Lessons in Badassity from a Night in Houston

almondsThe great thing about this unusual lifestyle you and I lead is that it automatically reinforces and rebuilds itself from all directions. Although Mustachianism is built on the idea of embracing hardship, it becomes so automatic that it is soon the only way you could imagine living. Because of this amazing tendency, it is often easier to live on 25% of a professional income (and save the other 75%) than it is to try to scrape by on 90% and save 10.

Everything just falls into balance once you get the basic philosophy, and today I have brought a little Story about a recent experience, which is annotated with links to all the other articles that fill in the background of what is really happening. For the full experience, you can right-click each one and open it in a new tab, then go on to catch up after you have finished this story.

Not long ago, I found myself in the semitropical metropolis of Houston on a steaming summer afternoon. It was just a flight transfer on the way to Ecuador, but this time there was some trouble in store for those of us on the plane.

The jet was pointing straight down the runway and I was looking forward to a timely departure. But instead of the excellent blast of power followed by liftoff, we just kept idling. And idling. After quite some time, the pilot crackled on to the speakers to inform us all that we had to wait out some thunderstorms. And sure enough, I saw lightning bolts here and there, shooting from a line of clouds off in the distance. The rest of the sky was clear.

This tarmac delay dragged on for two hours. The sun went down. One engine was eventually powered down. My longish limbs were folded politely into a miniature middle seat way back in the cheap section of a United Airlines plane. Stretching whatever body parts I had room to move, I pondered the consequences of this delay. I sent an email to the people I was expecting to meet at the Quito airport to let them know I’d be late. Hopefully not too late.

I really don’t like sitting still for too long, and I’ve already been up for two little walkaround breaks and a wee bit of second breakfast since I started writing this article. But there in that seat, I found myself perfectly content as I had cracked open a can of Stoicism much earlier in the day and been mentally sipping on it ever since.

“This may not be my idea of perfect comfort and convenience”, I reminded myself, “But it is infinitely nicer than starving to death (or being eaten), and indeed it is just a tiny blip in a life of incredible good fortune.

Dude, you are on your way to South America to meet an amazing group of people, an experience you earned by occasionally typing some shit into the computerThis is what you do instead of working now. Can you remind me what you are complaining about as your healthy body sits in a padded chair awaiting the takeoff of this immense flying machine?”


Reminding yourself of your blessings is an essential part of any worthwhile life philosophy, and Stoicism is just one of my own personal favorites alongside Buddhism and some of their more modern incarnations.

The flight was eventually canceled and our jet sulked back to the gate to disgorge its unhappy cargo into the terminal building. “We’re sorry folks, but the flight will run tomorrow morning at 7:00 am.” All 200 passengers immediately formed a spectacularly long line at the service desk, perhaps to request flight rebooking or a credit towards overnight accommodation.

I watched the line for a short while and noticed that it took almost a minute to process each person. A quick back of the napkin calculation told me that this could be a 3-hour wait, and it was already 10:00 in the evening. Besides the fact that I don’t do lineups, I had been up since five that morning and knew that the chance for a night’s sleep was rapidly eroding.

Luckily, technology and psychology were there to save the day. Since I had a Republic Wireless smartphone with an unlimited data plan in my pocket (no good wi-fi in Houston), I was able to confirm booking on the next morning’s flight, making that immense lineup completely optional.  Then I used the phone to find the nearest hotel, a Mariott Courtyard just a few miles away. At $115 per night, it was a bit of an unplanned expense. But thanks to the Gift of Not Worrying about Money, I paid it with glee, thankful that I had the luxury of purchasing a bit more sleep when it was most needed. Besides, everything about this trip would be fully tax deductible, thanks to the Joy of Self Employment. I headed out to find some transportation.

Bypassing the gigantic lineup at the taxi stand, I fired up the Uber application on my phone and called for a driver (I have amassed a surplus of free ride credits so all my trips under $20 are free). Since modern transportation options aren’t allowed in the taxi pickup area, I had to sprint a fair distance through the evening heat with my heavy backpack and hop over a few hedges to get to a suitable meeting point. It was sweaty work, but I viewed it as an ideal caveman workout, Mark’s Daily Apple Style. Instead of cursing the humidity, I viewed it as a positive opportunity to work on heat tolerance, which is the world’s most efficient air conditioner.

The Uber driver and I had a great conversation during our short time together and exchanged life stories and 5-star ratings. Stepping at last into the air conditioned hotel lobby to pick up my room card, I suddenly remembered that I had not eaten since lunch and there would be no chance for a real meal until arrival in Ecuador the next afternoon.

Again the solution materialized: I always travel with a big Ziploc of raw almonds (since I know the world is not my personal buffet), and there were still a few small handfuls remaining. While this would not be enough food to sustain a man for the next 15 hours, the situation would be considered exceptionally easy when judged by the standards of fasting.

Of all the badass concepts I have come across in recent years, fasting is one of the best. You simply shut your mouth and relish the feeling of mild (or strong) hunger instead of complaining about it. Suddenly, you can travel the world and do almost anything without the standard rich-world obsession of planning your next meal. Because if you lift up your shirt and inspect the area just above the belt, you’ll see that the next several meals are already pre-installed. The physiological and mental benefits of this are profoundly good. And as it goes for eating, so it goes for gorging upon modern luxuries of any type.

By the next morning, this eerie but educational vortex of hardship over Houston had cleared, and we took off into the clear sky without a hitch. Life since then has continued to be abundant yet inexpensive. Not because of superlative effort or any sort of smarts, but rather just because prioritizing experience and challenge over convenience and consumption is a natural human behavior if you let it develop.

A wealthy lifestyle is really built on rich habits. And it doesn’t take much of this change in attitude, to completely change your life.


Further Reading: This article in Psychology Today shows how people who can take discomfort in stride tend to have much less anxious lives.

  • Brian September 23, 2014, 3:27 pm

    A real good one, MMM. Airports are an excellent place to practice stoicism. You get the stress inherent with large crowds, lines, unexpected delays, cramped quarters, expensive and low quality food…it’s like a training gym for overcoming small problems.

  • bz September 23, 2014, 4:50 pm

  • nicoleandmaggie September 23, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Each to hir own I guess. I love trying food in new places. Yes, you can make wonderful food at home, but most of us don’t have smokers and it makes more sense to buy, say, Texas BBQ when in TX. Yum. Though when I’m traveling usually someone else is paying for my meals, so no real benefit from starving myself. I do carry food (nuts, lara bars) in case there’s only bad food around, but TX airports have some good food. I can’t remember where I like to eat in the Houston airport, but I change planes there sometimes when I’m flying United so I probably have a favorite… probably tex-mex or bbq. I’ll spend the night in an airport instead of a hotel (especially if there’s an early flight), but I won’t skip meals.

    (My dad, who puts Jacob from ERE to shame, would have gone to the local Youth Hostel as he has a lifetime membership, and would have “splurged” on something local for food and taken some with him to the next destination. Given it’s TX, probably beef jerky or something like that. Or jalepeno cheese bread. Probably where I picked up my predilection for new foods.)

  • Prudence Debtfree September 23, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Fasting is something I have accepted that I can’t do, but you’ve got me questioning that acceptance. I get REALLY cranky when I’m hungry. Perhaps I could ease myself into fasting somehow? In all the faiths that I know of, fasting is upheld as an fundamental practice. It represents a level of self-control of which, at this point, I fall very short.

  • Carter September 23, 2014, 10:04 pm

    I was surprised, and pleased, to see reference to Mark’s Daily Apple in this article. I am equally enthusiastic towards Mark’s blog as I am to MMM. My attempts to live primal / paleo often conflict with my attempts to live frugally though. Food is the number one hindrance to me reaching early retirement. I would love to be able to eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch everyday, but my health suffers when I consume foods outside of the meat and veggies spectrum. I think there are some old MMM articles that address the food subject but would be keen to see a new one with discussion around modern movements away from cheaper food options. Thanks!

  • Frugal Bazooka September 24, 2014, 12:58 am

    I was busting out a solid hour of hardcore uphill biking when a song came on that seemed to be speaking directly to the MM lifestyle. I’ve been listening to this particular song for years and years, but today I heard it in a completely different context….it has helped inspire me to get up many hills in my life!

    out here in the fields – I fight for my meals – I get my back into my living
    I don’t need to fight – to prove I’m right – I don’t need to be forgiven
    Don’t cry – Don’t raise your eye – It’s only teenage wasteland

    Sally, take my hand – travel south cross land – put out the fire
    but don’t look past my shoulder

    the exodus is here – The happy ones are near
    let’s get together – before we get much older

    (copyright 1971 The Who)

  • CTY September 24, 2014, 1:22 am

    Nothing like airports. I try to keep my expectations low.
    Just wanted to relate an airport experience my son had. He had a flight to catch to get home. He had to change planes in San Francisco. His first flight was booked tight and due to some unexpected things a flight attendant asked if he would mind sitting elsewhere. Well, he agreed and she ended up moving him 3 times. Anyway, it turned out when he got to SF, his connecting flight was cancelled. And just like MMM’s experience everyone rushed the desk to make arrangements. My son, was too tired to wait in line & figured he’d just sleep there & so found a spot. When the flight attendant saw him against the wall she went over to him to ask of his plans. She said those plans would never do, that he helped her & it was her turn to help. They walked to a nearby vacant desk & she called over a supervisor, explained how he cooperated on the flight and asked what could be done. Within 15 minutes he was booked on a late afternoon flight the next day, given a room at a very posh hotel near the airport (with complimentary full breakfast), given a food voucher of $50 at same hotel and taxi to hotel & back to the airport the next day. So he went to the hotel room ordered sushi, ate it while looking at his awesome view of SF. He slept well, had a nice hot shower, went down for breakfast and a quick walk around a bit of SF, checked out and taxi back to the airport. Karma at its best!

  • David September 24, 2014, 2:23 am

    I honestly love the MMM blog and almost all the articles are great but I do have a small question about this one. MMM, you were willing to pay $115 for 1 night stay at a hotel which is really crazy expensive but you justified it because you have already given yourself the gift of not worrying about money. But in the very next sentence you said that you only ate Almonds to avoid paying for food. It seems a better solution would be to pay $15 for the overpriced food at the airport and sleep there for free. The idea of fasting is good, but have our bodies become so weak that we need to sleep on a cushy bed every night even if it costs $115?

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 24, 2014, 9:18 am

      A good challenge, David!

      I don’t bring almonds to avoid paying for food – I eat those because they are perfect nutrition (high fat/protein, no refined carbs or sugar). This helps me avoid having to eat low-quality food. It also saves something much more valuable than money: TIME – it is a huge inefficiency to have to go seek out restaurants constantly and wait in lines just to get a few calories.

      At 10PM, there were no good food venues open in my part of the airport. And both sleep and fasting are good for you, while fast food and sleepless night on a tile floor are not.

      Of course, I COULD train to learn to sleep on hard surfaces, but in this case I used money to make up for my weakness, partly because there is surplus money these days (and I am a wimp).

      • Jessica September 24, 2014, 7:02 pm

        Re: for when you do want to learn to sleep on the floor…Learning to sleep on hard surfaces is quite easy! and sleeping on hard surfaces is really good for your body. :) Start with a logical systematic reduction in pillow height and also a systematic increase in hardness of your sleeping surface (soft bed to floor with several folded blankets to one or two folded blankets eventually to hard surface with camping pad) it will only take about 6 months to transition, and then you can stop buying beds forever! I sleep in the floor and I love it more than any bed. I am working down to eliminate the pillow, too. I could sleep without a pillow on a firm mattress but still need a thin support on the floor. (Reference katysays.com article: your pillow is an orthotic)

      • David September 25, 2014, 3:01 am

        In my short life I have slept in several airports in many different countries and normally it is not to hard to find a good place to sleep. A quite corner on the carpet or on the bench seats that don’t have armrests in between. I have never been to the Houston Airport but surely “tile floor” is not the only option.
        I started at a young age so maybe that is why sleeping in airports just comes naturally for me. I remember one time when I was 14 (traveling without parents) and I had a 16 hour overnight layover in Gatwick London airport. The Immigration officer asked where I was spending the night and when I told him I would sleep in the airport, he replied that I wasn’t allowed to do that. Being quick on my feet and a smart ass I said ok can I stay at your house? He stamped my passport and I had good nights rest in the airport.

        • Mathieu September 25, 2014, 3:19 am

          I hear that at Heathrow, they round up the sleepers and take them to one corner of Terminal 1 (I think), dim the lights and let them sleep with security not too far away.

  • David September 24, 2014, 3:13 am

    How did you get Uber to work on a Republic Wireless phone? My experience is that it won’t allow you to send the 6-digit text message required to start using Uber. The Republic Wireless website specifically says that its phones lack this function. Please share your workaround!

  • jessica September 24, 2014, 5:18 am

    What I don’t like about this article is the assumption that traveling on airlines and delays or cancellations makes everyone grumpy or automatically a complainy-pants nation. This has happened to me, friends, and family and no one has been upset over it. It’s public air travel- it’s unlikely, but expected.

    What this reads is that a slight change of plans is *completely* unexpected, thus promotes unintended uncomfortable feelings that must be out-thought and tackled and then used as a life enhancing situation. I just don’t buy that is the same for most people. I think most people are more *badass* than the assumption of this article.

    Also- hotel, taxi and access to food? I don’t understand how this is even remotely ‘badass.’

  • DB September 24, 2014, 5:51 am

    Great perspective – leads me to this question: How has your recent success changed you since your early days when you had just realized your idea? This article demonstrates that you are still grounded. But has it been difficult — money is so insidious.

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 24, 2014, 9:12 am

      I think the recent “success” (if you define that as extra money) has made me a bit lazier. Back in the early 2000s I would have just found a corner of the airport and slept on my backpack. But the positive side of this is I can spend consciously on things that occasionally work out – saying yes to social things that sound expensive, for example.

  • misterfancypantz September 24, 2014, 6:47 am

    This reminded me of something that happened to my wife a few years back…

    Unfortunately she had less options due to the international nature of the situation…

    She was flying home from a Caribbean island where you pre-clear US customs on the island so after that you are considered on US soil. The plane she was supposed to fly home on had some mechanical issues and wound up getting delayed in NYC and never wound up making it, so her flight kept getting delayed and eventually canceled. On the island it was a local holiday so at a certain point all of the local customs agents had gone home so since she had already pre-cleared US customs to do anything required clearing local customs again. Due to the holiday just about everyone cleared the out of the airport. She was communicating with me via Facebook messenger over Wi-Fi back in NYC were I was at a bar with some of her cousins having dinner waiting to pick her up after work. This was the best way to communicate at the time. Anyway at 10pm everyone left the airport, the Wi-Fi was shut down and the airport was locked with 200+ US customs pre-cleared passengers inside and only emergency lighting and water fountains , no air conditioning.

    We happen to have a family property within 20 minutes of the airport and family was still on the island, me I would have hopped the airport fence and probably broken a lot of international laws… My wife spent the night in the hot airport with no A/C or food.

    I spent entirely too much money drinking in midtown that night :(

    She was refunded her full fare, and given a voucher for the equivalent… We also wrote a letter to both the State Department and Local government.

  • Eldred September 24, 2014, 8:46 am

    “Of all the badass concepts I have come across in recent years, fasting is one of the best. You simply shut your mouth and relish the feeling of mild (or strong) hunger instead of complaining about it. Suddenly, you can travel the world and do almost anything without the standard rich-world obsession of planning your next meal. Because if you lift up your shirt and inspect the area just above the belt, you’ll see that the next several meals are already pre-installed. ”

    Love it! I probably have the next several DOZEN meals pre-installed… :-)

  • MandalayVA September 24, 2014, 8:54 am

    I was on a flight from Richmond to Cleveland going on a business trip. About halfway through the flight the pilot announced that we had to land in Pittsburgh. He didn’t say anything about an emergency landing but he sounded strange. We landed and were ordered off the plane. People were already complaining as we came into the terminal, but all it took was one look at the TVs to figure out what had happened.

    The date was September 11, 2001.

    As I stood in the terminal trying to get through to my husband on my cellphone, I was watching the line at the customer service desk. Pretty much everyone was freaked out by what was going on so it was quiet, but suddenly some woman started yelling at the CSR about how she was going to miss her flight to Hawaii and she wouldn’t be able to get her money back for it and why couldn’t the airline fly when everything was only happening in New York and Washington (the crash of the fourth plane was just starting to be reported)? The poor CSR was obviously upset, but the man behind the yeller tapped her on the shoulder. I’ll never forget his words: “Lady, you should be glad that the only thing that went wrong for you today is missing a flight. You could be in one of those buildings dead or having to decide if you wanna burn to death or jump out the window.” He got applauded, and I have never seen someone turn so red.

    I’ve only been on a cancelled flight one other time, coming back to Richmond from Florida. I got rebooked on another flight, but by the time I crossed Orlando’s ginormous terminal the flight was already sealed up. Thanks, Delta, for the nice hotel room, bottle of pinot grigio and a very delicious tuna sandwich and pasta salad. Maybe not as badass as Triple M, but I’d advise that it pays not to be a complainypants at an airline customer service desk. The people who were mean got sent to the Best Western, the nice people got Courtyard by Marriott. :D

    • JB September 24, 2014, 9:48 am

      We had friends that were in Hawaii on 9/11 trying to leave. The hotels quickly figured out nobody was coming to replace the people stuck so they gave everyone 1/2 rooms until everyone could leave.

  • shadowmoss September 24, 2014, 10:42 am

    You could have been really badass like this guy:


    His entire blog is cool about how to travel with no pre-arranged lodging and few possessions.

  • LoneStarStateWorkerBee September 24, 2014, 1:29 pm

    As a nature lover, too bad you didn’t get to spend more time on the road in our fine city. Houston is one of the world’s best places to see one of its most majestic creatures, the Land Rover, basking in its natural habitat (Starbucks) or dueling with its foremost enemy of the jungle,the Cayenne Turbo.

    • jessica September 24, 2014, 10:09 pm

      lol. Houston is the land of excess if there was one. I guess that’s what’ll happen with high wages and cheap housing $100k for 3k sq ft.

      I could never live there, it hurts to visit. Mmm thought pheonix was problematic……

    • MandalayVA September 27, 2014, 11:27 am

      You have no idea how hard this made me laugh. BRAVO!

    • Nancy October 25, 2014, 2:27 pm

      So. Damn. True. After going though a divorce during grad school, I went from BMW-wielding suburbanite to car-free mustachian. Fellow Houstonians doubt my sanity, as the luxury SUV seems to be considered a basic need here. Other abundant fauna include the extended cab diesel pickup that has never seen a day of work and can’t make corners in a parking garage.

  • Ben Luthi September 24, 2014, 2:11 pm

    It’s interesting to see how challenging adversity can make you a freer and more well-rounded person.

    As a side note, it always boggles my mind to hear people whine about anything when it comes to flying. Maybe they should walk the Oregon trail and come back.

    • Kelly September 24, 2014, 2:19 pm

      You’re right Ben, I recall trying to ford the river and carrying all of that excess bison meat.

      Or maybe I’m basing way too much on the computer game I fondly remember in elementary school?

      You’re right though, no complaints!

      • Ben Luthi September 24, 2014, 6:24 pm

        lol! I’m pretty sure my party always ended up dying of cholera. I’d definitely rather sit in a grounded plane for a few hours than that!

        • MandalayVA September 25, 2014, 10:56 am

          Came for the cholera jokes, leaving satisfied.

  • Divdev September 25, 2014, 12:35 pm

    I’m impressed you handled it so elegantly. I personally know I would have just stood in line, hoping for a discount or voucher (and a toiletry kit!), then slept in the terminal. Actually, I had to do that in Chicago less than a year ago. Only cost to me was a <$4 breakfast ad McDonald's! It was actually a fun experience; basically stayed up all night and watch the Saw movies. Almost felt bad for the others on my flight, who kept harassing random employees and asking for compensation. Hate to live like that, where money is your sole reason for existing …

  • partgypsy September 25, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Yeah I recently traveled carry on everything with my just turned 8 year old. On the way there, got dropped off, and the flight ended up being delayed 3 hours. We did get a snack in a fast food, and my kids did math problems while I read at their tables. It was pleasant. Main thing when eating in airport you may not need or even want to eat a full meal, but something like a yogurt, juice, or small salad will keep you fueled. I also bring snacks. The way back, lil brother did not leave room for error. In my panic or maybe the machine didn’t print it, only my pass printed but not my daughter. After running back and forth with child, all our baggage to and from the security lane and machine twice, then to two desks, first one could not print, 2nd desk could. Finally got 2nd pass printed. Helpful employee escorted us to employee security line for slightly faster processing. After we got through security I told my 8 year “It is GO! time, you need to keep up with me!” I ran/sprinted like a crazy person towing my roller luggage, her doing the same, bobbing and weaving through the people walking. I didn’t even have time to look back to make sure she was keeping up with me but I could hear the sound of her feet behind me. We finally arrived to our far gate, last ones to board. Elated I told her “You are awesome!”. And she said “No Mom YOU are awesome, give me high five!” And I said “why?” “because I’m a kid and I’m used to running but you are an adult and you ran good!” Kids r awesome sometimes.

    • Eldred September 25, 2014, 1:22 pm

      That’s a pretty cool story that you can remind her of as she gets older… :-)

  • Michelle September 26, 2014, 10:17 am

    Good on you. I work in Customer Relations for an airline….used to be at an airport, so I have seen both sides of people who have been delayed, diverted, overnighted or somehow mixed up. The ones who take it really well never write………the inbetween just want some compensation. The complainy pants, lets just say that in their view. it is the worst thing to ever happen to them in their whole life. In the end it’s all about perspective.
    PS- Carry-on rules,but only if it’s actually carryon and not trying to avoid checking your huge bag! I can go anywhere for a week or two maybe three with carryon only.

    • partgypsy September 26, 2014, 10:50 am

      I’m cheap and I think carryon was $40 per bag, and the luggage I got for me and both kids were specifically purchased because they fit the carry on limits (and are rollers). I’ve done week long vacations with carry on only perfectly fine.
      When check on was free I would often do it, because it was less fuss especially when traveling with kids.

  • alex c September 26, 2014, 11:19 am

    loved this post… i can relate to a couple of its bullet points:

    1) i missed a connecting flight in DC due to a delayed initial flight in new orleans… weighing the options of a hotel for hundreds of bucks (and a significant cab-ride), i decided to spend the night in the airport. stoicism all the way baby! gotta say though that it was drafty in there… draffffty. if you’re planning to spend a night in an airport, just be aware that regardless of the amount of clothing you may have brought with you, chances are you’ll be a bit chilly.

    2) fasting is great… nicholas nassim taleb is a big proponent of fasting, and he linked to a fascinating documentary called ‘eat, fast, and live long,’ that aired on the bbc (it’s since closed on vimeo unfortunately). anyhow, once you’ve trained your mind and body that your stomach doesn’t constantly need to be filled with food… it’s surprisingly easy! i’ve lost weight effortlessly just by occasionally fasting. highly recommended! :-)

  • dave houston September 26, 2014, 6:37 pm

    Here in Ontario Canada our Province has record debt levels. Our Liberal government always answers those telling them to reduce the debt by saying ” You can’t save your way to prosperity” What do you think of this type of logic?

    • Eldred September 26, 2014, 10:00 pm

      I think that if you start EARLY enough, it’s definitely possible(for individuals). For government – sounds like THAT batch needs to be voted out! Most governments bring in so much money that if they had any fiscal responsibility at ALL, the government would be rolling in cash…

    • JB September 27, 2014, 7:04 am

      You certainly cannot spend your way to prosperity.

      • Frugal Bazooka September 27, 2014, 10:41 am

        What’s the opposite of an oxymoron?

  • Leslie September 27, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Whenever, I feel inconvenienced by tight accommodations on an airplane, I remember Louis C.K.’s one liner: “You’re in a chair, up in the sky!” It really is amazing when you think of it that way. Also, I started wearing better clothes to the airport, dressier top and sandals, with nice trousers, instead of jeans. It works for me as long as I have a window seat, it feels like a special event.

  • Green Girl September 28, 2014, 12:21 pm

    This is a fantastic post. I started reading Mark’s Daily Apple and I agree that Primal living is very aligned with an eco-friendly, low-budget, fulfilling lifestyle. I’m actually taking The Primal Blueprint Expert Certification course, because it aligns so well with my sustainability consulting. Like you, I don’t need much food these days thanks to improved caloric efficiency and I don’t use the A/C even though I live in the same climate as Houston. I don’t have a car and I take the stairs. Like you said, I never feel inconvenienced or unfortunate with this lifestyle and I love tackling a good challenge.

  • Vicki from NZ September 28, 2014, 7:49 pm

    Excellent article, it is funny how prior to reading this website I had never considered the full extent of the lifestyle that we assume as “normal”, because everyone else is doing it, the media says to live like that and our kids get indoctrinated as well through school and society. I just bought a bike trailer for my two youngest kiddies to travel in and I am moving 8 hours away to a small rural town in six weeks time because the cost of housing is 1/2 the amount of Auckland city. Thank you Mr Money Moustache, you have given me the courage to face frugality with the feeling that I am doing the right thing, rather than feeling like the odd one out.

  • win September 30, 2014, 9:55 am

    “Embracing hardship”? You took a taxi and spent a night in a motel? That’s hardship? You didn’t have to sleep on the airport floor.

  • Phil October 12, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Have you tried roasting the almonds? My lovely wife started doing that with each bag and it adds a great new level of taste.

  • Laura December 20, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Dear Mr Money Mustache,

    One little nuts-and-bolts question: Does your Republic Wireless phone function as an internet hotspot for your laptop or tablet?

  • Ed December 24, 2014, 7:46 am

    This post and the one on the Moto G remind me of the side-splitting bit from Louis C.K.’s special “Hilarious” where he skewers people who consider it a hardship to sit on a runway or wait one second for a cell phone to download something, when both are clearly technological marvels the likes of which were a mere fantasy for 99% of mankind’s existence. The full special is available on Netflix but here is a link to audio segment for free – it is great for a chuckle (warning: explicit language): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpUNA2nutbk

  • Fabio January 17, 2015, 9:33 pm

    I’ve been through the exact same problem in Houston on a flight to Sao Paulo!

    But my choice was staying on the line, which I didn’t regret because they gave me a taxi voucher (which I shared and could exchange life stories with the other passenger) and also got a hotel room just for myself.
    The time I spent in the line was less than one hour (luckily perhaps) so in the end I saved $115 plus ~ $15 of the taxi ride by staying one hour in the line, this is a tax-free $140/hour salary!! That’s WAY more that I get from my current job!!!

    In MMM’s case he’s already retired so he could withdrawal $115 from his controlled budget without worrying, whereas my case I’m still stashing for retirement. So if I’d done the same as him, I’d not be mustachian.

  • Lukas September 15, 2015, 11:55 pm

    Great article Mr Money Mustache,

    Have you seen the “luck is an attitude” commercial of Martini? Fits perfectly with this article. (https://vimeo.com/38501362)
    Just shows that how you see and live in the world is greatly dependent on your attitude in live.

  • D. A. August 6, 2017, 10:03 am

    The best argument I’ve ever read for fasting: “Because if you lift up your shirt and inspect the area just above the belt, you’ll see that the next several meals are already pre-installed.” –I laughed out loud so loudly…a belly laugh from my pre-installed, just in case of emergency, meals.

  • Elizabeth April 26, 2018, 11:56 pm

    How does your approach to hardship change with a kid in tow? For example how would tnis Houston trip be different if you’re child was accompanying you? I find your advice works great when alone but frankly Im never alone these days and my toddler would freak on a handful of almonds.

    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2018, 12:29 pm

      I can really relate to your question Elizabeth, because the last 12.5 years of my life have been split in this same manner: there’s what I am willing to put up with, and then a very different tolerance for our clever but anxiety-prone little boy.

      The summary is that we changed our life arrangement to accommodate the cards we were dealt: we now travel FAR less as a family (unless visiting grandparents) and instead the parents go places individually while he stays home with the other. Changed our work schedules so that we could be there for him, while different kids would be fine just being sent into organized activities or camps, etc. Home is a much more flexibile place to accommodate a kid with special needs, so we designed our lives to be based more around the home, for this stage of his life.

      He’s getting tougher and more resilient every day now, so this stage is just a very long form of temporary. But the experience has made me more glad than ever that we decided to retire BEFORE having kids, because it would have been hell on a career!


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