Is Mr. Money Mustache Ruining Your Marriage?

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

An Enraged Reader Writes:

Subject: Please Stop

Dear Mutilator of My Monies,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Money Mustache Replies,

Dear Enraged Reader,

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

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

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


Enraged Reader Replies,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Update: A Word about Internet Troll Speculation

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

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

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

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


  • AmyG July 17, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I’ll risk it and partially agree with Enraged Spouse about gender bias.

    Of course, the core of Mustachianism is about thoughtfulness in spending and delayed gratification, and this is not in any way correlated with gender. I was just as offended as other commenters by some parts of Enraged’s email :p

    But, there is definitely a motif of “badass = physical musculature” running through this blog. A recent post was about hauling a large appliance uphill on a bike. How many women can really see themselves undertaking that? (I notice you didn’t mention the ultra-badass Mrs MM taking a turn.) There are a few other posts that are similarly focused on physical strength, and I don’t think you can really claim that such posts are equally “for” everyone. And I could see how they might put off a woman (or less athletic man) who is new to the site and hasn’t yet seen the mustache-forest for the muscle-trees.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 17, 2014, 6:21 pm

      You’ve obviously never met one of the thousands (millions?) of dedicated female Crossfit enthusiasts. And yes, Mrs. MM occasionally hauls more than her bodyweight in a bike trailer too. There’s nothing especially badass or amazing about this – it’s simply the logical thing to do, once you realize how ridiculous and destructive it is to use a car for little in-town errands.

      • AmyG July 17, 2014, 7:50 pm

        Oh no, I hope you haven’t taken me for a car driver! :)

        I certainly know Crossfitters and other athletes, and I’m totally into my own muscles as well…(kisses bicep). I just think there is a miscommunication happening re: “softness”. You often seem to use soft = weak, but Enraged and many other women see soft = feminine. Biking can be approached as a “hard” activity where you feel your quads bulge and enjoy that sweeeeet testosterone spike, but that’s not for everyone all the time. As you just alluded to, biking can ALSO be approached as a way to avoid being destructive – a lovely way to get around town while showing maximum gentleness to your environment. This is totally soft, and still totally Mustachian. But, we don’t always see this soft side of badassity considered on the blog.

      • rjack July 19, 2014, 5:34 am

        Just a side note – IMHO Crossfit women are the hottest women on the planet!

  • rick July 17, 2014, 4:00 pm

    So if the Husband reads MMM, maybe he could respond with his side of the story?

  • Kassandra July 17, 2014, 4:05 pm

    I love it! I think she has some valid points. I have three kids, I consider myself pretty badass…. however, I am not hauling myself and three kids around town on my bike all day long. That is not happening. What do I do? I drive as little as possible. I own a Mazda 5 (which gets shitty gas mileage in town, really, really shitty). But at least I can parallel park it. Life is all about balance. Find your MMM balance and tell your spouse to zip it every once in awhile and go have a fricken’ over priced, guilt free latte. Balance.

  • EarlyRetirementGuy July 17, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Such a shame that this poor man’s wife isn’t onboard to ride the moneywave to a better and happier life without having the work the Monday-Friday 9-5 she seems to intent on spending money to recover from. Can she not see that by spending on these needless luxuries she is just fueling the work cycle more?

    Prehaps if she focused less on being ‘outwardly poor’ and instead more time on realising she is already inwardly rich.

  • Jay July 17, 2014, 4:45 pm

    I think that reading MMM has improved my marriage immeasurably.

    Before I found this blog last year, I had been married for a year and half and was having weekly arguments with the Mrs about money. I had just started making decent money and was on the verge of making the shift from enforced student frugality to a more luxurious lifestyle. She, on the other hand, had always been (and still is) super-frugal. At the time, I couldn’t see the point of being so frugal (life is for having fun, you only live once etc.) because I’d never considered early retirement as a serious possibility, short of winning an IPO lottery somewhere.

    Fast forward a year and we’re much more in agreement about money issues, so apparently we’ve gotten the number-one divorce-causing factor out of the way. I accept frugality because I see the finish line and it’s not too far away. So thank you for writing this blog MMM. In an alternate universe where I’d never found this blog, there may be a version of me miserable, going shopping alone, because going with the Mrs causes too much strife.

    On another note, I agree with the other commenters. This person definitely sounds like a troll, even if you think they are not (you’re probably right, since we’re only seeing edited versions of the original emails).

    • Eastern_European July 19, 2014, 5:56 am

      Same here:)

      Having had a decent income, 4-5 years after university I fell in the trap of overconsumption. It was for long years. Now with my wife things are much better. Her attitude is similar to your wifes.

      “Man”, we have to be really thankful that our “girls” resist the brainwashing culture of shopping. These women are rare nowadays. Strange, I thought marriage will ruin me… :)

  • Brian F July 17, 2014, 4:58 pm

    “I do drive a Prius which is as far as I go. No need to punch me in the face.”

    I actually laughed uncontrollably at this,

  • Emily July 17, 2014, 5:06 pm

    Here I am, yet another woman, who can testify that she loves the mustachian lifestyle. And I can totally be feminine and mustachian. Today even, I biked the kids to summer day camp in my skirt. I must say, I ROCK the feminine/frugal mix.

    In fact, when I read the title I thought the article was going to go a little differently, more like with me and my husband. My husband had some serious jealously going on. For awhile it was, “you care for this Mr. Money Mustache guy too much! Are you going to cheat on me with him or something?!” But all’s well now. No fear MMM. The mustache has grown on him too. I think it may be because there’s something sexy about a strong woman on a bike in a skirt. And that’s thanks to you. ; )

  • Kris July 17, 2014, 5:20 pm

    I so loved this blog!

    She nailed on the head, with humour, some of the tensions present in many of our marriages. If I can ignore the gender bashing…. I will address my comments to the fun parts of her letter(s)..

    I don’t think they are doomed at all, Just in need if dividing personal finances.

    Obviously she needs to be “allowed” to choose her mode of transportation, and why not? She is a working adult. If my husband tried to overcontrol me, I would run! Why not each to spend thier (generous, agreed upon) allowance as they like? He can save, She can spend. I bet a lot of that spend might even be on things for the both of them. And I bet that they would still have a ton of savings given what she is living so far.

    The danger is if she is looking at her orthodontist husband as a meal ticket for life with only a minor wage contribution from her for all the nice things she wants. No siree… work for what you want as an equal partner.

    Your spouse wants to be SAHD, FI, Volunteer brick layer? and say, it’s possible? Then go for it!. We should all be able to work for and live our dreams. Her and her Tahoe… Him and early retirement.

  • Katherine July 17, 2014, 5:41 pm

    “I just recently discovered that people in SUVs can see TWO cars ahead of them.” What. The. Fuck. In a regular car, I can see more like TEN cars ahead, through the windows, as long as there are no trucks/SUVs in the way. More than enough. If you can’t see far enough ahead, leave more following distance! I agree with all the others that said the emailer needs to turn in their drivers licence (though not with their reasoning. Bumping kerbs is perfectly safe, no reason to lose your licence over that).

  • Matt July 17, 2014, 5:52 pm

    It’s good to get the student loans paid. Some people can not see the future and what might happen in the future. What if the husband can’t make the income they are expecting or his health prevents him from working. To sacrifice now for a better future is a concept that some people can’t see or they want to keep up with the Jones. I think that until you have a solid base financially people should be cheap. After you have that FI status than having a SUV or other luxuries is perfectly fine. You can now truly afford it. Too many Americans want the luxury now just so they can afford the monthly payment. I personally see people who lost it all and have to start over. That’s harder than just building up to a better lifestyle.

  • Allie July 17, 2014, 6:22 pm

    This wife (presuming she isn’t a troll) and and her husband need to reread MMMs recent post about the gift of not worrying about money. My poor husband could have written a similar email a few years ago if there had been a MMM to complain to. At the time there was just me cracking the whip and freaking out about our debt. No Fast Food! No Outdoor Man Toys! No Hummer (I said it was a few years ago)! “But I’m a rich lawyer,” he would complain. Until he saw how how our stache was growing. And it grew and grew and grew. If we could have appreciated how the stache would develop over time and how awesome it is to not worry about money, we could have met in the middle together, with me being less of a spending tyrant and him being more open to frugal alternatives.

  • michelle July 17, 2014, 7:52 pm

    I would say that I have ‘peach fuzz’ however, as a woman I am not ‘soft’ sheesh, would this woman prefer to give back the vote, give up her job. if she wants a couch, and she is working, like other posters said..get a used one, buy a case of coke on sale at costco or box store and spread them out. She is waiting for permission for what?

    I am conscious of my spending, am too old for early retirement extreme, however have no debt, no mortgage, and will be just fine.

    adopt what you can use, and adapt your view so that things do not make you happy, but remember there is no joy in denying yourself small pleasures , it doesn’t have to cost $$

    she should also learn how to drive……..

  • Raechelle July 17, 2014, 7:57 pm

    I freaking LOVE her. Funniest blog post EVER. Yes, there are two sides to this topic, and I get that MMM is pretty one-sided. I (being female) am trying to bring my husband over to MMM, but really, I hear her LOUD and CLEAR!!! LOL – sending her a hug. Any husband that makes you “relax” on a broken inflatable couch… Too funny. Yes, definitely a discussion needs to occur re: frugality vs being cheap. (and the intended outcome of being able to afford something you don’t HATE because you’ve been frugal and conscientious with your cash. I hope this sweet gal and her husband can come to some healthy agreements, because discord in a marriage can be tough. Again though – MMM – BEST BLOG POST EVER!!!

  • Rachel July 17, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Mustachianism, to me, has nothing to do with this deprivation / efficiency debate. It’s about finding what happiness is, and cutting out all of the crap that marauds as happiness.

    I thought I wanted a new washing machine. Why? Mine works fine! A shiny new machine, however,makes me feel that my life is somehow more put together. And the same for that swanky mid century couch… All of these stuff dreams feed into an illusion of my ideal self, my ideal house, my ideal life.

    But the truth is: these things have a minuscule impact on my lasting happiness! They do not give me a more meaningful life. They do not bring me more time with friends or more time outdoors. They don’t challenge me to learn new things or to become a more loving and giving person or to take risks and make adventures. Many times they detract from my happiness by distracting me with their shiny-newness!

    So I say to the frustrated wife: find out what your meaningful life is. Find out where you feel alive and connected and important, and follow that. Use your money to bolster a life that you can love. I’m guessing that if you hunt that down, it will have very little to do with your blow-up couch.

  • Parker July 17, 2014, 8:24 pm

    I actually think those emails are trolling. A nurse practitioner makes about 80k-110k/yr. And an orthodontist, far more than that. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that people with such high incomes would not be able to agree on having well maintained furniture or cars. They could do both and still have plenty of money left over for savings. This is why I believe that person is fabricating a story. I believe something else is going on, namely her spouse is gambling the money, or using drugs, or spending it on something else. I enjoy when you share readers letters, but think this one is full of shit! These letters are not about cars vs. bikes, they are just made up bs!

  • Stacey July 17, 2014, 8:29 pm

    A big thank you to Mrs. Troll for generating such lively conversation.

    A side note to the furniture-impaired: go to estate sales!

  • TwoPupsOnACouch July 17, 2014, 10:14 pm

    I would also love to hear from MrsMMM! I would love some frugality tips from her and I miss her writing.
    Also, mustachianism is about efficient spending on what really matters, not zero spending. Couldn’t this lady compromise with her husband by French pressing her Starbucks grind at home? Or maybe she can get a couch from a moving sale/Craig’s list/ habitat for humanity ReStore/consignment shop/ or at the very worst Ikea As Is (store model) department? If her husband does care for going out to eat they could get a camping grill and eat at a different beautiful place every night. Or maybe get a grocery store salad bar dinner and eat in the grocery store’s cafe. Or they could do picnics. Or make fun dinners, like make your own yogurt parfait for dinner ect. There’s always a way. My husband and I loved going out to eat. But one of us has type 1 diabetes, so we can not longer eat out nor can we skip meals without risking diabetic coma. I now am the proud owner of a plug in car oven, camping grill, awesome cooler backpack, bento boxes, and multipurpose spork. Look those up. We have wonderful meals while visiting the beach, caverns, greenhouses, zoo, and see other states as we see fit. And we very rarely eat in a restaurant, although we’re always eating somewhere beautiful. You’d be surprised how many public eating spaces there are, you just have to develop your skill in looking for them.

  • Laura July 17, 2014, 10:40 pm

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

  • tinkypop July 18, 2014, 12:46 am

    Maybe her husband is too hardcore with his MMM obsession. I am the wife and experienced the reverse situation – I found the MMM blog and wanted to immediately implement all ideas into our lives. Trying to change my longtime consumerist husband was extremely difficult and I had to give up. But then slowly over time he started coming my way. It look about 2 years. Now we do discuss a lot of the concepts and the other day he even said “People buy things new when they can get things cheaper second hand which are just as good” like he had just discovered something that no one in the rest of the world knows. We have also agreed to leave our super expensive city in 5 years (when his daughter from a previous relationship is grown and there’s no need to stay for shared care of her) because as he said to me “why should we bust a gut paying a mortgage here for 25 years when we can move to a cheaper city and be mortgage free straight away”. I have accepted I’ll never live a Mustachian life because it’s just not him. But we found a middle ground and the concepts of this blog really helped us do that. I guess what I’m saying is that when husbands and wives are far apart on Mustachian ideas, there is hope to reach a middle ground and I hope that this young couple can find their own middle ground. :-)

  • Alicia July 18, 2014, 12:58 am

    As a woman, I feel let down by this post. There is nothing soft about me-excpet my love for the people in my life. This is becuase I have my priorities in order. I do not spend my time on any couch nor in an SUV-Im living my life fully (with my partner and family) and enjoying the journey to our destination along the way. I do not want to be soft-I want to have a firm body from cycling everywhere nad kepeing active and have a firm grip on my values. Changing your perception from what you dont have to what you have and stand to gain in this world, will keep you happier than any comfy couch!

  • Carrie July 18, 2014, 2:10 am

    I’m amazed that anyone would interpret the MMM blog as being for men only, and I also think that the person who wrote that email misunderstood the word ‘soft’ (when you criticise someone for being soft, you don’t mean their physical texture!). I’m a woman and I think this is an excellent blog. Also, I’m definitely the frugality instigator in our house, although so far my boyfriend has been lovely about jumping on board.

  • Suvi July 18, 2014, 2:45 am

    I really think she’s for real, and also, she’s a she. So she thinks badassity is only for men (hard to overcome this one I’ll grant it), well she doesn’t really read the blog, remember? She just hears about it form overly enthusiastic DH. Things I heard her saying:

    ” I thought I was the most wonderful spouse on the planet because we recently paid off 6 years of student loans” = Yes I try, and still dont’ get any credit or thanks for it.

    ” (I was secretly pleased that he was doing this at work during his time and not in the evenings during our time.)” “I now watch movies by myself. He lays beside me with one eye on the screen and one eye on his computer.” = No “us” time, no attention, perhaps lack of intimacy.

    “I am watching all of my dreams of a mommyhood .. go up in smoke”.”When we have little kiddos, I want to be able to keep everything they could possible need in there..” ” I would be okay being poor if I could stay home and have babies or….” = Need I even say it? Babies babies babies. She really wants to be a mom already, and her husband wants to do it MMM-style, so it would take years and years. This is probably the biggest issue here.

    I really think she should talk with her husband once more about having a child, they probably have already. Maybe I read more to this than I should, but this reminded me of myself before getting pregnant with our first. I’m the woman in my family (as you could gender-biasly guess from the kitchen psychology), I’m more frugal than my husband otherwise, but a child is something you really can’t outmeasure in money.

    And as for her being a troll due to a spelling error: My comment surely has many, and maybe some weird terms, as I am not native (she might speak say swedish as her mother tongue).

  • Stef July 18, 2014, 3:18 am

    I enjoyed this post. I think the hubs has gone too far in the wrong places. It is good to follow mmm, but he needs to support some of her spending. I’d say she deserves a good bed….they’d use it everyday. Not sure about the car, but she doesn’t like her car. So in a way, that is a waste. She should have some freedoms to have a coffee once in awhile. He is imposing his ways upon her rather than giving her some freedoms to chose this lifestyle on her own. Perhaps he needs to find ways to make his wife feel pampered. I’d rather wake up to hubs making me a cup of coffee on a weekend and enjoy it in bed than go out for one. But occasionally, I like a treat too.

  • Chris July 18, 2014, 7:08 am

    I wonder why Mrs. Mustache is not involved in the discussion.
    She could certainly provide some first class arguments.

    IMO the letter writer blames MMM for communication issues with her husband.
    They do not seem to be able to agree on priorities and goals.
    How sad.

  • Angry German July 18, 2014, 7:14 am

    This is my new favorite post. Mrs. C sounds like she could be a younger version of my wife. Though I feel this could still be a troll, I can assure you that if not her sentiments towards the beloved Tahoe, and remaining soft, are quite genuine and there is no tongue-in-cheek light hearted humor there.

    A year ago I found your blog and consumed every page with wreckless abandon. A year later I’ve paid off one of two remaining “bad” debts, and am now focusing on paying for my daughter’s ivy league college tuition.

    In the year since I’ve finished reading your blog I’ve jumped on every opportunity life has thrown at me towards the purpose of “Selling the Dream” to my wife of nearly 20 years. While I thought I’d managed to make some headway, this morning as I checked my account balances from our rented vacation condo, I fear none of that work has been worthwhile as I discover the day before we departed on our (required?) annual trip to the redneck riviera she dropped a staggering $195 at the salon for the fourth time in nearly as many months. My efforts at slowly weaning her off the spending teat are clearly not working.

    While I’m holding out hope, I have to posit that some are simply too endoctrinated into the consumerism cult to “receive the word”. I’m near to resigning myself to defeat and turning back to my previous ways of being frugal which involved keeping Mrs. German in the dark about our finances. In fact I think I have probably waited too long, as I sent her a resounding message earlier this year when we paid off all our credit card debt, and I suggested she quit her job as her wages are roughly equivalent to what we were paying against that. I gave her the full speech on having acheived her freedom, how the days of coming home and discussing the pitfalls of her job with me could be behind her. I also thew in the suggestion that if she didn’t quit she could reward herself by saving her wages and in a few months have enough cash on hand to purchase her beloved SUV. Which did she choose? Neither. Now our discussions about purchasing a vehicle consist of me biting my tongue as I gently point out how we have nothing saved for a downpayment against another adventure in consumer stupidity (a loan for a used auto).

    So MMM, I hereby challeng you to combine the “Selling the Dream” post with “Frugal vs. Cheap” in a coherent body that my wife could consume without being offended. I eagerly await your first, second and 50th draft.

    I came to the conclusion that some never will see the difference between spending money and making monthly payments when Mrs. German saw a commercial yesterday for some rent-to-own company, and engaged me in debate over why we dont have (whatever gadget they were renting at rates akin to extortion). I hate to spill the rancid smell of pragmatism on your blog, but some truly are beyond help.

  • Joseph L. July 18, 2014, 7:22 am

    Hmm, I feel like she’s taking out her marital dissagreements on an innocent, or at least mostly innocent, bystander. She admits that her husband was already a mustachian block before he found the mustachian hole. If he hadn’t found this blog he would have found another to support his cheapness. This should be settled by conversations between the two where they both give a little to come to a place that’s mutually agreeable to each other. Sending this e-mail is like sending a cease and desist e-mail to the democratic convention because you disagree with your spouses political leanings.

    Also, on the subject of SUVs: If everyone had an SUV than they wouldn’t be able to see two cars ahead. And maybe give those curbs a little extra room? I don’t have very good depth perception and yet for two years I lived in an apartment that only had parallel parking. I never got in any accidents because I just left more room than I thought I needed. Maybe spending $30-50 grand, plus the extra gas money, so that you don’t have to worry about watching out for solid objects isn’t a great idea? Just a thought…

    On the subject of inflatable sofas however? Knife that thing. Knife it and get a new couch.

  • Ellie July 18, 2014, 8:51 am

    I don’t believe she is a troll. Maybe she exaggerates a bit for humorous effect. Anyway, as one of many female Mustachians, I agree that she should keep (some of) her finances separate and go buy a decent couch. Not to insult anyone who likes inflatable sofas!

    Me, I need to work on being less soft and more muscular. I did recently clean off and tune up my bike, so that’s a start.

  • Edith July 18, 2014, 9:15 am

    I have two grandmothers, both born in 1928, one soft and one tough. The soft one lived a sheltered life as a housewife with servants, one daughter and the only responsibility of driving to the bank now and then. She has had two knee replacements and one stroke. She uses a walker and someone needs to prepare her meals for her and help her take a bath. She’s been losing her memory. She’s had a lot of physical suffering in her old age. My tough grandma, however, lived a difficult life taking care of six children and working at the same time. Cars made her nervous so she never bothered to learn to drive, she’d take me walking all over town for a 50 cent discount on tomatoes. Today she is in perfect health and would run a marathon if she could. She takes care of countless animals adopted from the street and wakes up at 5 a.m. to tend to them. She always greets us with the most recent gossip of the moment and prepares delicious meals. My soft grandmother has a lot of money and my tough one has very little, but both of them live comfortably now. Needless to say, I love both my grandmothers but would like to grow old like the former. Maybe being tough is just natural, since our very feminine bodies reward us for it in the long term.

    • Brooke July 24, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Did you maybe mean you’d like to grow old like the latter? Just curious!

  • Maf July 18, 2014, 9:20 am

    What an amusing post. I actually really liked how the writer made her case with humor vs. contempt. :) Well played!
    As someone who has embraced a frugal lifestyle ever since I was 23 and came across The Tightwad Gazette in the book section at Target (on a fluke), I’ve lived now for almost 20 years this way. I couldn’t be happier. I used to drive Chevy’s and upgraded to a Prius. I love it. My friends make fun of me but we all laugh about it and I don’t care. We lived with second-hand furniture in our 20’s and as we paid off debt and had more saved, we would splurge once in awhile for an Ethan Allen couch. Or a very nice pair of Manolo Blahniks (my gift to myself for my 35th birthday). One of the awesome things about living this way is that you can really savor and appreciate the nice items that you decide to spend a lot of money on, and feel “less guilty” about it once you have a nice nest egg built up and don’t have to worry about paying off a credit card bill at the end of the month. 20 years in, I have less and less desire to buy *anything* honestly. More stuff=more things to take care of, store, clean, and/or move.
    But the knowledge that if I wanted to buy something and that I have the means to is priceless.
    So take heart–try it out–splurge on a few things that are important to you, and enjoy your life. Good luck! :)

  • Kio July 18, 2014, 9:45 am

    This was really interesting. As a woman I love MMM, but I also understand that women aren’t homogenous, and that for some women it could be off-putting. I was sort of mustachian before finding MMM, and my first intro to the concept was from a woman who writes this site:


    She is also from Canada, and has an absolutely AMAZING wardrobe of designer clothes, shoes, and purses! She travels the world! Yet, she is self-made FI as well. She is extremely frugal in all aspects of her life, except for fashion and travel.

    It was from her that I initial learned the concepts of purchase scrutinizing and only spending money where it really truly makes you happy!

    I think the woman in this post might enjoy her blog. Different strokes for different folks, but conveying the same message of true happiness and FI.

  • Colin July 18, 2014, 10:08 am

    This is the first time I’ve busted out laughing upon loading the MMM homepage. The image directly below the “Is Mr. Money Mustache ruining your marriage?” heading was of a 1991-1996 Buick Roadmaster/Chevy Caprice wagon WHICH IS A CAR I’M LOOKING AT BUYING SOON. It’s for a specific purpose and will have fairly few miles put on it (second car, primary car is a ’99 3-cyliner Metro with 154,000 miles that gets about 47MPG average city/highway) because obviously a gigantic behemoth like that is extremely silly for standard suburban travel. It’s a gas guzzler at 25MPG on the highway, but it’s pretty great in terms of massive internal cargo space and barrier to entry (can find a nice one for under two grand). I do all my own work on cars, so it makes no sense to pay the premium to get anything from this century.

    And it was my girlfriend that suggested it. I think our future marriage will be just fine. Mr. Money Mustache called a car that we’re considering a “hoopty”. Could there be any greater compliment?

  • Leslie July 18, 2014, 10:26 am

    If the little things make you happy you will eventually embrace your inner Mustachian because you will look at the world differently. Someone sees 4,000 sq. foot house as a dream home, but you see needless waste of space and too much time with maintenance.

    Regarding scrounging for living room furniture: on trash night about 10 years ago we saw a wood/leather Eames style recliner, (circa 1960), on the curb. We rang the bell to ask if we could have it. They said, yes, but the recliner mechanism is broken and it falls back. My husband fixed it so it reclines, we cleaned the leather, and it is the most comfortable chair in the house. At first, I was embarrassed to tell people we were collecting free chairs on trash night so kept it a secret. Now, I tell everyone that I have seen those chairs on e-bay for 500.00.

  • Chris I July 18, 2014, 10:35 am

    This is either a troll, or this woman embodies much of what is wrong with America today. Her letters were cringe-worthy, and make me glad that my wife is on board with the MMM approach to life.

  • Jenni July 18, 2014, 10:36 am

    The husband seems very controlling and also possibly very unhappy in his job.

    If they just paid off what was probably staggering student debt, they should have done something to celebrate, whether it was getting a real couch, new mattress, or going out to eat. She needs to seriously talk with hubby or they won’t make it. They need to agree to save and invest a certain amount or % of their income and stop sweating the small stuff. And if they are an NP and an orthodontist, a lot of this is small stuff. I’d guess a variation of E. Warren’s recommendations from All Your Worth, which I think were 20% saving, 30% needs, 20% wants but would switch to 50 saving, 30 needs, 20 wants… And separate accounts for the wants. He needs to treat his wife like an adult and a partner and she needs to act like one.

    I really wonder if he is very unhappy in his job and that’s the issue with his sudden MMM crush. He wants out and doesn’t feel like he can express his unhappiness considering how much time and money he spent getting there.

    My husband is a farmer and we have separate accounts. We split household bills and it just works better for us. In their case it would help deal with what I see as some control and power issues. We don’t always have the same interests (hubby will farm until he dies, which is very typical, I would like to travel the world) but we have shared values and shared goals. I’m hoping this couple can reach a point where they can say the same.

    • Jenni July 18, 2014, 10:43 am

      Can’t get editing to work but the correct Warren formula is 30% wants/flexible spending, 50% fixed spending, 20% savings.

  • Stacey July 18, 2014, 10:57 am

    Over one-third of our furniture is from the curb that my dad or I retrieved from the clutches of the garbage man and refinished. Two of the best finds were his: a gorgeous oak (antique, not 80s “new”) kitchen table with tapered legs. At first he could only find 3 legs in the garbage, but kept digging and digging, holding his breath. Voila! there was #4 in a different can. The second best find was a pine pie hutch. Although I now know better than to strip original finishes on antiques, I had him refinish it just w/poly so the pine would show. It was my 1st piece of furniture for my apartment and I used it to store sweaters (back in the go-go 80s when sweaters were the bomb!). To this day, I still have my sweaters in it. And some are from the 80s!

    My parents always kept us fed and clothed and educated well, but we never had the “extras” of travels. I guess that’s why to this day that’s our marital budget buster. However their best gift was learning there’s a different path to your goals than the obvious “go to the store and spend money” to buy furniture or fill in the blank.

  • Josh July 18, 2014, 11:00 am

    Perhaps she doesn’t care for the term(s) “Mustachian” or “Mustachianism.” If so I can certainly understand some frustration with those terms as they are ridiculous considering we are talking about frugality here.

    I do prefer a frugal lifestyle, but I view the above as an attempt to brand what frugal people have already been doing long before “Mustachianism.” (nothing personal against MMM. I thoroughly enjoy the site.)

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow Jeff July 18, 2014, 11:01 am

    MMM, take a look at who is #11 of the Top 30 Most Influential People in Personal Finance and Wealth!


    As an anti-populist this is somewhat sad for me. I am relatively new to your blog but I found it and love it, it’s like when you hear a song a year before it get popular and you don’t really want it to get too popular because then the radio/pandora/everyone else is going to wear it out for you.

    Anyway, congratulations!

    • 5 O'Clock Shadow Jeff July 18, 2014, 11:22 am

      Anti-populist or not, I wholeheartedly encourage you to overcome at least Dave and Suze!

    • Stacey July 18, 2014, 12:12 pm

      Congrats on the achievement! You must overtake Ramsey.

  • Eastern_European July 18, 2014, 11:08 am

    Dear MMM!

    First of all, thank you for your blog, its a huge inspiration for me. In fact, a life and perspective changer.
    The moment I read the title of your new article I started to giggle. Reading your posts for about a year, it was clear some “complainypants” attitude is coming our way.
    Where to start?
    Living in the capital of Hungary, and having stayed long-term in many cities in different states of EasternEurope I think I can add new perspective to mustachianism and frugality for folks living in the USA.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly that to “scrape by” on 40-50K/year is absolute nonsense.
    The prices in Budapest are similar to those in US (e.g. a small flat costs about 60-80k USD, a nice flat of 100sq metres about 200k USD, gasoline nearly the double of that in US, although healthcare and service are cheapear ). BUT, average wages are significantly lower (e.g. a physician makes about 700-1500 USD/month a high school teacher, about 500-800 USD/month). In conclusion: people with average incomes in the US are victims of their (ehmm…) lets say unfortunate lifestyle choices.
    Here its more dificult to make decent money. To be honest, I made more than average for the last few years. Unfortunately, my stupidity bought me a brand new car on leasing. And I had numerous purchases of “stuff” and small luxuries. In the end (2-3 years ago) I was like: “What the f… am I doing?”
    I felt stressed from work and unhappy to the core. Then, last year I ran into the MMM and ERE blogs. This started it all. I got the face punch too, as my bussiness slowed down and my income decreased. Yes again,it”s true: necessity is the real mother of badassity.
    To answer your (rhetoric?) question: I do believe not everyone can be turned “upside down” to enjoy frugal life. Its about our minds. Our reality. Its so much fun to observe how our perceptions of the same reality are so different. Funny, when people complaining about their work constantly can not accept the idea of leaving work sooner.
    Yes, “choosing the right man/woman” is crucial to happiness. I was over 30 when I married and thank god and my beloved wife:) its no problem for us to lower our expenses. We were spending about 2200 USD/month, but we are down to 1600/month. Its like an obsession when you start the journey of frugality. Finding new ways of increasing my income makes me happy. Before I thought about increasing in hundreds/thousands of dollars. Now I am happy when I save 15USD with cooking at home. The vision of early retirement is much more than a Chevy Tahoe for us.

    Understanding the difference between asset and liability, and adjusting our habits is the key.
    You can workout regularly for free. Read and motivate yourself on the internet for free.
    Its same here than in L.A. The flashy car wins :) But as Kristina wrote above: after a few months of being in debt you understand whats being a wage slave. I think its a matter of choice. In about 10 years we will live a much freer life. Only to think of this makes me happier. I see it so vividly, that I am already living as a free man.
    Thanks Mr. Money Mustache, wish your family all the best and keep on the “good work”!

    The Eastern_European

  • Brian July 18, 2014, 11:41 am

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

    This line is both funny, and gets to the heart of most objections to Mustachianism. I happen to think this is why it will remain an unconventional lifestyle; people can’t see that Mustachianism doesn’t ask you give up everything cool and fun. It just asks you to be more discerning and learn to appreciate time at the beach rather than the car you drive to get there.

    • 5 O'Clock Shadow Jeff July 18, 2014, 3:17 pm


      Cliche-ly, I truly believe that the best things in life are free but most people seem to think that they have to buy the homogenous “happiness” package that a company mass produces. I suppose you have to be quasi-creative to come up with unique things to do that don’t cost money but are equally, if not more, satisfying/fulfilling.

  • Anthony McDougle July 18, 2014, 11:47 am

    It looks like others have said the same thing here, but I think her issue isn’t with the MMM lifestyle, but rather the *extreme* to which her husband’s gone to. Mr. Money Mustache, after all, does go to quite a frugality extreme that I don’t think most people would be comfortable with — and even then, it sounds like this couple is going further! A raggedy inflatible couch and broken hubcaps? Probably not necessary.

    It sounds like she just needs to talk to her husband about easing up with the restrictions. There’s a huge difference between having a budget, really thinking about “do I need this?” at every purchase, and living in outright “forced” poverty. For example, I have a nice house, a gas guzzler of a truck, and I spend some very expensive nights out with my friends more often than I wish I did, and yet I still save 30-50% of my money each paycheck (and almost have enough to buy my next rental property!).

    I’d also suggest to avoid the “pinching pennies” mindset. I kinda like Paula Pant’s (on AffordAnything.com) “anti-budget” mindset, where you simply move a certain fraction of your money into a savings account at the start of each pay period, and force yourself to live on the rest (I think MMM has some articles where he mentions that your consumption will grow to fill the void you create for it or something? So if you have $100 to spend this week, you’ll likely spend all of it and no more, but if you have $500, you’ll find yourself buying extra stuff without thinking and end up spending all of that). Any strategy that helps you save more money and think about your finances less helps the process to be less stress-inducing, especially if you’re not a “frugal” type.

    It’s all about balance — what can you live without and still be happy and comfortable, and what makes you truly happy? If she wants that Tahoe, get it! Just buy an older, less expensive one, and maybe only use it for carting the kids around. If she wants fancy pottery barn things, then talk it over and set up a budget — or better yet, wait until you have ample cash reserves saved up/invested, and then buy it (as stated in “The Millionaire Next Door” — most of the truly rich buy luxuries *after* they have wealth, while most people trapped in the “rat race” buy those things to try and *look* wealthy when they’re not).

    • Eldred July 18, 2014, 3:31 pm

      “So if you have $100 to spend this week, you’ll likely spend all of it and no more, but if you have $500, you’ll find yourself buying extra stuff without thinking and end up spending all of that). Any strategy that helps you save more money and think about your finances less helps the process to be less stress-inducing, especially if you’re not a “frugal” type.”

      I’d think that would induce even MORE stress if you budgeted a certain amount for a category and ran out… Now you have to figure out what funds you can move around to survive for the rest of the month, or whatever time period.

      • Anthony McDougle July 21, 2014, 8:45 am

        I can definitely see how someone might feel that way about it, and I’d say that if it stresses you out then definitely don’t take my advice!

        I know from my own experience that after a few months, I was able to figure out basically how much money I spent each pay period on necessities — bills, food, gas, etc. I just make sure I have enough for that in my checking account so that I don’t have to worry about any of that. I then make sure I have maybe one or two hundred extra for entertainment (going out for drinks, buying stuff, etc.) with the expectation that I’m not likely to spend $200 on just entertainment in a two week time span. These numbers can obviously vary based on the individual’s needs.

        If I have $500 or $1000 extra in my checking out, I’m likely to see some fancy item at a store or in an online ad and think, “you know what? I definitely have the money to buy that…” I may or may not buy it, but it’s far more tempting when the money’s just sitting there, waiting to be spent.

        If an emergency arises and I need to pay for a car repair, home repair, medical expense, etc., I do still have that money in savings, and I can make the transfer easily and immediately, even using my phone. Same with big ticket items like a vacation, a new TV, etc. It’s not like I *can’t* spend that extra money — it’s still mine. It’s just easier to convince myself not to when it’s not readily available (at least, I make it feel that way by putting the money in savings).

        But this is what works for me; everyone’s different and has different opinions on what works.

  • Chris July 18, 2014, 11:48 am

    Reading this letter was uncomfortable. This lady is clearly under duress. Her marriage might even be at risk because of the changes MMM wrought in her husband. My horror was magnified when I scrolled down and saw that so many of the comments here are insensitive and dehumanizing. Why are so many Mustachians laughing at her plight? There’s nothing funny about this letter! “Enraged Reader” reached out to MMM because she feels cornered. Suddenly, her husband has shifted his attitude toward money and saving, and she feels like her voice isn’t being heard. The only way she can see out of her situation is to convince MMM to shut down his blog and stop her husband from reading MMM articles forever.

    Certainly, the Mustachian part of me knows that this lady has some learning to do. It definitely makes me sad to see the ‘I want to be up higher’ argument for SUV ownership, and there are a dozen other places her attitude could be improved. Still, readers here need to acknowledge that just because this lady wants to own an SUV doesn’t make her stupid, or make her emotions less valid! Rather than insult her by dismissing her as a worthless Complainypants, I think commentors here would do would to practice empathy for a fellow human being.

    • brooke July 24, 2014, 2:29 pm

      I don’t know, I mean I think you have to choose when writing something like that as she did which direction to go with it. If she wanted true empathy and real advice, she should have steered away from the sarcastic and whiny tone. Listing solid, well-founded reasons for wanting an SUV and a nice couch (such as, I’d like to have a peaceful place to entertain friends and family, etc) would have earned her a much less ridiculed response. I’m a woman and don’t take her seriously at all – especially her assertions about femininity.

  • Andréa July 18, 2014, 1:47 pm

    I think the couple has inverse interests.
    The husband, it seems, thinks only of saving money.
    There is, what really is the lifestyle Frugal.
    Need to talk, and listen to on the subject.
    For problems with money, just thousands of weddings.

  • Sarah C July 18, 2014, 2:46 pm

    I’ll just chime in to note one more example (me) of a wife who does the finances and leads in frugality and a husband (mine) who follows along because it’s awesome (and so is he; didn’t take a lot to convince him we need to save more dough). Sorry for this gal that she married someone with whom she doesn’t share basic values about how to live – that’s the real issue here, not “woman” vs. “man.” (And seriously, Lady, think about stereotypes before you type!!)

  • Nora July 18, 2014, 5:22 pm

    To start with, I just wanted to say that I’m a woman in my early 20s, and I love this blog. The idea that it’s not applicable to women is total bullshit. However, I have been looking around the internet for other financial independence blogs, and all the ones I’ve found so far are by male authors. They’re definitely interesting, but I’m really curious to hear the stories of the badass ladies out there. Because the thing is, I want to have my own career, I want to become financially independent, and I want to have kids some day. But I have this nagging worry that as a mother, being financially independent would start to feel a lot more like being a stay-at-home mom, which is something I’ve never wanted for myself (although obviously it’s a great life choice for many).  I particularly worry about this in the event that I marry someone who likes their work and doesn’t want to retire early.  Can any mustachians out there speak to this? Can anyone point me towards some worthwhile blogs by women?

    • Jo July 20, 2014, 7:19 am

      I’ve been reading MMM’s blog for about 2 years now and have never felt compelled to comment–until now. So, one semi-badass 30-something lady here ready to answer your questions. I see a lot of myself in you at your age. All I can say is time, circumstances, and especially children, have a way of changing even the most professionally driven early 20-something. Therefore, the best way to financially prepare for the future is to set yourself up so that you can do what you want when you want (be it work, not work, or something in between). I recommend following as much of MMM’s advice as you can handle in order to reach that goal. I have a young son and still work more than full time but plan to quit my full-time job in less than 6 months. My husband and I have accomplished this by having a goal of FI, forgoing spending on completely frivolous items like luxury vehicles and very expensive homes (which most of my friends have), paying off mortgages, saving approximately 50% of our income over the past few years, and having alternate streams of income that don’t require working full time (rental properties and National Guard). I hope this advice helps and if you have any further questions, feel free to ask. I’ll try to check this blog post and answer.

    • Ms. Must-Stash July 21, 2014, 8:34 pm

      Nora, this is a great point! I too would enjoy hearing from more strong women who have this whole career/family/FI thing figured out. Personally, I really enjoy having a career and honestly would not be a good stay-at-home Mom, especially to babies/toddlers (I figured that out during maternity leave with kid #1 – couldn’t WAIT to go back to work because it meant that I could use both hands at the same time, eat when I was hungry, and other “trivial” things that I just couldn’t figure out how to do while juggling an infant at the same time). However now that my daughter is getting close to 4 years old she is WAY more fun (just being honest here – of course I loved her as a baby but she is SO much more fun as a little kid) and now I wish I had a lot more flexibility to be with her during the day. Although even if I were FI already (which I’m not, although on track to do this in approx. 10 years by my mid-40s) and able to stay at home with her round the clock, I would still put her in pre-school just to have creative time for myself.

  • Adam July 18, 2014, 7:40 pm

    While I will be the first to admit that my wife and I are not nearly as frugal as I would like us to be, one solution we have come up with to head off arguments over personal spending that the other finds superfluous is a “mad money” allowance. Whether it be used to buy the odd latte or craft beer, or saved to purchase a completely unnecessary wardrobe upgrade it may help keep the less enthusiastic saver on board and keep the more enthusiastic saver less judgemental. It may mean you only save 65% of your income rather than 70% but if it helps keep everybody sane and friendly I think it’s worth it. While I may choose to save my “mad money” and my wife might spend hers on clothes from the second hand store, I no longer feel jealous or irritated by said spending choices because I know that the spending is finite whereas before I felt betrayed whenever I saw a new purchase. I am not suggesting a particular amount but I am suggesting putting a little cash aside that you both are comfortable with so the less moustachian spouse can spend a little without being made to feel guilty.

  • Jason July 18, 2014, 10:50 pm

    Awesome post. I occasionally feel like I’ve been in this scenario with my wife, but I think this only happens when I get overexcited and start trying to make radical changes (including an occasional overshoot to cheap vs frugal). I think it’s only natural that the other half would get a bit of shock factor, and probably start defending even more strongly their life style.

    Taking baby steps is probably a better way to approach this – although it’s hard when you feel like you’ve stumbled on to something completely life- changing. Being patient and slowly trying to share the benefits of more frugal changes might have helped a little more here, but must admit I do find it a challenge myself, even after testing out the wisdom in ”selling the dream of frugality’.

  • Joanna July 18, 2014, 11:14 pm

    MMM ~ So much of the original email post resonates with me – in that I was raised around extreme frugal (aka cheapness) and have spent an adulthood trying to overcome the extremes I developed during my childhood. Binge and Purge….in a financial sense. Before anyone thinks one cannot develop these type of issues in childhood I will present a TRUE life example from the religous cultish-type world of frugality in which I was born… One of my friends, Danny, was raised in a “supreme” frugal home in which the father’s commanding thriftiness reigned. I knew that all clothes, shoes, essentials that could be bought at the junk store or thrift store were bought once a year. Four children (3 girls/one boy) and the father only bought one size clothing for all the girls to share. It was ridiculous as the girls ranged in size from 6-12 as preteens. So, he bought the largest size and the smaller girls used safety pins to hold up their skirts and blouses. They NEVER used the AC or heater, they owned one car which only the dad could use so everyone else walked (this was not in a very rural area). I thought nothing could shock me but the day that Danny told our preteen group that he was excited to go home because it was ‘bath’ day still causes me to burn with anger. As Danny explained, his father only allowed the bathtub to be filled up ONCE a week. He filled it up when he came home from working in the dusty, dirty factory and he used it first. Then, the remaining family members took their baths in the SAME dirty water! I still gag thinking about it. And let me tell you ~ those women were abused. They were servants to that man and his weirdness. They all lived miserable lives. And Danny never married…turned into a miser just as his dad. Probably has millions stacked away somewhere but chooses to live like a hermit in an old home (his father’s house) that is falling down around him. I wonder if he still only takes one bath a week?
    All this to say ~ people can and do take frugality to a level of insanity in which they imprison those around them. I feel for the original poster and hope she does not feel ‘imprisoned’ and by default, abused by her husband. Life is too precious and time too valuable to use money (lack or not) as a weapon to destroy one’s relationships.

    • WageSlave July 20, 2014, 2:17 pm

      “…he was excited to go home because it was ‘bath’ day… his father only allowed the bathtub to be filled up ONCE a week. He filled it up when he came home from working in the dusty, dirty factory and he used it first. Then, the remaining family members took their baths in the SAME dirty water!”

      I guess, where do you draw the line? A few weeks (months?) ago there was a post suggesting daily showering is over-indulgent and wasteful, a hedonistic adaptation. There was a section of comments where people were basically one-upping each other with how infrequently they bathed. Kudos went to the most efficient of them all, the guy who suggested the “navy shower”: using cold water, you turn it on only long enough to wet your body. Lather up, then you get one more quick blast of cold water to rinse. (Think about the extreme water conservation that is required for a months-long submarine mission.) How many navy showers does one full bathtub represent?

      Humankind survived for thousands of years without warm, clean running water. Even in the modern world I’d wager that a daily warm shower with drinkable water is a privilege enjoyed only by the middle class and up in wealthy countries. Drinkable water is of course a limited resource: if it doesn’t come from a natural underground well, it requires energy to filter. One of the top (maybe *the* top?) sources of energy usage in the average household is heating water. Plus some extra environmental impact for the manufacture and distribution of soap and shampoo, towels and washcloths.

    • brooke July 24, 2014, 2:33 pm

      This makes me so sad for those women and their brother. High school is hard enough place without having to wear ill-fitting clothing and only bathe once a week, especially in the throes of hormones and acne! That father did his girls a huge disservice by demonstrating that only a man has control of the things they want/need.

  • Miles Dividend MD July 18, 2014, 11:57 pm

    I love this post.

    I particularly enjoyed the parts written by the enraged reader.

    She made her points in a humerous, witty, and honest way. Not everyone is cut out to be a mustachian. Happiness is different things to different people.

    In my view the best thing would be for her to experiment with a completely non-mustachian lifestyle for a few years and see if it brings her happiness. If so, great! She’s already won and found her path to shangri-la. If not then perhaps she will be open to buying freedom instead of commodities.

    The only concern is the marriage. She and her Mustachian dentist seem to have very different expectations and values.

    Perhaps she can develop her own career and recklessly spend once he reaches FIRE?

    Good stuff.


  • 6ftmustache July 19, 2014, 1:32 am

    I am another female Mustachian and more so than my other half. I am happy to be hard vs soft and sometimes soft vs hard. I think it’s downright wrong to say Mustachianism is a male thing, although reading this makes me consider the fact that the imagery (mustache) is fundamentally male. (Yes women can have mustaches but it’s not seen as desirable really is it? Plus I’m too blonde to be able to grow a real life one).

  • The Idiot July 19, 2014, 7:07 am

    “I have friends that have the same problem and also want SUVs.”

    Root cause of problem right there. The SUV and consumer circle of support.


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