306 comments

Efficiency is the Highest Form of Beauty

This year, I’ve been spending a lot more time at the local elementary school, as our boy has rejoined his friends in fifth grade after two years of homeschooling. Through the daily bike rides to and from school, and my weekly gig as a volunteer math/engineering teacher for a small group of boisterous advanced learners, I get to meet a lot more new people from the community than I had in the preceding two years.

As a not-all-that-normal person, it is always a delicate challenge to spark up casual relationships with brand new people. For one thing, there’s the whole issue of being 11 years into semi-retirement, which makes any discussion of work schedules, mortgages and debt, or even overall goals in life a challenge: you either make up a superficial cover story or you open up a huge can of worms that will take an hour to explain.

Unless you are lucky enough to be conversing with another highly abnormal person, this conversation can quickly turn to a blank stare – the normal people don’t quite understand the idea of deliberately working hard even if you don’t have to, or not buying stuff even when you can afford to buy it. When you get the blank stare, it’s time for a quick, cheery wrap-up with a reference to the weather or how great the school staff is this year.

So the superficial story usually wins: “Well, these days I’m mostly a Dad, and I do some carpentry while he’s in school.”

But an even bigger disconnect comes during my travels around town. Strangers don’t seem to know quite what to make of the just slightly imposing flannel-shirt man in his 40s who is always zooming around on a bike at the highest speed his legs can manage at any given moment. Usually with a slightly overstuffed backpack that might be filled with cucumbers, 10-packs of electrical outlets,  beer, or even smooth rocks from the creek for use in ornamental gardens. On special occasions, maybe even a trailer with some lumber. “Is he homeless? A hooligan? He’s definitely not as well-off as me, as I hold my mobile phone like a tray in one hand and use the other to operate the steering wheel of my GMC Envoy.

At Home Depot I sometimes slip up and start discussing my unorthodox plans for the materials I am buying – an underground conduit to run some solar-heated water between the main house and some external collector, or an off-grid charger for an electric car, because nobody makes these things cost-effectively on the real market and they should be doing it. But that blank stare comes back to remind you that this is not the place to open up such a can of ideas.

Personally, I enjoy this little disconnect between me and most people. There are enough friends around here (and Mustachians out there) for all of us to find plenty of community as well as plenty of time to dabble in our own little science labs.

But what I don’t enjoy, is how the rest of our society is missing the beauty of this endeavor. It bugs me to see people standing on the airport escalators when they could be sprinting up the adjacent stairs with a suitcase in each hand. I’m annoyed that people still trundle around in cars they can’t afford, wasting fuel and asphalt that wrecks all of our living spaces, just because they can’t be bothered to swing their leg over a 25 pound aluminum sculpture with wheels that makes most of our fattening 20-trillion-dollar urban infrastructure unnecessary. Then they fight, with lobbying groups and misinformation, if anybody dares to tell them there’s a better way.

It also bugs me that high spending is still considered a desirable thing, and that living on less money is assumed to come with a reduction in happiness. When really, measuring life by your spending level is like judging a town by the size of its parking lots. Is your goal to maximize the amount of asphalt and SUVs you can spread out across the land, or would you rather just get into that damned grocery store so you can get yourself some nice stuff for dinner?

Spending is a skill: a Mustachian can buy the same lifestyle with $25,000 that might cost a Consumer Sucka $100,000 per year. If you can cultivate this skill, the Art of the 75% reduction, at any income level, you can go from a lifetime of being in debt, to being rich enough to retire in less than 10 years. Similarly, a company that can operate with this level of skill will quickly become the most successful company in history, and a similarly efficient government would find the world sitting peacefully in its palm.

The reason I pursue and love the idea of finding new ways to live life in an industrialized world, is the same reason I love music, and art, and writing and all of the beautiful, advanced, inspiring things that people do. It’s because Efficiency is Beauty.

Think about it. What is it that has allowed humans, despite our soft and weak bodies, dull noses and eyes, inability to swim or fly, and mostly-hairless skin that is only really comfortable unprotected in the tropics? Tigers, Owls, and Sharks would mock us ceaselessly if they were smart enough to open Twitter accounts. But of course they cannot, because we are the only ones with these kickass brains that have allowed us to overcome all obstacles to take over this entire planet – with more planets soon to come.

This domination has been entirely the fruit of our efficiency. I mean, sure, monkeys will seek out straight sticks and use them as tools to harvest bugs from a nest, but early humans sought out even more specialized sticks, arranged them into better shelters, weapons and animal traps. We caught animals and used every part for ingenious purposes, to create even more advanced tools, weapons, and methods of preserving information.

On and on through the generations, our survival and advancements have been won only as we became more efficient with our resources. Even our ability to create art, music, literature, and the social structures like laws and governments that allowed us to stop killing each other so often, was only made possible by buying ourselves free time – by efficiently securing food, which gave us time to play at night.

This uncontroversial history lesson could have come straight out of the pages of the Duhh Journal or Obvious Magazine. But yet, the idea of efficiency has been consistently ignored in our more recent society, and this is the source of most of our current problems.

For example, the accepted norm is that as we get richer, we spend more, borrow more, and work harder than ever to beat each other in the highly-competitive economy. The richest people earn the right to consume the largest share of natural resources.

However if we still valued our efficiency, the very thing that got us here and the biggest gift of being a human, the opposite would be true. The wealthiest people could afford to be the most efficient. They would find ways to have the largest amount of fun, but with the added dimension of seeing nothing going to waste. We could live with a zero or negative environmental footprint, and enjoy this incredibly prosperous, engaged lifestyle without even needing to step on anybody else’s head to enjoy it.

The added dimension of knowing we were accomplishing this rich life on two dimensions would take the satisfaction level to a new level as well. While the beginner rich person is a corpulent businessman who buys himself thrones and treats to emulate the life of ancient kings, the advanced rich person is one measured by how much better they left the world, after subtracting any value they destroyed along the way.

In a more efficient, rational world, the rich people would be the ones least concerned about advancing or preserving their own personal wealth, because that is obviously not an efficient use of time when you’re already rich.

Yeah, But How Could We Actually Create Such a World?

I can see you nodding there, but you don’t really think this is possible. If you’re a scientist and into evolutionary motivations, you will remind me that efficiency is only a human priority in times of scarcity. After that, we branch out because it is actually more efficient to chill out, and in fact making a show of waste is a show of genetic superiority. “Look at me! I can afford to grow all these impractical colorful feathers! Or dump water on this big green lawn and pay servants to water it, and I’m not even here because I’m in Monaco this month. Now, come have sex with me because you know you want some of these superior genes.”

This is indeed a problem, and it’s what drives most of the ugliest problems in the world. The world wars and the cold war. Dictators and politicians who seek personal power over society’s advancement. Certain CEOs and their followers who teach themselves not to understand climate change because they fear it would hurt their superficial profits. It’s all the byproduct of when we throw our energy into our simpler ape-like instincts, instead of the more beautiful instinct of Efficiency that got us out of those tree branches and into this much richer life in the first place.

But rather than surrendering our world to the simple dictators who cater to their own ape-like instincts, we can actually hijack their weakness for our own benefit. Because in a world where our material needs are met, the ultimate competition is for status. And status means emulating the richest, most powerful beings of your particular species. If you happen to be one of the richest and most powerful beings, this means everybody else will emulate you.

I hereby suggest that you, the self-selected curious and generally very wealthy people that happen to be reading this article, represent a significant portion of the world’s most powerful people – the ones with the status. People are watching you, wondering how you got all that money, maybe how you manage to run such a successful company, and why you seem to have your life together, with free time to spend with your kids or the motivation to stay in such good shape. They want what you have, and thus they will do what you do.

If you happen to agree with me that efficiency is beauty, the world would be a better place if we became more efficient, and that most of our biggest problems come from too many people missing that obvious fact, you can fix the whole problem by doing just one thing: demonstrating and celebrating efficiency in your own life.

As your peers and the more junior members of your tribe see you riding your bike to work, not moving to an even bigger house, playing with your own kids in the public park and raking your own leaves, and packing up your hiking boots and a tent instead of getting picked up by an airport limousine to begin every vacation, that’s the life they will want for themselves.

You’ll note the obvious similarities to the Tesla Motors master plan here, which the company has used to go from a 3-person garage experiment to the world’s most sought-after luxury automaker, while simultaneously ditching the 150-year tradition of the gasoline engine all in only 10 years: Start by attracting the top of society, allow them to demonstrate that your idea is desirable, then watch the rest of the world follow.

However, as a collection of the world’s highest-status trend setters, we can outdo even Elon Musk. Rather than just upgrading our existing infrastructure to be more efficient, we can upgrade the entire culture.

Instead of just building a billion autonomous electric cars to drive (or fly) us through our trillion dollar sprawling networks of concrete, we can choose to live closer together in the first place in beautiful, verdant neighborhoods that can be traversed in bare feet. Instead of just building solar arrays and storage batteries to cleanly power our gluttonous yet slovenly and unsatisfying lifestyles, we can upgrade to badass, muscular outdoor lifestyles of deep human and natural connection – while also putting up as many solar panels and batteries as it takes to keep the good music playing all night long.

And as we dance in this utopian environment, we’ll note that efficiency has again proven its beauty. Because while it is brilliant and noble to strive towards advancing the efficiency of our technology, it’s even more efficient to directly to change our culture.

I can’t do that all by myself just by riding my bike around town. But you can.

  • Phildoor November 25, 2016, 11:58 am

    Have you considered that “the vacant stare” may sometimes be their real-time attempt to picture how the cool stuff you are talking about could fit in their own life? If we expect the worst in people, very often that is what we get. In other words our interpretation of their reaction matters too. In my experience most people hate working for the man more than they like buying stuff. They just need patient people to talk to them about an alternative.

    Reply
    • Mikey November 29, 2016, 11:02 am

      Yeah, the other explanation does seem like a hasty assumption. How do we know what someone’s actual thoughts are on the efficient lifestyle? Chances are the “vacant stare” is more of a product of surprise and unfamiliarity than judgement. You can’t expect someone who’s never been exposed to an idea to know what they think about it immediately.

      Reply
    • Jess December 7, 2016, 2:16 pm

      Funny, my thought was that they know exactly who he is. That kind of gossip (the story about the guy who peddles around town all day on his bike is actually the owner of a highly successful blog on reducing consumerism and just donated $100k) is the stuff small towns are made of. Just takes one to get that news out.. The blank stare is because they don’t know how to react to his denial.

      Reply
  • Anemone November 25, 2016, 12:12 pm

    Great article. I’m not rich but I aspire to be a frugal rich person someday, instead of a frugal poor person. (But I’m still buying that indoor monkey bar set when I have the space and cash. Edmonton winters are long and cold, and there aren’t enough monkey bars outside yet for quick nearby jaunts.)

    Isn’t travelling with two suitcases a little extravagant, though? Last time I moved cities I only had two duffle bags, and that included a nice cookware set and some dishes. I mean, if you’re just travelling, wouldn’t a not-too-big backpack be sufficient?

    Reply
  • Karla November 25, 2016, 12:54 pm

    You have a beautiful mind.

    Reply
  • Kerrie Solsberg McLoughlin November 25, 2016, 12:58 pm

    I am really enjoying your posts. We are a family of seven and we are age 45 and 50. I have been homeschooling stay at home or work at home mom to our five kids for 15 years with no plans of ever going back to an outside workspace. I would love for my husband to get out of the cubicle life and onto some acreage which is our dream. I drive a 12 passenger van because we have five kids in the big city and always seem to be shuttling other kids around as well. I try to walk everywhere I can when I’m alone but I think I’m going to ask for a bike for Christmas. That’s actually a great idea. I we are working on paying some things off and then I am hoping that my writing in self publishing and proofreading income can start to be banked for the fabled but possible early retirement. By the way, I cut my hair just like your wife does 😁

    Reply
  • Justin November 25, 2016, 1:01 pm

    I’ve got a blog post I have yet to write that shows how we’re living a $100,000 per year lifestyle on about $25,000 to $40,000 per year. Just crazy how much some people spend without materially improving their actual quality of life. I guess it really comes down to spending money efficiently!

    And when I’m on my morning walks to/from school to drop the kids off (it’s only 0.5 miles one way, and usually around freezing or above even in the middle of winter!), I always smile, sometimes smirk, at all the poor busy people rushing around in their cars, hands on phones, stuck waiting in the traffic of carpool, or growing irritated at the school traffic because they want to get somewhere in a hurry.

    Here I am walking and enjoying a beautiful crisp morning with colorful leaves still on the trees while they are stuck in a metal box going ten times as fast heading to nowhere fun. And some might say I’m the weird one. :)

    Reply
    • Ms Blaise November 26, 2016, 4:50 pm

      Id like to read that blog post, Justin.

      Reply
  • HomeGymGirl November 25, 2016, 1:54 pm

    This thinking is a democratic luxury open to all: Lifestyle is a choice (to break away from the market stories which tell us ‘what’s right’)

    Reply
  • Muzza November 25, 2016, 2:44 pm

    The real challenge is addressing “fear” …. which leads to greed… which is the enemy of efficiency.

    What MMM has really triumphed over, is fear. People who get the MMM style, are seeking to get over their fear of missing out (FOMO), of not having enough, and in a basic sense, dying without passing on their genes.

    We are programmed for FOMO… in our evolution it mattered, and we might not pass on our genes if we missed out.

    Efficiency is interesting. Although I’m actively working in the renewable sector.. one of my concerns is that by making the fuel source even cheaper, we just accelerate our depletion and exploitation of every other natural resource, land, biomass and water. People, in general, seem to never be satisfied with “enough”… the FOMO comes in, and we keep being greedy. “Wow, now we have renewable energy.. let’s desalinate the ocean.. and we can build houses out in the desert… and … and .. and…”

    Reply
    • Mystery Money Man November 29, 2016, 11:45 pm

      Great thoughts here, Muzza. It’s so true, people spending money out of fear, it’s such a powerful emotion. Just a few weeks ago, my father-in-law noticed a handful of shingles on his perfectly good roof curling just a bit, and “boom”, within a week he spent $4000 on a new roof, probably 5 years before it was required.

      Reply
  • Krazy2paint November 25, 2016, 3:19 pm

    Dear Mr. Money Mustache;

    Absolutely awesome post (as usual)!

    The good parents you meet at school who might be overwhelmed by an explanation of what you are about might be able to absorb something from your website. A simple card with your url could allow them to get to know your website in the privacy of home. They need you – they stress so much under the burdens of spendyness. Thanks again for a useful and thoughtful post.

    Reply
  • Patrick November 25, 2016, 3:23 pm

    I get what you’re saying here. The issue of how to be mustachian while everyone around you is not that way, is something that has stumped me for a while.
    You’re a world famous blogger on frugality, so it’s not surprising you’ve been able to find some friends of similar mindset. But for me none of my friends are really that way, and it can be difficult because many opportunities to hang out involve restaurants where the tab for two is $100+, or bars where each beer is $6-7.

    There are lots of fun, health-improving outdoors activities we could do, like hiking or biking, but when people are in the mindset of spending money for convenience and luxury is being able to sit on the couch while your maid cleans the house… well, it’s not so easy to change value systems / world views.

    Regarding efficiency, I’m an efficiency nut too, but it seems like most people don’t work that way. Or, many people probably believe they are being efficient, but are measuring that according to a different value system. If your goal in life is maximizing comfort, which you feel is best achieved by sitting on a couch watching TV, then spending money (on cars, convenience services, etc) to avoid discomfort (biking in the rain, walking, etc) is quite efficient!

    Reply
  • Vilx- November 25, 2016, 3:34 pm

    I’m not so sure that Mustachianism would work on large scale. Economy is a complicated, interconnected system and a complete overhaul like that… well, it’s hard to predict. For example, one speculation: we like to imagine a world where everyone is a Mustachian and lives frugally and happily, but – if everyone lives frugally, then a lot of businesses die out, since their services are not needed anymore. This in turn causes other businesses to die out, etc. On one hand this is a testament to efficiency – these companies were providing luxury services that aren’t really needed. However Mustachians rely on passive income from investments to support their lives. If companies die out en masse, overall economy slows down, and Mustachians don’t get their income either.

    So, I highly suspect that Mustachianism is really another form of luxury, just less obviously so. It only works as long as few people are doing it. Indirectly, all the inefficient consumer-suckas are really supporting the Mustachians.

    I’m not saying that the maximum-debt lifestyle is a good thing. It’s definitely not, and it should be solved. However I’m not convinced that Mustachianism, at least in its current form, is the solution.

    Reply
    • Doug November 25, 2016, 9:08 pm

      Could mustachianism work on a large scale? I don’t know, but what I do know is if more people were like us the economy would shift to accommodate that kind of lifestyle. Instead of laying people off when businesses need to cut staff in order to cut costs, companies would instead have everyone work fewer hours. Those of us who embrace mustachianism would enjoy such an arrangement rather than fight it as happens now. Myself I have absolutely NO DESIRE AT ALL to work 40 hours a week ever again, it’s just too much of a disruption of my life but would consider working 2 or 3 days a week. At long, long last the utopian dream of a society where increased productivity results in more free time could finally be realized.

      Not all businesses would suffer in such a society. Services to increase efficiency, like making houses more energy efficient would flourish. Others like utilities or food stores or preparation would continue to thrive, they deliver goods or services we need.

      Reply
      • Kathy Abell November 28, 2016, 9:35 pm

        Re: where increased productivity results in more free time

        How I wish that were so! It seems every increase in worker bee productivity simply means that poor overloaded bee is given even MORE work. *sigh*

        Reply
        • Doug December 1, 2016, 3:17 pm

          The idea of more productivity not leading to more free time is because as a society we’ve stubbornly clung to the hopelessly obsolete idea that a work week has to be 40 hours. If enough people wanted to work less and pushed the idea to their union or management it might actually happen. An example is in Germany, where some automotive assembly workers have job sharing rather than cutting jobs, and it has worked just fine.

          Reply
    • BuildMyFI November 25, 2016, 11:12 pm

      Hey Vilx,

      MMM wrote an article addressing your question in 2012. You should check it out “What if Everyone Become Frugal?” This can open a new door to look at this.
      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

      Reply
      • Vilx- November 26, 2016, 7:00 am

        Yes, I know it, but I’m not convinced that the reality would work out as peachy a as MMM would like to think.

        Reply
  • Giovanni November 25, 2016, 7:05 pm

    I think this is a very important article in explaining the Mustachian way. One thing that can help promote the efficiency angle is highlighting that time is the one thing we can’t get more of. This leads to more intentional use of time and the increased efficiency provides more free time to enjoy. Once we’re used to looking for and seizing opportunities to be time efficient will naturally spread to other areas of our lives like resource efficiency. If you’ve ever worked by the hour at something then switched to a results based pay system (e.g. by the ‘piece’) it’s amazing how much efficiency one can find…. and the same applies to other areas, once you get in the habit.

    Good hunting-

    Reply
  • BuildMyFI November 25, 2016, 11:02 pm

    Perfect example for “do not judge a book by its cover”. Flashy things can make your cover shiny but it can also make your pocket empty.

    Reply
  • CZ_Technically_Frugal November 26, 2016, 4:54 am

    Hi MMM,
    the first I need to write is that I agree with unbelievably big percentage of your ideas. So It’s not ranting, it’s just tuning small fine details.

    You have mentioned packed cities with everything in walking distance several times. First what’s walking distance? 2 kilometers and back every day, 5 kilometers and back every week, 10-15 kilometers and back once or twice a month for me. But there will be people who will divide these numbers by 5 or even 10.

    But there is another problem. Packed city with people in flats means city full of consumers. Because they can’t eve try to grou their food, repair their car, have bigger machines (like lathe or mill) to create long-living devices (instead of bought devices with pre-planned short life), store heat and rain water, generate their own electricity. They can consume less, drive more bikes, than cars and it’s almost ends here. But there is endless space of possibilities what you can do in house with backyard.

    And if you’re planting part of your food or creating your own devices (tools, automatic systems etc.), it’s hard to NOT see the world beyond consumerism. So there is some educational potential.

    So what if everyone wants house with backyard. Small one for people with less money and/or skills to build their own. Bigger maybe for richer and/or more skilled. With regularly watered backyard growing not stupid grass, but food.

    This city can’t be tightly packed, because plants needs solar energy. But is that problem? Imagine evenly spaced grid with 5 meters submerged highways. No tunnel, so it’s pretty cheap still. You can go 120mph without any intersections
    and braking and there are – 5 meters over your head – cyclists and pedestrians in very cheap bridges dimensed to hold say 3 or 5 tons. Even fast train or power wires for car/trams can be there. You can quickly reach any part of grid and the slow part will be the last mile (or two).

    Transportation of goods will be much simpler than today. Much less goods will be transported into the city (people will grow their foods) and there will be lots of (not as annoying as today) highways. Anyone can walk or cycle anywhere, because smaller grid for that is on different level, than highway grid.

    What do you thing of this different version of utopia?

    Reply
  • PoF November 26, 2016, 8:50 am

    I’m more or less a not-all-that-normal person, too. In stealth wealth mode, my net worth is masked by the ’06 Chevy I drive, mowing my own lawn, biking to the hospital, etc…

    But the stealth part will keep people from emulating me. I think many assume I’m not doing that well despite my income. Otherwise, why would I shovel my own snow? There are services and snowplows for that.

    Maybe the perception will change when I retire twenty years early with my name popping up around town as one of the bigger non-corporate donors to local charitable causes. Time will tell.

    Best,
    -PoF

    Reply
    • Joy November 26, 2016, 6:57 pm

      My friends and my kids think that I am poor because I own older cars. I have the oldest car when I go to church on some Sundays. But I am so proud of what I am doing, and feels so lucky to come arcos MMM ideas. You are a good model for the Md. community.

      Reply
    • Classical_Liberal December 12, 2016, 2:44 pm

      This is the flaw I see in MMM’s argument. Yes, people see me walking instead of driving and think that is a bit weird, but I’m not overweight and most of them are, so I think they have some assumptions about the “why” and questions are rarely asked. Many of my leisure habits are different, but most just see that as personal taste as opposed to conscious decisions. In fact, most of my fairly “mustachian” life is barely distinguishable from the average. Since financial independence or even the earlier emotional and psychological effects of being debt free take months or years to take effect and are rarely noticed by those I see daily. It’s like growing your hair out, month by month inch by inch. In 5-6 years, when I retire 20 years early, certainly people will be amazed and wonder how I did it. At that point, many wont believe it was the culmination of so many small changes and even if they did 10 years of those changes seems like a very long time for most.

      I truly believe bottom up change is the way to go, exactly how MMM says. The major problem being most of us are slowing winning our battles in private, with no significant distinguishing changes . This is partially because being efficient just isn’t that hard or life changing in the day to day sense. Also, for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that those very people we would like to influence will think we’re nuts, we rarely like to advertise to those outside our inner circle.

      Maybe that’s what this article was supposed to do? Encourage us to bring our views more into the open. If that is the case, it’s a fine line between teaching and preaching. MMM has a great outlet for both here, where can the rest of us find ours?

      Reply
  • kate November 26, 2016, 9:02 am

    Bicycling IS the most efficient form of land transportation. Autonomous vehicles are our next great efficiency gain. Can’t wait to witness so many combustion-engine hugging companies and people face their demise.

    Reply
  • Evan November 26, 2016, 9:28 am

    Great Post. There is, however, a glaring omission in your discussion about efficiency: the food we eat.

    It’s easy to tell people to keep doing what they are already doing and that they’ll be creating some new world order (I’m sure the majority of your readership is already relatively efficient from a conspicuous consumption, etc. perspective). I’m not knocking doing that, I agree is great to see more efficient consumption.

    It’s more difficult, however, to challenge oneself and others with issues that we might not want to admit exist. What I would love to see is a balanced discussion of the efficiency of the foods we eat.

    How efficient are animal products vs. plant-foods? How efficient is it to grow grains to feed to animals to then kill and eat? How efficient is it to eat foods that cause chronic diseases, then spend trillions on health care? What is more efficient in terms of land use, water use, GHG emissions, and other global depletion issues? I think that a discussion of this, based in science and fact, would be immensely useful to your readership.

    Given the massive impact the food we eat has on the planet we live on, shouldn’t walking the efficiency walk include this. Aren’t carbon offsets a little bit of a complainypants way out of addressing this topic? Like you said in an earlier post, I am not trying to tell you to live one way or another, I’m challenging you to address this topic in a real way.

    Reply
  • Jess November 26, 2016, 10:53 am

    it sounds like you have quite the building project going on. I wonder if you have heard of ‘Earthships’? The guy who builds them does internships and I know I’d love to go.

    Reply
  • Hana November 26, 2016, 11:44 am

    I read this blog for inspiration, which I got from this article, too. I don’t find I can apply much of the advice, though. I am disabled, and moved at a relatively young age to a “protected housing” home. Many services, such as meals, are provided for us.

    Exercise? Biking for transport? I walk around my apartment, but if I have to go as far as the elevator to the dining room it’s with someone pushing me in a wheelchair.
    No, I’m not Ms. Whiney-pants. People who know me also know that I go to extraordinary means to avoid consuming or wasting. But lifestyle choices are often dictated by factors we can’t control.

    So here’s to having a caregiver 6 hours a day! Makes me feel like a millionaire.

    Reply
    • Aimee December 14, 2016, 9:17 am

      It’s people like you who show that a mustache can be grown by almost anyone. Your positive attitude is something to look towards achieving as well.

      Thank you for sharing :)

      Reply
  • jen November 26, 2016, 11:54 am

    I guess what strikes me here is that for the strategy for early retirement as you’ve detailed throughout this blog to really work we must count on the majority of the population to NOT becoming as efficient as your followers. The 7% annual growth on investments is almost entirely driven by increases in consumption – not increases in efficiency or productivity (as sad as that may be). I am definitely all for reducing consumer culture and I spread the idea when given the opportunity but I do think there is some dualism in feeling superior to your average consumer when you’ve made your money taking advantage of the increases in consumer spending and encouraging other people to do the same. It’s a bit of a “let them eat cake” statement.

    I’m an environmentalist for what its worth but I recognize I am taking advantage of consumer culture in a way as well by betting on the markets to provide for me into retirement. I guess perhaps our brains enjoy feeling superior to other people and if we can get enough people to feel superior by doing something constructive (ie reducing waste) then the ends justify the means. Its nice to go into things with our eyes open though and I’d fairly happily change my plans if economic growth crashed to 0% due to a halt in consumer waste. Also as it pertains to your little anthropological lesson there I recently finished the book “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari and I think you’d really enjoy it.

    I’m really not trying to be a dick here. I love your blog and think you’ve done a lot of good spreading your message. I just thought I’d offer a different perspective.

    Reply
  • Liesbet November 26, 2016, 12:11 pm

    I guess the word efficiency means different things to different people. While I totally agree with the lifestyle you are living and promoting, there is one other aspect to be considered… If you want early retirement, which is so possible for most Americans who work hard and make a decent income (if only they would realize this and stand behind the concept), all you are saying and doing makes sense. My approach has been a bit different – which does certainly NOT mean better. I have been living a very modest lifestyle forever, doing mostly what I want, which is exploring the world on a tight budget, without having to go to work from 9-5 every day. Because we are such frugal people, finding ways to travel and live cheaply, we can follow our own work schedule, remotely. Yes, we turn every dime before we spend it and we have restrictions that way, but we are happy with the freedom we possess. Less is more. All our stuff fits in the trunk of a Prius. We make memories not money. We have a big photo album instead of a big bank account. Our meaning of efficiency is making the most of our short lives, focusing on what we really want and enjoy to do.

    Coming as far as you have, I always have to wonder, why you don’t hit the road with your family and keep home schooling? There is so much to see and experience. Most people think you have to be rich to do this. You don’t. But, if you have a decent amount of money, there sure are few worries to live this kind of lifestyle. :-)

    Reply
    • Aimee December 14, 2016, 9:20 am

      We all have different priorities. I love to travel as well, but I love my home base. I look longingly at people like you, but ultimately know that your lifestyle would not make me totally happy. I have seen much of the world in short spurts, but one day hope I can explore much more! Kudos to you for living your dream :)

      Reply
      • Liesbet December 14, 2016, 1:21 pm

        As you pointed out so truthfully, a lifestyle on the road, without a base is not for everyone. And, I admit that not having a home is sometimes difficult, especially during less fun times or when feeling exhausted, but mostly – as we have recently realized – because we miss a sense of community and having friends around. If you really want to, you can explore more whenever it feels right! One of my mottos is “Don’t just dream, do!” :-)

        Reply
  • Jason November 26, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while and have found it extremely beneficial, so thank you MMM and all of those who contribute.

    Just a few thoughts:

    (1) MMM is part of an intellectual legacy that has existed in the US from its inception. From Benjamin Franklin’s aphorisms, to Emerson/Thoreau’s transcendentalism, to the subsequent critics of the Gilded Age, the roaring twenties, the post- WWII modern consumer culture, there has always been a voice in the American wilderness crying out a rigorous anti-consumerist ethos. Simplicity in whatever form it takes, is not simple. It is complex and needs to be relentlessly examined. He should be appreciated in that historical context;

    (2) One can make the argument that the consumer culture was/is an artifice created by the top 1% in order to keep the majority of society in a life-long pursuit of a slice of an illusionary pie, keeping the hoi-polloi pre-occupied and out of their collective oligarchical hair. First equate homeownership with a dream, marry it to Henry Ford, then give birth to the college education, the health/dental/blender insurance, and then the dopamine machines, first in every living room, then in every bedroom and then in every hand. Now life for the average American is just one long pursuit of materialism allowing The Wise Men, from Rockefeller to Harriman to Cheney, to conduct their world running pursuits without any real interference from the populace. I think the end result of our current election only reinforces this “reality.”

    (3) People who don’t have money (for whatever reason) need to be informed that what money can buy is not what they should be focusing on. What they should be focusing on is freedom from being poor. I believe in institutional poverty as a pernicious cycle, and am sensitive to that issue, but what needs to change ASAP is who/what poor people emulate. Materialism is the cycle, either chasing it or feeling that you are not making enough to chase it.

    Maybe this is all obvious, but its been on my mind.

    Reply
    • Agata November 28, 2016, 10:40 am

      Great comment. I have been thinking for some time that as humanity, we’ve never been that rich. and I don’t just mean the average, if you take 1 billionaire and 100000 poor people. I mean even the poorest people, lower middle class, precariat, have more than their equivalent 100 years ago. Or 200 years ago. I don’t talk here about the homeless and hopeless, I’m talking about people who do get some income, but one that is not significant.

      People then had no education, no opportunities, no hope, often had no freedom, no physical safety. People now can do much more, and it seems that many have trouble identifying the path towards the choices, opportunities and freedom. They go for immediate reward, quick purchase of things, bury their lives in single-use cheap, fast consumerism.

      Until I traveled to the USA for the first time, I had no idea that people can own that much. Volume of houses (and their heating costs!), volume of things. Even if it is just a 5$ item, the volume of items is what makes them poor.

      It’s very refreshing. Each visit makes me go through my own things and donate/sell contents of another cabinet…

      Reply
  • Bill G November 26, 2016, 2:04 pm

    My experience of raising the subject of frugality, with high quality living, in my office should amuse you. Most folk already knew about the cycle commute, packed lunches, using an old smart phone etc and when our savings passed the outstanding mortgage I could not resist sharing with a couple of work mates.
    The response was unexpected. In retrospect I had feared being viewed as boastful, but instead I was advised to keep quiet to protect my job. Their fear was that if our management knew I was financially sorted I would be first in line for the push when redundancies were necessary.
    I spoke to my wife about this and her answer was wonderful. To paraphrase, it was “Brilliant, they’ll weigh you off and we can go to Japan for six months.”.
    No exclamation mark because her response was a simple acknowledgement of fact. I enjoy my job, but now we don’t actually need it.

    Reply
    • Step37 November 26, 2016, 7:49 pm

      I LOVE this comment! It is such a huge position of strength to not “need” a job. My husband was laid off for a couple of months this year and it was so enjoyable. The biggest takeaway from the experience is that he’s very unlikely to be bored in early retirement, which should be in the next few years.

      Reply
    • STBJ November 27, 2016, 7:23 am

      Wow this is a wonderful and amazing problem to have. If you can afford to be let go by your company you are in great shape. In the meantime I am going to keep saving my money and tell my bosses I really need the job to correct all my bad financial decisions. It’s a story everyone can relate to at work. Telling co-workers that I save between 25 and 40 % of my income would make them think I was rich and did not need the job. So I agree that you should keep quiet, keep saving, and keep smiling. :)

      Reply
    • Ms Blaise November 27, 2016, 5:40 pm

      I think this is really odd. When I make people redundant, I don’t consider who needs the job, I consider who is great at their job and great for our business and keep them. Their personal financial situation is irrelevant to the business’s success. I do agree that not needing the job makes going through a restructure experience less stressful, but even the financially independent don’t like to be told that their skills aren’t needed or valued.

      Reply
  • sergio November 26, 2016, 5:02 pm

    The first example of optimization is black friday, you get 100% discount on every item you dont buy. Dont be fooled by things that you dont need and get closer to happiness, wich for me is also related to optimization.

    Reply
  • Christine November 26, 2016, 6:06 pm

    Great Article my mother lives in a 55 Plus retirement community that has some 450 sq ft 1 bedroom apartments that can be rented for 950.00 a month to include water, cable & electricity. I will be 55 in 2 years and have seriously considered selling my 1008 sq ft house and moving in there so that I can put more money towards retirement and with any luck retire earlier than expected. Not to mention I am tired of spending my time and money on yard work and home maintenance . This would certainly would give me more free time to do as I please.

    Reply
  • David November 26, 2016, 7:05 pm

    I just read Alex Avery’s “The Wealthy Renter”. It had great chapters about understanding the true cost of “overconsuming” housing. Riding a bicycle is great versus driving, but housing is one of the largest costs/expenses for most people, uses many more resources, and very few people are remotely efficient about it. The book compares renting versus owning and in particular how very few empty nesters move out of their large homes which they no longer need – consequently limiting their ability to enjoy retirement with the un-necessary money tied up in an overly large home.

    Definitely a great read for the Mustache community, a great finance book I thoroughly enjoyed, and something easy to share with those who don’t understand.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Wealthy-Renter-Choose-Housing-That-ebook/dp/B01B2DK68E/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480212294&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+wealthy+retner

    Reply
  • Diego November 27, 2016, 4:53 am

    Not the main topic of the article and not sure if you will answer this, but why did you two decided to put your kid back in school? I have been enthusiastic about homeschooling since before my kid was born and willing to do it when time comes (he is 2 years old). You seem to have similar values to my owns so your opinion and Mrs. MM are important to me. I know homeschooling is the most expensive education one can give to a child, but it looks to me it’s so superior to traditional education that regular school sounds a horrible idea if you can afford the price of homeschooling.

    Reply
    • Jwheeland December 14, 2016, 3:04 pm

      I think MMM mentioned it in another article or comment to said article. But, from what I remember, there was a new 5th-grade class that was the bee’s knees and MMM jr. wanted to go there with his friends. So he did. Or something like that….

      Reply
  • STBJ November 27, 2016, 7:37 am

    OK MM, at first I thought you version of utopian living was really goofy. When I read all the thoughtful comments by your readers I was reminded of the wonderful online community you created. I have been reading you for about a year and frequently comment about shaving $500 per month of spending using your principles. I have introduced the concept of clown car driving to my family and they now point out SUVs bigger than Nebraska when we are out. I remind everyone that we still live incredibly well. Now you can face punch me. We don’t bike, we have cable and a land line. We bought a bigger house so that there is more room for family holiday entertaining. I am saving about 30% of my income on average and if I count company contributions I can credit myself 40%. I am not going to meet your standard but I am going to cherry pick the actions that I can do and continue to enjoy the fruits of your research. FYI when ever I am driving and see a big shiny GMC Envoy I picture it crashing into the hierarchy pyramid you drew in an earlier post.

    Reply
    • Matt (Semper Fi) January 3, 2017, 8:41 am

      The fact that you are saving considerably more than 2% of your income already places you head, shoulders and torso (probably the legs, too) above the average American consumer. Nice work, ST! Every little positive change counts, and has a cumulative effect.

      Reply
  • Amy November 27, 2016, 7:38 am

    Our family of 4 just made the decision to downsize in house significantly from 3000+ square feet to 1500 square feet. We are closing in January. I can sense that some of our friends and family think we are nuts. This post is great and give me encouragement that we are doing the right thing.

    Reply
    • Matt (Semper Fi) January 3, 2017, 8:49 am

      Hi Amy. My wife, children and I live in a house with approximately 1600 sq ft of living space. For about 10 years, all three kids lived in the house – our son had his own room, and the girls share a room with a bunk bed. My son is on a church mission now, so we have temporarily transformed his room into an office, haha (he’ll be back in Feb. 2018). Anyway, we have done just fine in a smaller house with a family of five. I think you’ve made an awesome choice!

      Reply
  • CommutingCPA November 27, 2016, 9:57 am

    It must be hard to be MMM, to have to constantly figure out how to deliver the same face-punches in new and entertaining ways!! I think it’s tough to keep the frugal faith, but we do it for ourselves and hope our friends and family pick up on some of the benefits for themselves.

    Had a conversation over breakfast the other day, where a friend was telling me about the trouble she was having sleeping. She’s under a ton of stress at work, lots of big projects and important meetings and the like that have been keeping her away from home and up at night. When I asked about her plans, it consisted of 1) keeping the kids in an expensive private school, 2) buying a new Porsche, and 3) keeping the nanny. That’s what she feels like is the right thing to do. I asked if she thought it might help her sleep if she considered why she’s so stressed out at work?

    As for us, we’re paying off the house, because we feel like that’s the right thing to do.

    Thanks MMM for the face-punches, keep ’em coming!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache November 28, 2016, 10:25 am

      Don’t shed any tears for me, CPA – I don’t have to keep typing this shit, and would stop immediately if it weren’t so much fun. It just really helps me live better to have the opportunity to write down thoughts like this sometimes. Glad you are still around reading too.

      Reply
      • CommutingCPA November 29, 2016, 9:46 pm

        It’s nice, maybe vital, to do something because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to…most of my writing is the same way, crap pounded into some poor computer (or likely my phone these days) so I can sort out what’s what. Maybe I’ll get the cojones to put it up on a blog someday soon!

        FYI – have gotten into Seneca on your recommendation. Life-changing shit, that. Now working on The Republic. Helps to work at a major university with a huge philosophy library to visit whenever I want. :) Thanks for the tip!!

        Reply
  • TheHappyPhilosopher November 27, 2016, 10:15 am

    This is a great post. I love the idea of maximum efficiency in theory, but personally I find it a little difficult to sustain over time in all areas of my life. I drift back to inefficiency, reversion to whatever my set point is. It actually works in both directions; I would have trouble doubling my current spending as the inefficiency would really bother me. Making slow, deliberate organizational changes and developing habits have been where I have seen real progress stick.

    Reply
  • ZJ Thorne November 27, 2016, 11:17 am

    It’s always interesting when folks can’t make interesting small talk outside of their jobs. I’m a dyke and don’t drive, because I’ve chosen to live in a city where I don’t have to. So many “polite” questions end with people staring at me because of my answers. I’ve been told that I should just make something up, but that is untrue and unfair to me. If folks don’t want to question their own assumptions, they need to stop talking to strangers and presuming that we all want the same thing.

    I’m with you. Efficiency is beautiful. My city is not designed for biking and I’m wary after a terrible accident. My city is designed for trains and buses and my two legs to get me almost anywhere I want to go. As long as I’m not running/walking, I can use the time to make a stranger’s baby smile or read the paper or a book. It is an excellent use of time.

    Reply
    • Ms Blaise November 27, 2016, 5:50 pm

      I agree. I use the bus to get home (uphill) when I go into town once or twice a week , and I walk in to town on those days (downhill 40 minutes). I love the reading time on the bus and I love the walking too. My question is who wants to talk with people who ask about your job and car anyway? I would think these were quite rude questions. I got ridiculed a few years ago when i shared one of my budget tips with a group of friends, so now I try to be gracious and interested in them while avoiding personal questions. I figure it adds to the mystique!

      I have a good friend who is excellent at this. I have no idea what her personal relationship status is or where she is working or how much she earns, or if she owns a car etc. Ive known her for 10 years. I do know she has sizeable property investments because I know a couple of her tenants, but all she talks about is food ( especially her vege garden) the arts,travel and books. She is my role model.

      Reply
  • Suthsayer November 27, 2016, 5:53 pm

    This blog and the reader comments are a bright spot on the internet.
    It is about the only place I can go online that RESTORES my faith in humanity.
    Birds of a feather flock together, and MMM attracts very thoughtful and intelligent followers.

    Thank you for the inspiration to continue to try to be frugal and live efficiently.

    Reply
  • Brian November 27, 2016, 8:52 pm

    I just spent a long holiday weekend explaining to family and friends why I recently replaced my pickup truck with an older, higher-mileage, 40 MPG Ford Fiesta.

    The short answer was, essentially: “I realized (after discovering Mr. Money Mustache) that my reasons for buying a truck were all rooted in irrational fear of an unknown future.”

    The long answer – for those with some patience and an open mind – was, essentially: “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” (Andrew Carnegie, 1835-1919).

    Reply
    • Doug November 30, 2016, 9:34 am

      Why would buying a truck be rooted in irrational fear of an unknown future? If you really do have a fear (rational or irrational) of an unknown future, then you would buy the cheapest econo car, like your Ford Fiesta, that you could find. That would allow you to save more money to prepare you for shocks, like job loss, this uncertain future could throw at you.

      Reply
      • Matt (Semper Fi) January 3, 2017, 8:57 am

        Actually, I have a few neighbors that have bought trucks, jeeps, and Suburbans to act as “bug out” vehicles for if (“when” to them) the SHTF. Definitely purchases that are directly linked to a fear (rational or otherwise) of the unknown future. I used to buy into that mindset — I still have food and water storage, but now I would rather bank the rest of my earnings on a future that will most likely be just fine.

        Reply
  • Mrs S November 27, 2016, 10:49 pm

    I guess there are a few professions where people actually expect you to be home and working form home. Ours happens to be one of those and that is what I believe we will be telling people when we get to it eventually.
    We have had a few discussions about saving money and not spending a huge ton and it has rarely been a civil discussion. If you want to agitate people questioning their spending and other money choices is the best way. It was this Saturday when a colleague was telling us why it is best to buy a house because all you need is 20% down payment and then you just have to pay the EMI. In the expensive city this means living 40 Km away and spending over 3 hours on road or 2 hours in public transport. We live 10 minutes away and life is awesome!!

    Reply
  • Félix November 28, 2016, 8:40 am

    Amazing article, as usual! I can tell you got in a rush to end it though, because the third word in the second last sentence has a typo – “it” instead of “it’s”.
    While I would tend to agree that people try and emulate the most powerful in society to elevate their status, I think the analogy breaks down when we move from simple consumerism and ”visible/obvious/tangible” cues to “lifestyles/ideas/intangible” things. Like you expressed yourself, you often find it difficult or too bothersome to explain your different lifestyle to normal people. I think Mustachianism will be never be as virulent as an ideology that makes greater use of symbols and/or identifiers that are visible/tangible. Religion, brands/capitalism, etc, all simplify their signaling to a common, simple symbol that slowly gains recognition and becomes the face of that movement/idea. A 1-hour long conversation won’t quite have the impact as the golden arches.

    Reply
  • Johnnysport November 28, 2016, 9:02 am

    MMM, you just keep getting better. Some of the paragraphs contained herein are simply lyrical – yes, of course the content makes my heart sing, but the manner of expression is as good or better. Speak it, brother!

    Reply
  • Josh November 28, 2016, 9:15 am

    When I do want to open the can of worms that is “so what do you do?”, I approach it it from the angle of “numerator vs denominator.”

    Yes, your $200k/year is more than my $60k. But I only work 3 hours/day, two (sometimes three) days a week, doing something I would do for free.

    So now who’s the high earner?

    Only with that discussion out of the way will I get into bragging about REAL luxury– cooking every meal from scratch, reading more than a book/week, a daily nap, having the low fuel light illuminated on my car for over a month because I don’t drive much, hosting a weekly dinner, etc.

    Reply
  • Agata November 28, 2016, 10:17 am

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I totally hear you – my “problem” with my peers, and even slightly older parents of my son’s mates is the fact that they can’t grasp how a “kid” like me is where I am: having time to volunteer at school, doing other things, and at the same time knowing I live in a comfortable, new house, that we have designed to be as energy efficient (here’s that word again), as possible. With no mortgage. At the age of 31. Being 34 now, it still makes them think I’m probably some rich daddy’s girl, or worse – I married for money, being a stay at home mom with all of the time in the world, between the nail polish visits and taking the kid to and from school!

    I’m not retired yet, I think mainly because my safety goal is a bit higher, and because of where I live – I want to make sure that I diversify my investments so that I can potentially live off work in another country/continent. Sort of – don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket type of situation.

    But efficiency is my best friend – from energy efficiency at home, to finding ways to do things efficiently, which allows me to almost have 3 lives in one: a student/scientist, a corporate sellout and an early retiree, if you can imagine having those together!

    Keep up the good work, and I will continue to preach the Moustachian message throughout, Greetings from Poland.

    Reply
  • John November 28, 2016, 10:24 am

    Please elaborate on your off the grid car charger project. I just bought a used Nissan Leaf and would love to know more about what you’re working on!

    Reply
  • TB November 28, 2016, 12:13 pm

    I just realized something while reading this latest post. If more people could retire early, we would have much lower unemployment rates because there would be more job openings.

    It frustrates me to see people who probably don’t have to work anymore, still working into their late 60’s and early 70’s. It’s basically job-hogging.

    Reply
    • Doug November 29, 2016, 9:37 am

      Finally, someone who has enough common sense to get it. A lot of younger people are either unemployed or in part time or temporary jobs but want to be in full time work. It would make more sense to have the younger people employed in the permanent full time work and older people retired or doing casual part time or temporary jobs.

      Reply
    • Tigerlily's mom November 30, 2016, 5:39 pm

      Maybe they have made some very bad choices in their life and have to. Many people lost everything during the crash.

      Reply
      • TB December 1, 2016, 7:44 am

        Very true, and that is sad, when someone has to keep working into their golden years, just to make ends meet. I wish I could go back and live like MMM did when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I might be closer to FIRE than I am.

        I see a lot of well-off people, still working to keep them busy, and have silly money. It’s too bad, but we live in a society where most people feel like it’s their right, and will take what they can.
        Maybe it comes from the previous generation (depression) thinking that you have to keep earning as long as you can.

        Reply
  • Shane November 28, 2016, 1:06 pm

    Thanks for this pep talk MMM. This time of year is filled with so much consumption, so many blank stares at family gatherings, and never-ending invitations to spend away our ‘stashes. We must stay strong and keep spreading ideas!

    Reply
  • yasleva November 28, 2016, 1:16 pm

    So much yes to this!
    Efficiency is SO important to me in everything I do (although my OCD child is probably sent to me for me to “let it be” a little – who knows :)).
    I’ve been a reader of this blog for about a year now and have made some great changes, although still lots to work through to fully implement it.
    The struggle I’m having this year is with Christmas presents. Call me uber-practical, but my husband’s requests for certain items just make me so resistant (not to mention he’s also a collector of things, so I’ve also been trying to MariKon our house, because he has too much stuff everywhere…*sigh). I was looking for items he asked me for online last night and I just couldn’t get myself to spend money on it. Last year he was already upset at not getting any stocking stuffers. He’s struggling with buying for me because I have turned off the “want” button :)

    Anyways – anybody else with a similar dilemma?

    Wish there was a chip he could download to be more mustaschian.

    Reply
    • Step37 December 12, 2016, 8:26 pm

      Yasleva, we started reading MMM around the same time. I’m fortunate that my husband jumped on board with me, so I don’t really have advice on how to encourage a reluctant partner (I think just leading by example should help, though). Your “turned off the ‘want’ button” comment really resonated. I did the same (self-imposed clothes/shoes/jewelry/etc. shopping ban for 2015 that I had ZERO trouble carrying through 2016, especially after discovering MMM) and it’s amazing. May it never come on again!

      Reply
    • Matt (Semper Fi) January 3, 2017, 9:08 am

      I think if we downsized our Christmas stockings from the commercially- made variety ( large enough to hold a 12 month old child), to just a regular sock, it would be quicker and cheaper to stuff a stocking. ;)

      Reply
  • Edith November 28, 2016, 7:29 pm

    In the book: The Accursed Share, Georges Bataille presents the idea that humans are so efficient, civilizations are defined by the way they face the problem of abundance, not scarcity. Aztecs dealt with it through human sacrifices and a culture that gave status through outrageous gift-giving, Tibetans dealt with it with a culture that spent all the excess in religion, maintaining temples and monks.

    Bataille gives many examples on how cultures find ways to manage excedents. The problem with capitalism is that it lacks a proper way to eliminate excess: reinvesting to grow companies that produce more things that are disposable is not good for the environment or societies. I very much recommend reading this book. I have only read half and it already change my view on abundance and scarcity.

    Reply
    • Mikey December 1, 2016, 6:26 am

      I just looked it up on Amazon. Are you talking about just Volume I, or the whole set?

      Reply
  • Renee-Lucie Benoit November 29, 2016, 8:18 am

    While I don’t agree with everything you say (people are always headed for efficiency evidenced by washing machines rather than pounding clothes on the river bank) and apes (please don’t disparage apes :-) ) I do agree on one thing. It’s brilliant, even though a Duh! observation, that if rich people will do it the non-rich will follow. That one little thing can be big. Going forward I’m labelling myself an “advanced rich person” (even though I’m not rich by U.S, standards, by world standards I am) and I am the change I want to see.

    Reply
  • Fiscally Free November 29, 2016, 9:21 am

    Spoken like a true engineer. Amen!

    Reply
  • Trey November 29, 2016, 9:35 am

    MMM,

    Nice post, and well written as usual. I’m with you all the way. This is how I’ve always lived.

    I hope, however, that underneath your zeal for everyone else to emulate your way of life, there isn’t any authoritarian impulse to use coercion to force others to live the way you deem the best. Freedom is about each person choosing their own life–and it is most certain that not all people would naturally choose the low consumption, early retirement route that you and I both followed. Leadership and inspiration, yes; hectoring and belittling, no.

    I’d be curious to get your reaction to this point if you read it…..

    Trey

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache December 1, 2016, 10:54 am

      You got it, Trey – that’s why I write for this blog instead of going into politics. Ever since the Internet popped up, I have felt it is more efficient to try to set an example (whether by writing or starting a business or whatever), than to try to wrangle with politics and bureaucracy.

      I’m not advocating the full Ayn Rand here – someone still has to provide a government and laws. But we’ll have trouble even recognizing and voting in a good government unless we first have a collective understanding of what an efficient, happy culture would look like. So, I think education is a necessary first step.

      Reply
      • Trey December 2, 2016, 12:28 pm

        Awesome. I like you even more now ;).

        Reply
  • Trey November 29, 2016, 9:42 am

    One other thought. The title of this post rhymes with Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery–in terms of syllables, etc. That is interesting since the thrust of the argument is that the elite should drive the rest to imitate the efficient, a great idea. I wonder, MMM, if this parallelism was done consciously….;)

    Reply
  • Arthur Guerrero November 29, 2016, 11:21 am

    Cool article MMM. It got me thinking of a fantastic book I started reading (haven’t finished it yet) about the evolution of our human species.

    Everyone here should definitely give it a read…I was being smacked in the brain with interesting facts on every single page.

    It’s called- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

    Reply
  • Sven November 29, 2016, 12:10 pm

    I’ve started bikig to work year round here in Alaska. 0 F this morning! It can be done.

    Reply
  • LosPadresHiker November 30, 2016, 5:12 pm

    Just read an article on an apartment building being built in Malmo, Sweden that has been designed purely for bike commuters. No parking space available instead the developers focused on bike parking and providing elevators and doors that are easy to use with cargo bikes. Hopefully this trend continues and moves over to US as well.

    http://www.yardi.com/blog/news/pedal-power/16141.html?_wcsid=720581BD8E30CA3C3C4F7F0E3C3AA58E2984ABD684B6712F13993A04F0A09938

    Reply

Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname
(not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers – after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won’t make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!

connect

welcome new readers

Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

latest tweets