Mr. Money Mustache » Mustache on the Move Early Retirement through Badassity Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:40:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMM Gatherings! San Francisco and Portland Sun, 18 May 2014 14:23:11 +0000 lombard-street-picture

brewThe Mustache family is on the move for the next week or so, visiting the West coast for a variety of festivities. To make more of an adventure of it, we decided to take the California Zephyr train out of Denver and wind our way through the full splendor of the Rockies instead of just flying over top of them as usual. We’ve booked a room in the sleeper car and everything.

So I figured hey, if we’re going to be in these great cities anyway, why not set aside a night or two to get together with some of the many Mustachians who live there? After all, hanging out in real life is really what it’s all about – all this relentless upgrading of our finances is really just to set the stage for spending more time with people you like.

So with the help of a friend who lives there, we figured out a great bayside place to watch the sun go down at the end of this work week:

Friday, May 23rd at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco

Time: 5PM – 8PM+

How to Find Everyone:  Heron’s Head Park is in the southeast section of the City, where Cargo Way dead-ends in Jennings Street. The address is 32 Jennings. We’ll be at the picnic tables on the east side of the Eco Center. The Speakeasy Brewery is right nearby, so depending on weather or thirst, the party may adjourn there at some point.

Biking there: Highly encouraged! There is a tradition of riding bikes to these meetups, and then we proudly take pictures of the respectable Netherlands-style jumble of bikes not normally found in this country.

From points north, take the bike lane on Illinois Street (which parallels Third Street) rather than battling the cars on Third Street. For those biking from the west, take Cesar Chavez to Illinois (and Illinois to Cargo Way), because Cesar Chavez has a bike lane and at some points a separated bikeway. And for those coming from points south, look up Mendell Street as an alternative to Third Street. There is also the Bay Trail/5 bike route from SoMa, or the 60/68 bike route from the Mission

Bus Access: Take the 19 Polk to Evans Ave. and Jennings St., or the 44 O’Shaughnessy to Middlepoint Ave before Evans Ave. Then walk one block down Jennings St. to the EcoCenter’s parking lot. Or you can take the T line to 3rd & Evans Ave and walk east on Evans to Jennings St. Take a left and walk one block down to the EcoCenter’s parking lot.

Car Drivers: There is also plenty of parking in the region.

Special Request: A couple of female readers from the area wrote me to request that lots of eligible attractive single men come out. Given the readership of this blog, it seems probable.

Last Minute Announcements: You can stay apprised of these by keeping an eye on my Twitter feed that day.

After that, the MMM family is taking off for a few nights of hiking and touring in the Redwood forests further North. Then the wife and son fly back home, and I move on to Portland for this:

The Three Blog Night:

Thursday, May 29th at Sellwood Park in Portland

5PM – 8PM


We’ve booked Picnic Sites B, C, and D

This should be an extra fun shindig because I was able to entice two Portland friends to invite their own crews as well:  Tyler Tervooren the Advanced Riskology guy, and J. D. Roth, the Get Rich Slowly founder.

Rather than re-creating all the details here, I can just share this handy invitation that JD has crafted just for the event. He also thought up the name and did all the site booking and thus deserves all credit for this party:

Three Blog Night on

And the same suggestion for this night applies: last minute announcements (or if you need to get in touch with me) – see Twitter.

These should be a fun couple of evenings. There is no formal structure* – no speeches, no catering, bring along some food for the grills if you like and BYOB.  Just informal meet-and-greets to celebrate my favorite time of year and joy of people meeting each other. At past events, I have seen friendships, relationships, mountain bike rides, and small business ventures form, so bring your business cards along if you like!

From there, I get to finish my trip by carpooling to Seattle for Camp Mustache, and then heading home. If all this excitement has not destroyed me, there will also be a third, final, and yet-to-be announced meetup right here in Longmont, Colorado sometime after I return in early June.

What do you think? Will I see you there?



Trains are fun. We only got the one-way ticket this time, but you can plan longer adventure vacations using the Amtrak rail passes available here:

Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco was described as one of one of SFGate’s favorite hidden parks.

*And just so you are not disappointed, I do not currently have the Giant Mustache from the publicity picture. I’ll be attending in my “mild-mannered engineer who occasionally types some shit into the computer” disguise.



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Maximum Mustache March – Update Sat, 24 Mar 2012 12:00:40 +0000

Hiking the Dunes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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Mustache on the Move: Heading to Lake Tahoe Fri, 03 Feb 2012 13:01:47 +0000

The Cap'm

Once every year, a magical time comes where a bunch of grown men get to act like teenagers again for a week. It’s called the Safety Pirates Snowboarding trip, and it involves a binge of out-of-bounds powder seeking, groomer speed competitions, moderate substance abuse, and late nights on the town or in the resort hot-tubs. The trip hits a new mountain location each year, and this year the unlucky town is Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

We know we’re too old for this, but we are compelled by the persuasive abilities of the Captain of the Safety Pirates, a bossy and slightly insane Chicago resident pictured above. You wouldn’t dare to say no to him, would you?

Then we all go back to our real lives and continue to raise our children, or tend to our businesses, or design video games, whatever the case might be.

So I’ll be leaving this Sunday. I imagine this will have unpredictable results on the blogging schedule, since I imagine the pirates will have a busy schedule. Plus, the only computing device I’ll have with me will be my tiny iPhone.

On the other hand, I’m sure there will be many things that need reporting. And I’m using part of this trip as a chance to research a city I’ve never been to: Reno, Nevada.

Reno contains the airport that serves Lake Tahoe, and it is an interesting place right now. One of the sunniest cities in the United states, it is surrounded by mountains and located at about 4500 feet above sea level and at 40 degrees latitude, which gives it an excellent climate for lovers of the outdoors (similar to but slightly warmer than Denver). Legalized gambling, tourism, and its location right next to one of the closest good ski areas near San Francisco has pumped money into this town, and led to a property boom in the mid-2000s. This boom collapsed at the end of the decade, cutting house prices in half in both Reno and its bigger neighbor seven hours to the South, Las Vegas.

So I’m going to take a look at the rental property market while I’m there, just for future investment writing.

If YOU happen to live in Reno or North Lake Tahoe and might be interested in meeting up for a chitchat or a beer – or even if you’re a real estate agent willing to show me around briefly, get in touch through the contact button above!  I’ll be alone checking out Reno this Sunday afternoon from about 1-5, and in the Incline Village (North Lake Tahoe) for the rest of the week.

I also have two guest postings lined up to share with you next week. No, not little simplistic promotional guest postings, but real and thoughtful ones from powerful members of the Extended Mustachian Community who also have their own blogs. Stay tuned, they will be fun.

have a great week!

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Mustache Family on the Move Next Week Fri, 16 Dec 2011 13:00:20 +0000 Hooray, it’s time for another one of our roadtrips. The schools will be throwing out all the kids for the  holidays, so we figured we’d take our own son out for another real-world geography lesson for the next ten days or so.

We’ll be leaving on Saturday and driving South to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a couple of days, then moving further Southwest to the Phoenix, Arizona area for some hiking, exploring, warm weather, and other neat things that the city has to offer. Not to mention swimming and hottubbing and luxury-resort-hotel-squatting.

You see, various Travelocity credit card rewards points and discounts happened to align perfectly directly under the watchful eye of Mrs. Money Mustache, so we ended up booking a week in this very opulent resort in Scottsdale for virtually no cash out of the pocket. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse, since all of us love visiting the warm deserts in the winter anyway. To complement the frugal nature of this little vacation, we’ll probably take the little car instead of the van, saving a good chunk of fuel over the 1800 mile round trip.

If you happen to live in the Santa Fe or Phoenix/Scottsdale areas and might want to get together, drop me some words! It would be fun to meet some locals and get the inside scoop on these nice cities. We could arrange a bike ride, or a hike, or a feast or beer drinking event depending on your style.

Blog activity will of course be unpredictable during this time. But there are a few ideas moving along for stories that need to be written up:

  • We’re getting really close to completing the “foreclosure project” renovation, and there were lots of neat experiences that need to be described there. Fixing up a very old house is always a real can of worms – a mixture of neat opportunities and annoying inconveniences. But right now it is time to whip up a nice marketing page about the property to be posted on Craigslist for rental, since we hope to find a tenant sometime in January.
  • I just finished reading a book on investing called, “The Intelligent Asset Allocator” by William Bernstein. I also have a newer book he wrote called, “The Four Pillars of Investing” which I’ll bring to read on the trip. Why all the stock market books? Because I might be selling my current overly-pricey rental house within the next year or so, and splitting the proceeds between smaller rental houses or some sort of multi-unit, combined with putting much more back into stocks and other financial instruments – with an eye towards things like dividend income and stable performance rather than just capital gains. I want as much knowledge on these options as possible before taking the plunge. (Hey Dividend Mantra – if you are reading this would you be interested in writing a guest posting for us on the fundamentals of dividend investing?)
  • Also on the book tip, I’m writing up a “Reading List” page for this blog where we can start keeping track of good books.  It will start with just the books I’ve read recently that seemed worthwhile including the ones already reviewed, plus the books that readers have recommended strongly to me which I plan to read in the near future. Then we can expand it from there. The main idea is to have an easy link at the top of the website that should allow the newer readers to catch up on everything we’ve been learning for the last year.

That’s it for now – have a great weekend!


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Mustache Really on the Move: Heading to Canada for the Summer Sat, 25 Jun 2011 14:20:42 +0000 Dear Mustachians,

Thank you so much for all the fun and motivation you’ve provided for both me and your fellow readers so far. We have a lot more adventures in Wealth to experience together.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m leaving today for the big annual trip to Canada (the Great lakes region of it specifically, including Hamilton and Ottawa). We’ve been going every year since retirement began, usually for 4-6 weeks in total. Families and friends mix and grandparents and grandchildren play. So at the very moment any up-to-date readers are reading this, I am probably zooming Eastwards on Interstate 80, crossing Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and then Ontario. Cool, Eh?

Each year I like to throw in a major construction project for a family member or friend to keep myself entertained on such a long trip. I call it “Carpentourism”. So I bring up a carload of specialized tools to supplement whatever I can borrow once I get there. This year’s project is a fantastic little lakeside cottage that the inlaws had built up to the rough-in stage over the winter. I get to do the entire interior finish job including a kitchen, bathroom, and all sorts of fancy woodwork and doors, as well as all the various fixtures. Some of the work will be done alongside a nephew who just grew up to reach Little Man status this year, and even my brother (who, as a bit of trivia for you, happens to be the Canadian Indie Rock Star Wax Mannequin).

All of this travel will surely provide plenty of new fodder for the MMM cannon during the trip. But of course, the posting schedule will become somewhat more random. This cottage will take many hours of work, and there is also beer to be drunk, and the uneasy freedom of No Constant Iphone Internet Access that comes with being in a foreign country.

So, keep visiting and writing in, read some of the old classic articles if you find there are no new ones on a given day, and have a great summer!

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Mustache on the Move: Am I really the Most Badass Person in my Whole Town? Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:25:56 +0000 So the other Sunday I went out for some errands on the bike as usual. I had to hit the Big Box stores at the Eastern edge of town – Staples for an office necessity and Lowe’s for a specialized light bulb.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny with dappled clouds. Temperatures in the mid 70s. Very light winds. Fresh tree and flower smells in the air.

The bigbox store development I usually visit is right along the bike path that runs through the center of town – that’s why I use these particular stores. The path runs along a winding crystal clear glacier-fed stream which comes out of the mountains. It babbles and plays over a base of smooth round river rocks and sand, with the occasional little waterfall or stretch of rapids. As you whiz under the canopy of leaves formed by the tall creekside trees, if you’re going West, you can look up at any point and see the Rocky Mountains towering above you. Their tops are still covered with deep snow and ice, which is melting in the hot sun to provide you with all of this nice water.

So it’s a pretty darned nice path to bike along, and by riding on this path and the rest of the network of connected paths, you can get to most of the useful parts of my town, barely even needing to resort to the wide, quiet, bike-lane-equipped streets.

And yet when I got to the big box stores, I found the parking lot stocked with about 100 mostly-expensive cars.. but not a single bike in the virgin gloss-black bike rack system in the premium storefront bike parking area.

I racked my mind to figure out why this could be.

“Is it a workday? Maybe these people are all commuters from other towns, just stepping out for lunch? Nope.. it’s Sunday.

Is it the weather? Nope, fucking gorgeous out here today.

The hard-to-reach location? Nope, there’s the bike path right there. Maybe people in my town can’t afford bikes? Nope, these are all expensive cars, and in fact even cheap cars cost more than bikes.

Is this a special store only for people with special mobility needs? Nope, the people appear to be walking between the cars and the stores (and even that is surely only because the stores don’t yet allow you to drive right in and select items from the comfort of your driver’s seat).

After considering all the alternatives, the only rational explanation I could come up with, for the fact that I biked to the store while everyone else drove, even in the most perfect imaginable bicycling conditions, is this: Mr. Money Mustache must be the Single Most Badass person in Longmont, Colorado.

I know, I know.. it sounded surprising to me as well, but what other explanation can you offer? And more significantly, do you have what it takes to be the Baddest in YOUR town?

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Mustache on the Move: The Evil Mister Money Mon, 16 May 2011 04:02:05 +0000 Aha! I see there is an imitator trying to cash in on Mr. Money Mustache’s fame.

When biking home from the library today, I passed through the border where the nice Big Trees and Historic Buildings and Cafes part of town degrades to the regular free-for-all capitalism-and-urban-sprawl section which characterizes most of the country.

And there it was, springing up in a building that had sat abandoned for a year or two. Something called Mister Money. Or, Mister M$ney, I suppose, depending on how you are supposed to read that O.

Mister Money is yet another one of those predatory “Financial services for the Severely Mentally Impaired” chains, where you go in and ask for a $100 advance on your next paycheck, and they provide it for a $15 fee. If you work it out with compounding, that’s only a 3,685% annual interest rate for such a loan!

Of course, all MMM readers will be amazed at the concept of anyone with a job not even being able to make it through two weeks to their next paycheck. Because really, didn’t you know how much you were earning BEFORE you went out and bought too much shit? But the concept of entire national chains of stores to service this need, dozens of these chains, each putting up dozens of locations in every crappy little town in the country. THAT is the kind of amazement that just leaves me with a blank, drooling face.

But I have more for you. Check out these choice words from their website:

“Payday loans are a quick easy way to get that emergency cash.  Americans do a pretty good job of managing their money, although most of us need occasional help for those unexpected times.”

Uh-huh. They sure are “expecting” a lot of “unexpected times” with that many locations nationwide. I wonder if the writer was able to keep a straight face while typing out that little gem.

On the bright side, the commercial property adjacent to this one is still vacant. I’m thinking of opening up my first Mr. Money Mustache franchise right there, and having my sign list the same services. Except when you come in and actually ask for a loan, I PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE AND TELL YOU TO WISE THE FUCK UP AND GO SELL SOME OF YOUR SHIT INSTEAD OF BORROWING MORE MONEY!

That would take care of the educational aspect of my business. I would also do community improvement, which would consist of welding shut the doors of Mister Money, to further protect people from accidentally screwing themselves over with predatory loans.

As my business grows, I can expand into the areas of Auto Finance and Credit Cards as well. Would you come work for me?

Amusing Update: After I wrote this article, it was apparently translated into British and appeared on a blog called “Simple Living in Suffolk”. I found out when the author linked to this article from his own! You can read the results here.

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Mustache on the Move: Gas Prices Still Way Too Low Thu, 28 Apr 2011 22:12:56 +0000 Mustache on the Move! A catchy new feature where I capture breaking frugality news in and around the Boulder/Longmont, Colorado area and report back to you. And these reports will always come with an eye-opening image from my handy telephone camera.

I love reading about gas prices, because here in the US, people get very excited about how incredibly crushing they are these days, despite being among the cheapest in the world. (the US national average gas price is about $3.79/gallon today, equivalent to about $1.00 US or $0.96 Canadian/litre for comparison). At this level, even the President talks about it regularly, hard-working families moan and groan, and people even buy, on average, slightly less gas guzzling cars.

But look at this guy driving in Longmont today. He’s getting about 12 MPG driving around in the city in this Ford F-250 pickup truck.

His truck has been enhanced by poking the exhaust pipes out through the cargo bed. That way, the driver can pretend he’s driving a REAL TRANSPORT TRUCK! But with no trailer. Because transport trucks are cool. I wish my bike could look like a transport truck! It also makes it LOUDER! Yeah!

Adding the mufflers to the cargo bed definitely cuts down your cargo capacity, but that’s OK, because this guy is only carrying two little pieces of plastic gutter flashing in there anyway. And they are hanging out the back, because this F-250 wisely uses the “short bed” design which sacrifices cargo space for passenger space. Because a 12 MPG truck is ideal for carrying passengers around. Heck, he could even use it for commuting! But oddly enough, there was only one guy in it when I took this picture.

The final enhancement is that this Longmontian has paid to have the suspension RAISED even higher than normal and added absolutely huge tires with REALLY TALL treads on them. Shiny black wheels too. All of this increases the aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance even further than the stock design. But he won’t even notice because the truck has over 300 horsepower – plenty to keep even this modified F-250 going at over 80 MPH on the Interstate! At that speed, it gets only 10 MPG. Meaning it burns 8 gallons of fuel every hour, coincidentally about the amount the Mustache family uses every month.

When I see things like this, (which I actually see pretty much every day), I believe that gasoline is still way, way, way too cheap.

But you can still save a ton of money by burning less of it yourself. I’ve got two more car-related posts coming up soon on exactly how to do that, so stay tuned!

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