being judge on your appearance. WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH? Why do you let employers have that much power over your person? Of course, I am not talking about the extreme of coming into work smelly, holey dirty clothes, but there is a middle way that women and men can be hygienically fresh, clean, and presentable and classic, without having to fall victim of feeling like “its a man’s world and I have to dress for him”. You have power, babe, more than you know.

                Don’t condemn MMM about the mistreatment of people of color vs societal norms. People need to change and they have the power to do so. It is our responsibility as a people.

                People have a choice of employers, they don’t have to work at Hobby Lobby.

                Birth Control is NOT expensive. Actually, if you want, get an IUD. I only had to pay $100 out of the normal $1000 (thanks Obama) for mine and thats 13 years of automatic “no babies for me”.

                It just sounds like a lot of complainey pants here. Own your own life. There are choices, you can choose where you live, work, who you do business with, etc. It may be harder for some more than others but it can be done.

                Plus, someone talking about sexism and being a problem, you have stated, “white, privileged, liberal male”. Comments like that don’t help end racism, sexism, or classism.

              • Eric July 18, 2014, 7:58 am

                Mustachianism is just like any other dogma. You can pick apart the words of the prophet, crying foul over perceived gender bias, or eating pork, letting dogs in the house, or wearing clothes comprised of two materials, or you can get down to the root, to what the Purpose behind the text is. In this case, it’s embracing and developing your own strength. Strength of frugality, of character, of body and mind – being able to move beyond the complainypants within and owning your issues, the hurdles you’ve overcome, with quiet dignity and grace.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vCm8e1at1I

              • Ginger July 18, 2014, 9:53 am

                I really do agree with Melissa. I don’t bike to work because of the area I have to drive to get to work and I have a young child. That does not stop me from taking a lot of your ideas and using them, but the idea that I am as safe as a male is foolish. One of my coworkers was raped after leaving from work late, right outside our building door. My husband NEVER feels unsafe walking out of the building though. There are differences that we need to account for, but those differences don’t stop us from being frugal.

              • V July 18, 2014, 10:09 am

                I agree with many of Melissa’s points and she underlines many of the problems I have with this blog. I often find my appreciation of his advice suffers because he marginalizes and disregards the circumstances of other who dissent.

              • Christine July 18, 2014, 12:25 pm

                Awesome comment, Melissa. You expressed my thoughts exactly. I also read MMM pretty often and believe my life embodies mostly frugal philosophies. I have also felt, though, the tendency of this blog to be dismissive about the real obstacles people face to adopting many of the recommended practices. I think that arguments (such as MMM’s) are much more persuasive if they admit their limitations. For me, being frugal *is* a sacrifice, even while it allows me to sort out what’s really important in my life. For example, I live in an expensive area, but it’s also where all my friends are. I’m an introvert, and it takes me a long time to make good friends, and the ones I’ve made are extremely important to me. I know I can move to a cheaper place and maybe make new friends, but to assume that this wouldn’t be a major sacrifice is insultingly blase. That wasn’t the best example, but it’s the one that’s been weighing most on my mind lately.

              • Nick July 18, 2014, 1:15 pm

                you lost me at “What about the poor women who work for Hobby Lobby?”

                Check the facts. HL pays for 17 forms of contraception. The only forms they don’t pay for are abortive treatments (e.g. Plan B).

                As for the women in relationships with “non-worthwhile men”; I would say they have deeper issues that should be addressed before the content on MMM blogs.

              • Marie July 18, 2014, 1:25 pm

                Melissa, this is SO GOOD! Melissa for president!!

                It doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it just doesn’t hurt to acknowledge differences sometimes.

              • Jack Nickle July 19, 2014, 11:32 pm

                Melissa: I feel the takeaway from your post is that the disadvantaged have the most to gain from following MMMs advice.

                The truth is you live in a really bad area if you are likely to get sexually assaulted while cycling. The vast majority of the US is NOT LIKE THAT. Following MMMs advice and living frugally will allow you to save enough to move.

              • lizzie July 20, 2014, 3:06 am

                Melissa, that was a really good comment.

                Jack Nickle, the majority of the US is indeed like that: according to the CDC and the National Institute for Justice, one in six American women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime: https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

                Note that that is counting only rape or attempted rape, not all the myriad other types of sexual assault and battery, not to mention verbal harassment and other threatening behavior that just about every woman who has ever existed in public has experienced (you might want to ckeck out the tag #YesAllWomen to read about women’s experiences with this).

                I am an avid bike commuter, so please know that I am not saying that women can’t bike. But it is incredibly frustrating when men are dismissive about women’s legitimate concerns for safety. Women are drilled from birth that the world is not safe for them, that it is their job to keep themselves safe, and that if a woman fails to do so a whole chorus of “helpful” people will be there to explain why she should have done something different to prevent her own assault. In fact you are participating in a preemptive form of this, by suggesting that women just move to some hypothetical place in America where sexual assaults do not occur. That is a fantasyland that does not exist.

                And here’s the kicker: when women take this message (and the real prevalence of violence and harassment against them) to heart, they are told dismissively that their concerns aren’t really real or important. I don’t know if this is really possible, but I’m asking you to just try for a little while to imagine what that must be like.

              • Erin E July 21, 2014, 11:52 am

                +1 on the fact that Melissa’s comment hits the nail on the head.

                I’m another female MMM reader – I’m the one getting my husband on board. The fact that Melissa has pointed out a few ways that the MMM perspective can be limiting is not a bad thing. It just means that there are many more possibilities for blog topics, guest posts and other avenues for introducing different perspectives ABOUT Mustachianism. I would be thrilled to read guest posts from women, from people of color, from people of different socioeconomic statuses, etc. The point now is how to make this general lifestyle work for folks of all walks of life.

              • Jack Nickle July 22, 2014, 7:05 am

                Hi Lizzie. I’m not saying that women don’t get raped.

                I’m saying that the likelihood of getting raped cycling to/from work is in fact quite low (in most parts of the US).

                Most rapes are carried out by someone you know in/around the home or an acquaintances home.

                I’d argue you are more likely to get raped driving, walking, or taking public transport. In fact 1 in 12 rapes takes place in a parking garage:

                https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders

                I also don’t need to imagine what violence and harassment are like for women. I’ve been a victim of violence and harassment. In fact men are more likely, by a wide margin, to be victims of violent crime than women (including murder, harassment, robbery, and assault).

              • meagain July 23, 2014, 11:49 am

                Thank you Melissa. That was so well-put, true, and respectful. The issue of privilege is a huge one mmm needs to address, as much as I love this blog and philosophy.

              • frugalnoggin July 24, 2014, 2:36 pm

                TO MELISSA: YES! Eloquently said. I have been an open and rabidly proselytizing mustachian ever since my introduction to MMM about 8 months ago (70% savings rate and climbing, baby!), but I am sometimes hesitant to introduce the blog to female friends because of its occasional blind spots re: privilege. I think a healthy dose of feminism can only make mustachianism stronger.

                TO MY FELLOW MALE MUSTACHIANS: WAAAAH! WAAAAH! That smart lady pointed out how easy I have it and it made me feel guilty and uncomfortable in ways I don’t fully understand! Waaah, my self-congratulatory worldview is threatened by the notion that 100% of my success might not come from my own hard work! Waaah, I haven’t gotten over that time a girl beat me up at recess and all the boys made fun of me, waaaaah!!! Suck it up, shut up, and listen to wisdom when you hear it; you might learn a thing or two. I love you though. Bro hugs.

              • EmmaS August 4, 2014, 1:29 pm

                I’ve been reading MMM for years now (it’s set as my homepage) and this is the first time I’ve felt moved to come out of my lurking to comment. My comment is this: Everything you said, Melissa. Everything.

              • Elise W August 6, 2014, 3:35 pm

                +1 to Melissa’s comment. Lady here: I used to be an every-day reader of this blog. Although I’ve kept the great influence of MMM in my financial life, I’ve stopped reading more than once a month because the writing tone (and some of the financial advice) is so narrowly aimed at white men.

            • Jeanette July 18, 2014, 6:25 am

              I agree with MMM.

              I believe Rachel has fallen victim of what society wants to accept women in a business setting instead of what she or he wants.

              Personally, from my own experience, I work in a huge corporate setting. I tend to be very causal (and its allowed) and natural. I stick to neutral colors and basic ensembles. Collared button shirt, slacks, dress shoes, belts, pencil skirts (I believe French men and women follow this fashion sense). I mix and match. I don’t wear jewelry – it makes me feel freer and less of a hassle worrying about fidgeting with it. Not that I don’t have pieces at home but they were purchased second-hand and used on special occasions.

              I don’t dye my hair (Silver Fox, baby!), wear minimal makeup (this gives me a load off my mine from worrying about smudges or having to touch up) and I don’t “do” my hair. I wash it and slick it back, and let it air dry. I do cut my own hair and my SO from watching tutorials on YouTube. Keeping it a basic style helps.

              I carpool to work for right now but I am looking forward to using my bike more.

              I feel confident and free. And nobody at work has a changed perception of me because I don’t look like a movie star. Actually, it is quite the opposite. People see that I have a lot of confidence in myself and I still maintain a sense of respect among my peers. It’s 99.9% attitude, baby. Let that inner light shine!

              Reply
              • Thoughts July 19, 2014, 4:24 pm

                Honestly, this whole pitting gender versus finance is straight up as silly as that woman’s letter in the blog post.

                I’m behind both MMM and Rachel’s arguments because while each make their points within the same sphere of intersection between gender and finance, they don’t necessarily cancel one another out by any means.

                Both have good points and both have their down sides, same as any argument. And actually, I’ve found that social justice can indeed be quite complementary with financial independence.

                From MMM, I get the individual empowerment of choice, personal agency, and positive attitude as they meet up with financial independence. His tone of writing is his brand and that is obviously selling to folks like us. He’s providing a product – advice, ideas, and suggestions in tandem with a personal philosophy neatly packaged in a blog – that isn’t going to be everything to every individual person. Yes, his tone can be alienating, but I acknowledge the flaws I see when I’ve got my feminist glasses on, apply the financial advice I see as relevant and helpful for my lifestyle, and sail on toward my financial goals.

                From Rachel and her arguments – a form of feminism if I ever recognized it – the awareness and analysis of gender gives me just as much choice and agency, greater empathy, an understanding of what advantages I have, and in general ‘ways in which to be a better human being in spite of all the stupid, unfair, and arbitrary rules that we absorb from our culture’. It gives me the ability to be self-reflective about how I treat other people and their personal experiences. At the same time, it makes me aware of the kind of stupid, arbitrary rules I might see myself regurgitating by giving someone a ‘B’ letter grade for their appearance because I don’t think they wear enough make up.

                Yes, this still happens where folks are denied the promotion because of not cutting some manager’s dumb standard for business professional but the answer isn’t to whine about how hard it is. Acknowledge and point out how hard it is, be aware of it, and proactively do something to change it while totally taking that financial self-empowerment, determine which choices you’ll make which sync up with what you believe, and crank the financial guru in you up 11.

                In other words, your boss is being a sexist jerk because she looks at what you’re (not) wearing versus your actual work? Flip the bird to her and get a better paying job. That’s what I’m doing. I don’t need to wear make up or work overtime for her. Instead, I’m investing in myself by expanding in my skill set, saving every little dollar, finally giving into the fact that I need a roommate to stay comfortably afloat, and making the choice to study rather than decompress in front of the TV. Yes, I’m dog-tired by the end of the day, but I pull out my books, balance my budget, and figure out ways to make shit work. I can’t wait to get the hell out of my rage-inducing caste system corporate job.

                Neither philosophy – financial independence or feminism – is utterly mutually exclusive of the other. The former is bent on cutting down financial excess in favor of personal freedom and the latter is all about expanding that personal freedom. For example, MMM advocates for riding one’s bike to work in order to cut down the ridiculous costs of a car while feminism, broadly speaking, is about making that bike ride safe and acceptable option for everyone without harassment. We have arrived in neither realm where the reality is that everyone rides bikes to work and where everyone feels safe to do so, but we are working toward it as best as possible.

            • LadyStache July 20, 2014, 10:44 pm

              I would like to offer my sympathies and suggestions to Mrs. Enraged Reader. I am of mixed opinions about her letter, but I totally get her perspective.

              I am a very independent career woman (I earn more than my Mr.) who is half girly-girl, half tomboy. I don’t wear makeup or pantyhose, but I love cooking and sewing and sparkly things. In my budget I plan for things I enjoy, like lattes and haircuts and hiring a pro to fix my house. I also cut back on other things to make room for these in the budget, which I always assumed to be the point of MMM’s philosophy.

              I sometimes roll my eyes at the posts when MMM offers a suggestion that would absolutely not work in my job / location / lifestyle / marriage, but the principle is what I hold on to. It may get me to FI a little slower, but nevertheless I will get there.

              My husband has always had a Cheap Gene. It usually works out fine for us because I’m happily learning to be a Mustachian and his reticence to spend money helps me make better decisions. However, because of him, I too have lived a similarly frustrating “inflatable furniture” scenario.

              When we were first married, we had a tiny studio and therefore, not a lot of stuff. We eventually moved into a larger apartment and had more income, so naturally I wanted furniture. He refused. We fought about it, and his logic was: “if we buy furniture we will get comfortable here and then we will get too lazy and complacent to keep striving for buying a house, which is our big goal. Also, if tragedy happens and we go broke, we will need to downsize and we will lose all the money we spent on the furniture.” It was hard to argue with that because he was so passionate about it. But my back was sore and there was nowhere comfortable to sit except at our folding card table and chairs, or on our bed.

              It took a long time, but I finally found a solution. I told him that my back was sore and, come hell or high water, I was going to get something comfortable to sit on for myself before I incurred medical costs. I said I would pay for it and it would be unobtrusive in the apartment. I also said I would buy it from Costco, so we could return it for a full refund if tragedy struck and we had to move. He wasn’t pleased but I did it anyway.

              I went out and got myself the most comfortable Costco recliner I could find. Wouldn’t you know it? Within 3 days it was no longer mine. He loved it and I had to go buy a second one. I never heard another word about it, and I got what I needed.

              When we finally did buy a house, we kept the recliners, got more furniture, and life went on. I am hoping Mrs. Enraged Reader will be able to also find a solution to replace her inflatable couch, because I know how much that stinks. I hope this helps.

              (I have been following MMM since the beginning, but this is my first comment. What can I say, I was inspired. Thanks to MMM and all the readers for your ideas!)

              Reply
            • Dana August 30, 2014, 2:56 pm

              I agree with Melissa. Generally I like MMM’s advice, but it’s very offputting for anyone who’s been given a financial advantage in life, whether that advantage comes from being white, being male, having rich parents, etc, to say “when we’re talking about money and lifestyle, let’s just pretend this advantage I have doesn’t exist.” To me, MMM asking us to ignore his male privilege would be the same as if he received money from a trust fund every month and then told us “I propose that you start with the assumption that people without trust funds have no disadvantages at all (whether that is really true or not), and design your life from that perspective instead”.

              I think it’s a good thing to acknowledge how different aspects of Moustachianism will be easier or harder for you, compared to others on the forum or comments, because of your gender, race, or anything else about yourself. It’s just the more respectful thing to do.

              There are many times in my life where I’ve had to make tough financial choices specifically because I’m female (having to choose between quitting a job and enduring sexual harrassment, for instance), and other times when I’ve had a financial benefit from being white (being hired elsewhere when I’m certain, after meeting the management, that I wouldn’t have gotten the job if I wasn’t white). This is the norm, not the exception. And yes, it feels bad to admit that some of the money in your bank account is there because of the way you look and the way our culture favors you. I get it! We all want to believe that everyone who worked as hard as us got the same return on their work as we did. But I wish more men and white folks would be level-headed enough to freely admit that they/we have it easier, instead of brushing people off.

              Reply
              • Mr. Money Mustache August 31, 2014, 8:11 pm

                I won’t argue with your observations of privilege.. but if someone said to me, “Start by assuming that you have no disadvantages at all because you never got a trust fund”, it would be appropriate for me to agree. Advantages often turn out to be disadvantages, because they pamper us too early in our lifetimes. Meanwhile, the “hardships” can be something to endlessly argue about and publish academic papers on, or they can be the seed of some real accomplishment.

          • Adrian M July 21, 2014, 3:33 pm

            Lord, who are these trolls agreeing with your comment with so much gusto. Being afraid to step out of gender roles continues to allow them to be de facto enforced. You just enforced gender roles by saying that MMM is out of touch because he is a “white, privileged male living in a liberal world.” That helps no one at all. That is the equivalent of saying “Welp, I’m black and they told me I can’t vote. Better go home”. You’re the definition of Complainypants.

            Reply
            • lizzie July 22, 2014, 3:34 am

              Here’s a better analogy—and one that is not quite so comically divorced from the actual history of voting rights:

              Blogger: Voting is important. Everyone should vote!

              Black person: When I tried to register, they threatened to beat me up.

              Blogger: Pretend that didn’t happen.

              Black person: That’s not actually a helpful response.

              Adrian M: [pointing at black person]: Complainypants!

              Reply
              • Clint July 22, 2014, 6:17 am

                What happened to deleting comments that don’t add anything to the conversation (and for that matter, are complainy pants )? This thread was hijacked and goes on way too long.

                One of my favorite things about the comments here ( usually ) is that I don’t have to wade through a lot of whining indignation. Now I’m doing it!

            • Ginger July 23, 2014, 11:48 am

              Being aware of a disadvantage or an advantage is not being complainypants. It is being aware which you actually need to compensate for those disadvantages.

              Reply
          • Ruth July 22, 2014, 6:19 pm

            I am a “uterus-haver” who rides a bike, and I respectfully disagree. I find far less abuse and scary driver behaviour riding my hybrid bike wearing a skirt than when I’m lycra’d up and riding with my male cycling friends.

            My preferred birth control method is a Mirena with a total cost of $290 every five years, including the procedural fee to remove the old one and replace it.

            I wear bare (shaved) legs under a skirt, and if the weather is cold enough I wear pants to work. My pants are no more expensive than my husbands if I shop in the right places. I cut my own hair, and have never worked in a job where my appearance has been noted as different to anyone else’s, despite the fact that I don’t pay for haircuts or stockings.

            It is what you make it. Excuses are just that.

            Reply
      • Beth July 18, 2014, 8:01 am

        Count me in! The frugal lifestyle is not a biased one. If this disgruntled reader is not interested in joining the movement, I suppose that’s her choice – but I don’t appreciate the “hard things are only for men” attitude.

        When my husband starting reading this blog it was an answer to prayer. I’m only slightly annoyed with his new-found entertainment when he gets excited about something he reads and declares, “we should do this!” – even though I’ve been suggesting that very thing for several weeks… :-)

        Reply
        • Goldeneer July 23, 2014, 6:59 am

          I too am the woman in our relationship who has pushed for a frugal lifestyle and early retirement. After 4 years of hard investing and frugal living, then 3 years of moderate spending, my husband is now retired at age 31 and is at home taking care of our baby. I can join him in 3 years at age 35.
          At first it wasn’t easy to sell him my dream because he loved his toys and his car but he realized that an early retirement was what he really wanted. Her husband needs to do a better job selling this dream to her and compromise.

          Men are equal spenders like women. They just spend it on different things like electronics, sports and big toys. She does not represent a typical woman. I’m not a typical woman either but I know very few women who like to spend money on frivolous things like a luxury car that they can’t afford and eating out most days of the week.
          The women professionals I know are modest in spending and some are aggressive in saving and investing. They aren’t cheap but they are frugal.

          I live a life of luxury even though I’m frugal and paid $4000 cash for our family hatchback car. I’m in better shape than ever thanks to my bicycle. Our family enjoys eating high quality meat, a car to get around in, nice long lasting furniture and a 900 sqft house just big enough for our needs.

          Reply
    • Sarah July 17, 2014, 8:06 am

      I have to agree–the implication that MMM is relegated mostly to men seems counterintuitive to the entire MMM philosophy: that every person has the power to control their financial independence. I love that the forums engage with female-specific issues (costs of socially-mandated beauty rituals, among other things) and issues of running a household, childcare, etc. (even though these things aren’t necessarily gender specific, they are often aligned more with women because of social norms).

      I think the line that gets me the most is: “We are poor. Not financially, but outwardly, we are poor.” The inverse of this, obviously, is that “Many people are rich. Not financially, but outwardly, they are rich.” I know things aren’t always quite so black-and-white, but it’s an interesting line that sums up a lot of the thinking in the PF blog. The line also speaks to why it’s so important to re-focus the conversation on what it means to be outwardly rich: not working 40 hrs/week? having time to devote to other endeavors and hobbies? cultivating relationships rather than acquiring things? etc.

      Reply
      • Gina July 17, 2014, 11:59 am

        Yes!

        Reply
      • Geoffrey July 19, 2014, 3:31 am

        Brilliant! =)

        Reply
      • Strugglesaur August 17, 2014, 8:16 am

        Privilege is an important thing for everyone to learn about and understand, including this blog. At the minute, the blog hasn’t really tackled the extra costs and pay-loss faced by people without privilege. And it’s not that forms of privilege just prevent those of us without them from getting what we want (losing jobs to white men), but people with privilege need to recognize that your reality isn’t everyone’s reality. And no, it isn’t great that perceived women’s issues are talked about off the main blog in the forums—that is actually marginalization in action! Those topics that are normally associated with women should be in the main blog. That goes for PoC too.

        See how much you would be paid if you were the opposite sex or a different race here: http://inequality.is/ After that, ask yourself, shouldn’t the community here be receptive to learning more about inequality and social injustice? If the goal is for everyone to achieve FI and happiness, shouldn’t we work to find ways for *everyone* to get there?

        Reply
    • Alicia July 17, 2014, 8:08 am

      This was hilarious. I hope all the emails you receive are this entertaining.

      Yeah, I don’t quite get the gender comment. I’ll admit I’m not the greatest mustachian, but I’m much more inclined to frugal living than my (male) fiancé.

      Reply
      • Veronica July 17, 2014, 8:18 am

        I didn’t like the gender stereotyping either! I discovered MMM and shared with my husband. I also follow several other PF blogs, manage all of our bills and savings and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of travel points so that we can travel on the cheap! Ladies can handle finances just as easily as men! It boils down to which partner has the natural strength or desire to do it! I handle finances, husband handles interior design of our home!

        Reply
        • K July 17, 2014, 11:42 am

          While I like MMM’s ideas, some blog language that’s meant to motivate doesn’t work well for me as a woman. Using “soft” as a demotivator, for example. Referring to it as a mustachian movement, a body part that few women can or want to grow. A bit of a turnoff actually. To me, the idea of being hard or sporting a mustache is the polar opposite of appealing.

          And, yes, I’m a strong woman who manages my finances pretty well while also living well in small ways that matter to me.

          I try to overlook the guy-speak and focus on the message. But, sure, this fan thinks a few language tweaks could help MMM connect better with women considering his ideas.

          Reply
          • James July 20, 2014, 2:28 am

            It’s not a Mustache K… it’s a Money Mustache!

            Personally, I’m not too keen on the “complainypants” verbage. I think it’s a terrible made up word, but I think that just makes me a complainypants.

            Reply
        • Janet July 17, 2014, 4:04 pm

          My situation is exactly the same — minus the hundreds of thousands of travel points and any semblance of interior design in our home :-). My husband is a frugal soul who has managed to teach me wonderful things in the six years we’ve been married (example: instead of buying DVDs at retail we get them at the pawn shop for $2 then sell them back to the same pawn shop for $1 after we’ve watched them — the man’s a genius). However, his main interest is politics and he leaves all of the financials to me since I actually enjoy paying bills, saving money, finding investment properties, etc. We are almost always on exactly the same page when it comes to money, for which I am eternally grateful. It makes life so much easier . . .

          Reply
          • Krishanu July 24, 2014, 1:27 pm

            ” …I actually enjoy paying bills …”

            I don’t think I have ever heard this said aloud (or written down) by anyone other than inside my brain! I love paying bills!

            Reply
      • Debbie July 20, 2014, 11:14 am

        What I found most humorous is that I am a women and a dedicated reader of MMM, but my husband completely indentifies with the non reader’s email. He would have written similar things. He enjoys the non mustachian lifestyle and is very frustrated with me when I try to be more frugal. We have had many arguments on the subject. I certainly feel for the couple.

        Reply
        • NatPatBen September 6, 2014, 12:13 pm

          Same here. Sigh.

          Reply
    • Laura July 17, 2014, 9:34 am

      Yes there are women out there who feel entitled to everything the greedy commercial system would have us believe we need. I’m not one of them either. I’m proud to have converted my husband to the joys of frugal living and assessing TRUE priorities. Our shared spiritual beliefs are likely a huge part of that. I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom to my 3 kids and dollars are tight cuz we are on track to have our house paid off in about a year. As a family we are proud to treasure hunt our clothes at the local thrift store and drive an older, dented minivan through suburbia.
      Because it means that in 257 days, my DH will trade in his ft job and semiretire to working at home pt. I say celebration is in order to good women everywhere who understand what’s truly important!!

      Reply
      • ks July 17, 2014, 1:18 pm

        Amen, sista! I just drove my 19 year old car (with cassette deck blaring) to treasure hunt clothes at a thrift store because they had 30% off . I love getting $5 items that I see overpriced on QVC & HSN for $40-60.

        I am soft ’cause the mighty X chromosome dictates that and I am muscled from biking. I have also spent 20+ years advocating for better bicycling facilities and it’s paying off – which US city had the first bikesharing program?? Our nation’s capital!!

        Reply
        • Leslie July 17, 2014, 2:05 pm

          Yeah, I love my cassette deck too. All my foreign language study tapes are cassettes and they still sound great. I can study Spanish, Italian, and French in the front seat of my 2001 Prius, from the comfort of my garage. LOL

          Reply
    • Farmstache July 17, 2014, 12:19 pm

      Yeah, I didn’t take offense, because after all there are woman who want to be soft and some who don’t, but I did flex my indignant muscle. :)

      My DH found MMM, but I devoured it just as eagerly, and now I’m in the forums every day while he isn’t. I like to exercise, I hate putting on makeup, I get goosebumps of fear when I think of going shopping, and I biked or walked or got the train to work for years… and am really happy! And I still feel very much like a woman.

      Reply
    • jack July 17, 2014, 1:48 pm

      The thing that strikes me about the complainypants is how well it is crafted. I can see why some think it is a troll. I have an ex-wife that lied, etc, and did everything and anything to avoid financial responsibility. Doing whatever she wants when she wants no matter the cost it what is most important in her life. Shopping IS religion to these types. We were a working class family and her ways ended our marriage.

      With this in mind it would be an absolute coup De ta to take down or even damage MMM !! Please keep this in mind. Much like MMM is a movement the people who rail against it are a movement also !! To them MMM needs to be destroyed.

      Reply
    • MissOliver July 17, 2014, 3:01 pm

      I’m with you too. Happy moustachian woman. I wonder how the reader stats stack up?

      Reply
    • Mrs Nickels July 17, 2014, 4:19 pm

      “I wonder if it’s the absence of a concrete financial destination that’s hindering them…”

      I agree! Until I showed my own non-mustachian husband my fancy-schmancy spreadsheet showing we could retire in 7 years, he didn’t “get it.” One look at my numbers, and the transformation was both striking and immediate. He “got it” and was on board with me; no nagging or bugging necessary. My favorite part? Him asking me “What was the name of that mustache guy’s website again?” It was joy to my ears.

      Reply
      • Mark July 17, 2014, 8:18 pm

        I just Googled “mustache guy” (without the quotes) and didn’t see an MMM mention until page three. Bit of a downer, that.

        Reply
        • danvan July 17, 2014, 10:22 pm

          Any now thanks to your comment this site is the top google hit for “mustache guy”

          Reply
        • Claire July 17, 2014, 10:23 pm

          Maybe we need to be sure to type ” mustache guy ” in all the comments from now on?

          Reply
          • Kenoryn July 19, 2014, 6:59 pm

            Maybe “moustache guy” to get the Canadians and Brits in too. ;)

            Reply
      • christine July 19, 2014, 12:07 pm

        Exactly! When I first told DH about my new goal of saving enough so I wouldn’t need to work (still might), he sincerely thought it was impossible. Until you sit down in a receptive mode and look at the math, it’s hard to wrap your head around.

        Reply
    • Spectra July 17, 2014, 5:43 pm

      I share the feelings of Mrs. Frugalwoods. My wife is without a doubt the more frugal of us two. I love to plan, map out, extrapolate, and get big ideas. Listening to many friends and reading self-help site for years I learned better and better how to sell my wife on these ideas I have. We’re a team. I have lots of ideas and 2/3 are just stupid; about another 25% aren’t well thought out. So in this persons case maybe she is just being tired of hearing how she needs to change rather than being sold on the idea.

      Reply
    • Tim July 19, 2014, 10:43 pm

      I had a real problem with her statement about being proud of having no muscle. My girl lifts and I couldn’t be more proud. So many people in America live with the misconception that if you merely look at a weight set, you will instantaneously sprout massive muscle fibers. In the fitness community, this is a common running joke – “don’t you just hate it when you go to the gym and accidentally Arnold (Schwarzennegger)?”.

      I’ve yet to see one person Accidentally Arnold. It cannot happen.

      Ladies, please don’t be afraid of the gym. Enjoy the iron temple. Nothing more attractive than a girl who squats. Except perhaps a girl who squats and follows Mustachianism of course…

      Reply
    • Jamie July 20, 2014, 10:08 pm

      I am female and have always had an eye toward early retirement or semi retirement. My hubby isn’t a big fan but he’s made big strides through our discussions. I also am annoyed when folks put girls in boxes. Especially when they are girls. Being a girl is not an excuse to be completely useless with a power tool or to need a latte.

      Maybe it has more to do with the environment young girls are raised in. I see many girls going to school with bows and dresses and sitting on the sidelines during free play. I read Facebook posts from friends getting manicures and pedicures with their 6 year old and having their frappisomethingchino lattes and matching brand new outfits. This materialism seems to me to not be doing them any favors on many levels.

      Reply
      • danideskjob August 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

        My Dad retired nearly a decade ago and my FIL still works. I think that’s part of the reason that my husband and I see things so differently. It was more important to my Dad to retire than to drive new cars or go on fancy trips or buy the latest gadgets.

        I definitely think that girls get a much stronger message that spendinng = happuiness and that materialism is expected and celebrated. But I also think that parents have a tremendous influence. It’s not that the 6-year-olds are getting manicures and pedicures, it’s that their Mom’s are taking them. Yes, the broader environment is going to play a major role. But it starts at home.

        Reply
    • Stephanie July 21, 2014, 11:47 am

      Yes! I don’t think it’s a gender thing at all. At least in my circle of friends and acquaintances, it’s just as often (if not more often) the wife who is super frugal and the husband who wants expensive toys. I guess I’m the lucky one, because both my husband and I have the super frugal gene.

      I agree that what the C couple is missing is a clear goal. I think a large part of our success is due to a big goal worth working toward: pay of six figures of law school student loans and then buy a house (right now we’re residing, with our 3 kiddos, in my in-laws’ basement “apartment”). We see every opportunity to spend or save as getting us closer to or further from our goal. Mrs. C sees her husband as being cheap for the sake of being cheap.

      That being said, I think she should get a couch. I’m sure she can find a nice one for free or cheap that will be better than what they have now. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, especially since that seems to be one of her major hangups.

      Those are some seriously funny emails!

      Reply
    • CincyCat July 27, 2014, 1:01 pm

      I think a lot of people are overlooking the fact that there could be cultural/religious beliefs behind her “I’m proud to be a soft female” mentality. (In this context, the idea that she is required to buy pantyhose makes sense… she is probably prohibited from wearing pants in her faith/tradition – and being a nurse practitioner, wearing dresses/skirts therefore requires pantyhose). If that is the case, she is unlikely to be swayed by arguments suggesting that she should get tougher. Also, she’s become used to a certain standard of living, and now he’s abruptly changed the rules of the game mid-stream. This isn’t what she signed up for, and I believe she is justified in feeling angry and blindsided. On the other hand, her husband should not behave as an overlord, either. (Only allowing one Coke a week? Seriously?) Instead, if he wants to keep his relationship happy, he should work with her to come up with mutual financial goals, and concede a bit of his cheapness.

      Reply
  • Rebecca Stapler July 17, 2014, 7:34 am

    Her email is hilarious! In the entertaining sense. But I think she would be surprised to see how many women are in your forums. She might be surprised to know that I am a modern, style-conscious, professional female and I am embracing the MMM lifestyle. Although, I will admit that I don’t bike anywhere; and it does have to do with getting helmet head on my curly hair and working about 20 miles from home. I, too, drive a Prius. But I love the challenge of Tetris-style packing. Tetris is by far my favorite video game ;)

    I do agree, though, that her husband needs to loosen up a bit with the cheapness. He sounds a lot like my husband, who used to sleep on a deflated (!) air mattress. So, she should be careful with the kitchen knife — she might wind up without a couch at all!

    Reply
    • Mrs PoP July 17, 2014, 8:01 am

      Didn’t I see a poll in the forums indicating that over 50% of forum members were women?

      I think she and her husband need to have some discussions and reach levels of compromise that they both feel comfortable with. Personally, we embrace many aspects of MMM lifestyle, but not to the point where it feels uncomfortable (and an inflatable couch definitely sounds uncomfortable).

      Reply
      • Chris July 17, 2014, 8:13 am

        Exactly. She’s not comfortable with herself for other reasons, and her husband’s getting the blame. That new outfit or Tahoe or whatever will feel great the first month and then boom, it’s old and ordinary and she’ll be onto her next fix.

        Reply
        • Frances July 17, 2014, 9:47 am

          I don’t know – an inflatable couch seems pretty extreme for two individuals with professional jobs.

          Sounds to me like MMM is being misinterpreted and used as fuel by the husband in a situation that is already unhealthy. The biggest difference I sense between this couple and the MMM lifestyle is that the articles I read on MMM describe a life in which you carefully and consciously spend money only on those things that truly make you happy (while being willing to reconsider some of the “necessities” prescribed by mainstream society) , this couple on the other hand seems to associate massive amounts of guilt with spending money.

          I could say so much more, but I’ll stop now. I just wanted to speak up and say that I feel for this woman. There is so much going on here besides money and she sounds rather backed into a corner to me.

          Reply
          • Leah July 21, 2014, 8:44 pm

            I agree with Frances! Well said.

            Reply
      • Kenneth July 17, 2014, 10:26 am

        I would say that we as a household are 50% Mustachian. We don’t bike, have 2 newer cars, live a long distance from work, own 2 homes. But wife is retired, I drive a Honda Fit 35 mpg, our cell phones are on $10/mo airvoice plans, don’t pay too much for tv, dining out budget $100/mo, brown bag my work lunch every day, don’t take expensive vacations, etc. In the two years since I started reading this blog, we have gone from maybe 10-20% mustachian to 50% or so. I daresay we do not as a couple feel deprived by making smarter spending choices and decisions. Most importantly, our financial situation has vastly improved in the past 2 years. If only we had started this 10 or 20 years ago! I am very happy to read this blog, get some ideas to improve our finances, and make it so. We will never peg the needle at 100 percent mustachian, but that does not matter to us.

        Reply
        • Lori July 17, 2014, 11:45 am

          We aren’t 100% either. It’s a road to travel and we grow a little every day. I would personally jump in, it’s my husband that feels frugality to be uncomfortable. We are slowly walking towards it. It’s been a longer road than I like, but he has to embrace (or not embrace) this on his own and at his own pace. I feel for this woman because it seems she is putting up with the lifestyle, not embracing it. I think she makes some good points. My husband would never be on board with living as cheaply as she describes. The point of life is happiness. Some people may be happier working a job (that they like), saving a more conservative amount and spending more. Enraged reader may want to divert some of the money she earns into a separate account to accommodate her choice of lifestyle. Maybe she can put 75% to the MMM-style household budget and divert 25% to her personal account. Why does she have to be all in? I read that Templar knights used to be baptized most of the way – but not all. It was either their sword arms or hands and swords were not immersed. They held that part back. Maybe she can do the same thing, but with her debit-card hand and debit-card. There has got to be some give. Enraged reader’s husband is married to an individual, not a mirror-image of himself.

          I think the gender thing that is distracting so many people is a red herring. I think she is referencing it only to lend an air of legitimacy to her wants and needs. Women more frequently express power by allying themselves with a higher power. Gender identity is a pretty big one. The takeaway is that this is who she is. This is what she wants. It doesn’t really matter if anyone agrees with her or if this is the general conception of womanhood in the general population. It’s her idea and she is entitled to it.

          Reply
        • Sheila Bell July 18, 2014, 8:40 am

          I think this is what MMM is all about! Living frugal, not cheap. Do what’s right for you and your family and each ‘can’t live without’ item that you really can live without gets you closer to FI….. My father has told me since I was born, if you make 1.00, you better save 50 cents cause you made not be making 1.00 in the future. It has served me well. I do have a car, wear makeup and have a very few unmustachian guilty pleasures but…….. I will turn 54 in January and will retire on Feb 1!!!! Thanks MMM for all your frugal advice and for making us question what really IS important to make us happy. It really isn’t stuff.
          ps…. I do NOT wear panty hose and nobody can MAKE me! When my generation was burning their bra, I kept mine but ditched the hose! :)

          Reply
      • cadie July 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

        I love the “tetris style packing” comment! I am female and despite my best efforts I cannot get my DH to read this blog. It is not because he refuses to be frugal; it is because it is a “blog”. Which he is anti- in the same way he is anti-facebook. This blog is nothing like fb, but nevertheless, that has been his stance on the subject thus far.
        I also am the bill-payer of the household which began after he defaulted on student loans (now paid off) and I found he was charging groceries the same week I bought a couple of new sweaters because I thought we had “extra” money! (this incident also led to a joint bank account!).
        We have a very long way to go, but I am happy to say that we leave for CO to vacation tomorrow and am paying all in cash for possibly the first time ever for a “real” vacation. True, with the debt we have we shouldn’t be going on vacation at all, but it is progress. It is also a re-con mission as we are going to move to CO ASAP and so hopefully much of this trip will be a tax write off as we look for jobs and housing. Oh – and we’re paying ZERO dollars for lodging because we’re staying 3 nights with a friend and then camping at a dispersed (free) site and I CAN”T WAIT! I do not feel deprived at all!

        I only wish you posted more often, MMM :)

        Reply
    • Nicole July 17, 2014, 8:17 am

      A blog for men?! In our household, it’s the same. Like Rebecca, I’m a modern, style-conscious professional female. I live 4 miles from work. Partner is further from work, drives a nicer car, spends more money, in general just has looser pursestrings. I never once considered that frugality is a “man thing”.

      I have some anti-Mustachian tendencies, but overall, we’re saving a good percent and slowly increasing that. I have some things from Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma (I considered a nice knife a necessity), but I also own a good amount of hand-me-down kitchen items and things from Goodwill and IKEA. I have clothes from Loft and Banana Republic, but I shop there maybe twice a year, use coupons, go to the outlets, wait for sales….and I also have clothes from thrift shops that don’t look like Grandpa’s sweater. I get my hair cut every 3-4 months, but I don’t ever get my nails done and I wear makeup once every….two weeks or so.

      And I think it’s about just that – balance. You don’t have to do EVERY last thing MMM has on his blog. Maybe the man and woman don’t want to spend the exact same amount of money. No problem. It just disturbs me that there seems to be no compromise. If your wife is dreaming of stabbing the inflatable couch, maybe it’s time to find some middle ground.

      Reply
    • Monica July 17, 2014, 4:16 pm

      Rebecca,

      Another prof female mustachian here… my junior coworkers buy $80k BMWs and commute 80 mile round trips every day while I drive my 15 year old, Toyota Avalon with 150K miles on it and feel blessed to be in the lap of luxury. (I’m working up to biking the measly 7 miles to work each way on a daily basis.)

      Also feel blessed to be about 2-3 years away from pulling the plug on my career because I eschew as in (EWWWW!!! you paid how much for that thing?!) what they refer to the ‘finer things in life’. Give me sunshine, love, time with friends + family, a good book/hike/home cooked meal and I’m in my forever more happy spot…

      I don’t think this makes me any less feminine although in my neighborhood in Los Angeles, the married ladies do make fun of me when they catch me with the odd snake or wrench type thingee cuz I’m single and hate calling the plumber unnecessarily. It’s funny how threatened people get when you choose to be different.

      I don’t know a lick about power tools, carpentry or construction, but unless I can find a great fellow to partner with, I am seriously thinking about picking up and trying a few home projects that MMM has described. Why? Because I want to act like a guy?! heck, no! Because it is soooo empowering to not be taken advantage of by a bunch of males in those industries when you can learn something and achieve it on your own.

      Meh, who knows, maybe I will end up with a circular saw and a hard hat!

      Reply
  • cml July 17, 2014, 7:36 am

    This is so well timed! My wife and I are currently in discussions about cloth diapers for our potential future children. She is very concerned about shit in the washer… Me no so much if you consider that it will save $200 per month. We also are very successful and try to live below our means. On the other hand we do indulge in fancy vacations. Our compromise is basically that we should not spend money on stupid things that will never make us happy like the disgusting theoretical Tahoe discussed in this article or expensive phone plans. We then will spend inordinate amounts of money on trip – weeks in NYC, Tahiti, etc. This is certainly non0mustachian but is a good middle ground for us right now.

    Reply
    • mxt0133 July 18, 2014, 10:05 pm

      A little pre-wash in the basin or medium sized pale can remove 95% of the poop out of the cloth diapers which takes literally 3 minutes per load of 20 or so cloth diapers.

      Reply
      • lizzie July 19, 2014, 3:54 am

        I just want to tell you that I used cloth diapers with our second child to save money and I was surprised at how much I preferred using them to disposables! Disposables have this sickly chemical perfume stink that makes them somehow much more gross than cloth. I bought some nice cloth diapers with snaps—I didn’t want to risk poking the baby with pins!–and I’d just toss them in a dry bucket through the day and wash them at the end of the night. I know it sounds crazy but my bathroom smelled 100% better than when we used disposables. Also, we never had to worry about running out of diapers. And, as a bonus, my daughter basically potty trained herself starting at about 18 months, and I’m convinced it was because the cloth makes it easier for the child to figure it out.

        Reply
        • Brenda July 21, 2014, 11:03 am

          I second this. My husband refused to do cloth when baby #1 was born because we were in an apartment at the time and he thought it would be gross. For # 3 we did cloth (mostly bought used on diaper swappers- prefolds are the best in my opinion because they dry so much quicker and can adjust easily as they grow with a good cover) and I was amazed at how much I liked it, how easy it was, how much better for the environment, and how much we saved! Even my husband was wishing we had done cloth from the start for the savings. Also, never running out to buy diapers was wonderful. Only scratched her once with the pin (my older children distracted me) but you can get special clips instead if this is a concern. Oh, and I traded in my van for a 2004 Prius and I love it! Of course I try not to drive much but I can fit 3 kids and 12 bags of groceries. Plus I no longer find rotting food and tons of other weird stuff in the back like when I had a van.

          Reply
      • Rose July 30, 2014, 6:13 am

        Or even easier, just use a nappy liner – a disposable thin sheet that goes in the cloth nappy and keeps the poop off the cloth. Some are flushable or you just pop the liner in the bin. Nappy doesn’t even need pre washing then.

        Reply
    • SMS62 July 19, 2014, 5:51 pm

      “Shit in the washer!” LOL Um, you’d actually shake the shit out into the toilet and you could do a bit of rinsing there, as well, or in a bucket! The money you’ll be saving, in addition to not sending 100’s of disposable diapers to our landfills is definitely worth it, IMO.

      Reply
      • Farmstache July 20, 2014, 9:03 am

        I also read advice from a woman who more or less knew the poop times and made something like a “pillow cover” out of very old, very thin and very soft bed linen to wrap around the absorbing tissue on her cloth diapers for when she was out of home. This way she could just toss them in the trash can with the poop when it was too much or too disgusting and store the cleanish diaper until they got home later. Otherwise she’d just drop the poop in the toilet and save this cover for reuse like the rest of the diaper.

        Reply
    • Kris July 21, 2014, 9:49 am

      Heehee, do remember to let you wife know that ‘sh*t’ will be in the washer even if you use disposables… that stuff gets on your clothes, carseats, their clothes, their sheets, their strollers… it is great at making its way out of disposable diapers and cloth diapers alike! Empty as much of it as you can in the toilet and let the washer do it’s job – it’s remarkably good at it. And hanging stuff in the sunlight will take out lots of stains!

      Dealing with poop is a skill that gets easier, and is a non-issue in a few months.

      Reply
    • Rick July 21, 2014, 9:01 pm

      My wife and I are on kid 3 and use clothies about 80% of the time. We always have Target brand disposables on hand too for travel, convenience, etc. If there is a bunch of poop on a clothy, I shake it off in the toilet. If not, I just throw the diaper in the diaper pail. We do a pre-wash cycle prior to running the main cycle with the soap. Are clothies gross? Yes. The worst part is the smell of dumping a bucket of clothies in the washing machine. But really, changing and dealing with diapers of any kind is disgusting. As a parent you get over it pretty fast because kids are disgusting. It’s a dirty secret among parents that if you go over to a house where babies live, every surface you touch or sit on is probably covered in some sort of bodily fluid.

      Our clothies paid for themselves years ago and are still going strong.

      Reply
  • Lisa July 17, 2014, 7:41 am

    I smell a very talented, funny troll.

    Reply
    • Steve D July 17, 2014, 8:05 am

      this is correct.

      Reply
    • ChransStache July 17, 2014, 8:12 am

      I feel the same way. It felt really over the top to me, but at the same time, I know some people who hold these kinds of ideas (but they wouldn’t know who MMM is). The “Wahhhh” in the second paragraph really made me think it might be a joke.

      I must say: I miss the lady oriented posts from Mrs. MM; those were fun. Guest posts are always nice to bring in a difference perspective and communication style. Luckily, we have a good forum community full of all kinds of people!

      Reply
      • TomTX July 19, 2014, 9:09 am

        Agreed. More Mrs. Money Mustache when she has the time.

        Reply
  • FI Pilgrim July 17, 2014, 7:48 am

    Just admit it MMM, you hate marriage. And kittens.

    Reply
    • Krissa July 17, 2014, 8:54 am

      Right? Everyone hates kittens here, that’s the gateway to early retirement.

      Reply
      • Ellie July 17, 2014, 11:31 am

        Yeah, kittens are soooo expensive. Feeding them, vet appointments, years and years of cat food and vet appointments. Oy.

        Reply
      • Joggernot July 17, 2014, 1:25 pm

        Dang! Now I know the problem…we have seven cats.

        Reply
  • Megan July 17, 2014, 7:49 am

    Another female reader here who takes offense at this woman’s view of money and femininity. I’m definitely the frugal one in my relationship!

    Reply
  • JCFire July 17, 2014, 7:49 am

    “I would be okay being poor if I could stay home …”

    Somehow I don’t think she’s thought much about the endgame of mustachianism.

    Reply
    • Self-employed-swami July 17, 2014, 12:20 pm

      I agree, she just doesn’t seem to get it! We are saving as much as possible, so we can have the option of one of us staying home, when we have kids.

      I was the instigator in this change, and I am female, for the record.

      Reply
    • Anne July 21, 2014, 10:42 am

      Agreed, it sounds like her husband hasn’t done a very good job explaining Mustachianism (or she hasn’t been listening), if they’re living this cheaply she should easily be able to stay home when they have children.

      That said, there also seems to be a lack of compromise. I am much more frugal than my husband, but I would stab that blowup couch too. It’s important to live a little for today and having a real couch and being able to indulge in a soda (well, beer/wine for me) on occasion are important little luxuries in not feeling deprived on your way to FI.

      Reply
  • Eldred July 17, 2014, 7:51 am

    Interesting. I had to laugh at this line, though: “My understanding of the MMM lifestyle is that you work hard to be poor while your young so that you can be poor without working when you’re old.”

    But the husband wants to take up hobbies, travel, and be at home(presumably with her and the kids). That doesn’t sound poor to ME. That actually sounds like a pretty rich lifestyle, and I am by no means Mustachian… Reading her complain about not being able to do *anything* makes me feel that I could cut back and STILL have a better life than she seems to think she has. Granted, she probably could get a bottle of Coke once a week without a problem, but with the jobs she describes they can still be very successful without living like a homeless person…

    Reply
    • James July 29, 2014, 4:23 pm

      Haha! That line had me cracking up too. While I do think it is a humorous and pretty accurate take on mustachianism from an outsider, it is technically incorrect…. A $25,000 income is actually closer to 133% of the poverty level for a family of 3 ;)

      http://obamacarefacts.com/federal-poverty-level.php

      Reply
      • James August 26, 2014, 2:47 pm

        *in all actuality, however, if you take into consideration the fact that the MMM family doesn’t have to pay for housing, this in fact bumps their “spending” up by about $15,000 (the U.S. average, roughly) to a total of $40,000.

        And $40,000 in income for a family of three is actually a little over 200% of the poverty level, so the shoe doesn’t fit as well as one might think :)

        Reply
  • Miss BNE July 17, 2014, 7:54 am

    Gee, that does sound like a horrid existence with the couches and all. Now, while I didn’t read the WHOLE submission she sent ( I don’t have that much time), but there is cheap and there is frugal. Don’t forget mustachianism is about getting the biggest bang for your buck.. Ie make your coffees at home; or when you go out buy a coffee only rather than coffee with $6 cake! Works for me! $400k net worth is in my sights :)

    Reply
  • Kim July 17, 2014, 8:01 am

    I am pretty sure I have read every blog post here and have never gotten the impression that it was written for men or that the MMM lifestyle was not possible for women. Interesting. As you pointed out, there are most likely equal numbers of frugal men and women; how you spend money is not indicative of your gender.

    Reply
  • Steve D July 17, 2014, 8:02 am

    Ya know, I’ve spent some time on the internet… and that causes me to be quite a skeptic. So let me put my 2 pennies in there,

    she trollin’

    Comments like this: “SUVS allow you to ignore conventional road side barriers as well as get elusive parking spots other sedans cannot get”

    and this “y husband actually used the phrase “the power of positive thinking” in conversation yesterday…like it was his original thought!!! Vomit.”

    and the misspell of “ladder” as “latter” just scream internet troll to me. She (or he) is balancing the troll act quite well though. Congrats MMM, you’ve made it to the big leagues… the professional trolls are after you!

    Reply
    • Money Saving July 23, 2014, 8:03 am

      Steve,

      I agree completely – it seems way to contrived.

      Reply
  • Stefan July 17, 2014, 8:02 am

    Hi everyone! I´m a longtime reader from Germany! Love your blog and read every article since inception!

    I have a similar problem with my spouse. She want´s to “live now”. Not anytime in the future. We often
    argue about (in my view) unnecessary spendings. But whats the solution if a partner doesn´t want to
    act in concert? Seperate from someone if everything else is great? I really don´t know the answer.

    The thing is: though the spouse is against saving she wants to benefit from the money later of course :-)

    Reply
    • Catherine July 17, 2014, 11:49 am

      Stefan, I do not see a problem between “living now” and being frugal financially. Your spouse should not view spending less as delaying life and its pleasures to some remote future. It is living the present time in a richer, more creative and fulfilling way. It is a qualitative approach to life, not a quantitative one. In addition, as you know, frugality offers more freedom.

      It is about doing rather than consuming and in general people experience an incredible satisfaction in engaging in creative activities. Buying stuff and experiences is all about being a passive sea slug and having others taking care of you. Financial frugality is about being active, authentic, curious, resourceful, innovative… Doing rather than consuming offers to anybody opportunities that are not available on the market.

      Reply
  • justin85 July 17, 2014, 8:10 am

    According to the bureau of labor statistics an orthodontist and nurse practitioner should have a median combined salary of $288,000. If they make anywhere near that much they are in pretty good shape! The husband should realize that even if they waste a good amount of their money they well be financially independent VERY quickly. The wife should realize that even if they live on ‘only’ $100,000 per year or some other fraction of their income, they will still have one of the richest lifestyles in one of the richest countries on the planet. MMM is right that all they need is to find a middle ground.

    Reply
    • rob July 19, 2014, 1:55 pm

      I was thinking the same thing, if they are as cheap as she says they should have a pretty fact bank account.

      Reply
    • Ed July 20, 2014, 2:30 pm

      Of course it all depends on where they live, San Francisco is going to be a bit more expensive than Helena, Montana but I would expect that if they are both working FT they are pulling down closer to $350k per year. Bureau of labor statistics is commonly low, especially for health care fields where the owner (orthodontist) can drive the income.

      I think they could easily compromise, if the hubby can save $100k a year, then the wife can have $xxx amount for the household budget, to do whatever she wants with. Spend a little on new furniture, get quality so it will last many years. Go ahead and get a tahoe just make sure it once it is purchased it is going to be the car that she has till it is driven into the ground (15 years, assuming a Chevy will last that long). Maybe they should evaluate her driving in the first place if she can’t seem to keep the car on the road :)

      Compromise on the size and furnishings of the house, medium sized, no mega mansion, no pottery barn, go the RC Willey/Ikea route. Which is expensive enough.

      They can still get to early retirement or even early semi retirement very quick. Heck, being an orthodontist, he could work 3 days a week and still make a top 1% living, once he is FI he can cut back and begin to sell off his practice to someone else, while he works a day or two a week. There are tons of scenarios willing to play themselves out.

      Reply
    • victoria July 20, 2014, 6:54 pm

      If this is indeed legit there are a couple wild cards — I’d guess they’re fairly young (given that kids are a hypothetical and maybe something most of their peers don’t have, based on the letter). If that’s the case, they’re quite possibly (1) not yet making peak-career money in those high-income careers and (2) still in major debt from getting qualified to do those jobs, especially his (the average dental student graduates with over $200K in debt!).

      This letter definitely reads one way if they’re in, say, the Dallas suburbs earning close to the national average free and clear and another way if they’re in, say, New York or the Bay Area earning half of that and staring down a quarter-million dollars of student loans. Either one of those scenarios or anything in between are plausible. Her frustration makes it sound like it’s closer to the first; his zeal makes it sound like it’s closer to the second.

      Reply
  • Claire July 17, 2014, 8:12 am

    I’m a woman who is an avid MMM reader. I’m far from perfect and still taking baby steps to grow our ‘stache. I’m definitely not as hard core as I could be, and I have purposely made some decisions that don’t line up with the path that Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache have followed, including ones that will make my family’s journey to financial freedom longer and less efficient. The biggest one being deciding to have kid(s) in our twenties instead of achieving financial freedom first. I get to make these decisions about my life based on what is most important to me, and everyone is allowed to have their own priorities. I personally can’t fathom wasting money on Starbucks, but we will go out for dinner on occasion. I’ve found furniture for free, or gotten it at a bargain on Craig’s list. I do actually agree with the letter writer about SUVs and sight distance, but consider then the problem. Not the solution. In a sedan, behind other sedans, you can still see multiple cars down the road. It’s just the damn SUVs running it for everyone else, you couldn’t pay me to buy one. Unfortunately in Colorado probably 75% of my neighbors seem to have a truck or SUV which never seems to be used for any valid purpose. All I can do is try to lead by example and constantly try to find ways to improve my own life and my family’s efficiency.

    Reply
  • despondent millionaire July 17, 2014, 8:12 am

    I almost think this is a joke/prank emailer because from what I’m reading the “woman’s'” husband appears to be a doctor. However she cannot spell ladder. She also sounds like an ex stripper or a complete dim wit (not to insult strippers or dimwits, both of which can and do make a lot of dough). I’m sure lots of doctors marry women like this but I guess I’m just a bit delusional in thinking that guys who are smart enough to go through med school would be smart enough not to marry a woman like this. However having made a similar mistake in another life I can see how he got here. Plus I’m no doctor and frankly may be considered an idiot by many.

    My better judgement tells me I should have been a divorce attorney since this type of mindset is all too common amongst Americans these days and by all indications this guy is going to need one sooner or later.

    I

    Reply
    • Monica July 17, 2014, 4:26 pm

      Right (and funny!)… and, it doesn’t take a genius to pick up a nice, used sofa for under $100 these days.

      But, to be fair, you’d be amazed at how many guys have entitled, complainypants (but I deserve to drive a $100K car right now, right now, RIGHT NOW!!!) attitude. Your comments are prob just as fitting for a lot of fellows who have a similar mind set out there….

      Reply
      • Eldred July 17, 2014, 8:04 pm

        I’m not sure I’d *trust* a used $100 sofa, unless it was from someone I *knew*. I’ve heard WAY too many horror stories about used furniture and appliances that had hidden…stowaways along for the ride… I *do* need a new sofa, and paying about $600 from the store means it will also be delivered for me. :-) I don’t have a pickup/SUV.

        Reply
        • David B. July 18, 2014, 9:15 am

          For used furniture like that I’ll only buy leather, and even then I do try to be careful, but at least it is much easier to clean than a fabric sofa. Around here if you buy it in the winter you can always leave it in the garage (or with a tarp over it outside perhaps) and let it freeze to kill possible bedbugs.

          Reply
        • Monica July 18, 2014, 10:47 am

          Eldred,

          Before I bought my house, I upgraded from a studio apt to a luxurious 1 bedroom apt which was quite a thrill but also meant I needed a sofa. I couldn’t imagine spending a lot of $$ on furniture before I had enough to buy a house, so I checked out the local salvation army and other thrift stores.

          I found a lovely white sofa with slip covers for $50. The slip covers, of course, were washable. I thoroughly inspected the sofa. There was a small rip on the back of it which I knew would be up against the wall in my small apt. Delivered, the whole cost was less than $100. It was a wonderful sofa that I didn’t replace until I bought my home at which I upgraded to a sofa in the clearance room at Levitz, which delivered, cost less than $300.

          In the meantime, I cook for my whole family every holiday and needed a HUGE table but didn’t want to spend the $ in my apt. So, I bought an old farm door that was huge and had panes of glass all the way down it. I painted the wood frame cherry red, had a piece of glass cut to cover the whole thing, bought a couple of work saw type, artsy stand things as sturdy legs, and presto! I had a GORGEOUS table that I still use (now in the garage) happily to this day for under $200.

          Creativity, common sense and a lil courage can go a long way towards saving big $$ on furniture while still loving what you live in/on/around.

          Reply
          • Eldred July 18, 2014, 12:15 pm

            Awesome – I didn’t know that SA or thrift stores would deliver. I’ve never bought anything from one…

            Reply
    • Mr. One Wheel Drive July 17, 2014, 9:32 pm

      What makes you think that English is her first language? Can’t judge someone’s intelligence by their spelling.

      Reply
    • Ulf Benjaminsson July 18, 2014, 10:57 am

      You keep saying “women like this” as if that means something.

      She went through the effort of contacting MMM to raise some of her concerns, and did so with humor and good style. Both of these letters were arguably well constructed; making valid points while being both funny and clearly articulated.

      The texts carries some problematic gender norms, but maybe or partly in jest? Either way, I’m not willing to write off her larger point because of that.

      Point is: these letters were not written by a dumb person, and whether she was a sex worker or not doesn’t factor into anything.

      Reply
  • Mike July 17, 2014, 8:14 am

    There is no way this is a real story. I think you got hornswoggled. Yes, I said hornswoggled.

    Reply
  • Johan July 17, 2014, 8:24 am

    “My understanding of the MMM lifestyle is that you work hard to be poor while your young so that you can be poor without working when you’re old.”

    This made me laugh so loud at work :D

    Reply
  • RapmasterD July 17, 2014, 8:24 am

    She is an exceptionally strong and witty writer. I have to believe she was being at least partially sarcastic. Perhaps we should get a Kickstarter going to get her a well deserved proper sofa. Her husband sounds like a cheap ass. And I would agree that being bad assed is so not a guy thing. That said, I do love my soft ladies [insert creepy deep breathing sound effect combined with Barry White soundtrack here and then punch me in the face for being a mysogonist].

    Reply
  • Anthony July 17, 2014, 8:25 am

    I wonder how long this situation has been going on. From the email Mr. C sounds like he is obsessed with early retirement and not in a healthy way. I think he definitely needs to reconsider what hills he’s willing to die on in regard to spending.

    Getting a nice couch that will last 20 years is a solid purchase. Dropping a few grand on a quality mattress is wise because few things affect your health like a crappy mattress.

    Getting a giant SUV because you’re terrible at parking a sedan is not a valid reason. If you want to feel safe, get a used Volvo.

    Also, I KNEW the doctors and dentists are just dicking around on the internet while I’m waiting for my appointment!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 9:00 am

      A FEW GRAND ON A MATTRESS??? HOLY SHIT MAN, THAT IS GOING TOO FAR!!!!

      Mrs. MM and I sleep VERY comfortably on a high quality mattress inherited in 2000 from a friend’s guest room when he moved to a smaller apartment. The mattress business is a totally bullshit industry when you exceed the “few hundred bucks” level.

      In reality, mattresses are FREE in our society, and if anyone dare speculate that using a mattress that someone else has slept upon is “gross”, you need to tattoo the complete text of the following article onto your torso: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/12/30/are-you-cleaning-out-your-own-wallet/

      And shit, even if you don’t have access to any friends and aren’t clever enough to use Craigslist, you can get a fancypants mattress brand new for a fraction of that price from the following MMM reader’s company (no affiliation, I just like their little business): https://www.tuftandneedle.com/

      Reply
      • Anthony July 17, 2014, 9:25 am

        Thanks, I will check out http://www.tuftandneedle.com since I’m in need of replacing my current mattress. Maybe I’ve just had bad luck with reasonably priced mattresses but they don’t seem to last very long for me and cause back problems.

        Reply
      • Craig July 17, 2014, 9:40 am

        Reply
      • Huck July 17, 2014, 10:54 am

        After my girlfriend and her roommate had bedbugs I’m extremely skeptical of used mattresses, or anything upholstered. No matter how clean I assume my friends are. (and due to the “ew gross!” factor they might now even tell you they’ve had bedbugs)

        A few grand is idiotic though. We spent a few hundred and I still sleep fine.

        Reply
      • jessica July 17, 2014, 11:01 am

        I don’t know.

        I mean, I’ve slept on crap mattresses and had terrible nights sleep. I have slept on other people’s 3000$ mattresses and had fantastic never want to leave this bed type sleep.

        I guess the question is, with a luxury mattress do you just get used to the comfort ability over time and eventually need to up the bar again?

        Reply
        • plam July 17, 2014, 11:52 am

          Nope. I don’t have hedonic adaptation to a luxury mattress. It’s great all the time. It does make a big difference whether one has memory foam or springs. That’s not a Tiny Differences issue, I think.

          https://www.tuftandneedle.com looks great. We have a similar mattress but purchased for much more money. Same keywords, more $$$.

          Reply
      • Ricky July 17, 2014, 11:13 am

        Investing in something you do guaranteed every single night is not something I would call ignorant like you are suggesting. Over paying is still possible of course…

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 7:44 pm

          That is how the BS has taken hold in the mattress industry: Sleep is Important! You do it every night! Therefore you should spend as much money as possible on it!

          You and I are animals, which have evolved in our current branch over hundreds of thousands of years before the first “mattress” was produced. We prospered throughout history partly due to our ability to get a healthy sleep on a variety of surfaces.

          Some of the issue is that mattresses are being used as a substitute for physical fitness. A car seat or an office chair will do that to you – but I suggest becoming proactive and spending the rest of the day doing active things to compensate. Suddenly even cheaper beds (or a friend’s couch, or a thermarest in a tent, or even a rug on the floor) start becoming perfectly comfortable again.

          Don’t upgrade your mattress before you have a reasonable deadlifting, squats and clean-and-press program in place to keep your back working.. and this is not advice for men only!

          Reply
          • Eldred July 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

            Ok, MMM – you lost me. what does a mattress have to do with physical fitness…?

            Reply
            • Mark July 17, 2014, 8:47 pm

              His point is that you don’t need a fancy mattress to have a healthy back or get a good night’s sleep. Being physically fit will do that for you. At best, the mattress is a crutch.

              Reply
          • jessica July 17, 2014, 8:51 pm

            You are like the beholder of all knowledge.

            So we’re just not tired enough due to our driving and cozy office chairs. We need to extend more energy so our body goes to sleep at night and repairs itself I.e. you’re so wiped out from being human that the bed is of little concern.

            Reply
            • George July 17, 2014, 10:03 pm

              Personally, I don’t mind sleeping on a carpeted floor or the grass if it is nice outside. It never bothered me. I vote for spending little money on a mattress, I rather have the so called cheap mattress than have to work those extra hours at my job to pay for a fancy pants one.

              Reply
              • Eldred July 18, 2014, 8:19 am

                You are truly fortunate. I couldn’t sleep on a carpeted floor or grass even when I *was* fit. I camped out a couple of nights(tent and sleeping bag) on a charity bicycle ride in 2007 or 2008, and slept like CRAP, which affected the next day’s ride.

          • Jon July 23, 2014, 2:59 pm

            My friend from Pakistan put a sheet on a dirt floor for the first 20 years of his life and claimed that back problems were unheard of where he was from. He said he also slept fine. He moved to the US and has since adapted to sleeping on a bed, and can’t do without it.

            Reply
      • Ellie July 17, 2014, 11:40 am

        I’m the frugal one in our household. My husband thinks nothing of blowing $1,000 on a camera lens. He is not a professional photographer, BTW.

        The letter writer ought to take some of her hard-earned money and go buy a sofa. And then maybe a Subaru Forester. Reasonably priced, good gas mileage, lots of room for carting stuff around. Way more Mustachian than a Tahoe.

        Reply
      • Matth July 17, 2014, 12:20 pm

        Holy shit. That link has just been mass texted to my friends in need of a mattress.

        Reply
      • Garrett July 17, 2014, 12:55 pm

        We’ve had two mattresses from Ikea (the first was ruined in a flood). Both were in the neighborhood of $300, had a memory foam layer and were perfectly comfortable.

        My wife insists that the Ikea mattresses are more comfortable than any of the spring mattresses that we sleep on when we travel. I think this is because she prefers a firm mattress and, because the Ikea mattresses are solid core (not sure if this is true of all Ikea mattresses or just ours), they don’t sag when I lay next to her.

        Tuft and Needle looks like it has similar mattresses so I might keep them in mind if I ever need to buy a new mattress.

        Reply
      • PK July 17, 2014, 1:54 pm

        Totally agree on no more that a “few hundred bucks”. We bought a memory foam mattress for our kiddo at walmart.com (~$150) and it was so perfect we got the same in a king for ourselves (~$180).

        But I advise caution on getting a used mattress, unless it’s from a known / trusted source like yours. Bedbugs are out there! And removing them can turn a free / almost free mattress into a four figure, creepy nightmare.

        Reply
      • anonymouse July 17, 2014, 2:25 pm

        In my personal experience (having bought and sold a few mattresses in my time), there is a definite difference between a $150 mattress and a $300 mattress, and very little difference between a $300 mattress and a $3000 mattress. Right now, I sleep on an IKEA-brand spring mattress from the $300 price band, and it is as comfortable as any mattress I’ve had, and distinctly better than the cheapest model. But that also means there’s very much room for improvement to be had from going up in price.

        Reply
      • jestjack July 17, 2014, 4:03 pm

        The matress biz is BS…I sold a guy some things on Craigslist and we get to talking …his sideline was taking old matresses to a guy who bought them for like $10 each. This guy would then strip the matress, disinfect and put a new cover over the steel frame. Presto…”new matress” …my guy claims he had like $38 in the product and sold them for $3-400. Aaand the guy would bale up the old “nasty” matress covering and sell them to a dealer who cleaned and shredded them for use in the textile industry…

        Reply
        • kruidigmeisje July 17, 2014, 11:06 pm

          Although i agree with MMM that a properly muscled and fit body helps you sleep better, i disagree on the fact that matrasses do not matter. Having just recovered from a medical procedure that changed my posture enough to fix my back, i have experienced some 15 years of increasing pains due to back problems. Fitness did help , but after a night on a bad matrass i could not breathe (deep) And my experience with biking and fitness while not breathing were not the fondest of my life(i prefer the day I gave birth, that was badass excersize).
          And the problem of the lady is not her gender, but the inability to communicate properly with husband. If she choses soft,fine. Even if she chooses tahoe over being able to stay at home with babies, that is her choice. Or rather theirs. And i dont hear a lot of discussion between them . yelling is not discussion. Yelling is not mustachian, discussion and choices is.

          Reply
      • ael July 17, 2014, 4:22 pm

        They have a nice web site (Tuft & Needle) but can’t find them in BBB lisiting. Are they too new for that. Does anyone here vouch for them?

        Reply
      • Jeanette July 18, 2014, 7:02 am

        My SO and I bought from Tuft and Needle and they are heavenly.

        We used to sleep on regular mattress but they were hurting our backs. We got rid of them and tried the floor for a while. Floor worked out fine for the first 6 months but regulating your heat on the floor can be a little hard, not that we don’t still do it on occasion. I actually enjoy sleeping on the floor.

        We got the Tuft and Needle Shikifutons, two XL twin, and they are amazing. I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I fall right to sleep on them. We don’t have a platform to put them on. We don’t know if we ever will, but for now it was the best, $250 x2 that we spent on. Easy to move around too.

        Reply
  • Stacey July 17, 2014, 8:28 am

    Great word, Mike! Now I will use it in my own sentence: For 24 years I have been hornswoggled, believing that my husband would ever reach the badassity greatness of Mr. Money Mustache. Alas, he prefers his own moniker of Mr. Money Mercedes.

    Reply
  • Big Guy Money July 17, 2014, 8:30 am

    IF the email isn’t a troll, there does seem to be changes that both need to make. The Mr seems to have blown past frugality into cheapness, but she could be exaggerating. The writer seems to think that as a woman, she’s entitled to a SUV to haul herself and the kids they don’t have yet around. Seems like a fairly easy fix – drop a percent or two of annual saving and find a couch on craigslist. Oh, and fix the hubcaps and get her driving lessons!

    Reply
  • uaa July 17, 2014, 8:34 am

    This story shows that embarking on the journey to financial freedom is a choice.

    As MMM has pointed out in other posts, it is habits and our choices that shape us and what determines that which we pull out of our lives over the long-term. The choice for change is usually a result of time and thought coming together, but the catalyst is often sudden, a feeling of desperation and motivation – it’s when – if – you wake up from the consumerist coma and see that what you’re doing doesn’t bring the results you want, so now’s the time for change. The choice is yours; it’s your responsibility.

    The only thing is, once you embark on the route, you realise that this is an incredible journey. Previously unknown ways of doing things and ways of thinking present themselves, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded with such a full agenda of creative, colourful and wonderful passtimes that the lure of all things commercial, the world of planned obsolescence, is nothing more than an empty lie.

    But that is not to say that beautiful design, that quality of product cannot be enjoyed. Rather it is the craft of finding out what it really is you enjoy, and what it really is in consumerist terms that you ‘need’ and therefore decide to spend your money on, tick off your list and move on to getting back to your active and fun life. Put into a standard framework, consumerist acquisition takes on a controlled and necessary perspective – and the ‘fun’ of shopping, of a shop as an experience, of a brand story, falls flat. And consciousness about the earth’s non-sustainable resource base rises dramatically.

    There is consciousness in all of us regarding the how and when (and the need for) money acquisition – and money management and planning… the question is, do you make the choice to be pragmatic, change your habits, open your mind to new ways of doing things and ultimately, get organised. Changing your habits actually means changing your life – and let’s face it, in the end, change can be scary and even painful. A lot of that hinges on which habits you grew up with, what your template is and therefore what your life expectations are – and if you are willing to change them, fundamentally.

    Without wishing to write too much more, I will add that the story has great potential; what it needs is a revision of the couple’s status quo, some good old compromising and vision brainstorming to see where the path could lead for the man and the woman, together. MMM, you are correct, it’s a question of alignment of life outlook and philosophy.

    Whatever journey you embark on, financial planning, management and philosophy included, the point is that you must never forget to stop, take a break and admire the view because it is at those milestone points that you feel and see the gains, not at the finish line! (In fact, the finish line, like anything, is always a rather non-event. You spent so long labouring to get there that when you arrive it just feels normal – and you’re most probably on to your next project by then, anyway)…

    Thank you MMM – because reading your blog over these last months was the push that myself and my family needed to get the last mile to the finish line – I crossed it on my birthday, which was a very low-key day, but a day on which a whole other project came into view. And so, onwards (with a strong financial base and philosophy in place). Keep going, MMM, I’ll be back to keep my financial freedom values fresh!

    I did. And it changed my life.

    Reply
    • mxt0133 July 18, 2014, 10:20 pm

      Now that was a beautifully written and powerful comment. Thank you.

      Reply
    • danideskjob August 14, 2014, 12:31 pm

      Thank you. I’ve been pretty musachioed in general for my whole life, but my husband…not so much. He’s trying, and there are small changes, but he just ends to “like what he likes” and doesn’t want to challenge that. Your comment gives me a lot of hope. I want to show it to him so that he can understand about the transition, and that it may not all happen at once but it CAN still happen.

      Reply
  • Juan July 17, 2014, 8:36 am

    Hi, I began obtaining the support of my wife, I think it is half the victory.

    Reply
  • JimGWC July 17, 2014, 8:49 am

    I understand what she means about driving a Tahoe. But with so many SUVs on the road today, I’ve been feeling like mine isn’t big enough, high enough, or safe enough. So I’m going to trade my Tahoe in for an RV. That way, I’ll be able schlep everything I own with me to and from soccer practice, plus I’ll be invincible compared to those small Tahoes, and I’ll be able to see even farther ahead in traffic (until everyone else gets an RV at least)…

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 8:52 am

      See, now THERE’s a proper sarcastic response (although some will accuse you of being a troll if they don’t catch that).

      I’d go one step further and would like to propose commuting in a helicopter gunship for the same reasons.

      But somehow, I remain alive day after day and decade after decade while battling the SUV, RV, and gunship traffic on my 30 pound bike every day.

      Reply
      • Misterfancypantz July 18, 2014, 1:58 am

        I personally like to take my aircraft carrier down the Hudson River every morning…

        Nothing like having a nuclear reactor powered commute

        Reply
        • WageSlave July 18, 2014, 7:59 am

          Ignoring the environmental cost of manufacturing the aircraft carrier, isn’t nuclear power generally considered green? :)

          Reply
          • misterfancypantz July 21, 2014, 9:16 am

            Nuclear might be green, but to your point the construction carbon foot print would never be recovered in the operating efficiencies.

            Now of course an aircraft carrier when used to carry aircraft and tens of thousand troops is justified as it is fairly efficient at being a city at sea etc…

            But I think the point I was making as to carry little old me down the Hudson about 20 miles alone it would be overkill perhaps a better option in the green market would be a sail boat, or to parallel the biking theme a row boat and get the ergometer replaced etc…

            Especially when the aircraft carrier would be standing by idly waiting for me to finish my work day to bring me back home… That would really add insult to injury.

            On the other hand if the aircraft carrier came equipped with a handful of fighter jets well then all bets are off because then adrenaline junkie misterfancypantz might take over and kick fiscally responsible misterfancypantz’s butt and take the good old aircraft carrier for spin at least once in a while…

            Reply
      • 5 O'Clock Shadow Jeff July 18, 2014, 8:41 am

        I ride my bicycle everyday to and from work twice (once to fix lunch at home and let my dog out). I only live 4 miles from my office but I have to ride through the Country Club Plaza. Its the antithesis of mustachianism filled with pricey shops and restaurants. Most drivers that I pass are texting or window shopping or checking out the hot joggers so its dangerous because bicycles don’t show up in the periphery of drivers. However, with this knowledge I ride very defensively, processing a ton of sensory input constantly, keeping me fit physically as well as mentally. So, I agree that if she is/wants to be a distracted driver (based on her not seeing curbs and large rocks), then SHE is probably safer in an SUV but way more likely to kill bicyclists/pedestrians. ALL of her other complaints though are SOLVED by riding a bicycle. 1) Without the hood of her car blocking her view, her blindspot for curbs/large rocks would be remedied, 2) on a bicycle you can ignore even more road barriers – maneuvering through closed roads, double parked delivery trucks and occasionally using sidewalks, 3) finding parking will NEVER be a problem ever again, 4) Lastly, when I stand up on the pedals, I am actually higher than those seated in an SUV so I can see EVEN MORE than they can.

        Reply
    • Vanessa July 17, 2014, 11:43 am

      I will see your RV and raise you a ‘Motor Coach’.

      Reply
    • Victor July 17, 2014, 2:24 pm

      I agree that bigger is better in transportation. That’s why I use FLIPPIN’ TRAINS AND BUSSES!

      Reply
      • Katherine July 17, 2014, 5:32 pm

        ^ like!

        Reply
    • Nirav Patel July 18, 2014, 12:39 pm

      Love it! This just might work economically if the RV can be “docked” to your house to make it your home office which is now mobile and can be deducted!
      Everything is relative. Spend your money as you please but realize the more given to the store, restaurant, phone company, etc, the more time you have to give to “the Man”. Yes, he’s back and he is an equal opportunity a$$h@*# now. That’s why I love MMM. We collectively learn how to get away from him and spend more time with our Mother or even Mother-in-Law.

      Reply
  • Gerard July 17, 2014, 8:52 am

    Y’all are maybe a bit fast to assume trollery, or to put this poor woman down… I work with people with PhDs who are bad spellers.

    wrt the actual family issue thing, though, I see nothing but trouble. The problem is not that the husband has discovered MMM. It’s that he’s a joyless cheap fuck. MMM’s suggestion that they look at the cheap vs. frugal thing makes sense. The wife’s “women are soft” thing feels more like “I want to win an argument” than a likely actual belief. That, too, suggests trouble. That old marriage counsellor line comes to mind: “Would you rather be right, or together?”

    Reply
    • Karen July 17, 2014, 4:41 pm

      EXACTLY. I don’t think she’s a troll at all. I think she’s just trying to keep a sense of humor about it and I totally understand what she’s trying to say. The family who mustaches together must agree on the ground rules, not have one partner who dictates them all .

      I’m a single woman who found this blog fairly recently (last 9-12 months). I’ve totally changed my lifestyle and outlook because of it. I now live in complete hatred of debt and hope to have that wiped out very soon, and to start saving. But I don’t follow each and every specific tenet exactly the same as the Mustachioed One. I don’t ride a bike ANYWHERE (I don’t even have a bike). I live in a SoCal urban area and would never risk my skull on the roads with Tahoes and the rest of the commuting crowd. I even often curse bikers who get in my way on the way to work — sacrilege!

      I think the point is to decide which changes and lifestyle decisions are going to work for you, and which are something to place on the shelf to revisit another day. Getting fixed on your real GOALS is also important. Do the most that you possibly can, but don’t you also want to find ways to enjoy yourself along the way?

      I am NOT going to give up certain “frills” or “treats” that I enjoy (occasional dinner and drinks out), that make me a more attractive soft-person (salon visit every 5-6 weeks), but I have cut many, many others and am just more aware of everything overall. Sounds like most of the rest of you are blind followers who would never venture to stray from the holy scrolls (or at least, you would never admit to it).

      MMM writes about what works for ONE FAMILY. Adjust and continue to adjust throughout life, and this thing works for everyone. Have no room for error or improvement, and you’re the jerk, not the “troll.”

      Reply
      • Gerard July 24, 2014, 7:11 am

        Because part of the discussion has been about spelling, Karen gets a virtual internet prize for knowing the difference between “tenet” and “tenant”…

        Reply
    • nancy July 17, 2014, 11:09 pm

      I agree. She has legitimate complaints. They both work good paying jobs and can easily afford a few comforts like a decent mattress, a real sofa, and a more comfortable apartment or house, while still living frugally. (I’m not going to touch the SUV thing cuz I don’t get it. I would love to have a prius!)

      Reading between the lines, it sounds like she’s ready to start a family and maybe he wants to hoard more money first? She’s feeling resentful, like what’s the point working my ass off if I can’t even spend my money how I want? What they need is marriage counseling. He’s not going to be any LESS of a cheapskate once they have a baby and are down to one income. It’s gonna drive her crazy and the relationship will implode.

      These two are not compatible. They should cut their losses now before there’s a kid in the mix.

      Reply
  • Jennifer Roberts July 17, 2014, 8:55 am

    The original email screams fake, but whatever. I’ve seen couples who really do have problems because one is working toward a financial goal and the other is not on board at all. It’s really sad, and a lot of times it’s a communication issue. Talking about goals goes a long way. You can’t just have one person going full steam ahead and keeping the other in the dark about the “whys” and “hows”. In general, though, I’ve been very impressed and inspired by the fact that most of the other personal finance bloggers I’ve come across who have partners work very well as a team. It’s awesome.

    Like others have said, knowing the difference between frugal and CHEAP is so very important. My family lives simply, but we have nice things (many of them bought used). Cheaping out on everything isn’t sustainable long term, and it’s not fair to drag others into it.

    Reply
    • greg July 17, 2014, 6:52 pm

      Even if the original is a fine bit of trolling, I have personally experienced many late-night discussions and ended relationships because I’m quite open about my personal flavor mustachianism, and the tone of the sentiments tends to align with my past experiences.

      One thing I find interesting about this situation is the duality between individualism and collectivism that differences discovered **after** marriage bring about. Who is the other to impose spending patterns? But aren’t we spending shared resources (by default application of plain, vanilla marriage law)? It’s a can of worms that boils down to core lifestyle, and can be extremely hard to overcome.

      I have also spent time re-reading the persuasion and relationship-oriented pieces on MMM without really much additional gained insight to add to my own personal policy of really looking for a genuine chance at reasonable alignment of financial goals in a close partner.

      Reply
  • Monica July 17, 2014, 8:59 am

    I would love to find a mustachian fellow. Self-control , a passion for spending time with family, willingness to strike out on a path that is off the beaten sheep grazed trail and not being a guppy or hapless cog in the mass marketing machine are all sexy qualities. Its prob hard to find in either gender these days.

    Reply
    • Free To Pursue July 17, 2014, 9:12 am

      Monica, seek out engineers and school teachers. They are awesome frugal types for the most part. You will find that these folks, along with self-made entrepreneurs, are often cited in “The Millionaire Next Door”.

      On the flip side, anyone who has gone to business school is more likely to be a lost cause in need of converting (I was one of them and it took me 10 years to wake up and realize I was nothing but a hamster on a wheel).

      Reply
      • Monica July 17, 2014, 4:06 pm

        Thanks, Free To Pursue….

        Agree on both fronts…. and so funny! I realized early on, that I am generally the polar opposite in terms of values with folks in the following broad occupations: sales, politics, law and consulting.

        Thanks for the pointer. Btw, I love all of Stanley’s Millionaire books…. esp. the saying “big hat, no cattle”….

        Reply
    • greg July 17, 2014, 6:54 pm

      people are out there in “big industries” — working for The Man is only correlation, not necessarily causation. Sucking resources out of well-capitalized corporations can put one on quite a brisk trot towards freedom!

      Reply
      • Monica July 18, 2014, 10:54 am

        Greg,

        So true. As a current employee of “the man”, I am fast tracking towards FIRE’ing myself… I can’t complain about the bounty or the opportunities in big business… but, finding like minded/like valued folks has been relatively tough. Before, I discovered this blog and Jacob’s ERE, the only community I could find was in books! :)

        Love the MMM/ERE/FIRE community!!!

        Reply
    • Hillbilly Wantabe July 19, 2014, 10:04 am

      The wife shit is really serious, having just gone through a three year divorce and custody battle. At one point, my now ex wanted to put my son in therapy, because of his aversion to shopping—he sits in the car and refuses to go into the store, and I have to go int the store by myself to buy him clothes. It gives a whole new meaning to “shopping therapy.”

      At one point, prior to the divorce, our marriage counselor wanted to prescribe me anti-depressants, so I could keep doing a job that I hated. I declined. My now ex moved out without discussion or warning, about six weeks after I suggested that we would be better off if we just cashed in our chips, and moved to a small farm surrounded by the Amish.

      I sense an entrepreneurial opportunity here—a frugal-dating site—though it is not clear how the proprietor could ever make any money off this crowd. I myself am looking for a wife who would like to start and live on a small subsistence farm, supplemented with whatever seed potatoes we might be able to afford with a 4% draw on $2M capital.

      Reply
      • Joel July 20, 2014, 3:13 am

        He probably just hated to go clothes shopping *WITH HER*. When I was a young lad I always loathed that experience for some reason.

        Nowadays I have a few articles I picked out that I really enjoy (including a $500 leather jacket), though I’m really cutting down on those sort of expenditures…

        Reply
      • Farmstache July 20, 2014, 8:27 am

        Hey, Hillbilly Wannabe (like me), I’m a bit too south and too committed to join you on this adventure, but I know of an amazing single woman farmer who left the city and her design job just to pursue her dream of farming, and has been doing great at it for 6 years (I think). She also writes and has a few books published and a blog. She’s a bit of a nerd and hunts with a bow and falcon on horseback, has a border collie that herds sheep, two goats and a garden. I don’t know if you two would get along, or what’s your age (she’s 31 or 32 now I think), or if you’d like her independence, but even so, I’d really recommend you go to one of the weekend courses in her farm, get to know her and other people who gather around her. They are people who are usually willing to give up the comfort of their cushy jobs in favor of a very hard farm life, so you might find someone great there. Look up Cold Antler Farm. In fact, this year they’ll have a Confidential Meeting where people go to learn about the ups and downs of starting their own farm (and get confidence to do it). It’s upstate NY.

        Reply
  • RubeRad July 17, 2014, 9:00 am

    “Are these folks doomed? They may be. ”

    MMM, please don’t write off a marriage so lightly!

    Instead, I have an idea that may help. You, the undisputed King of mustachianism, can give this couple a vacation, at your house, to see in person how you make mustachianism luxurious. Is your old house rented out yet? If not, maybe they stay there in regal luxury for a week, and ride borrowed bicycles to your new place every day to hang out, learn, live, and probably even work a little. Maybe your awesome wife can rub off on this woman. You are right, through the glimmers of humor and sarcasm, I see hope, and maybe you can use your superpowers to save a marriage!

    Reply
    • Kat July 17, 2014, 2:56 pm

      The squeaky wheel gets the grease? I want to take part in this fictitious but fabulous sounding ‘internship’ on frugality and I will be offended if the complainypants gets rewarded for whining.

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Haha.. we’re going to need to get that fictitious commune of mine started sooner rather than later.

        No room in the old house as that sucker is UNDER CONTRACT (to a Mustachian, as luck would have it) – woot!

        As for frugality internships, I have learned the hard way that constant out of town visitors are too transitory and time-intensive to fit into real life, as fun as the idea sounds. The solution is that you can move to Longmont and we will actually be neighbors. Then we’ll get some communal learning done!

        Reply
  • Joanna July 17, 2014, 9:01 am

    As a woman, I’m pretty offended by her allegations that your blog is for women only. When my husband and I met, he made (in actual percentages, not hyperbole) 7x the amount of money I did. BUT I (an artist) was incredibly frugal and had a few grand in savings whereas he blew EVERY DOLLAR HE MADE. So when we started dating and eventually married and I pursued my career more fully (ie made way less money) I sent him this blog along with a few others so he could begin to save money little by little. I had always been frugal, but now we are frugal AND we get to go to Italy. Now we have thousands in savings AND I was able to buy him a $300 beer keg counter top cooler for his birthday. Now we can go to Costa Rica for 3 weeks BUT we still save hundreds every month cooking mostly at home and taking lunches to work. WE did that.

    That said, I do wonder if she is a troll and not a real person.

    Reply
    • Karen July 17, 2014, 4:48 pm

      Your comment completely agrees with what the “troll” is saying. The problem is that her husband has no desire to use any extra on a trip, on something to sit on, or beer kegs, or ANYTHING ELSE. ANYTHING ELSE. Get it? He wants to save every single penny, including not having kids because they cost too much. So…. your advice should be to follow your example and to share these decisions together as a couple, and to decide how you want to enjoy your lives while you’re still saving.

      If you can’t agree on these things, unfortunately, I don’t think you should be married to each other. Unless both parties are able to discuss and compromise (sounds like she already has gone more than halfway), then it’s not going to work.

      Reply
  • Free To Pursue July 17, 2014, 9:05 am

    Money mustaches are sexy on men AND women. I sport mine proudly and don’t think this blog is by men for men. It’s by a frugal family who is after optimal living and wishing the same upon the world. The extra dose of testosterone just gives some of the messages a bit of an edge.

    I agree with the comments above regarding frugality vs cheapness. Practically everything we own was obtained inexpensively, but I guarantee you we do not have a blow up couch. You can have your cake and eat it too by being clear about what you want vs need, paying attention to and seeking opportunities and being patient because the right item/experience will come about. That’s it.

    As for the letter writer? I think she’s pulling your leg. They will be just fine. No marriage emergency there. She’s using humour and, troll or not, she’s coming from a good place, even if she has no muscle and should move in order to benefit from some much-needed biking.

    Reply
  • Jenny July 17, 2014, 9:09 am

    This is one of my favorite posts! So funny.

    As far as male vs. female Mustachians, I must say that as a single female who would love to meet a great Mustachian guy, I’ve been sorely disappointed at the local meetups I’ve been attending over the last year. The females have outnumbered the males nearly 2 to 1.

    Reply
  • JP July 17, 2014, 9:10 am

    Not a pure troll, there’s too much truth and knowledge embedded in the humor. Actually I thought it was my wife writing in for a second. She made the same comment about the used cloth diapers, when I suggested she check Craigslist!!!

    Reply
  • Lara July 17, 2014, 9:12 am

    Some marriages have out of control spending problems, but many conflicts just seem to arise from different priorities. If he was not married, my husband would probably save at least half his income but live on 300+ acres in a small cabin next to a huge shop filled with woodworking tools and have multiple pick-up trucks parked out front. If I was unmarried, I’d save at least half my income as well. However, I’d live in a small, but nicely furnished apartment in town where I could ride my bike to the gym and local coffee-shops. I’d dress better and travel more. Nearly twenty years into a fabulous and financially sound marriage, I can only say that compromise from both parties is usually necessary.

    Reply
  • BFGirl July 17, 2014, 9:15 am

    I actually don’t think she is a troll. I was in a marriage like this for many years. Both of us were professionals, but I was chastised for many years for my purchases, no matter how small. My husband bought me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas one year and then told me that I needed to vacuum with the old vacuum first and then go over it with the new vacuum because the bags for the newer vacuum were more expensive. My husband wanted me to go work out and take showers at the gym so that we wouldn’t use water at the house. We argued over the 10 cent price difference in a jar of spaghetti sauce I needed to pick up on the way home, rather than going to a different store not as convenient to get the cheaper sauce. I am now divorced and trying to follow some of the Mustachian ways, but will never be that frugal. I also felt the same way about getting an SUV as far as safety was concerned. After being in a wreck where my car was totaled and caught on fire after being hit by an SUV, I decided that the next time some idiot hit me, I wanted to be in a bigger car. I still have an SUV and need it for displays that I have to transport, but I am now taking the train so I am not using near the amount of gas I used to. Anyways, if she isn’t a troll, I sympathize with her. There is a point where frugalness becomes cheapness and it is very hard to live with. Her husband sounds like he has crossed this line. They will either have to find compromise, or I expect she will rebel with overspending like I did, if she stays in the marriage.

    Reply
  • Becky July 17, 2014, 9:17 am

    Dear Mr. Money Mustache,
    I think probably your blog made my marriage stronger.
    My man and I both enjoy reading and we’ve made positive changes as a result. I’m so glad we can use the common language of MMM to talk about our financial goals. (This morning at breakfast he reminded me to shoot stuff with my optimism gun.)
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Stephen July 17, 2014, 9:20 am

    I actually found this article to be strangely relatiable. Although my wife and I are in much more alignment than the above mentioned couple, will still have situational differences between our ideals. It has been neat to see the gravitation toward an acceptable median in our lives. We have seen both the benefits and occasional challenges of living a mustache filled lifestyle. I’ll be curious to see the part two resolution. The primary benefit of a minimalistic lifestyle was the ability for my wife to stay home with the kids while still maintaining a normal life. I actually enjoyed hearing the ‘normal’ persons arguments against the mustache.

    Reply
  • Steve July 17, 2014, 9:25 am

    The number #1 thing you can do to help your finances is to invest early in your education. The #2 thing is to marry well. This doesn’t just mean to find a cheap spouse, but to find someone who enriches your life and to put in the effort to make sure their life is enriched as well.

    I’m lucky that my wife shares many of my values. She’ll buy clothes at Goodwill, she’ll clip coupons, but her payoff is not early retirement – she absolutely does not care about that. Her payoff is things like fancy coffee drinks, she likes a trip to Disney – staying on property, once a year, and Danskos/Naots.

    The problem they seem to have is that they are both making sacrifices, but they don’t share the same payoff. They are working toward his goal, but not hers. She seems like a great wife, with a good sense of humor. Buy her a couch!

    Reply
  • Wild Wendella July 17, 2014, 9:29 am

    This is hugely entertaining! Thanks for posting! I don’t agree that the woman is a dimwit because she misspelled a few words (we all do that on occasion), nor do I necessarily think this is a troll. I’m a woman myself, and new to the MMM style of thinking. I do have a small SUV and my husband has a truck, so we haven’t completely transitioned. I have started riding a bike to work and to the store *occasionally*, and I would note to the young lady who sent the email that it is possible in a city without any sort of bike infrastructure. I’d like to share my experiences with this woman in acquiring free furniture.

    I had a lovely free couch and chair I acquired (for $0) from my old employer. At the same time I also acquired free wooden filing cabinets and 4 free chairs on coasters, which I used in my kitchen. At the time I lived alone, and the only piece of furniture I purchased was a mattress and box spring. This free furniture looked great in my apartment and worked very well for me for 10 years. When I moved in with my husband he wanted to keep his furniture (that he had purchased for actual $$) so I sold my free furniture in a yard sale for about $5 a piece.

    When I helped my sister move out of her apartment a few years ago she was downsizing and needed to get rid of her couch, loveseat and entertainment center. She was in a hurry and planned to throw it out by putting it on the curb. I took a picture and posted it on craigslist for free (because I can’t stand it when people throw away perfectly good furniture).

    I cite these two stories to show there are plenty of opportunities for her to acquire a nice and free couch. We live in a world full of high spenders, where people give/throw away free nice things left, right and center. You only need to look for them.

    Reply
  • Todd Beaubien July 17, 2014, 9:33 am

    A couple of thoughts – troll or not:
    A) Marriage is a partnership if you want it to last, so I think this couple needs to step back and coordinate a bit. As others commented, it doesn’t sound like this woman is against the principles of MMM, but perhaps the implementation she’s getting. Financial Independence will be rather empty if you don’t have the love of your life there at the finish line.
    B) Frugal versus Cheap is critical. We all want nice things, whatever those things might be. Work out a list of those things and make a plan on how and when you will acquire them. Having a target, even in the future, is better than one side just saying “No” over and over.
    C) Want a big vehicle which is also low cost to drive? I’m buying a Ford CMax tomorrow. Gets 42 MPG city and has almost 53 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats down, but seats 5 with the back seats up. Not as big as a Tahoe, but less expensive to purchase and own all around. Also available with a plug in option for even better gas mileage.

    Growing my mustache bit by bit, not necessarily all at once!

    Reply
  • Pretired Nick July 17, 2014, 9:35 am

    People hide behind their gender all the time. I can’t take out the garbage because I’m just a girl or I can’t change a diaper because I’m a man. And on and on. It’s obviously silliness.
    In this case, it does sound like both members of the couple need to move a little bit toward the sane direction. Inflatable couch? Um, just no. Tahoe? Also no.

    Reply
    • Mr. Frugal Toque July 17, 2014, 11:42 am

      It could just as easily have been “I’m a man! Women are good at penny-pinching and clipping coupons. That’s not me! I need my gadgets, my sports car and my hunting resort vacations!”
      Sexism could go either way, although it’s weird when people excuse *themselves* with it, instead of insulting others.

      Reply
  • Nicola July 17, 2014, 9:37 am

    As the woman in our relationship, I’m the one who’s (slightly) more frugal, though it helps that my husband is also on board – he cycles to work every day! The woman writing that doesn’t see the point in their “self imposed poverty” so the man has some more work to do!

    Reply
    • greg July 17, 2014, 6:56 pm

      “Patty Edwards says once women enter the picture, men make fewer consumer purchasing decisions. “It’s actually women who control the majority of spending, even over this demographic,” says Edwards. “And it’s because no guy does much of anything without permission from his wife or girlfriend.”

      So why then is the 18-to-34-year-old male still such a key demographic for marketers? Because his wallet’s full. Unlike the typical female consumer, he’s more likely to spend what he wants, without thinking too much about what he needs.”

      http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/ive-always-wondered/why-do-marketers-want-young-men-so-badly

      (I don’t quite agree with the sentiment, but found it interesting nonetheless)

      Reply
  • midwest girlstache July 17, 2014, 9:56 am

    MMM, I thank you for addressing this woman and her issues . . . be they real or not. You are very correct, the things she mentions in this email are very common in marriages and relationship dynamics. Though I have been getting much more Mustachian and my husband leans toward spending, she really sounds like me on a really bad pity party day. The difficulty is trying to conceptualize switching to a Mustachian lifestyle when you have ALREADY struggled (and been surrounded by CHEAP) for a long time. The secret thing not mentioned in the published parts of the email is DEBT. Regardless of a 288K income, 60K income or 25K income DEBT can make your life miserable. We under-earned and overspent (on his priorities) for MANY decades before learning how money works. Things are better now but not comfortable. Now that we earn a bit more we constantly battle ourselves against “upsizing” because we struggled for soooo long. Sounds like she has “involuntary Mustachian fatigue.” That tends to make CHOOSING Mustachianism much more difficult. When I first discovered MMM I was really . . . ahem . . “enthusiastic” about changing our lives, but he wasn’t won to the concept yet. He felt the drastic changes I was trying to make were at best disempowering him and at worst emasculating him by my forcefulness. He was also sick of struggling and was ready to live a bit while I was ready to batten down the hatches and head toward FI. The articles you referred to are very important. For a while I was convinced I had to divorce him to get Mustachian. I WAS WRONG. We had to learn to walk the journey together, with shared goals and sacrifice. We learned to help each other. Some days we switch roles — I want to go on a “we deserve this” binge and throw a pity party when he says no. I agree with what one commenter said — the lack of direction or differing goals can really be the culprit. Once we started budgeting for BOTH of our goals instead of randomly taking or spending money things got easier. I make an effort to praise and thank him for sacrifices, not just demand more. Our conversations were more sane. If we get to FI at 50 instead of 47 that’s okay, we are still miles ahead of everyone else. Your approach on this one was really sage MMM!

    Reply
  • Debbie M July 17, 2014, 9:56 am

    She’s feeling deprived and out of control, and that’s not what Mustachianism is about. It’s about having it all.

    Like some other commenters have mentioned–what is she gaining with the extra savings? She mentions nothing. If she can find some long-term reason to save money that she likes, it should be easier for her to get on board. And if she can have some of the things she’s missing, she might find it easier to do without some of the other things she’s missing.

    And it may also help to let her ease into Mustachianism more gradually. Maybe each partner needs control of some of the money–he can save all of his if he wants; she can spend all hers if she wants. Then she can decide when and if she wants to increase the savings of the money solely under her control (above the previously decided family minimum savings amount).

    Reply
  • Mr. FI July 17, 2014, 10:15 am

    Man, there is nothing more irritating than writing out a full comment and then getting a 500 server error.

    My point would have been, the husband is penny pinching, has failed to sell the dream of freedom, and the woman should be allowed to buy a Starbucks coffee (without the husband starting an argument about it) every now and then if the compromise is no Tahoe. The answer to being a bad driver is not purchasing a tank.

    No one would be receptive to ER if this is what it felt like. Penny pinching sucks.

    Reply
  • Kelsey July 17, 2014, 10:21 am

    Okay, so the Tahoe thing has to be fake (I hope!) but I agree, the rest of it is totally relatable. When my husband introduced the MMM way of life into our household, I was a little freaked out. We are a younger couple as well and are starting to solidify our money habits for the future. But like Steve said, in order to light the fire of frugality, you need to find the spark in something that the other person cares about. I buy fun stuff like kombucha scobys, ebooks and consignment clothes with money I get from selling valuable household clutter online. Those little earned luxuries keep me from feeling like I’m in a glass case of penny pinching. That’s how I gained the appreciation for saving $ and getting rid of unnecessary stuff. So, they’re not doomed (if they exist) they just need to better see where the other person is coming from.

    Reply
  • Kelsey July 17, 2014, 10:21 am

    Okay, so the Tahoe thing has to be fake (I hope!) but I agree, the rest of it is totally relatable. When my husband introduced the MMM way of life into our household, I was a little freaked out. We are a younger couple as well and are starting to solidify our money habits for the future. But like Steve said, in order to light the fire of frugality, you need to find the spark in something that the other person cares about. I buy fun stuff like kombucha scobys, ebooks and consignment clothes with money I get from selling valuable household clutter online. Those little earned luxuries keep me from feeling like I’m in a glass case of penny pinching. That’s how I gained the appreciation for saving $ and getting rid of unnecessary stuff. So, they’re not doomed (if they exist) they just need to better see where the other person is coming from.

    Reply
  • Bob Werner July 17, 2014, 10:33 am

    You could buy a 2008 Tahoe with 125,000 miles for 10 to 13K. This couple probably earns well over 200K per year so buy the freaking Tahoe. The annual cost will be less than 2% of you income. Really the concept I get from this site is to be conscious of money choices. This seems like a very conscious choice. ‘Woman needs car’ ‘Woman wants car’ — Get the woman a car for God sake. If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.

    She can then put her bike into it an ride down by the levee. She will probably continue to drive the Prius most of the time anyway,.

    By the way, since this family obviously has the money for a Tahoe and lots more — They should finance it at 3%. The annual interest cost will be about $400. $400 is hardly worth the time to consider when you make over 200K. For the Orthodontist husband that would be like taking on 1/10 of a new client per year.

    In fact, I think hubby is missing the boat by focusing on the spending side of his finances. He has the opportunity to really pump his income up. If he worked it, he could easily add 100K to his annual income. That makes the frugal side of the equation almost null.

    If it was my wife, being a strong woman, she would simply say “Fuck You” I’m getting the Tahoe with or without you.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 18, 2014, 2:52 pm

      No.

      Reply
    • PK July 18, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Oh my. 3% after tax is 4% pretax for these guys (if your salary assumption is right). I can’t earn that on my cash right now. Never finance a car, even if it’s chumpchange.

      And the attitude you’re suggesting is the first leak in the dike – they’d be spending $201K (or $250K…) p.a. fairly soon with that approach. And on a less financial level, would buying her the Tahoe alone bring lasting peace and harmony???

      Reply
  • Vicki July 17, 2014, 10:37 am

    I’m sorry that I found this so amusing! Myself and my husband have felt even more closer since adopting a frugal lifestyle and we love making plans for the future together. I think this lady might be missing the point!!

    Reply
  • Green Girl Success July 17, 2014, 10:39 am

    It does seem that the husband is cheap and missing the point of the MMM lifestyle. I also take offense to her gender related comments. I don’t have a car and its getting me into excellent health from both a physical and mental standpoint. Cars are just plain unhealthy for humans. So is suburbia. :) I’m writing a book on this topic to counteract all the ‘fad diet’ books that don’t address the real issues of obesity.

    I have been leading an MMM life well before I even found this blog. I recommend you send her a couple other references such as Annie Leonard’s book “Story of Stuff”. The book delves into these issues better than her videos. Also, she should watch the documentary “No Impact Man” if she wants to see the issues between a man and a woman. She should check out “Your Money or Your Life” which is co-authored by a woman. The Center for a New American Dream is a great resource for women and also any of Juliet Schor’s books. The documentary “I AM” is about a Hollywood producer who sells off his ‘stuff’ to live simply and commutes by bike, even though he makes millions of dollars.

    I could go on and on with resources because this is one of my specialties as a consultant… to help women think less about ‘stuff’ and shopping and think more about quality of life. However, she doesn’t seem to want to bend her opinion at all. It is very frustrating to see this attitude, but unfortunately I see this all the time, even in my own family. That is why it is so great to have a community like MMM.

    Reply
    • Albie July 19, 2014, 6:19 pm

      I was trying to find a good netflix movie to watch tonight. That’s one more reason I love this site. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Chris July 17, 2014, 10:41 am

    I think there needs to be a goal to one’s frugality if they are going to convince their spouse to lay off the lattes and sell the Tahoe. Otherwise you’re just being an ass-hole.

    My wife continues to “buy in” because I approach her with financial goals and spreadsheets/graphs that show how cutting our budget will help us meet those goals. If she doesn’t share those goals, then why should she cooperate?

    Reply
  • Ruz July 17, 2014, 10:45 am

    My first thought is that the emails are from someone having fun with MMM. They are a little too overboard/extreme.

    I have always thought of MMM lifestyle as more of a trade-off. Taking control of your money and lifestyle rather than letting it control you. I have 5 kids and live in a small town where there are some basic facilities, but if I need to go into the city or travel anywhere – then I need a larger vehicle. So, choices have to be made: own larger vehicle, borrow, don’t go, don’t take family, etc.

    I like sushi – and I live 3000 miles from the ocean… So, I make simple things at home, wait for groupons before ever going out… Choices… (Or real MMM-ians might say “wimp”! :-) )

    If this is a real series of letters, then the couple has some serious issues where they will need to make choices.

    Reply
  • Jessica w July 17, 2014, 10:48 am

    My husband and I are both frugal,but sometimes I still prefer to have “rewards” or spend money on stuff that my husband would see as worthless. So, what helped us the most was to write down our priorities first and foremost and to compare them. Then one of the things we did was budget and cut some areas so that yes, I get $100 a month toward eating out because I like date nights and not having to cook all the time,but because of that we cut back in other areas. So we still live on less than 30% of our income,and we can still do a lot of luxurious/fun things. One of the other things we budgeted for was allowances. yes, we are adults with allowances, but my portion is mine. If I want to blow it on an iced coffee my husband could care less because he can save all of his portion up for techy devices, and we are still on track with our overall goal of being frugal. This could help with the arguments because then you are still being frugal,but also able to do some of the things that you want to do or spend money on. Could we cut it even closer in our spending? Yes, but we wanted a little bit more balance. I love the MMM life style, and I feel like just the freedom from debt, not being dependent on each paycheck,etc. means a better less stressful life.

    Reply
    • amanda kuhl July 25, 2014, 5:56 am

      I agree with the allowance. My husband and I have always had our spending money. He loves to eat a hot lunch from the work caf and buy books on amazon. I brown bag and go to the library but love mani/pedis. Other than our separate spending, the budget is heavy on savings and paying down the mortgage which is our only debt.

      Reply
  • Edward July 17, 2014, 10:48 am

    General relationship unhappiness always focusses itself toward a single issue. It’s the “my life would be perfect if only…” disease. When people are having a rough time the back of the mind picks an issue, assigns some blame to the other person, creates an injustice, inflates the idea, then and runs with it. I’m sure that husband could loosen the purse strings and something else would come up. “New house is fantastic, but we really need a pool and he won’t get one!” “Everything would be great, but his snoring is making me completely miserable!” “I want to move closer to my relatives, but he won’t move his practice.” “He doesn’t do his share of the housework and taking care of the kids.” People of both genders can do this ad infinitum. As one issue is possibly resolved another will immediately slide in to take its place. You can’t be happy because you aren’t happy in the entire relationship.
    BTW, who correctly writes “reticent” yet doesn’t know how to spell “ladder”?

    Reply
    • Judith July 18, 2014, 5:07 pm

      Bingo! I would bet they had troubles before MMM blog became a problem. I am also wondering if the wife has a family full of consumers and also little self esteem, so that she has troubles standing up to their expectations and peer pressure, or even being open minded to the MMM “lifestyle” (ugh hate that word).

      Reply
  • Scooze July 17, 2014, 10:53 am

    I think this sounds like a case of one spouse imposing his views on the other without getting actual buy-in. He could have tried to do this through a collaborative angle, but instead chose to just make the rules and insist she live by them. This method does NOT lead to a good outcome – it makes the bullied spouse shut down and feel defensive. And for the wife’s part, either she isn’t adequately expressing her views to her husband or he isn’t listening. So I call this a marital problem.

    Reply
  • Juli July 17, 2014, 10:53 am

    I want to know how he gets her to follow his money leading when she seems to be so against it. In our marriage, I am the frugal one and the hubby spends way too much on cable tv, eating out, and all those other “fun” things. I can fuss about it all day long, but he just spends it anyway. I’m curious, what is actually stopping her from buying a couch on her own? Does he literally lock away every bit of cash, credit/debit card, or whatever so that she truly does not have $1 to go buy a Coke? I would absolutely force my husband to follow my mustachian desires if I could figure out a way to do it!

    Reply
    • Ed July 20, 2014, 2:03 pm

      I was thinking the same thing…..

      Reply
      • joy July 20, 2014, 4:48 pm

        Juli,

        I think it is a matter of respect for the marriage. Marriage is a partnership. Both should agree to reach a mutual decision on what purchases will be made. That said, I feel she knows he would consent to buy her anything. Yet, her heart knows he isn’t on board with the purchase. Therefore, she doesn’t buy. This is how it works in my marriage too. Both of us wait on each other.

        Reply
        • Juli July 23, 2014, 2:49 pm

          You ask your husband for permission to spend $1 on a Coke? That seems very odd to me. Respect has to go both ways. If one spouse is frugal and the other is spendy, why does the frugal one have to “respect” the spendy one, but the spendy one can do whatever they want? And it seems like she does not know that he will buy her anything. The article sounded to me like she had asked and he shut her down. How is that being respectful to her?

          Reply
  • The Money Monk July 17, 2014, 10:57 am

    I think there is an easy solution to this woman’s problems, and it is one that I currently employ.

    Just keep your finances separate! If she doesn’t mind working longer to enjoy luxuries, then she shouldn’t have a problem continuing to work after he has retired!

    Split the housing, utilities, etc. Pretty much everything else can be bought as individuals: Transportation, food, clothing, etc.

    If she is a nurse she makes plenty of money to do this. And it will free him up to be as extreme as he wants

    Reply
    • Rachel July 17, 2014, 1:31 pm

      That is what my husband and I do. I am working on my mustache, but his is crazy. A while back he decided he wanted to eat on $4 a day, and was subsisting mostly on dry beans at every meal, etc. I am not doing that. But because we have separate money, he was free to do so and he could see the money results easily. And if I went out to lunch with coworkers and blew 3 days of food money ($12), it didn’t affect him. (He did stop after a few months though.)

      Reply
      • Catherine Marie July 18, 2014, 11:05 am

        Same here: all finances separate so that I can save as much as I want, and hubby can buy beer and guitar strings without having to hear my nagging about it. I’ll retire early and he’ll keep working. It’s not ideal but we are who we are and we’re both happy with our choices.

        Reply
    • Katherine July 17, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Even if they don’t totally separate finances, they should have a set amount of “I can spend it on what I want and you can’t complain” money built into the budget each month. My husband and I do that and it’s cut down on the nitpicky fights about money. You need consensus on the big issues but the small ones, it’s not worth it. He can go out to lunch and I can buy a hydrangea, and it’s not a marital crisis.

      Reply
      • Ed July 20, 2014, 2:06 pm

        Definitely one way to go, the wife and I are trying an “allowance” system where we get to spend $xx per month on whatever we want. Problem is, she keeps going over $xx *2.

        Reply
      • Ms. Must-Stash July 21, 2014, 3:42 pm

        Bingo! Mad Money or Walking Around Money is, in my opinion, a great transition strategy into full-blown Mustachianism. I am naturally more frugal than my husband, and he can get sad if he feels deprived, so we decided that he gets $100/month to spend as he likes with no crap from me. We still save ~50% of our incomes, we are gradually strengthening our muscles through a variety of other life improvements, and this makes him happy, so everyone wins!

        FYI, here’s something I think the community will like – I was recently introduced to a great online source for consignment clothes, called ThredUp. You can sell your nice clothes to them (they send you a bag, you fill it with clothes, and send it back with free shipping) to earn $$, and can also get some great deals on really nice second hand clothes. I detest shopping and rarely do it but on the occasion that I do need to pick something up, I’ve found this to be a great option. (And no, I don’t work for them or know anyone who does.)

        Reply
  • Jack Daniels July 17, 2014, 11:03 am

    Many commenters have it dead on right about the stupid SUVs all over the place. I guess nowadays it’s the CUVs, which are still incredibly stupid and ugly (stink bug body style I call it), but I’d much rather have those on the road than a hulking truck framed 6000lb gas pig. And at least the bumpers line up slightly better.. In reality tho, the government regulations are to blame for the SUV/CUV. The CAFE regulations (originally designed to.. you guessed it.. REDUCE FUEL CONSUMPTION) allow less strict requirements for “light trucks”, and the bigger the “light truck”, the… (wait for it..) LESS EFFICIENT THEY ARE ALLOWED TO BE. How stupid. Anyway, CAFE directly led to the death of the station wagon and to the creation of the SUV since a wagon is considered a “passenger car” and therefore is given tougher standards to meet. Take the Honda Crosstour for example.. What is it? An Accord jacked up 2 inches and blamo, now it’s a “light truck” which means Honda can stick the old engine in there and get away with not meeting the CAFE requirements on it (Along with a higher center of gravity, worse handling and needlessly higher fuel consumption.) So this is the perfect example of the government regulations doing exactly the OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY INTENDED. And drive a Tahoe so you can feel safe? Really? So screw everyone else on the road while your overweight terrible handling POOR BRAKING DISTANCE tank kills someone else who is smarter than you? This doesn’t bode well for the gene pool. By the way, you hit a curb or a guard rail in a sedan, then you STAY ON THE ROAD most of the time at least… Yea you might have a bent rim, but at least you didn’t TRIP THE THING UP AND FLIP OVER 17 TIMES KILLING YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY AND COUNTLESS OTHERS IN YOUR PATH. And by the way, those silly bling 23 inch rims and tires cost way more to fix than those on a car. It’s this mentality: crash first, and deal with the consequences later..-that’s the issue with America, and it shows not only with our gluttonous vehicle choice, but especially in our spending habits. Why not do what another very intelligent person said on these comments? Get a used Volvo which is way safer than any Tahoe, and it can do a WAY BETTER JOB OF AVOIDING THE ACCIDENT TO BEGIN WITH. If you can’t stop hitting curbs, then stop texting, or turn in your drivers license, because you shouldn’t be on the road.

    Reply
    • Jack Daniels July 17, 2014, 11:33 am

      (Editor not working on Chrome.. so have to make a new comment..)
      And you speak of balance.. Going from a Prius to a Tahoe is about as balanced as a seesaw with the fat kid on the other end. Sorry, I just had to.

      Reply
      • 9 O'Clock Shadow July 17, 2014, 2:41 pm

        JD you just blew up the AM radio with that comment! Only thing missing at the end was the hissing sound of a cigarette being put out in someone’s overpriced latte!

        Reply
  • Ricky July 17, 2014, 11:08 am

    Ok… she’s definitely not trolling. Because what she says makes sense and then it doesn’t. She knows she needs certain things in life to be comfortable and make the journey tolerable, but she is looking at how to do those things the wrong way. Then again, the only blatantly obvious MMM sin she is committing is even thinking about a Tahoe. Going out to eat occasionally or having a coke isn’t blasphemous to the MMM lifestyle…

    20 min by car would be like 1.5 hours by bike if not more. I couldn’t agree with her more about the biking comment. MMM, you’re spoiled by living in a VERY bikeable area. 90% of America isn’t like Boulder. It just isn’t SAFE for most of America. Sure, she could move, but it sounds like she’s already planted pretty strong roots where she’s at.

    This is more of a personal problem she has with her SO than a problem with the MMM philosophy itself. It’s clear. I agree that she needs a purpose and a mutual understanding with her SO more than a punch in the face. There isn’t much else to comment on really.

    Reply
    • Matth July 17, 2014, 12:51 pm

      I strongly disagree with the comment that it just isn’t safe to bike commute. I grew up in one of the absolute worst places in the country for suburban sprawl and knew a number of people who safely rode bikes on a daily basis (at least during the spring-fall). It’s all about being seen and obeying traffic laws, especially not doing stupid stuff like riding the wrong way on sidewalks and blowing busy stop signs.

      Also, 20 minutes by car is a meaningless statement on its own. There are two possibilities that I see, though could be more:

      – She lives in a very spread out, nearly rural area, where she’s averaging upwards of 45 mph. In that case, yes, a bike would take forever, and they should consider moving. I know a place like this. The towns are about 15k people, separated by 7-10 miles, and it’s common for people to commute from one town to another* and consider it the same “area”, even though they’re driving through the open countryside.

      – She lives in a denser suburb, and she’s only averaging about 10 mph, in which case there’s a good chance a bike would take no longer and possibly even be faster. I know places like this, too; I even live in one.

      – The third possibility, which I’ll discount since she described her area as suburban, is that she lives in a true city . In this case, 20 minutes by car almost definitely is faster by bike, at least during the majority of the day.

      *It’s also possible to live one’s life entirely within one of the smaller towns, and use a bike. This is called not being stupid.

      Reply
      • Ricky July 17, 2014, 1:06 pm

        Ok, so you just said yourself that in 2/3 of the scenarios you listed are pro car. Yes it is possible that half of that twenty minutes is sitting in poor traffic, I’m not throwing that out the window.

        I’ll just give you my own scenario. I live 15 minutes from anywhere by car, in the mountains. There are so many curves and illegal immigrants and rednecks that there is NO way I’d risk being seen by anyone around one of the 50 curves on my way to work. I just wouldn’t. Someone has already died trying it. And he was a probably like 1/10,000 people that bike as a local here for commuting. It’s just not feasible where I live. This leads me to believe it’s just not feasible where a lot of other people live. Oh and Google Maps says it would take 1 hr 21 minutes for me to get to work by bike.

        My example is extreme, but relevant.

        I never really said it isn’t safe in general to commute by bike. But I did say it isn’t for most of America. Then again, I was referring to most of America geographically, not population wise. Most of America do live in big cities, yes. NYC, San Francisco, and DC, and you might include Portland though its not a big city, are the only three big cities on the way to elite status as a biking city. The rest are in the dust by miles. I’d still argue that its not safe for most Americans, geographically or statistically.

        Sadly, there are fewer bike friendly cities than there are bike-hatin’ cities. As a society, however, we are embracing the bike so that is a good thing and can only mean good things in the future like more separate bike lanes and bike lanes in general.

        Anyway, maybe I’m completely wrong on the whole subject. I just don’t feel its nearly as safe as somewhere like, say, Copenhagen or Amsterdam. That’s because it isn’t.

        Full disclosure: I own and ride my hybrid bike regularly. I love biking and eventually want to move to an urban enough area where biking is both safe and practical, therefore feasible. I desperately want to be able to commute by bike. I see myself moving in the not so distant future so that I can pursue a more lucrative career and ditch the car.

        Reply
        • Matth July 17, 2014, 2:57 pm

          I don’t know how you got “pro-car” out of my comments. There’s pro-moving-to-a-different-locale, anti-commuting-between-towns, and pro-bike. But no pro-car.

          Also, your picture of America’s biking situation is much grimmer than the reality. There are significantly more than 3 cities on their way to elite status; Chicago and Minneapolis are the largest near me. Most of the population lives in ideal areas for biking when looking at density. As I said in my initial response, I grew up in a nightmare of suburbia, as bad as any in the country. But people still biked regularly, and their numbers were on the increase when I moved away three years ago.

          It’s true that bicycling isn’t as safe, statistically speaking, in the US as it is in Europe. However, there’s little risk to biking in either country, especially when following the rules of the road and making oneself visible. You can do the research on the safety in the US, but….

          MMM already did: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/

          His conclusions are backed up in countless studies, blog posts, and essays written over the years.

          I’m not saying that bicycle commuting is right for you, and it certainly sounds like you live in a logistically poor place. But you’re in the minority, not the 90% as you say (and as I think most people assume).

          Reply
        • Seth July 29, 2014, 9:38 am

          I understand what you mean about few biker friendly cities. I live outside of town and the road into town has no shoulders and the speed limit is 60 mph. Few bikers use it because several have been severely injured by motorists. In town it is slightly better. Our city (Billings, MT) has slowly been expanding its limited bike path system, and has even added bike lanes to some streets though most of the city seems to be designed with the assumption that everyone will drive. Motorists seem to have the same sentiment. Any time the city council proposes expanding cycling opportunities, anti-bicyclists come our of the woodwork to complain. The other day I witnessed a 300 lb tub of guts screaming at a woman on a bike to “get off the *** road!” I used to live in Missoula, MT which was the opposite. I biked to school and work everyday.

          Reply
      • Eldred July 17, 2014, 1:28 pm

        Or she lives in one suburb of a large city, and works in another suburb of that city. So longer distances, but not necessarily open countryside. My job is 20 minutes away by freeway for 90% of it, but if I leave too late the freeway is clogged. So it’s 30-40 minutes by surface streets. I’ll have to really pay attention to the time and mileage of the freeway compared to the surface streets. Now I’m curious… :-)

        Reply
      • Green Girl July 17, 2014, 1:32 pm

        I agree that for most people biking is not as dangerous as they think. Driving is actually the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis and it is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in children and teenagers. And let’s not forget the danger of inactivity. I rode my bike to a meeting with a colleague and I told him that I sold my car. He gave me a lecture on how dangerous bike commuting can be, right after he told me that he and his wife both have diabetes. People just think about the idea of a horrible accident, but forget about the slow death from the diseases of a modern American lifestyle.

        Reply
  • Barbara July 17, 2014, 11:10 am

    Hey y’all. I don’t think the writer is a troll. I think she’s a man. I think this guy is trying to change their lives and having difficulty convincing his wife to get on the frugality bus, so he wrote a letter from “her” point of view. Maybe their marriage counselor is getting them to try to see the situation from each other’s point of view, and this is his sarcastic version of that.

    In my first marriage, I was the frugal woman married to the spendy man. I should have known that the marriage was doomed when he told me he didn’t have a savings account.

    What I’d say to both of them is, how committed are you to being married? There’s no right and wrong here. They obviously make a lot of money, and have been able to live in such a way that they’ve retired a lot of debt in a short time. There is a vast middle ground between sitting on a blow up couch and a pottery barn fantasy house. As someone who hates to spend money, I can tell you that finding the middle ground (not feeling poor) can make your life happier without impeding saving toward FI. Driving lessons instead of an SUV. A new sofa from the clearance floor or Overstock.com. Dinner out or a coffee drink every once in awhile if that’s a treat that floats your boat. If I were writing to her, I’d suggest she ask family members for gift cards to Starbucks and beauty salons for occasions so she can continue to do what gives her pleasure.

    But I think he’s the writer. So to him I say lighten up a little. It is life enhancing to live in a nice place. There are ways to have nice things that don’t cost a lot of money. And if a $3 latte once in awhile makes your wife happy, let it go. Divorce is a whole lot more expensive. And it sucks for a long time.

    Reply
    • Mr. Frugal Toque July 17, 2014, 11:35 am

      The phrase “pottery barn fantasy house” sent a chill down my spine, and not in the good way.
      I look into the time vortex and see a long tunnel, full of clutter, extending to the end of time.
      The horror.
      I must look away.

      Reply
      • Jenni July 18, 2014, 10:01 am

        If the guy is the writer he has done himself no favors. He must be even worse IRL.

        Reply
        • Mr. Frugal Toque July 18, 2014, 12:07 pm

          Although that idea has a bit of allure.
          How much fun would it be to write a letter, as if I were Mrs. Toque, complaining about me?
          It’s enough, however, that these are real complaints that are, generally, made by real people about the Mustachian lifestyle. So they’re still worth addressing.

          Reply
  • Even Steven July 17, 2014, 11:10 am

    I think the problems she has is mostly just no give and take, especially in the beginning of a change of lifestyle. Something as simple as you can have that Tahoe, all you have to do is sell the Prius, find one that’s only 10% of your household income, pay cash, and create enough side income to cover the gas/insurance/repairs. As a husband with a spouse who likes to spend money, but also enjoys saving it, there is some give and take, I find it more important that we are on the same path, something will break down otherwise.

    Reply
  • JCP July 17, 2014, 11:11 am

    OMG!!!! I could have written this myself. I love this post and my husband feared I may have written it myself. I have three kids and self sacrifice NON STOP! I do not want to be eating Costco rice for the rest of my life so I can have my hubby wandering around retired early a good 7 years after I needed him home to actually help me with the kids! NO THANKS. Find a job you love and live a good life whilst spending wisely- THE END!

    Reply
  • chacha1 July 17, 2014, 11:16 am

    I read this exchange as being sincere. I think the writer is sincerely troubled about the state of her marriage, and sincerely tired of pinching pennies when she is not seeing any rewards – immediate or future – that are congruent with what SHE wants. If I can get all subtextual for a minute, I might even speculate that she is worried that her husband may decide kids are just too expensive – and she clearly wants to have kids.

    I also think she exaggerated or overstated some things for effect, but that doesn’t mean her underlying issues are invalid. There is no reason to take offense because someone wants different things from you, unless they are trying to take something away from you in order to get what they want. I appreciate that MMM is trying to get to the bottom of it in a constructive way (without getting all “oh poor baby” with it, because that would not be MMM).

    Enraged Reader needs a mediator, I think, in the household money conflict. It is pretty hard to argue that two qualified medical professionals should “need” to live in a crappy apartment, with an old Aerobed for a couch, and fight over buying a cup of Starbucks. The husband is not finding a way to communicate how he thinks the MMM message can work for them. He is just, from the sound of it, trying to impose the message. She is trying to get with the program but the language isn’t working for her. That doesn’t make her wrong.

    Reply
  • MooseOutFront July 17, 2014, 11:26 am

    This part:
    “My understanding of the MMM lifestyle is that you work hard to be poor while your young so that you can be poor without working when you’re old.”

    Made me laugh. I have to approach this whole MMM thing very carefully with my wife to prevent her from ending up with this same exact ultimate conclusion. While it’s true that the math behind early retirement works by sustaining the low level of spending, people that haven’t seen the light overestimate the joy that spending gives them. In the above referenced example, the husband I think has clearly done of a poor job of communicating and implementing this plan. You can’t go full mustachian without your spouse on board. And if you make as much as they do it’s OK to ease in a little more gently than he has.

    Reply
  • partgypsy July 17, 2014, 11:27 am

    My view is that although some of the comments may be a bit tongue in cheek, she is not a troll. Maybe you all have been spending too much time on this forum but a lot of her comments (about the car etc) are rationalizations I have heard from other people why they don’t ride bike, drive an SUV, etc. She is actually a very funny writer, and comes off not as stupid. They need to be on the road to retirement together he has obviously not gotten buy in yet. I wouldn’t call myself mustachian but just trying to do better, and hubby and I haven’t been able to make much progress because we disagree in what it is important to spend money on, and he doesn’t like talking about money or long term plans. So it’s hard to have a vision of the future for us both to invest in.

    Reply
  • Mr. Frugal Toque July 17, 2014, 11:27 am

    I have to agree with a number of commenters here: the idea that woman are naturally spendy is false.
    Admittedly, the advertising industry is behind this: it’s in their best interests to convince women that they are natural consumers and that there is a such a thing at “retail therapy” for spending your way out of a mental depression.
    Not that men don’t spend money, we’ve just been socialized to be vulnerable to different tricks.
    For myself, Mrs. Toque was far more frugal than I was. Maybe that’s cultural (I’ll see your sexism and raise you some racism? No, thanks.) and maybe that’s personal, but she was ahead of me on that curve.
    On the other hand, you really don’t need to live in poverty to be Mustachian. You can have nice things. They just have be thoughtfully purchased, notably improve your happiness, and cost way, way less than what you make.

    Reply
    • Heather July 17, 2014, 12:21 pm

      I totally agree with your statement about retail therapy. I really do think it is a marketing strategy to make us think it will solve our emotional problems. The shopper’s high usually is followed by the crashing withdrawal of buyer’s remorse.

      Reply
    • mary w July 20, 2014, 4:13 pm

      I think that in general men and women splurge on different things. Women as a group spend more on clothes, grooming and household decorating items. Men tend to spend more on cars, technology and dates . IME spending on alcohol, tobacco, entertainment, and gambling variety tremendous among people of similar income but doesn’t seem influenced by gender.

      That doesn’t mean that every woman cares about clothing and doesn’t care about cars. It’s just a broad generalization. However, having different splurges can lead to conflict. I’ve had 4 cars in the last 40 years while DH has had 4 in this century which seems totally wasteful to me. However, he didn’t bitch about the cost of my clothing when I worked so I kept/keep my mouth closed.

      Reply
  • jessica July 17, 2014, 11:34 am

    Looks like you need to start A Reddit spinoff MMM/nosleep in the forum. Perhaps As A Community We Can Offer Some therapy.

    Reply
  • Darren July 17, 2014, 11:36 am

    Idea: Sell the Prius, buy a used Yaris, and with all the new money, buy a decent couch and bed (then invest the rest for a down payment on a house). Compromise and your marriage will be much better. Oh, and Mr. Orthodontist should not let his patients sit and wait for him to surf the internet. Put your customers first if you want a successful business. Finally, maybe your husband doesn’t want to be gluing painful contraptions to adolescent mouths for the rest of his life, maybe he wants to retire in 10 years. Talk about your dreams together.

    Reply
  • Frugal Paragon July 17, 2014, 11:44 am

    Why on God’s green earth is she still sitting on a broken inflatable couch? I wonder if she is holding out for something really fancy that her husband won’t go for, as opposed to something nice from a home consignment store or something.

    They do seem mismatched. Husband is not selling the lifestyle–he’s cheap, not Mustachian, to judge by the broken couch. He needs to show her how she can have the things that are MOST important to her and enjoy new things, too, instead of it just feeling like one long deprivation. They’re each dug in in their corners.

    Reply
  • Denise July 17, 2014, 11:47 am

    I am a female ‘stachian. I found MMM by reading Early Retirement Extreme, the book and blog. I’m the financial planner in our family. Even though my husband has never read either blog, nor does he care too, he is largely in agreement with the savings/life style strategies I’ve employed in our lives. I pour over financial planning books and blogs while the furthest my husband ever got was to listen to me summarize “Your Money or Your Life.” I think there’s a lot to be said about finding your comfort level so you don’t feel totally deprived. Some people are okay with beans and rice everyday, some aren’t. There are so many places to cut from in the normal American budget that everyone can find places to cut. You don’t need to do stuff like live with a blow up couch. You can find a great couch for $50 on craigslist that will make you feel like you’re living large instead of coming home to a sad couch you want to stab with a knife. A large part of the plan is to be ingenious. Not just do without, but how can we get what we want without paying the “normal” price. That takes some creativity and that’s more where the fun of it is. The early part of marriage is a huge learning curve regardless. You’ve got to learn where to give or else you’ll end up with the biggest expense of all: divorce.

    Reply
    • Niusha July 20, 2014, 11:26 am

      Denise, your comment made me smile. It’s exactly the same way in our home. I’m the financial planner, I found MMM through Early Retirement Extreme, I read a lot of financial/investment books and blogs while the most my husband does is listen to me summarize, but he is too in agreement-mostly- with financial strategies I come up with.

      Reply
  • Dr Bill July 17, 2014, 11:56 am

    Dear Enraged:
    First, a huge congrats on getting the student loans (for both of you, I assume) paid and over. I conclude you saw the enormous advantages of eliminating them rapidly, that person with a debt has made a claim on future earnings that cannot be guaranteed. Ever. Never, no never.

    One of MMM’s techniques, and I’ve used it with my wife to great effect, is to cost out the expenses of a desired item over 10 years. With cars, it takes a bit of work. You should lay out a few scenarios from brand-new to 8 years old with 50K miles. You’ll spend as much as your student loans. Do you REALLY want to do that? On an asset that loses value over time?

    Most important, alluded to by others, define what financial independence (FI) means to you. MMM defines it in terms of time to spend on more valuable priorities that would otherwise have to take a back seat to work. If those priorities (such as kids) have a limited window of opportunity, then lack of FI often means opportunities lost, not just deferred. TO avoid these self examinations (though to be honest it should be on a nice sofa) is to accept the consequences of current choices and priorities, unexamined though they would be. Has the hub given his five year goal and ten year goal? With kids, these are necessary. Is he getting his butt out of the office to spend time with the kids and you?

    I’ll keep it this short in hopes you’ll read it. Knucklehead needs to reevaluate his as well, because cheapness is as damaging as extravagance. You are a sufferer of the consequences of his unexamined choices as well.

    Reply
  • Jim July 17, 2014, 12:04 pm

    It sounds like the angry reader and her husband make ample money to try a strategy I’ve incorporated. That is to set a very high savings rate, and don’t worry too much beyond that rate of savings. My wife and I have been priveleged to earn far more than average, in a relatively inexpensive part of the country (Cleveland OH) so the way I incorporate the Mustachian ideals is to make sure that 40% of our take home salaries are invested (in Vanguard Index funds of course). We own 3 homes (two rentals) and our stash is growing quite nicely despite having one SUV (and one car) which are not yet paid for. I agree with the reader lady, it’s nice to see over the cars in front of you. If you have a plan, and that plan has you retiring when you want, age 50 for me, then I feel the rest of the spending is discretionary. Some people want to race to retirement, I’m perfectly content walking there.

    Reply
  • SisterX July 17, 2014, 12:09 pm

    Yeah, I’m offended by the idea that this is a blog by, for, and about “manly things”. In my marriage, I’m the one who discovered the site and reads it. My husband is frugal, but I only pass along the posts I think he’ll read, which isn’t all that many. Other than that, it’s useful to us as a base of “how do WE feel about this idea?” It’s been said to death that the husband is approaching this the wrong way, so I won’t add my thoughts on that.
    As for the car, I have a baby and a small dog and a Subaru Something Something Sport. Not the full Outback, but a smaller hatchback. We’ve had NO trouble transporting everything we could possibly need, including the diapers which had been (gasp!) crapped in by other babies first. And that’s without even using the roof rack yet! So, point her our way and I can extoll the virtues of a small car and kids, not to mention used baby items and the complete and utter lack of a need for most strollers. (If you take me up on that offer, send me a message over the forum. The email I list here is my junk email address. The forum one will actually get to me.)

    Reply
  • Emmie O July 17, 2014, 12:10 pm

    Wow.

    I’m a single Mom and live a very frugal life, partly by choice, and partly by necessity. I live near Houston, so bikes are out of the question for the summer months, but I bought a house 2 miles from work and that was one of the smartest decisions that I’ve made in a long time. I’ve been in the house for 5 years and I’m already halfway through my mortgage. I hope to have it paid off in the next couple of years.

    I chose my house for it’s location and for the huge back yard. I am gradually putting in an edible landscape and I am saving tons of money on the grocery bills. I didn’t do it to be cheap, I just love to garden.

    I make my own clothes, and I also do that because I enjoy it. I’ve been inspired by some wonderful refashioning blogs and I now have an obscene amount of clothes, which always receive compliments. I have so many that I constantly recycle them back to the thrift store where I bought them in the first place.

    OK, so that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s confirmation that money and things don’t buy happiness, and attitude is everything. I hope this gal can see that for herself one of these days. As for me, I wouldn’t change a thing, even if I had all the money in the world. Now THAT is freedom!

    Reply
    • Green Girl July 17, 2014, 12:39 pm

      Hi Emmie, I agree with just about everything you wrote. I don’t make my own clothes, but I do buy almost everything from a thrift store and I also get tons of compliments on my clothes. I also bought a condo in a downtown area so that I don’t need a car. I live in Arkansas and I bike and walk several miles ever day, all summer long. I do sweat, but I have tips and tricks to make it work, even for business meetings.

      Reply
    • Green Girl July 17, 2014, 12:40 pm

      Hi Emmie, I agree with just about everything you wrote. I don’t make my own clothes, but I do buy almost everything from a thrift store and I also get tons of compliments on my clothes. I also bought a condo in a downtown area so that I don’t need a car. I live in Arkansas and I bike and walk several miles ever day, all summer long. I do sweat, but I have tips and tricks to make it work, even for business meetings.

      Reply
    • Becky July 18, 2014, 10:51 am

      I just wanted to say that I was really inspired by your comment. I was raised by a single frugal mom, – however instead of the the happy and fulfilled vibe that comes across in your comment, we were constantly reminded that we lived the way we did because “she was single and we were poor”. As a result, I’ve always been incredibly frugal and while I’m grateful for that, I’ve come at it from a place of fear, not a “position of strength”. You are teaching your child(ren) great lessons about attitude! Only now (I’m in my late 30’s) am I finally starting to realize that I may not die a bag-lady on the streets. I, too, wouldn’t change much about my frugal lifestyle – I also have a number of frugal hobbies I truly enjoy. What I would change is the attitude of constant fear and worry that were always (and sometimes still are) behind my frugal habits.

      Reply
      • rob July 19, 2014, 2:02 pm

        funny my wife grew up,very poor and it created the opposite, spend money now before it disappears. Took about 20 years to turn that around and finally now in our 30th year of marriage we finally got it right. only regret was not learning about this sooner

        Reply
    • Sarah July 20, 2014, 5:38 pm

      Not sure if this is too off topic but I would love to hear more about resources for refashioning/sewing your own clothes! I recently bought a second-hand sewing machine and am not really sure where to begin…would you consider starting a thread in the MMM forum?

      Reply
      • Sarah July 21, 2014, 2:35 am

        Hello fellow Sarah! Try checking out the Refashionista (first result on google search). She has refashioned hundreds of thrift store finds and talks a lot about the financial and ethical advantages of refashioning. She’s incredibly tiny, so many of her refasions have to be switched around a little if a medium doesn’t fit you like a tent, but there’s some great inspiration there.

        Reply
  • EL July 17, 2014, 12:22 pm

    If you take it all into account she is complaining because she can’t agree with her husband. It has to be that she wants to keep up with the joneses, and because of debt she can’t. I can’t fathom how a dentist and a nurse practioner can’t buy a mattress or a couch. Umm something is off with this budget. A tahoe to store toys, this is just too funny. I laughed the whole time reading her emails.

    Reply
  • NoraTheGradStudent July 17, 2014, 12:23 pm

    I have to agree with previous comments that this particular email exchange sounds like it might be a troll, but I think it still speaks to the way a lot of the uninitiated can feel about mustachianism. I think there’s room here for a really useful discussion.

    I think it’s a mistake to start your conversations with your partner about mustachianism with what they can’t have, what should be cut back. I think successfully incorporating these ideals into your partnership has to start from a place of “What makes our lives feel rich? What do we do that makes us happy? What keeps us from doing more of that?”

    If you’re already unhappy and you don’t think you have answers to those questions, it’s going to feel pretty upsetting that your partner also wants to deny you your quick fixes. It might be a little different for people with a lot of debt. “What makes my life more fulfilling? Uh, not being under a mountain of debt…” That seems like a fairly common way people arrive at mustachianism.

    If you’re already doing well financially, and you don’t already see some ways in which your life would be richer if you spent less, it can all sound like a pointless exercise in self-denial. And if you’re already not very happy in your life and still believe the story you’ve been fed about how it’s the McMansion, the fancy car, the material status symbols, and the cushy luxuries that are going to allow your future life to be fulfilling, it could be downright scary and depressing to have your partner inform you that you won’t have any of these things. Being denied the picture of the future that you’ve always equated with fulfillment, told that it’s wasteful and a lie, and (at least as far as what’s described in the emails) getting no support in creating a new picture of the future, might make someone cling irrationally to that old picture.

    We all have our own Tahoes. I’m usually a couple steps behind my partner in the mustachian lifestyle. I feel the need to say, not because I am a woman, but because we were raised to think about money differently and because it took me a little longer to stop seeing all my impulse/quickfix/lazy purchases as bottles of coke and start seeing them as Tahoes. It’s a process. I’m still working on letting go of some of the Tahoes. (Damn you Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Froyo!) Others, like the trips to the salon to get fancy highlights, I can’t imagine how I ever justified them to myself.

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