Necessity Is The Mother of Badassity

woodBy this point in our conversation, it should be pretty obvious that Badassity is a trait to be treasured and cultivated. Although it is only a fabricated word, the underlying meaning of bold determination and persistence in the face of difficulty is one of the most real and useful tools in the mixed bag of attributes they hand you when you sign up to be a Human being.

Living your life with a properly Badass attitude makes all the difference in the world when it comes to achieving anything worthwhile, or attaining any sort of satisfaction. Without this philosophy, you are stuck perpetually chasing temporary comforts and luxuries and never feeling quite satisfied because there is always more to chase. Your money is drained and yet your heart is never filled. With it, you can properly say “Fuck It” to all of those fiddly details and start getting something done at last.

But our society and its marketing engine work ceaselessly to program this toughness out of us, and offer us pampering instead. You need it. You deserve it. Here, lie down on this table and let us give you a massage and soda. Or maybe you’d prefer a massage table and a soda dispenser built right into your automobile?

You can see the results of this all around you in the types of lives it produces, and you don’t want those results. But perhaps you still find your own badassity to be lacking in some ways. How can you get more of the good stuff?

The answer is sitting right next to you right now. In fact, it’s packed around you as part of the very air you breathe. Because just like Oxygen, junk, household budgets, or any other free-flowing substance, Badassity Expands Automatically to Fill Any Space Made Available to It.

How is it that some people find that life becomes strained to the limit after their first child is born, but then manage to go on to produce and raise several other children simultaneously?

How do some runners that can barely jog out a few blocks go on to finish a marathon less than a year later?

How do some people go from married, affluent lives of comfort, through divorce and perhaps career loss, then rebuild everything from scratch better and simpler than before?

It’s all through the simple fact that these people were faced with a feeling of necessity.

Some of us are self-motivated enough to create this drive out of thin air, but most people need do be dropped into a cold pool of urgency before they respond. Either way, the necessity forced them into action, whether they were ready for it or not. Then they pushed and this action made them tougher, which made the next bit of action all the more effective, and so on. Before they knew it, each had become a badass in his or her individual way, and the benefits began to flow.

Let’s use a recent story to illustrate this principle at work in my own life:

The MMM family showed up here in Canada for our usual summer vacation just a week ago. In keeping with the tradition I call “Carpentourism”, I scheduled some work to allow myself to stay active and help out a few friends and family members at the same time. The big one this year is a replacement of the shingles on my Mom’s 150-year-old house in downtown Hamilton, and a new kitchen inside that same house. Both things have been crying for a rebuild for at least a decade.

Since it is my summer vacation, I figured I would be Mr. Executive Carpenter and make things easy on myself. We arranged for the invincible local rocker (and handyman) known as The Kettle Black to do most of the re-roofing work with the help of my brother and just a bit of guidance from me. Shingles would be delivered to the rooftop right on cue. Meanwhile, the cabinets would be ordered from Ikea well in advance, fully assembled by my equally hard-working mother (who is celebrating her 70th birthday in two weeks), and I would concentrate simply on rebuilding the kitchen, reworking a few electrical and plumbing fixtures and popping in the new cabinets. Piece of cake.

Of course, as with most construction projects in foreign territory, it didn’t go down quite so smoothly.

I secured my brother-in-law’s old VW Golf Diesel and filled it with tools for the 500 km trip from Ottawa to Hamilton. I found that the car had a barely-functional rear hatch, a cassette deck radio, noisy snow tires and broken air conditioning. So instead of my usual roadtrip style of riding in abundant comfort with a custom-crafted MP3 playlist, I had the opportunity to adapt to the vehicle’s 37C (100F) interior temperature and rely on my own singing and Kazoo playing for entertainment. Miraculously, I still arrived at the same destination, and in great spirits and with the benefit of improved heat tolerance. And I was going to need plenty of tolerance. Badassity Through Hardship: Score #1.

That cabinet pre-order never happened, as my Mom’s best efforts were thwarted by the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of IKEA’s kitchen department. We also had to start from scratch on the roofing  – the color and style had been chosen from Lowe’s, but no materials were on site or in stock and the friendly but incompetent staff had no interest in getting them there in a timely manner. It was Wednesday morning and we were ready to rip off the roof, so a delivery the following Thursday would be of no use for us.

The Kettle and I left the Lowe’s parking lot in disdain but immediately noticed a smaller professional roofing shop right across the street. Within minutes of stepping in, the knowledgeable owner had our order completed and scheduled for a next-day rooftop delivery, at $300 less than we would have paid at the big box store. Now we had the roofing materials we needed, and an improved knowledge of how to do roofs in Ontario next time. Badassity Score #2.

So we hit the roof just a few hours later than planned and began to strip the crumbly old shingles, heaving them down into the dumpster. There was only a single layer of them and we were speedy and feeling efficient again. Until the following horrific scene confronted us:

Ho. Lee. Sheeyit.

Ho. Lee. Sheeyit.

So in other words, when this house was last reshingled sometime in the early 1990s, the previous guy who was obviously completely off his rocker, saw this same expanse of shitty 150-year-old wood and decided “yeah, that looks pretty good. let’s install some shingles.”

So the hardship had returned. We now needed 1400 square feet of 1/2″ OSB to build ourselves a proper roof deck atop this aging expanse of barnyard scrap. That’s 45 sheets, or about 2300 pounds worth, which is not going to fit onto the tiny roof rack of the Volkswagen Golf. And the clock was ticking as this area has a very temperamental climate with frequent torrential summer rainfalls.

I made some telephone inquiries around Hamilton to see if anyone could get it delivered by the next day. No dice. My distant second choice was to make the 10km trip up to Ancaster Home Depot and carry the sheets home in an HD rental pickup truck, so I headed up there at 7PM to avoid traffic. Only to find out that they wouldn’t rent the truck to me since I only carry a Colorado drivers license.

So my mother and I returned the next morning at 7am to catch the store opening and rent the truck in her name. Someone else beat us to it and rented the truck minutes before we arrived, but we were able to secure their van instead. Massive paperwork and delay ensued, but I rallied a forklift and some staff to help fill the van more quickly. I broke the rules and did the driving myself, since my mother had no interest in piloting the 7000 pound behemoth through the downtown streets and backing it into her steep narrow driveway. She did however help me unload the full metric tonne of wood sheets, the Kettle arrived at that moment and we were back on track. After just 6 hours of lifting cutting and nailing in the blazing July sun, our rooftop looked like this:

Badassity Score #3: This new OSB roof will permanently improve many aspects of the home’s performance. And the Kettle and I got an incredible day of weightlifting and more practice in production framing techniques as a side benefit.

At this point, we were finally able to get to work on the actual roofing job. Since we both have the same general attitude towards summer construction work (you get up at 6am, eat something, then work as hard as you can until just after it gets dark at 9:30 with occasional pauses only to drink gallons of water and barbecue a few pork chops), this part went quite smoothly.

We finished the thing just in time, at the very end of the fourth evening. The lines were straight and the ridge caps gleamed tidily in the sunset light. I woke up this morning to a heavy rainfall on the properly flashed skylight over my bed, and knew we had been wise to take on this job.

Experiencing hardship and the rewards that come from overcoming it are quite simply what makes life worth living. As an almost-40-year-old with some dough in the bank, I should be seated comfortably in a Lexus and cruising around between the golf courses and restaurants and starting to pile on the pounds and disabilities each year. Instead, I feel better than ever, and the extreme nature of this project coming right at the end of 8 months of construction on my own house has whipped me into the best shape of my life. (Badassity Score #4!)

But I still have much to learn by gaining inspiration from those more badass than me. The Kettle Black just turned 50, and while I went straight to bed after work each day, he went out to the live music venues or worked on his own gigs through the night. 10 years older than me, he looks like this:

A Canadian Badass at the half-century mark

KB: A Canadian Badass at the half century mark

This week’s lesson? Plunge in over your head and do something you’re not quite ready for. With the right attitude, you can only come out ahead.


  • Naomi July 7, 2014, 5:45 am

    Re: footnote 1.
    The amazing and incomprehensible thing is that how you’d like Ikea to handle the online-to-store connection is exactly how they do it here in the Netherlands.
    We can check the supply of all the cartons online and reserve them directly on the website then choose whether we want to have them delivered or would rather come pick them up.

    I’m amazed how different your experience has been.

    Having said that, kudos for your perseverance. Real life examples of badassity make it so much easier to relate to it, and try it on for size.
    For me, I’m nowhere near your level but posts like these make me inspired to take on more things myself.

    • LennStar July 7, 2014, 6:28 am

      Thats not only for IKEA. The ALDI brothers have divided germany in Aldi North and Aldi South. Both share the same principles, but the experience is quite a different.

    • BD July 7, 2014, 6:55 am

      Just wanted to chime in with the same about IKEA: as a german living right at the dutch border, I usually go there, since it’s the closest IKEA. Just last weekend I selected me a new boekenkast (bookshelf) and could see, yes, 6 of them are in stock.

      • Rob in Munich July 9, 2014, 1:52 pm

        About 10 years ago I put in an ikea kitchen in our appartment in Frankfurt and what a nightmare it was, 60 identical flat pack boxes with no way to distingous one from a other. Plus they missed a huge panel which I had to get and barely fit in my car. Not only that I had to order the counter top and being a U shape it took several trips to get it cut right

        Long story short I could have, with a bit of effort, had a nice kitchen installed for about the same money.

        Never again.

        As an aside I’ve watched several friends struggle with cronic illness and those who were active before will push through and active (relatively speaking that is) come hell or high water. On the other hand couch patatoes tend to be totally house bound. To be fair it’s not easy being active when your sick.

  • The Stoic July 7, 2014, 5:52 am

    So what you’re saying is this was a typical remodel job right? ;-)

    I would have cried had I seen the wood under the shingles. Things never go as planned, but I don’t think you ever plan to see that kind of thing. I think your perspective is what sets you a part. Delays, surprises, etc. are common place on these kinds of projects, but I think people sometimes let it get them all bent out of shape for nothing.

    Enjoy the summer MMM!

    The Stoic

    • Keith Schroeder July 8, 2014, 5:18 am

      Stoic, I’ve owned my fair share of rentals over the years and I always bought older, fixer-uppers. You’d be surprised what you find under shingles. I had a flash back (several, in fact) when I saw MMM’s roof. All you can do is roll up the sleeves and get it done. It’s not really that bad. If things always went smooth life would be damn boring.

  • debt debs July 7, 2014, 6:04 am

    Good on you, MMM! I’m loving’ that badassity ‘tude. I guess if you can anticipate the worst, then everything else is sunshine and lollipops! Did the kitchen ever get done, or just the roof? Mind you that’s enough. Great customer service from your local lumber store.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 3:12 pm

      Now working on the kitchen and all is going well.. actually I’m taking a food break right now, but should close this computer and get back to work.

      • laura July 9, 2014, 10:13 am

        ikea cabinets are an easy choice. but what are you doing for countertops? ikea laminate or wood? or something more high-end? some of us less skilled DYIers would like to know.

        how do I pass a DYI kitchen remodel as a high-end professional work when I eventually sell my house?

        • Mike July 11, 2014, 12:07 pm

          I got my kitchen cabinets from CabinetGiant. They were self-assembly cabinets, good website, etc. Laminate countertops are the way to go for DIY; you can get some great finishes for a fraction of the price of granite. Spruce them up with a nice tile backsplash and you can have a professional looking kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

  • Alex July 7, 2014, 6:05 am


    Reminds me of the time when I was in college and messed up the transmission in my jeep! Didn’t have the cash to take it to a mechanic but I did have the willingness to learn how to fix it. With the help of my uncle, a few friends, and some family involved we got it done in the weekend!

    Did it go as planned? Hell no!

    The input shaft on the transmission was majorly jacked up had a rivet where the throwout bearing rides on causing the problems. Shit, well I might need a new transmission I thought. Nope! Take it to the local machine shop give them $20 bucks to throw it on the lathe and make it like new!

  • FI Pilgrim July 7, 2014, 6:13 am

    Ha, this sounds like every home improvement job I’ve ever undertaken, but it hasn’t stopped be from taking them on either! There’s a supreme satisfaction in knowing that “obstacles were encountered, and I handled them.”

  • jnkowens July 7, 2014, 6:18 am

    Great article. One thing I’ve come to appreciate in the last few years is the value of professionalism and expertise that often comes with buying products and services from local small businesses. People mistakenly assume this approach will cost them more, but in fact it can be cheaper up front, and save even more $$$ down the road as a result of quality products and advice from the proprietors.

    • Janeen July 9, 2014, 10:43 am

      I’ve found this to be true with my local farm and home store. I don’t know how many times I’ve shown up to buy some gadget or expensive cleaning product and a live, grown-up human being gave me less costly alternatives that actually cost them a sale. A similar store did some minor welding on my rickety garden hoe once (for free) which cost them a sale of a new hoe. It’s about building loyalty.

  • Catina July 7, 2014, 6:20 am

    You really have the best attitude and your mom sounds amazing. Thank you for helping others learn to live simple and satisfied…you give me something to shoot for! DIY is definitely on my radar thanks to you. I am quickly horrified when I think of all the times I took the easy route of paying someone to do things for me rather than building my skills.

  • John M July 7, 2014, 6:24 am

    Why did you not chose metal roofing for this project?

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 10:01 am

      That is a good question given the earlier article on metal roofing!

      It was just because of the constraints on this project: cost, time, and knowing where to get supplies. It takes weeks to order a metal roof system since they are custom-manufactured, while shingles are everywhere. But we did use the highest grade, so the lifetime may even exceed the time this house is in our family.

      • emily July 7, 2014, 3:36 pm

        I hope you will consider posting before and after photos of all the projects!

      • Kyle July 7, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Well that depends on the type of metal roof; almost every home improvement place has regular old corrugated steel roofing along with the space-aged polycarbonate stuff.

      • Berniestache July 8, 2014, 11:50 am

        I found out when replacing my shingles three years ago that some insurance companies offer large discounts (30 to 40%) if you use class 4 shingles (Hail resistant). It cost me an extra $1,500 for a 2,800 sft single story home and paid back in 2 and a half years. You have shop around a bit on the insurance and provide a class 4 certificate as proof. This may not work in all areas but in hail prone north Texas is was pretty seamless.

  • Fredrik von Oberhausen July 7, 2014, 6:35 am

    When I have been roofing my summerhouse, car port etc. I have always removed and changed the wood that looked bad for new ones before roofing. With your mothers house it looks as if you would have been forced to remove all which would have been a serious amount of work with only a small weight gain but with a loss of insulation.

    So did you put the OSB directly on top of the old wood or did you remove that first?

    • Berniebee July 7, 2014, 9:19 am

      I’ll butt in here until MMM answers. Typically when dealing with rotted roof sheathing, you would remove it and replace with new. With gruesome looking roof planks like that, I would want to look carefully at the rafters and ridge board. If everything is rot free, then you could nail on the OSB directly over the old planks, making sure you that you nail into the rafters, of course. Old houses with plank sheathing dont necessarily have rafters on 16″ centers, so you need to mark their locations carefully before nailing. The additional weight of the second layer of sheathing would not normally be an issue, but ask a building engineer if the rafters are odd sized or spaced.
      Not sure what you mean by the “loss of insulation” . A roof’s sheathing does not contribute to the insulation in any way.

      • nm_dude July 7, 2014, 4:45 pm

        I’ll bet the open spaces permitted a lot of “drafting”, though.

  • Eldred July 7, 2014, 6:41 am

    I’m VERY impressed at the way you were able to look at your challenges(greater heat tolerance, a day of weightlifting, framing practice). Most people would have given up and called in a pro to fix the problems you ran into. I don’t know what *I* would have done, as I wouldn’t have enough cash to pay for it, and I refuse to do credit cards…
    Hell, I’m still trying to figure out how to connect a new circuit I ran in my basement to my breaker box. My electrician friend hasn’t had time to work on it…

    • PeachFuzzStacher July 15, 2014, 10:26 am

      Although impressive, I’m sure it’s much easier to have an attitude of “We’ll get it done, no matter how long it takes…” when you don’t have any other time obligations to return to, like school or work.

      I had a small taste of the retired diyer last week while taking a vacation to volunteer in a home repair ministry. The fact that I had full days to just work on the project on hand made everything easier, including the learning curve. Trying to fit projects like this on weekends could be disastrous, especially without experience.

  • David C July 7, 2014, 6:55 am

    You guys are a major source of inspiration. I strive everyday to increase my badassity quotient.

    • PtboJES July 7, 2014, 7:13 am

      +1. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Mr. 1500 July 7, 2014, 7:09 am

    This part about your mother helping you unload the 4x8s is the best line from this post:

    “She did however help me unload the full metric tonne of wood sheets, ”

    Only thing my mother (also about 70) is lifting is a bag of chips and the TV remote.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods July 7, 2014, 7:18 am

    Great job on the roof! Self-reliance is such a critical and often undervalued resource. The ability to teach oneself how to take on new projects and the confidence that you can figure it out is, I think, I cornerstone of frugal, self-directed living. I love “badassity through hardship”–will repeat that mantra with our next project, or, just in the course of living. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!

  • Zathras July 7, 2014, 7:21 am

    Great article MMM, and I agree with most of it! But as a retail worker myself until I finish my degree, I bristled a little at your description of your experience at Lowe’s.

    I don’t work for Lowe’s, or even in the same industry, but I deal with a lot of people who come into our store, demand a specific brand & size product that they saw on our website two months ago, and freak out when I tell them we don’t have it in stock because they are getting on a plane TOMORROW and leaving the country forever and they NEED this specific item TODAY. I do what I can to give them options (overnight shipping, recommendations for similar products, putting it on hold for them in one of our other in-state stores) but am frequently berated for my troubles because somehow it’s my fault that I can’t make the exact product they want appear out of thin air RIGHT NOW, because they didn’t anticipate they would need it until they were right up against a deadline.

    I got a little bit of that vibe from you in that part of your story (sorry if I am misreading the situation). I’m guessing you were more polite and reasonable than many of the customers I’m thinking of. But the fact is that it’s really not the fault of the staff at Lowe’s that you didn’t plan ahead and secure the supplies you needed ahead of time, so they would be on hand the day you were ready to rip off the old roof. To imply otherwise is a little bit ComplainyPants.

    I will say this – you are right, the advantage of a local place that they do tend to have more knowledgeable staff, and the product is likely also stored locally, so they can often turn around an order faster than a big box place where the warehouse might be located thousands of miles away. The flip side is that the little local places often don’t have websites where you can browse products from the comfort of home – you actually have to call or go in person and see what they have.

    The last point I want to make is, if you want knowledgeable employees, you generally need to shop somewhere that pays its employees enough to be knowledgeable. Sometimes this means paying more for the product, although in your case it sounds like you actually got a great deal going with the local guy.

    • Eric July 7, 2014, 11:47 am

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect stores to have the things they put on their websites in stock. I think its a bit of a dirty trick when they post stuff they don’t actually have distributed to their stores on their sites. If I didn’t need it immediately, I would just order it online from some other store.

      • Zathras July 7, 2014, 1:35 pm

        That’s actually a pretty unreasonable expectation for a store with more than a handful 0f locations! Most big-box store websites (including Lowe’s) will show you whether the item you are looking at is available in your local store.

        Anyway, my point (which I realize I kind of danced around) was that the “hardship” caused by the lack of the desired shingles at Lowe’s was not inflicted on MMM by the probably minimum-wage employees he dealt with, which the post seemed to imply – it was a result of his own failure to plan ahead. Even if he knew the local Lowe’s carried those shingles, what if someone bought all of them 20 minutes before he arrived?

        Like I said, I agree with most of the post, this just jumped out at me, since I am regularly screamed at by people who aren’t Badass enough to go find another solution like MMM did.

        • tom July 7, 2014, 2:06 pm

          In fact, Lowe’s website will even tell you what your closest three stores have in stock. I quite enjoy the service on their website. I’ve done the site to store thing with items I knew they had in stock simply because I know if I tried to walk in and find 1 specific cabinet knob out of 50 they carry, it would take me forever, and I’d probably need to get an employee to get more of them from the back anyway when I need 12 and there’s only 10 in the bin…

  • Kelsey July 7, 2014, 8:10 am

    “Necessity is The Mother of Badassity” So true! If I had not willingly chosen to have my take home earnings cut in half (for sanity and commute-eliminating reasons), I would’t have started my journey toward frugality and DIY. I remember a quote that my friend had on her bedroom wall in high school: “Think! There must be a harder way to do it.” The badass way is always the more satisfying and confidence-boosting way. Thank you for the continued inspiration!

  • insourcelife July 7, 2014, 8:15 am

    Badassity Through Hardship is without a question the best education one can get. Unfortunately, our lives are so cushy that all you hear is bitching and moaning at the very first glimpse of hardship. We even have a name for it – “First World Problems”. But even if you are incredibly spoiled (as most are) you can still MANUFACTURE hardship to create motivation and make things better for yourself.

    I’m a big fan of creating scarcity where there is none to get things moving in the right direction. Have a comfortable mortgage payment for 30 years? Lets pay it off in under 10. Still some money left over after paying the bills? Invest it all in the market. Suddenly, there is no money left over for new car payments, remodeling a perfectly functional kitchen, shopping at the mall, hiring out the yard work, housecleaning, car repairs…. We can NOT afford it! Truth is, we CAN afford ALL of it, but that would deprive us of all the fun that self-reliance and DIY bring into our lives. Oh, and making paid work optional decades before everyone else is another nice benefit of Badassity Through (Manufactured) Hardship.

  • Mr. Boots July 7, 2014, 8:20 am

    Inspiring story, MMM. Necessity brought on by a cold pool of urgency is a great way to put it – whatever it is that motivates us to tap our inner badass. It’s definitely the cold pools, rather than warm beaches and hot tubs, that keep us feeling young and truly alive well into old age.
    Also, The Kettle Black seems like a cool dude to work and have a beer with.

  • Eurteb July 7, 2014, 8:35 am

    Good morning all,
    I am very impressed with the size of this job, and I’m very interested in moving into larger DIY projects. I am a decent carpenter but I’m not an engineer and a project this size is very daunting to me. You know, silly things like ‘how much OSB can you throw on an old roof without adding too much weight to the existing structure’?
    Q1: What are folks’ favorite sources for good old simple building practices and rules of thumb?
    Not so very long ago a lot of Americans built their homes from the ground up without engineering backgrounds or anything but those massive modern building code books are quite daunting and of course I want to build moderately safely.
    Specifically, my ceramic shop has a flat (tar/asphalt?) roof with pebbles on top, and it has sprung a leak. I’d like to patch it while I save up to get the whole thing taken off and replaced with a vaulted metal one. According to YouTube it seems pretty straight forward, but I’m not a contractor or a roofer
    Q2: Any experience driven advice on patching a flat roof?

    • Garrett July 7, 2014, 1:25 pm

      My parents had a flat tar & gravel roof on their house when I was a kid.

      My dad and I attempted to patch that thing many times. Note, I said, “attempted”. Inevitably, we would fix one leak but there would always be more.

      I believe we used a broom to sweep the gravel off. Then we used a tar broom (similar to a push broom) to spread gallons of tar around the roof in the vicinity of the leak. The problem is that the place where the water comes through the roof does not always correspond to where it leaks through the ceiling.

      Best of luck to you.

  • Even Steven July 7, 2014, 8:38 am

    “Either way, the necessity forced them into action, whether they were ready for it or not.”

    I truly believe this is when people can be at their best, especially when things just went south. It’s that kick in the pants or nightmare that is now reality that makes you go into all out action.

    The picture of the original roof is classic, almost like a tree fort gone wrong, good idea to cover that one up before putting on the shingles.

  • Mark Ferguson July 7, 2014, 9:05 am

    While I see the value in hard work and dedication, I also think we need to take time to relax and be with our familes. I am on vacation this week and we went to Disneyland. My first time and I thought it would be all hype. It is really is an absolutely amazing place for children and adults. I have my team working hard to take care of the business while I am gone. I can focus on spending time with my wife our three year old twins and her parents and a few siblings came along as well.

    I see the value in a new roof, but there is no way I would take the time to put one on myself. I can have a roofer install a new roof in northern Colorado for under $10k on most houses and that includes materials. The savings in labor, does not nearly make up for my time when I could use my time to do more productive things. This is for me personally, but I don’t like roofing. I think leveraging others to help us complete tasks and allow us to do more of what we love is a key to happiness. We can’t do everything ourselves and if people feel they have to donut all themselves it can be very stressful and unhealthy. If it is something you like doing that is another story.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 9:51 am

      Yeah, but you’re also the guy who just bought himself a Lamborghini, and I hope to never set foot in Disneyland. We just have very different styles, which is fine with me.

      For example I normally spend ALL the time with my family year-round and work very little, so my idea of a vacation is the opposite: doing some good old-fashioned uninterrupted 14 hour work days. There is just no other task I have encountered that puts such a high physical demand on me, and that is exactly what I need at this age. Productivity is in the eye of the beholder, but in my eye subjecting yourself to ultimate physical challenge is FAR more productive than just making more money, since we both already have plenty of that.

      An interesting bit of math on the DIY aspect of this project: we spent a total of $3500 on this roof including paying my friend to help. The bill from the cheapest roofing company would be over $15k because of the re-decking and the generally high costs in this area. Although I worked for free, I saved my Mom a good $12,000 by spending roughly 40 hours of my time on this, which is a $300 per hour tax-free savings.

      I am not too proud of a man to do good healthy work alongside friends for $300 per hour!

      • sandmaninator July 7, 2014, 11:55 am

        Crucial point about the time spent with family – Since I am NOT yet FI, much time is spent at the office away from my wife and 3 kids in order to become FI. Therefor, I do pay professionals for the time I would otherwise be taking away from my family if I did the project myself.
        Wish I’d been FI before starting the family since the limited time aspect really puts a crimp on my earning, but, better late than never!

      • Andrew July 7, 2014, 4:19 pm

        I’m with you on this MMM. I get much more satisfaction in knowing that I can actually afford a fleet of $100k+ cars rather than I imagine I would ever get from actually owning them. In fact I’m pretty sure I’d get negative satisfaction from owning such a car since I’d be too worried about banging it up that it would never leave the garage.

        • Rob in Munich July 9, 2014, 2:03 pm

          I get where Mark F is coming from, there are a lot of thing that I can no longer do (car repairs for example) and need to hire a professional for. But what I do is spend a lot of time shopping around to get the best value for my buck.

          But thanks to MMM I managed to replace a flat tire on my bike saving me 17€ Felt really good!!!!

      • tallgirl1204 July 9, 2014, 3:38 pm

        I think that Mark is also missing the point that doing something useful (“working”) for and/or with your family is an act of love, and something like that gets remembered and treasured. When I think of my engineer Dad, I don’t think of the time we went to Disneyworld (although we did do that, once). I do think of the stereo he installed in my first car, and the time he came to visit and built shelves in my laundry room. He frequently told people about the funky bean-pole set-up my husband built in my Dad’s garden the first time they met. These gifts of service, of work, are acts of love. You are going to remember the time your 70-year-old mom helped unload plywood sheets, and she is going to think of you fondly every time it rains.

        Time spent together can be a way of showing and experiencing love, but it doesn’t have to be purely recreational in order to be “real.”

        • Greg November 22, 2016, 6:52 am

          tallgirl1204: 100%!! What you said is so perfect and this attitude is (in my mind) the key to a happy life. Love this! I can relate to this far more than Mark’s attitude (which seems oddly dissonant on this site…)

    • Chris July 7, 2014, 9:12 pm

      You’re missing a key point Mark-MMM is retired and likely spends plenty of quality time with his family and you’re not (retired). Considering this, it makes sense that you’d be more likely to hire labor to complete projects like this (so would I at this point in my life-not so in a few years). I think you also missed the point that he’s doing a good deed for his mother/family. It doesn’t take a lot of money to find happiness and create memories, certainly not a Lambo and a trip to Disneyland. MMM is promoting a DIY kind of life that in turn gives the individual useful/marketable skills and ultimately freedom vice running the hamster wheel for the rest of one’s life to continue supplying hired labor, expensive toys and trips to Disnelyand.

      • Mark Ferguson July 7, 2014, 11:21 pm

        Chris, I think there is a common misconception that in order to have nice things and make a lot off money you have to work 80 hours a week and never see your family. I work less ham 40 hours most weeks, because I have ten people on my team that do most of the work. If you work for someone else and are trying to afford fancy things then yes it will be a grind, but if you create your own business you can have time and money.

        Sure MMM spends a lot of time with his family at home, but I thought the vacation was meant to be a visit to his mom who I am guessing he doesn’t see that much.

        • Chris July 10, 2014, 7:55 am

          When you’re retired you get to take month long plus vacations, right? All of the sudden, spending a few days taking care of your mother’s roof starts to make sense in the bigger picture.

    • Big Guy Money July 8, 2014, 12:19 pm

      We took the obligatory “Let’s go to Disney” trip last year after we finished paying off our consumer debt. All I have to say is pretty much the entire family thought the 2 days we DIDN’T go to a park were the best: The day we drove to Cocoa Beach and let the kids play in the ocean for the first time, and the day after where we were fried and laid low (because apparently North Dakotans don’t know how to apply sunscreen).

      I’m glad you’re having a better Disney experience than we did Mark!

      • Jen July 8, 2014, 10:01 pm

        I am not a Disney fan, I find that when I look around when I am at a park like Disney, very few of the families seem to be having actual fun. They are cranky, waiting in long lines, looking bored, sniping at each other and yelling at the kids. I think many of us think we enjoy these vacations because our minds trick us into remembering the highlights, and also, we know we are supposed to enjoy it or something is wrong with us so we convince ourselves it is fun to wait for an hour to ride Dumbo.

        • Mark ferguson July 9, 2014, 3:53 pm

          Jen, I think you are looking at the negatives. I personally don’t care much about how much fun others are having. I care about how much fun my family and I are having. There is a technique to enjoying Disney. THey have an app that gives very accurate wait times for the rides and we have spent very little time in line. I discovered I love fast roller coasters. Been 20 years since I went on one, but I love the feel of G’s. I guess that is why I love fast cars!

    • 9 O'Clock Shadow July 8, 2014, 1:58 pm

      Ah that car thing. I read your excellent website post about the Diablo and the 66-73 Miura goal . I read up about that classic: “ The car is widely considered to have instigated the trend of high performance, two-seater, mid-engined sports cars. At launch, it was the fastest production road car available.”

      My sensible-automobile Kryptonite is the similarly game changing Audi Quattro Coupe GT. My particular preference is for the 1985 GT turbo – in Red. The year before we had our first child, a local import/export shop owner parked his European Spec 1987 Steel Grey version outside his shop. Super Badass looking! In 1987 it would have been a head turner for the turbocharged 5 cylinder sound and amazed drivers and onlookers with the levels of grip, as it glided on and off highway ramps at ludicrous speeds. I called the shop and the owner wasn’t looking to sell at the moment, but would consider it for about $25K since it was a daily driver and not a garaged classic. We had some savings, were paying down the mortgage biweekly, so $25K was possible without sacrificing our financial goals. And so each day I drove past the car I could feel a tug of ‘want’ – but also a curious bit of sadness. I’d coveted these things like you since early childhood, so why would I feel sad the closer I got to ownership?

      My father is a retired physician and is now physically slowing down. He achieved his automobile high point with the purchase of a Cadillac Brougham, a V8 powered battleship which was the ultimate success symbol for his generation. It was expensive, inefficient, and handled like a refrigerator box on wheels (with the fridge still inside). It lasted 10 years of daily driving in Southern Ontario before a catastrophic oil leak seized the engine. His next car was a V6 Toyota Camry, which he gave to my sister when she started teachers college. “I enjoyed my Cadillac for 10 years. I don’t need another” was his attitude.

      All of these dream cars are just toys; they are fun, and draw lighthearted attention and an opportunity to talk. But on the road they are also our Field of Dreams – driving them is like playing with the Giants of their time, as they were. Near the end of that movie, Kevin Costner’s character asks his dad to play catch. I think handing the keys over to one of your children after teaching them to drive a manual, then that child asking you to go for a ride would be the same thing. If you ever get the Miura, I imagine that would be a moment worth buying the car for – but I suspect the car itself wouldn’t matter.

      As for the bit of sadness, I never bought the Quattro. We put the 25K in better performing funds, and I brought our son home in my well kept 14 year old Volvo S70 with nearly 300K km on the odometer. He’s only 2 and still gets a thrill when I rev the engine. I’m sure he won’t remember that in the years ahead, but I will. I know I’ll choke up a bit when that car is sold.

      • Stacey July 12, 2014, 3:25 pm

        9 o’clock, how sweet. Thanks for choking me up :)

      • Mark Ferguson July 12, 2014, 9:58 pm

        That is an awesome post. You are right that you do not have to have a super expensive car to create awesome mementoes and make lasting impressions. However, I also think it is okay to have big goals and big dreams. I know the Quatro well, it was one of the are in my first car book I got when I was five or so. It was an amazing car and well ahead of its time. My daily driver now is a 2010 Audi S4, I have still never bought a crank new car.

        I have to say the Diablo brings more than casual crowd. It brings many people every time I stop anywhere. I will be able to use the car to create business and enjoy the hell out of it at the same time. The kids love it. Every time I start it they come out in the garage and laugh hysterically because it is so loud. My son asks to go see the Lambo almost every night. It will be cool when they are old enough to actually go in a ride in it.

      • David August 7, 2016, 10:37 am

        “I enjoyed my Cadillac for 10 years. I don’t need another”
        More people need that attitude.

  • RubeRad July 7, 2014, 9:07 am

    Although it is only a fabricated word,

    All words are fabricated words. Badassity was just fabricated a little more recently than most!

    an improved knowledge of how to do roofs in Ontario next time.

    ‘roofs’, however, is not a word. Apparently your spell-checker doesn’t have enough badassity.

    • Zathras July 7, 2014, 9:19 am

      Actually, in current usage “roofs” is the correct plural of “roof”. “Rooves” is archaic, but still occasionally used in local dialect.

  • candy July 7, 2014, 9:12 am

    Looks great! Would have loved to have you for dinner here in #HamOnt, if you’re still here get in touch. We started living the moustachian life the day we moved from Toronto to Hamilton, and loving it!

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 9:58 am

      Hey, that sounds pretty good, maybe even tonight as I’ve just destroyed the kitchen here. What’s for dinner? :-)

  • Pretired Nick July 7, 2014, 9:24 am

    I can’t stop staring at that picture of the roof. Wow, wow, wow!
    Totally agree on the Ikea cabinets. I have many complaints about them, but for the price I couldn’t find anything that would beat it. But the ordering process — OMG! And they also like to pad the orders with crazy amounts of spacers, etc. fortunately they’re good about returns.

  • CrazyWorld July 7, 2014, 9:25 am

    Amazing as usual; I changed a flat tire yesterday, which took me almost an hour, and was the top end of my DIY skill level, haha. Aside: the spare went flat as soon as the jack was lowered. Turns out you can not use a spare from your 2000 model car and just put it on – there is no air pressure in it after 14 years. AAA to the rescue.
    Here is the big question though – leaving skills aside, badassity is all about how much time you have. Sure if we didn’t work, there would be hours of time each week to DIY, mess up, continue. How do folks around here who have jobs manage to do anything? I can barely keep up with picking up the house/cooking/kid activities etc before the day/weekend is over. And there is always something left undone. Barely any time for any fun. We are not doing it right, that’s for sure.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 9:57 am

      You are right, Crazyworld: I find that even my one kid requires most of my waking hours when we are together. More kids would be even crazier.

      I think some possible solutions for other people wondering the same things are: have fewer kids and have them later in life, and get the money part of life out of the way as early as possible (earn more, spend less, starting early in life) so you can spend less time supporting yourself and more time learning new skills, and eliminate any time wasters from your life (TV, car commuting, other passive entertainment) regardless of where you fall on the other issues. Let learning (DIY and other forms) become your entertainment.

      • CrazyWorld July 7, 2014, 10:21 am

        Only one kid, and had him late, so check & check. Was never very spendy to begin with, and started the 401K as soon as company started the program. However, my starting salary was 26K, started working in mid-late twenties since I moved here from elsewhere and was on a non-working visa for first 2 years. DH completed phd and started work a bit later than I did, so guess some of it is late start. We are both paid well now, esp him. We have a decent amount in 401K’s. I also partly support my parents. Already have old cars, very short commutes – 15 minutes for both of us. Passive entertainment for me is reading, TV not so much. I could go on, but anyway bottom line I am at work from 9.30-4.30 each day. Then its time for the second shift. I could quit my job, but then, I have no “outside” income streams. No rentals, no non 401K dividend stocks giving me checks each month. I should do a full on analysis, but I don’t have time for it, ha!

        • lackofstache July 7, 2014, 1:38 pm

          I’m far from MMM, but with 2 kids & a full time job, the key for me has been finding ways to enjoy the things we already instead of tacking extra fun things on…
          Gotta go to the grocery store? Ride your bike w/ the kid. Grab a box of popsicles & sit on the curb outside & eat a couple.
          Busting up concrete & loading the debris into your truck? Give the kid a small sledge, a little bit of guidance & a small wheel-barrow. You’re both busting it up in no time.

          If I were to do it all again, I’d have waited to have kids, but I don’t, so I’m finding ways to make chores into fun & including my kids seems to do that for us.

        • Ben Updike July 7, 2014, 1:53 pm

          I disagree with the suggestion that you must completely overcome the problem of finances and become FI before you have kids. While you must overcome debt and spending and start down the path to financial independence, suggesting that you must reach the end before a kid seems to be a suggestion to take the easy route. While I don’t recommend it because it is a very personal choice, and I know it goes against MMM, having more than one kid early in life is the toughest way to live. We have 3 kids under 8 and a fourth coming in a few months. My wife now stays at home to care for and teach our kids. I am 34. By toughest I mean if you don’t grow your Badassity you can fail and take others down with you.

          Are we doing fine? Yes we are. How do we do it? Because we could not look at my kids and see them want for anything, I became a plumber, electrician, computer tech, teacher, gardener and my wife has become a cook, furniture and house remodeler, in house nurse, counselor, and more. The more you own the responsibility for your kids’ lives, the more you must become Badass because you have no time at all to live the consumption based lifestyle others recommend. We take every challenge as a way to learn something new and grow a little stronger.

          My wife worked until we had our first kid. She then became a stay at home mom and will probably stay out of work until the kids are all in school. That means I had to make more money because I couldn’t rely on my spouse to do so. I plan to work about 20 years, until I am about 50, before we are FI. I love my job and could stay in it for 40 years if I have to, but after 20 years I will stay only because I want to.

          We could have had one kid and lived an easy life. Instead we had more and lived a hard, lean and fulfilling life. We already live our life as though money doesn’t matter, because four kids changes the calculus and we must live that way, not because we are FI yet. But we will get there, and teach four kids how to become Badasses along the way.

        • Berniebee July 7, 2014, 4:01 pm

          We had kids late, but we had three in a row. That would be tip one. Get the diaper stage over ASAP. They are now 18, 19 and 20 years old.
          Where did we find the time? Part of the solution was … (drum roll here) my wife stopped working!
          Well, not quite. She is a self employed bookeeper, so she reduced her clients until she was working one or two mornings a week. The work was not greatly profitable, because we had to pay for a sitter, but it importantly gave my wife some scheduled adult time and allowed her to stay current.

          Our kids could pick one organized activity each school year. So they each could choose hockey, karate or scouting, etc, but not all three activities. We learned to carpool with a vengeance.
          Our house was the neighborhood meeting place, so their friends mostly traveled to our house, not vice versa. Bonus-we got to know most of our kids friends pretty well.
          We always steered our kids to be independent. Taught them about the bus system, how to get help from adults, who to trust, etc. And then told them to go outside and play. We didn’t worry about child kidnappers at the park and drug crazed killers and random snipers because…we did not watch TV regularly for about 18 years. No cable or satellite, but I did set up a roof top antenna recently because I read about free HD over the air.
          During that period I stopped listening to rock music. And I am a big fan. But then, I’m told I didn’t miss much.

          And this helped immensely too: Early in my career, I turned down a management track promotion.
          The non- promotion and the subsequent “tuning” of my job performance easily freed up 10-15 hours per week. Tuning = aiming my performance numbers to land somewhat above average, but no higher. I networked very well, so it was pretty easy to do.
          Over the years, these hours allowed me to develop my DIY skills. Now I have strong abilities in all sorts of DIY. I’ll boast a little here. I have done everything from carpentry, plumbing and electrical work , gutting and installing complete bathrooms and kitchens, up to installing my own natural gas heating furnace and central air conditioning system. I’ve just built a detached, insulated garage with 220v power.
          I have replaced brakes and clutches, done automotive electrical work and rebuilt several automobile and motorcycle engines. And seven years ago I started playing guitar.
          The non-promotion really worked for me!

          • Janson July 8, 2014, 11:34 am

            I love this. Super inspiring. Instead of blowing all my energy on late nights and trying to get promoted, I can do a good job with what I enjoy, be paid well, and get back 30% of my waking life.

            • Eldred July 8, 2014, 12:23 pm

              I’m impressed that you can make good money, and don’t feel the need to aim for promotions. I can barely get by, and I *hope* to get a promotion or better job. What do you do for a living, if I may ask?

      • Woodrat July 8, 2014, 12:07 am

        I agree with MMM that having fewer children/ having them later, is wise financially. I would add that it’s also fundamentally more badass than having many children or while very young.

        Badassity is all about personal responsibility, living within one’s means, postponing gratification, and not being extravagant or wasteful – with respect to money, genes, or Earth’s resources. One might be able to buy a 5000 sq foot house, or have 4 children, or fly to Rome once a month, or eat $100 meals. But doing so doesn’t make one badass. Badass is being able to but choosing not to.

        It’s also true that an older age at first child-bearing for women is strongly associated worldwide with lower population growth rates, both currently and historically (an important component of the demographic transition). Good for early retirement, and good for the planet. Win-win.

        • Matth July 8, 2014, 1:19 pm

          Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, uh, your opinion, man.

          Sorry, that’s not a very good response. It’s hard to know how to respond, because while I think there’s a fair amount of mockery deserved by people who routinely drop $100 on dinner, or travel to Europe on credit for a summer wardrobe shopping trip, having children and deciding when to have them is a really personal decision. And such personal matters often become flame bait.

          In my case, my wife and I decided to have two children close together in our late 20s. It’s definitely set us back a few years financially, but it also means I’ll be fit and active for their entire youth, and I certainly plan to be meaningfully unemployed before they start high school.

          I wouldn’t think of knocking someone who, for whatever reason, had anywhere between 2 and 4 kids, and probably wouldn’t think ill of someone having more than 4. And there are certain risks involved in having children after the age of 35 that I wanted to avoid.

          And frankly, I doubt I would have been nearly as badass as I am today if it weren’t for the children, too. Figuring out how not to suck in front of them, and make sure they leave childhood with a strong foundation for life, has driven me to make changes I never would have made otherwise.

          • dude July 9, 2014, 7:30 am

            “Figuring out how not to suck in front of them, and make sure they leave childhood with a strong foundation for life, has driven me to make changes I never would have made otherwise.”

            hahaha! I don’t have any kids and don’t plan to at this stage of my life, but I love this statement!

          • Kate in NY July 9, 2014, 7:49 am

            We have 4 kids, now 11-18, and we started in our late 20’s (3 of our children are biological, and one was adopted at 6 yrs. old from Ethiopia). We hope to adopt or foster more – a “second batch,” if you will. We are not remotely FI and now we are beginning the college years (though our eldest is heading off to McGill in the fall – a relative bargain compared to prices in the US) – but even so, I think having a large family is totally badass. My kids know how to work, how to cooperate, how to delay gratification. We rarely go out to eat, our kids don’t have their own cars, and vacations are infrequent – but with 4 kids our house is a steady stream of people, music and fun. When the kids are gone, my husband and I will sell our gorgeous big old moneypit of a farmhouse and move to a teeny tiny little place and hopefully have many grandchildren to visit. Life is messy and full – financially precarious at times, and full retirement is a ways off for both of us – but we wouldn’t change a thing, and still derive much inspiration from the posts and comments here.

          • reader from the rockies July 9, 2014, 8:50 am

            Having kids is a personal decision, but not one without consequences beyond your family. With 7 billion people on this planet, our earthly resources are being used up at an alarming rate. With that many people, no amount of badassity will prevent the unsustainability of the world’s overpopulation. We need a reduction in population, and I think it is preferable that this happens through voluntary family planning as opposed to some environmental disaster. Having kids is biologically embedded in our psyche to ensure survival of the species. Ironically, survival of our species may depend more on population control than population growth.

            • Matth July 9, 2014, 9:32 am

              True, but population growth isn’t coming from my demographic. It’s not a problem in the United States, or the developed world taken as a whole, as it takes immigration just to maintain the low growth levels we do have (or even population decline as in parts of Europe).

              So, while it’s true there are too many kids being born, the numbers don’t logically support the conclusion that Americans should have fewer children.

            • reader from the rockies July 9, 2014, 10:55 am

              I can understand how you feel about that. Still, things like climate change and the population explosion are global problems. I don’t see how you can really slice and dice these by national borders. You could use the same argument to say there is no need to reduce, reuse or recycle, since many Chinese and Indians don’t do that anyway, so why bother? As in any problem, you can only affect what is in your direct control, not what another government, the UN or even your neighbor decides to do. In any event, I am not denying your right to plan your own family. I was just pointing out the consequences.

            • Matth July 9, 2014, 11:13 am

              Americans are among the top consumers of non-renewable resources, so that’s an entirely different argument. Americans are not the drivers of global population growth. In as much as there is population growth in the US, it’s largely due to immigrant families (approximately half of our population growth is due to immigration or immigrant births).

              I want to be clear, because I can see people taking this the wrong way, I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with immigrants, or immigrants driving our population growth. I bring it up to point out the complexity inherent in the mechanics of population growth.

          • Franco July 16, 2014, 5:51 pm


            I really like your comment. And in response to Woodrat: I don’t think that delaying the “gratification” of having more children qualifies as being badass. I am guessing you don’t have children, Woodrat? If you did, you would not lump having children in with equivalent expenses such as owning a 5000 square foot house, taking trips to Rome, etc.

            Raising a child is not a recreational past time, or pleasurable consumerist hobby that selfish couples indulge in for fun. Raising a child is way more difficult, way more character-building, and way more badass than any roofing project (though I love badass roofing projects.)

            Having three children before age thirty with my wife has been the most worthwhile, perhaps the only truly worthwhile project, I have ever been a part of. And I think if my wife and I were truly badass we would shoot for five kids…but I fear we are still a bit too wimpy and selfish for that.

            Lastly, the assumption that fewer children is better for the planet is just that, an assumption. It all depends on the child you raise and whether he or she becomes a net producer or a net consumer. Some humans produce more greenery, more oxygen, more money, more topsoil and more love than they consume…others don’t.

            (Note: we raise our three children on $20k per year, live in a house we built ourselves, grow much of our own food and our school-age children do not lack for education. They are in the 90th percentile and higher academically . We don’t take much credit for that, other than reading to them and not owning a TV. Also, one benefit of having more than one child is that siblings learn from each other.)

      • CincyCat July 8, 2014, 11:03 am

        We found that the key to managing kids + full-time job for us was to be very strict about keeping things as organized as possible. When you come in the door, the purse, school papers, keys, shoes & coats all have a “home”. Put them there. Immediately. Not only are you are not wasting time running around & picking up, but floors need to be cleaned far less often when there is zero tracked in dirt (shoes live in a basket by the door).

        Getting out the door in the morning goes much faster when everything you need is “staged” the night before (including the kids’ outfits for the next day).

        Planning dinners a month in advance – and planning the grocery list accordingly – also is a huge money & time-saver.

        There was a very brief period in time when both kiddos were tiny when we utilized a laundry drop-off service (a godsend, at the time…); which meant one of us could simultaneously grocery shop while someone else was doing all of the laundry, which freed up the other person to handle everything else that needed doing at home.

    • slugline July 7, 2014, 1:16 pm

      It’s easy to forget when it’s “out of sight, out of mind” but whenever tires are checked and topped off with air, the spare should be included too. Otherwise, an experience like this is inevitable. :)

      • insourcelife July 7, 2014, 2:05 pm

        Or just carry an air pump in your vehicle. They are cheap and will save time and money in a situation like this.

    • Woodnclay July 7, 2014, 3:23 pm

      Can’t you get, or don’t you own a footpump to pump up the spare tyre?

      • CrazyWorld July 7, 2014, 8:38 pm

        No, have never needed one to date. And we already have AAA membership. 2 old cars, atleat one needs towed or something atleast once a year if not more. AAA guy had air, he filled it up and we drove the car to the shop.

    • Jordan July 8, 2014, 1:06 pm

      The biggest thing that helps us is to divide and conquer. My lifesaver has been that my wife can stay home with our kid. Just having her home is huge for me. I know that isn’t what everyone wants or can do, but it works for us.

      We only have one right now, but plan on having a few more. I know if we had chosen to have kids later in life that we would reach FI sooner, but neither of us wanted to postpone having kids, and we absolutely don’t regret it. We have also decided that some things are worth sacrificing for time. For example, a spotless house. I don’t expect it from her, and we would much rather spend time with each other than clean every night. Having less furniture and crap helps keep the house clean without much effort on our part. And I totally agree with what you said about combining chores and fun together. Like yesterday our one year old had a blast disassembling some furniture with me. It took me about 20 minutes longer than it should have, but it was well worth the time.

  • Matth July 7, 2014, 9:31 am

    This made my Monday significantly better. The mother of badassity truly is necessity.

    I discovered this site last fall, a few weeks before I switched jobs, had a second child, and took a 35% pay cut. If it weren’t for the constant reminder from MMM of how great we have it, my wife and I surely would have collapsed under the burden of having our former consumer-y ways dampened.

    • ny.er July 9, 2014, 7:35 pm

      ditto. Four years after my husband’s forced early retirement, I discovered this blog. I finally did the math, and it occurred to me that we were FINE without him going back to full time work. Although our current income is slightly over 1/4 what he was making before, we really don’t lack for anything. Amazing. Congratulations on your new job, and new baby!

  • Gerard July 7, 2014, 9:46 am

    Could you sell the old wood to a Toronto barbecue boutique? It’s so “authentic”!

  • Maverick July 7, 2014, 9:47 am

    MMM…you didn’t have a place to examine the roof underside prior to starting? Yeah, house building is a young man’s sport (under 50?). I prefer doing all my own work, but a whole roof I’d have to sub out now. Only if it was low and flat would I do it. Inside? I’ll do it all.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 10:08 am

      That’s a good lesson for me to learn, Maverick: understand what’s under the roof, before you tear it off.

      I had assumed that it would be solid because there was one layer of shingles on there from less than 20 years ago. I hadn’t factored in the possibility of the previous roofer being batshit crazy.

    • Joe July 9, 2014, 1:27 pm

      House building may be a young man’s sport but roofing certainly isn’t: http://abcnewspapers.com/2012/08/02/andover-roofer-going-strong-at-75-years-old/

      And I believe in badassity. And badassity includes doing stuff way past your 50s. Use it or lose it.

  • Laura July 7, 2014, 9:51 am

    You guys rock! Makes me want to jump up and do something impossible!

  • BPM July 7, 2014, 10:30 am

    Hey MMM, this is my first comment on your site, although I have been reading for almost a year now. I love the site and your outlook. I think you’re doing a really good thing here. Not too sue how much longer you are in this neck of the woods, but if you had any plans to make a trek north up hwy 6, please stop in to Elora for a pint or two, the wife and I would love to have you by (your family too of course). I feel like I could rack your brain for hour. I would love to take part in a case study some day as well.

    Enjoy the rest of the vaca, and please keep up the good work you are doing!

  • BCR July 7, 2014, 10:48 am

    I’m an old fart. Badassity is what was called gumption. It was found in greater abundance in prior times. The fact that it is fading among most first-world folks probably justifies a new word to wake folks up to what they are missing and mostly not even seeing or recognizing. So congrats MMM, well done!

  • Derek July 7, 2014, 10:58 am

    Awesome story about jumping in on projects with both feet! We have developed a theorem on Ikea. There will always be at least one item you were planning to buy that will NEVER be in stock. This will require you to completely rethink your purchase to make everything fit what is available or wait 2-3 weeks for delivery.

    The closest IKEA to us is ~90 minutes away, and it has happened all four times we’ve gone. Plan the whole thing out before hand. Fill out those crazy sheets. Go to pick stuff from the warehouse. Realize on item 11/12 that it is missing. Cry a little bit, the pull an audible :-)

  • Syed July 7, 2014, 11:17 am

    This made for some great reading I was on the edge of my seat! Great example of how doing things yourself can save a heap of money and give some great benefits in the process. If I could get half the badassity of MMM and Mr Black, I could say I lived a full life. The journey continues…

  • Free To Pursue July 7, 2014, 11:18 am

    “Experiencing hardship and the rewards that come from overcoming it are quite simply what makes life worth living.”

    So true! Tough/trying projects are what I remember most fondly when I look back at personal accomplishments. These projects help us expand our comfort zone (which is tough to expand sometimes, but never, ever shrinks) and get into a zen-like state in the moment (some call it “flow”).

    You talk about the 6am to 9pm tough workday and all I can feel is that satisfying bada** feeling at the end of a day like that when you can crack open a bottle of beer (Canadian, of course), look back on the day with satisfaction and get an amazing night’s sleep.

    Congrats on taking on the project, good luck with the kitchen and have a great rest of your vacation!

  • Glen July 7, 2014, 11:35 am

    Feats of strength and roofing all day will drive weakness from any man. Well done MMM.

  • Jeremy July 7, 2014, 11:41 am

    Awesome effort and post.

    Can we expect any meetups in the Ottawa area this summer?

  • Mrs PoP July 7, 2014, 11:53 am

    What is with crazy roofing practices? You’d think that’d be one area of the house not to half-a$$. After we bought our house we knew we needed to replace the awful shingle-over-shingle job on the back roof deck, but we had no idea just how horrible it was under there. Once the shingles were off it became clear that the fascia was completely rotten and the ends of some of the trusses needed to be repaired from rot as well. The 4x8s were the least of the issues there. How the aluminum lanai was still attached and had not collapsed I will never know… but a LOT of fascia got replaced in short order that was definitely not part of the original plan.

  • Jordan Read July 7, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Great article. I’ve always thought that jumping in way over your head was a great way to do things. Growth cannot happen if you stay in your comfort zone.

    When everything goes horribly wrong, that is the best opportunity to truly be badass!
    Granted, good planning and accounting for the unexpected makes things go smooth, and it’s important to remember how badass that is too.

  • Scott July 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

    They just redid the roof on our 1950’s era rental and didn’t even take the old roof off. I know from previous experience of replacing the roof at the house we just sold that there was probably wood that needed to be replaced.

  • BobToday July 7, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Sounds like good fun working hard outside.
    It is one of my ambitions to stop my office job and change it for something I consider actual labour.
    Currently the big difference in pay makes me hesitant about making that step.
    Perhaps time for me to show some badassity!

  • Nicola July 7, 2014, 1:07 pm

    Another great article, which shows that strength, determination and perseverance gets the job done. I think there’s a danger in society that people get a bit too comfortable with their own situation, especially if they are above water in terms of spending. People need to continue to strive to be better, to learn and give back to those who have helped them; that would make a much better society.

  • Dmitry July 7, 2014, 1:44 pm

    How long is a pause required to “barbecue pork chops”? Do you have to bring your own grill too? :(

  • Ex-Sgt Pepper July 7, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Great story! I was thinking about just this type of badassity this past weekend, when I manufactured my own little badass experience. We just arrived in San Diego after a long time away, and the longer we were away traveling the less exercise we were getting, and the extra pounds and complaints were on the rise. So during our 3-week drive across the country, we vowed to get back to toughening up. Now, the old me would have driven to the nearest bike store and spent several hundred bucks on a couple of bikes, but the NEW me immediately went to craigslist and began the search. I found a Newport K2 Hybrid for my wife Kenda (yes, it has “Kenda” tires :)) for $100, but nothing for me. When we discovered how much work it needed I talked the nice girl down to $60, because $100 was fair value for this bike in good condition. Then I proceeded to have one of the most enjoyable, long days in years, working on this bike in the garage, and going to the bike store only once for a new tube ($6.50). Everything else I managed to figure out a way to do myself. Then my brother gave me an old junker Pacific USA Catalina mountain bike — and I did the same thing all over again the next day! Long story short, both bikes ride like new now, I spent a total of $125, and we are now badassing our way from inland Oceanside to the Harbor on a beautiful bike trail, safely removed at a distance from all the car clowns. (Btw MMM, San Diego is the absolute CAPITOL CITY of Car-Clownism, just know that before you think too hard about moving here. I grew up here in the ’60s and the near-tripling of the local population has ruined it for me.)

    • JK July 10, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Sorry Sgt. Pepper,
      I have to object to San Diego being the CAPITOL CITY of Car-Clownism. It is clearly most of Orange County, CA.
      Having said that, I lived a year in Pacific Beach many years ago and still love San Diego. It’s bike friendly enough for me, such a beautiful place.

  • Deva July 7, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Loved this! Nice to see positive attitude, good muscle work and great results. Hub and I are in our sixties and since the age of 20 we’ve been DIYing our way through life. It’s made us healthy, wealthy and wise as well as lean and mean. We’re a little lazier now, but have been FI since the year 2000 with money still pouring in from our small, part time business that we enjoy and worked to build for the past 30 years. Get up and dance your way through work, America. “You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

  • JohnM July 7, 2014, 2:16 pm

    I know it wasn’t the point of the the article but OMG, I am from Hamilton and love your website/philosophy!
    There has always been a burning question when I found out you were from Canada, and that is why not move back there? It seems like an ideal country to live in to reduce expenses. No need for health insurance and low cost of education for your son.
    I ask because though I am currently living in the US, I dread the day my 1 year old will have to attend school. I hear from all my friends that private school in philly costs between 10k-20k/year, and that is for K-12. I have been doing adjunct teaching at a private university and can not believe that tuition there is about 50k/year. I paid about 2k/year (canadian).
    And despite the options in the US for private medical is there not a dread that you can get stuck with bills that seem to ludicrous? I have always had good insurance working at a hospital but I can not imagine building up a nice nest egg and having that disappear because of medical bills.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 7, 2014, 2:32 pm

      Good questions, fellow immigrant! To answer your questions pretty quickly, the main reason I live in the US is because the geography and climate agree with me better. But regarding costs:

      Health insurance is $3k/year for my family, public schools are great and free in my area (plus there is always homeschooling). Universities are under $10k/year for in-state tuition at plenty of great schools, plus you can get half your degree even cheaper by getting community college credits then transferring, plus university itself is now unnecessary for many of the most Mustachian professions.

      When you balance the higher incomes and lower taxes many of us find in the US, plus the lower costs of housing, energy, food, and almost everything else except hospitals and education, you end up much further ahead there.

      But you can optimize your life to make it work in almost any country, as Mustachians around the world are teaching me.

      • Lisa July 9, 2014, 6:20 pm

        I’m from Hamilton too, but since I’m a teacher and I so agree with MMM’s assessment of the maritimes, I spend the summers there (frugally, of course).

        Teachers make a lot more money in Canada than the States, so I’ve optimized by staying in the Great White North.

        Welcome “home.” :)

  • Joy July 7, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Nice to see/read that your Mom has a generous son. :) What happened that the other son didn’t show? Or, did I miss that in the article?

    Did Kettle divulge his energy secrets?

  • Jeff July 7, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Congratulations on the roof job.
    Just one question, why are concrete tiles not used in North America? (I live in Britain)
    My house is 35 years old. All the tiles are original, except one ridge tile which blew off when I was on holiday in Cambodia in December. I replaced it myself when returning home in January. After googling (& adapting) the Florida building code, the new end ridge tile is bolted down with an 8mm stainless stud, so it should stay put for decades.

    As for Ikea, they are a shambles. They do need to rebalance their business and focus on efficient customer service, in addition to cheap products.
    As you suggest, a more web based service would save costs AND improve sales. Much better than over cheapening the product, which is happening on some of my favourite product lines now.

    • Woodnclay July 7, 2014, 3:33 pm

      I’m in the UK too and have concrete tiles. My guess is that a lot of North American houses could not support the weight of concrete tiles.

      • Berniebee July 7, 2014, 9:40 pm

        Woodnclay, you are sort of right about North American houses: The roofs are indeed not built to support the weight of concrete tiles. But the main reason that concrete tiles are not used is cost. That’s because asphalt shingles, (which these days are usually mix of asphalt and fibreglass) are light, cheap and quick and easy to install. Anyone can install them with very little training, using an air driven nail gun. Since they are lighter than concrete tiles , the roof structure can also be designed with smaller/wider spaced supports, again decreasing cost to the builder.
        So an American houseowner considering replacing an asphalt shingle roof with concrete tile would be paying more for materials, extra for reinforcing the roof structure and more for the installation labour. (Installing concrete tile is slower and requires specialized training.) It makes reroofing with asphalt an easy decision, even if it does last less than half as long a concrete tiles.
        And Americans move more often than Europeans, so why invest in a 40 year roof?

  • thriftycanadian July 7, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Hey MMM,

    From Hamilton here!

    Amazing job on boarding that roof! I have been following your blog for a couple of months now and gotta say its awesome! Its really helped me realized ER is very possible for me in the near future.

    If you are still in town, can I buy you a pint?


  • Catherine Jean Rose July 7, 2014, 4:51 pm

    MMM, you ARE truly Badass. And to share…I rode my bike to work today – first time ever – 16 miles round trip.

    It was sunny and humid, but hey, there is a breeeze when you’re biking so I loved every minute of it. I felt such satisfaction and accomplishment with it that when I noticed a few items on my counter needed to be returned to Costco 2 miles up the road, I decided to keep going w/my momentum. Biked to Costco with my items in the basket on the front of my bike.

    Today’s fun was far more satisfying than driving an SUV thru the Starbucks drive-thru will ever be!

    Saving gas, the environment, and my Ass from getting wider. Thanks for the inspiration, dude.

  • Mule Mama July 7, 2014, 4:53 pm

    As a nurse who quit her job in February to move to Japan with my newborn son and 22 month old ball of energy, the line “Badassity Expands Automatically to Fill Any Space Made Available to It” really resonated with me. Since landing in a country where I’m illiterate, where I initially had no family or friends, and where my husband works the typical Japanese 13 hour day away from home, I had to dig deep to find some serious mama badassity. I had not discovered the world of blogs until this summer, and I’m finding this one to be the most helpful of all.

    Thank you for this excellent story of badassisity. But… More stories are needed! Perhaps more stories from all walks of life. If there were a collection of stories from you and your modern readers, I would ride to the library and borrow it.

    Also, is there a list somewhere of biographical books about badassisity? I know book-reading is a passive hobby, but it works well when a woman is actively nursing a baby at 3am and can’t engage in roof building at that moment.

    • Jill Dunscomb July 8, 2014, 12:29 pm

      I’d like to suggest the Tightwad Gazette – Amy Dacyczyn understands badassity! I enjoy any book about Warren Buffett or Steve Jobs and other successful people. For fiction, of course there is the Little House on the Prairie books about making do and having a good time doing it.

      • Stacey July 12, 2014, 3:46 pm

        Jill, I agree that Amy is an inspiration. You reminded me that I should re-visit her (thick!) book. We just returned from 2-weeks of Mt Rainier/Olympic/Glacier NPs & 2 very expensive days in Banff and while everything was lovely and majestic, let’s just say we didn’t want for yummy food & brews or comfy beds. Time to refocus on belt tightening. So happy to catch up on my MMM reading. Turned the phone off while in Canada so as to not incur roaming charges :)

    • Kathleen July 8, 2014, 4:52 pm

      I was raised by an American nurse and Australian army officer on a combination of pioneer memoirs and novels (everything from Laura Ingalls Wilder to We of the Never-Never to Dad and Dave), rural self-sufficiency books (the Bushcraft series, which is a fascinating survey of Australian rural make-do inventiveness, The Bushman’s Companion, Reader’s Digest Back to Basics, various army survival books), missionary memoirs (various, but the Wycliffe cookbook is still on my shelf and Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art is actually a gorgeous exploration of how to be creative and homely in unusual and adverse circumstances), explorer’s diaries (Marco Polo to Isabella Bird, who is fabulously bad-ass, to This Accursed Land) and early aviators (my recommendations: Early Birds, Flying Nurse and My God It’s A Woman).

      Most of these are great reading, but have in common this: They are not about badassity for its own sake, but about badassity in pursuit of some other goal (often far horizons), and frequently about people living well with far less than what modern society considers necessary.

    • Robin July 9, 2014, 11:09 am

      You should read the forum. Lots of badassity there!

    • Kristin November 29, 2014, 7:21 pm

      MuleMama, enjoy Japan! I’ve spent a number of years there. It’s a great place to ride bikes. I amused myself by studying kanji and practicing cooking in a limited kitchen, both skills I’ve since put to good use.

      I’d recommend “Reviewing the Kanji” http://kanji.koohii.com/ for a relatively efficient route to literacy. The forums on that site are a good place to ask about Japan and learning Japanese. Meetup is also useful if you’re in a major city.

      These are young adult fantasy novels, but I loved two series by a female Japanese author Nahoko Uehashi: “Moribito” and “Beast Player” (Kemono no soja). Only the first two volumes of “Moribito” are available in English, but I’m hoping the others come out in translation soon since Uehashi recently won a major international prize for her fiction. The main character of Moribito is a 30-year-old female bodyguard with incredible martial arts skills–much “badassity” there. The main character in the Beast Player series is a similar sort of incredibly strong, intelligent, self-reliant woman. Uehashi is an anthropology or ethnology PhD, and she creates incredibly rich and deep cultures and histories within the novels.

  • Chris July 7, 2014, 5:03 pm

    great post and it reaffirms my own thoughts of the value of DIY work, especially around the house. I enjoy learning and problem solving and many of these little projects lead to alot of both. I think it’s important to understand how things work (I am an engineer), from a practical standpoint (to be able to fix things) but also from an intellectual standpoint (to be an educated, non-clueless homeowner and person).

    The only challenge is the time these things take when one also has a full time job, kids, etc. . . But we are slowly making our way through our list of projects that we want to tackle. In fact, I’m off to clean and sand some kitchen cabinets in preparation for painting.

    • Lifeblood July 8, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Having patience with the process is often key. Too often we feel that we have to accomplish more things faster. Without becoming lazy, I think it is great to have a more relaxed attitude toward completing projects. A certain, natural pace of accomplishment begins to assert itself over time which helps us to enjoy the journey. MMM wrote about aspects of this here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/13/domestic-outsourcing-practical-or-wussypants/


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