Pizza Delivery is for Millionaires

My son and I are having a beautiful Saturday night here at home. The sun is setting over the mountains outside my bedroom window and I’ve just finished baking a pizza which I am about to serve up for his dinner.

Although our day has been very simple, there has been an underlying magic within it that triggered an epiphany that I just had to write to you about. Because within this simple moment seems to be the secret to pretty much everything.

We woke up to a cloudless blue sky and were treated to summer-like warmth even though it’s November. I served up a French toast breakfast and then we ate together as we made plans for our day. We decided the first stage would be some computer work for him, while I went out to do some yard work and a bit of maintenance and cleanup on my construction van, to get it ready to lend to a friend.

Stage Two was our big walk downtown. Little MM wanted to get some shots of old buildings as part of an assignment for photography class, and I wanted to fix a minor leak in the roof of the MMM HQ Coworking building, so we decided to combine the errands. The walk was long and adventurous and we even stopped for some exorbitant ice cream cones on the way, courtesy of a gift card I received for helping someone last month.

We got it all done – Little MM got his 24 required shots, I fixed the roof and also ran into my co-owners Mr. and Mrs. 1500 who were setting up the building for a group breakfast tomorrow. So my boy and I strolled the 1.5 miles home through the sunny leafy autumn streets of Longmont and settled in for the night.

I popped one of my homemade pizzas into the oven. Because it was a big one, it was going to take at least 25 minutes to cook so I figured I’d use that time to shower off the day’s dust and sunscreen. But then I noticed my hair was starting to get a bit out of control so I gave myself a quick haircut before the shower.

And as I stepped out of my room, dressed in clean clothes and feeling sharp and healthy and arriving in the fancy kitchen I built last month just as the oven beeped to indicate the pizza was finished, I realized that this is the secret to wealth. Days like today. Monetary wealth for sure, but also every other kind of wealth.

We had just enjoyed an almost perfect day almost effortlessly, just by having the right habits in place.

We had a shitload of fun, socialized and exercised and advanced the projects that are important to us. But simultaneously, we spent very close to zero dollars, and left the world mostly unscathed as we finished our day.

The beeping of that oven full of homemade pizza was what really set off the epiphany in my head.

“Damn”, I realized, “even with all this excess money building up over the years, it didn’t even occur to me to order a pizza. It’s just automatic, and thus faster and cheaper and healthier, to make my own.”

Plus by avoiding the delivery I am saving my neighbors from one gas-powered car bringing an unnecessary extra serving of danger and pollution onto our street. It’s a three-way win with no losing involved.

Ordering a decent extra-large pizza including tax, tip and delivery: $20
Dad’s Homemade pizza: about $4
Difference: 500%

Sure, the difference here is only sixteen bucks, but I wanted to highlight the percentage difference instead. Because if you apply this philosophy of efficient, automatic habits all through your life, it really does tend to cut your costs so that your life becomes 2, 3, 4, or even 5 times less expensive.

So I thought to myself “WHY does anyone who is not even a millionaire yet, or even worse who has a mortgage or credit card debt, still do something as frivolous and easily avoided as ordering a pizza?*”

With that example drawn out in detail, let’s look at some of the other details of this day:

New kitchen in my latest frugal fixer-upper house in progress. Even the toaster is fancy!

My new kitchen which made that pizza cooking so enjoyable was built on a total budget of about $6000 including changing the floorplan, electrical, plumbing, cabinets, countertops and all the appliances.

This is less than half of what custom-ordered cabinets alone would have cost, and a full kitchen remodel of this type usually tops $25,000. But by getting assemble-it-myself cabinets from Ikea and my appliances from Craigslist and doing all of the work myself, I cut the cost by about 75%, while earning plenty of great physical exertion and satisfaction at the same time. Savings: about $20,000 or 80%

My son is in the public middle school rather than in the private school across town, which is where some of the other multimillionaire parents send their kids. If the private school were better for his needs, of course we could afford to send him there too. But we gave the local option a chance and it has turned out to be an incredible place for him. Savings: about $20,000 per year or roughly 100%

We chose walking as our means of transportation, and if we were in a rush we would have ridden our bikes. This habit of not driving doesn’t just save me gas and maintenance money, it also allows me to keep an older vehicle. I have a 1999 Honda van that is still in sparkling new condition.

She just reached drinking age, all cleaned up for her first can of Coors Light!

It stays new because I barely use it, because I have designed my life to be within an entirely muscle-powered radius. But this brand-new van is worth less than two grand and insurance is about twenty bucks a month. Maintenance is less than $10, registration is $5. Savings versus owning an “average” $35,000 American car and driving an average amount: about $600 per month or 90%.

We didn’t go “shopping” (100% savings), watched a movie at home instead of the theatre (100%), I cut my own hair for the something-hundredth time (100%), we advanced our health rather than chipping away at it (100%), and built this warm caring relationship with each other as well as with our friends (priceless).

And there were all sorts of other less tangible things working in the background too. I bought a commercial building and started this coworking space as a way to pass the time and spend time with old and new friends – the same reasons that someone might buy a vacation home in the mountains or at the beach.

But instead of costing me a few thousand dollars per month and requiring 100 miles of driving every time I visit, this building is just a pleasant walk from home and it generates thousands per month in cashflow and appreciation. It is great for the mental and physical health of all of our 75 members and growing, and we all save money by being a part of this community.

Mr. 1500 and I hosting a party at MMM-HQ for the first screening of the Playing with FIRE documentary, April 2019

The funny part of all this is that today was a completely normal day for us – most of my days are very similar to this one. The only unusual part was that I happened to take a step back and actually notice it. And that is really the point of this whole article:

We get used to our daily routine, and think of it as “normal”, even if it is completely ridiculous.

In recent months, I have just had my eyes re-opened as I have had more contact with people who are living more typical American lives than me. Their normal is different than mine, so when I visit I happen to notice the differences – more car trips and impulse purchases and pizza deliveries.

These people are not living lifestyles that appear exorbitant at all, and their houses aren’t packed with expensive things. But these little 5-to-1 differences just silently happen, quietly and consistently and add up to perhaps $100 per day, when compared with a more streamlined lifestyle.

And $100 every day becomes $36,500 every year, and if you invest that conservatively it will compound into about $520,000 every decade.

$520,000 per decade.
Just from the tiny mindset switch between
“hey lets order a pizza”
“Hey, let’s throw a pizza into the oven.”

I really think this is important, and as this whole “FIRE Movement” thing grows, some people are getting soft and complaining that Mr. Money Mustache is “too extreme”, and so we should take a gentler and easy path and let our spending get sloppy if that is what’s right for us.

The thing is, this is usually just wrong. It’s laziness rather than practicality. Because Mr. Money Mustache is already plenty spendy, and plenty sloppy – well beyond the level required to live a happy life.

I can afford to live this way, because I’m old and wealthy now. If you are still young and poor, you should be spending less than me, not more.

So, pizza delivery is for millionaires, and it’s also time to put away those car-clown keys and get back on your bike. We’ve still got work to do.

* Of course, this is a perfect-world generalization. Real life has room for joyful exceptions and imperfections. But you have to know the reality of what you should be doing, before you can safely start making exceptions like ordering your pampered ass a pizza.

  • Tim November 18, 2019, 8:41 pm

    When I make a homemade pizza, I’ll typically double or triple the recipe and throw the extras in the freezer. Stacking up the savings (literally) with minimal extra effort from just making one.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 18, 2019, 9:05 pm

      Yes, I usually make about a dozen personal-pizza size crusts at a time. Just throw the seven ingredients into the (craigslist) bread machine, and press “dough” -> “start”. Then roll em out an hour later.

      2 cups whole wheat flour
      3 cups bread flour
      2 cups water
      2 tsp salt
      2 tsp brown sugar
      1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
      4 tsp yeast

      • Carolyn Delia November 19, 2019, 5:35 am

        This is a lovely sentiment but a mom working long hours with no support (or dad for that matter) doesn’t have time to make dough from scratch. Americans have too much on their plates . If one parent makes enough money for the other to stay home than sure , this is a lovely way to live. I make my own pizzas, I live in an expensive city that allows me to walk places, I also live in an expensive city that allows us to use public transportation if we choose. We don’t have a new car. But there’s a difference between lazy and completely overworked and overtired. Throw in a child who wakes up multiple times a night and who is a handful during the day and you need a break and takeout .

        • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 8:13 am

          How about something like DiGiorno take-n-bakes? You can get a three pack for $12 at Costco/Sam’s, and my son has actually turned on me and likes these MORE than my homemade pizzas. Hopefully just for now since my mine are healthier :-)

          • Maverick November 19, 2019, 8:32 am

            I’ve taken these DiGiorno rising crust pizzas @ 3/$12 -$2.50 coupon and prepped them with additional toppings from our garden; sliced tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, fresh grated Parmesan, basil, etc. Pile it on top! Better than my home made crust.

          • Diane M Tucholski November 19, 2019, 8:49 am

            I buy the dough ball from walmart for 1.00 in the coolers when you walk in when I am in a pinch, it saves so much money to make our own, especially when you like all the veges on it that cost so much extra!

            • Bonnie November 19, 2019, 12:21 pm

              Those are the nights when a pizza I’ve made in advance from the Trader Joe’s $0.99 dough and frozen is a GEM. Cheap and fast to reheat and it’s done. We’ve all been there when we need dinner on the table pronto and want that break of takeout … but each time I skip that and commit to even just scrambling eggs for egg sandwiches that night is a step closer to independence for the family.

        • Sue D November 19, 2019, 9:47 am

          Pizza life hack… we make pizzas and strombolis all the time with frozen bread dough loaves. You can quick thaw them too in about an hour. Should be recipes available on the web. Hope that helps! :)

          • Jeff December 27, 2019, 6:30 am

            As I see it, this MMM pizza post is simply an example of how we all can live more freely from “the system”. If people love ordering pizzas as a treat, go ahead, but make sure you catch the bigger story here.

            People spend WAY too much money on TV cable bills, cell phone plans, car loans and expensive homes, eating out at restaurants, buying fad clothes, and on and on and on. Most of these things do not add much “happiness” to our lives, but actually reduce the happiness factor.

            I’m sure that MMM has said this, but financial freedom can be achieved two ways, either by making more, or by spending less. And spending less is ALWAYS better because you can never be sure the making more will be there for you.

            I like pizza too, and do order out. But you know what? It’s never quite the way I want it. Being vegetarian, I like less cheese, more sauce and lots of veggies, and take-out just never seems to come out that way. Thanks MMM for another informative post. I’m gonna make own pizza for a change now!!

        • Sanitary Engineer November 19, 2019, 10:21 am

          I am living sleep deprivation level lack of sleep with three kids 3 and under. We have found two packs of pizza crusts for about $5 at the local supermarket that freeze great. Come home in the darkest dark at 5:30, turn the oven on high, pull out a frozen crust, grate up some mozzarella, use any jar of red sauce or frozen cooked tomatoes, change a couple diapers and dinner is ready. It helps on portion control too, since the pizza is reasonable sized. Faster and more consistent than ordering a pizza.

        • Ms Blaise November 19, 2019, 8:35 pm

          A mum or a dad or a caregiver – let’s not assume its all mums here please.

          The best pizza base ever is self raising flour, water and a dash of oil. It’s in the Destitute Gourmet cookbook here in NZ.
          The sentiment “Americans have too much on their plates” is I think MMMs point about what is a “normal” day for people.
          I also make the point ( as a working parent of a 5 year old and 2 year old) that being overworked and overtired is EXACTLY the time to make your own food rather than buy any of those plastic wrapped excuses for pizza bases sold in supermarket.Thinking that takeout is a “break” is exactly the health and wealth problem facing society.

          If you don”t want to mix water with flour ( as in my example above), how about using a pita bread as a base? Or how about wondering when we were convinced that making food “from scratch” was difficult and only for people who stay at home. That’s some seriously successful food marketing right there…..what do you hope that your kids will learn about cooking?

          • Karen November 20, 2019, 4:37 am

            Naan also works great as a pizza crust. DH and I make one with fig preserves, pear and goat cheese. Yum! We have also used more traditional pizza toppings. Easy peasy.

            • Mandy November 21, 2019, 11:21 am

              Yes! We love using naan bread as well – or Pita bread. Quick and easy :)

            • Anonymous March 6, 2020, 7:00 pm

              That’s actually a traditional middle Easter flatbread. Lot of cultures have them, pizza as we know it is just an American adaption of Italian flatbread dishes. So what is “tradition” really is just what you are used to.

          • Brittany January 13, 2020, 4:37 pm

            We use pits bread (or naan, if available) all the time when making our pizza! Still cheap and less mess to deal with, but SO delicious.

        • Tony Pearson November 21, 2019, 12:53 am

          How about a baked potato? Gluten free, healthy, tasty and cheap and ready for the oven in seconds. Take it out when cooked, slice it, add toppings and pop it back in the oven til done. That’s why there are no baked potato delivery vans!

        • Abu Iskander November 22, 2019, 9:53 am

          Actually making dough from scratch is an activity we do with our 2 y.o. son. He sits on the counter and “measures “the things we put in the bread maker. Then you press the dough button and – that’s it.
          Making dough from scratch is super easy and fun.

        • Jen November 24, 2019, 7:56 am

          Yes but I think the idea is still the same. I’m an overworked single mother and while I don’t always make dough from scratch, I can still buy a premade crust and make my own pizza for cheap. Or throw in a frozen meal. Point is there is really never a reason someone “needs” to spend $30 on takeout.

          • Leslie Dollen November 25, 2019, 6:31 pm

            hello–there is a very good reason to order in, and one that I find this website often ignores–if you have a temporary or permanent disability, and you are on your own, and you don’t have grocery delivery in your area, then that’s what you have to do. I am an early FIRE retiree, continue to work teaching Constitutional Law for free groups, and…then I fractured my foot five weeks ago. I have had to suddenly order in food, hire a house cleaner, hire a temporary dog carer while my spouse had to be out of town, etc. This has brought me newfound wisdom on a particular subject: disabled folks don’t always have the economic privileges that abled folks do. I am economically privileged due to FIRE, so have been able to order so many things that others could not….but that’s another topic.

            • Will November 27, 2019, 8:59 pm

              Sorry to hear about your recent misfortune. Can you share tips about how people on the path to financial independence can navigate short-term disability?

            • Anonymous March 6, 2020, 7:03 pm

              I feel Mmm has regonized his life works for an a led bodied healthy person which is not universal and sees delivery as something that can be potentially worthwhile or even necessary,. The bit caveat is asking each and every person to evaluate that for themselves rather than just do things because it is normal in our convenience based consumption based society.

        • valerie melville December 24, 2019, 1:24 pm

          Little Ceaser’s pizza are five or six bucks if you pick them up and I find them better than most 20 dollar pizzas.
          bread machines can do the work for you (You can get them at thrift stores we got a new one but it might have been factory refurbished. Factory refurbished gives us a deal plus it supports businesses and keeps gadgets out of landfills. )
          Sam’s club has a cheap hot dog, frozen yogurt and soda deal. We bring reusable straws and spoons.

      • Doug November 19, 2019, 7:59 am

        I’m old school and kneed by hand. Builds character. Like you, I also do a whole wheat / bread flour mix. My kids love my homemade pizza and on the rare occasion that they have pizzeria pizza, they think it’s tasteless.

        • Kate Semple November 19, 2019, 12:45 pm

          I make my dough by hand too. I just love the process!

      • Loriann Ketcher November 19, 2019, 3:03 pm

        Thank you for sharing your dough recipe. Looks absolutely delicious!! May we please also have the baking instructions?

        • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 3:56 pm

          I’m not one for recipes and instructions, but I usually just turn on the oven to a reasonable temperature and throw in the pizza until it looks done. It depends on the size and thickness of the pizza!

        • MMM November 22, 2019, 7:15 pm

          I recommend 400F for 20-25 minutes. Cook until golden brown, if not golden brown cook more.

      • Jordanna Turner November 21, 2019, 8:23 am

        Does this recipe make a good thin crust pizza? I’m looking for the perfect thin crust. :)

        • Tony Busch November 22, 2019, 6:41 pm

          Make sourdough pizza crust to take your pizza to the next level.

      • Alice December 8, 2019, 6:38 pm

        Do you freeze them uncooked or after baking?

        PS I make this sourdough recipe (recipe: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-pizza-crust-recipe)

        Really good if you are looking for something a little different!

      • Angela Gross December 11, 2019, 10:09 am

        This is my first day on your blog and the first article I’ve read! Do you discuss your net worth? I’d be curious to see what net worth one can reach to start living a little larger in mindset (re: Rich Dad thinker)? …I grew up with Poor Dad and Poor Dad thinking (my husband too), and we lived super frugally for many years, and are now expanding a bit. I do believe there is a balance…depending on how much your plan or desire to leave heirs?

      • Coenraad December 12, 2019, 1:14 am

        Why would you use a bread machine if you can make the dough with your own bare hands, generating good and fun physical activity, saving electric power and the purchase of a bread machine (and the pizza tastes much better! ;-)). I’ve done this for years on end now (besides a fulltime job and taking care of my wife who is chronically ill) and consider it as completely ‘normal’. I make my own bread the same way…

      • Brook January 28, 2020, 9:48 am

        I came to the comments for the sole purpose of getting your recipe. Thanks! :)

      • Jeff March 25, 2020, 1:21 pm

        Thanks for the recipe! We use our bread machine all the dang time, never thought of it for pizza dough!

        As I was reading this I was wondering how pizza was going to convert to finances and it was awesome how it tied and then compounded into the MMM lifestyle/mindset. That is crazy when you think of how the little stuff adds up over decades.

        We have turned our budget into a debt killing machine and hope to experience at least 4 of those growth decades…..homemade pizza is just way more fun than delivery anyways….I’m down!

    • Firehazard November 19, 2019, 8:19 pm

      I don’t make my own crust, but Lidl and Walmart both sell a darn good frozen rising crust pizza for $2.79. It comes with pepperoni, and we add chopped green peppers, black olives and onions, and a bit of extra mozzarella cheese, all of which we always have on hand for salads and general cooking anyway. Its a delicious easy dinner with a chopped salad on the side and cold beer or wine. It costs approximately 10 times less than going out for pizza. If you set the oven to ‘convection roast’ for just the last couple of minutes it crisps the edges up very nicely.

    • Cubert December 10, 2019, 12:46 pm

      The other benefit of homemade pizza – you don’t have to worry about the filthy germs and lord-knows-what that bake and delivery teens abuse pies with. Blech.

      We’ll buy pre-made crust at the grocery store (gluten free) and top it off with all sorts of fun stuff. Bacon, brussel sprouts and sharp cheddar make a wonderful combo.

  • Luke November 18, 2019, 8:41 pm

    Excellent. A great reminder.

  • Ted November 18, 2019, 8:42 pm

    Looks like pineapple and jalapeno on the right, but what’s on the left?

  • Vagrant Med November 18, 2019, 9:05 pm

    Fantastic article! I’ve noticed the same trend as of late in the FI community as well. And that Playing with FIRE premier was quite the party!

  • Mitch November 18, 2019, 9:14 pm

    Sounds like a darn good day: but shame you BRUSHED past the benefits of the self hair cut. I cut my own hair about every 4 weeks, this yearly saves me 13 haircuts or so. That is $195 per year if the cut was just $15 including tip, and every 2 years saves me a day of my life assuming a cut robs an hour out of your day to visit a shop, wait, and then get trimmed before returning to your day. I have put about $45 into hair cutting supplies over the last 12 years: saved myself from spending $2,340 in that time and about 6 days of my life. Also switched to the single blade safety razor this year for face and neck shaved and it has added to my savings-THANKS MMM!

    • Mitch November 18, 2019, 9:24 pm

      Now I see the video for cutting your own hair…way ahead of me as usual MMM

    • Pat November 19, 2019, 10:58 am

      I’m in the military, and to stay in regulations, men needs haircuts roughly every two weeks. At $15-$20 per haircut, 25ish haircuts a year, my wife doing it saves $400-$500 a year. Combined with a safety razor (100 blades for $10, bar soap for shaving cream), I brought my cost of grooming way down compared to the average military man. My wife also gives better haircuts than the barber!

      • Wes November 22, 2019, 9:37 pm

        I do the same. It also helps that I’m thinning so I just hit it with the 000 and call it good.

    • Emma November 20, 2019, 1:12 pm

      > shame you BRUSHED past the benefits of the self hair cut

      I’m one of those ladies with hair down to my shoulders and I like it layered. I go get it trim’ed and relayered every few months. Does anyone have any recommendations for those who have longer hair and/or fancy stuff like layering going on and aren’t interested in discontinuing such fancy hair stuff?

      • Jessie November 24, 2019, 5:04 pm

        Simplified home haircut with layers for shoulder-longer hair. Start with sharp haircutting scissors and a comb (long and flat as used in salon.) You may need another person to help with the back (anyone that can cut a straight line will do.)
        1)Wash hair, it’s easier to cut when wet.
        2) Comb your hair flat with center part, tuck side hair behind ears flat so all hair long enough is against your back.
        3) Comb all the hair very flat against the back of your head and keep the comb flat like a ruler against your back where you want to cut. While looking slightly down have another person cut straight across the flat side of the comb from on side to the other.
        4) Comb a small section of front hair forward leaving the side hair covering the ears. Cut the front section below your chin by holding the hair between your middle and index finger and cutting under your finders straight across. Let the front and side section fall naturally and trim any loose hairs between the front section and side hair (in front of your ears.)
        5) Too add layers, start at the top back then comb and hold workable sections between your middle and index finger straight up in the air and trim the ends working your way forward to the front section.
        I’m sure you could goggle a video that can visually show a basic layer cut. Hair always grows back, it’s worth a try and you’ll save ton’s of money.

      • Mary Ellen November 25, 2019, 11:49 am

        With a little practice you can totally manage this yourself. Check out some youtube videos to get started. I have a good friend who is a stylist who runs a blog helping people learn to cut their own hair, the tutorials are here and they are really helpful: https://roxiejanehunt.com/learn/
        Several years ago I ordered 3 kinds of fancy scissors online for about $12 each, and have been doing sometimes complicated cuts for myself and my 2 girls since. I don’t always have the control that a good stylist has, but I know my own hair really well and understand where it is going to stick up funny. Overall I’m happier with the results when I cut it myself. And I figure if I ever do mess it up really badly I can just pay someone to fix it. :)

      • TO_Ont December 9, 2019, 12:12 pm

        One option is to check if there’s a hairdressing school near you with students in need of practice hours. You may be able to get a fairly professional haircut for a fraction of the price.

        • Katie Camel December 14, 2019, 12:30 pm

          Hair dressing schools can be hit or miss. I’ve had the best haircuts of my life at them, but I’ve also had the absolute worst haircuts of my life at them. After shelling out $100 once at a fancy salon after ditching the school haircuts, I decided that wasn’t worth it either. So I headed to Chinatown for great, reasonably priced cuts. Walking there took some time, but waiting for a stylist was annoying. Sometimes I got right in, other times I waited awhile. Since I like walk-ins and dread making appointments, this system worked best for me but was not perfect. Then it would take a solid hour just for someone to blow-out my hair. It was sometimes a three-hour affair. Too long!

          Then I started watching some youtube videos and gave it shot. Perfect haircuts every time! Minimal time investment, ultimate convenience, and super low cost – as in free! What’s to lose?! And I have LONG, THICK, COARSE hair, so really I have nightmare hair. For me, cutting my own, including layers, works best and I’m totally happy! The financial savings are nice, but the time savings is the real gift.

  • TFS November 18, 2019, 9:44 pm


    Spot on MMM

    Imagine my wife and I’ s shame when we discovered 2 of our kids had ordered Big Mac’s …delivered by Uber Eats during a week we left them home alone ! As early retiree,bike riding, 2000 Honda odysee owning Canadians….that hurt😀. However what it does show is that paying for people to cook and deliver food for you is something that the younger generation doesn’t consider an extravagance despite the 100% home cooking environment they were brought up in. Or perhaps it’s just a simple act of rebellion?

    • Nick J November 19, 2019, 9:42 am

      In the US, everyone is eating out way too much: https://www.businessinsider.com/average-restaurant-takeout-spending-generation-united-states-2018-9

      The “younger” generations seem to get shit on for making poor life choices, but most of their behavior doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      • Marcia November 19, 2019, 12:50 pm

        Hey Gen X is finally #1 at something, ha!

      • AtlasNL December 24, 2019, 6:21 am

        I am utterly shocked. Those amounts are insane. We spend on average 150 EUR per month on “eating out”, which includes literally anything we consume outside our own houses (lunch, dinner, ice cream, amusement parks (including entrance fee), cinema, fastfood).
        This is an average since 2012 and I already considered it to be a lot. It’s 3.1% of our total spending and well below 2% of net income.
        No wonder that “The Average Joe” has a hard time to keep up with earning enough…

      • Krista July 23, 2020, 3:56 pm

        You also need to consider WHY younger people eat out more these days. (It’s not just for kicks.) Back when the silent generation (and even the boomers) were young they didn’t have nearly as much variety in terms of restaurants available to them. You basically had burger joints, italian restaurants, and if you’re lucky there was a chop suey shop somewhere a few towns over. My dad didn’t know what garlic was until high school. My FIL’s first experience with Mexican food was in college. These days there is such a wide variety of cuisines available no matter where you live, it’s no wonder people eat out more frequently. I don’t see this declining anytime soon, restaurants have become a more interesting and readily available form of entertainment.

        And rightfully so IMO, many restaurants now serve their meal with an experience. My favorite is an excellent sushi shop near my home; it has soft ambient lighting, cozy decor, and sushi that knocks my socks off. Sorry, but there is no DIY comparison. I’m not gonna learn how to roll sushi, find a fish market, and redecorate my apartment, just to say I saved money on the meal. If all you view food as is a way to fuel your body, then yeah, why go out? But if you’re going for the experience of a relaxing night out, socializing over a warm bottle of sake and unagi rolls… sounds like it’s worth it to me.

  • Fit DIY Dad November 18, 2019, 10:10 pm

    Snazzy new budget kitchen MMM.

    It’s not only pizza, now with UberEats and the likes people are paying to get all sorts of food delivered, even fast food, quite ridiculous and pretty lazy on multiple levels.

    I’m going to try your pizza crust recipe and then test out a gluten free option.

    And on another note just purchased some solar panels and will soon get some energy from that beautiful sun.

    • Profit Greenly November 19, 2019, 8:44 am

      Good on you for going solar. MMM totally left out the money he silently saved from the panels generating power at MMM HQ.

      MMM, you have solar on your home yet? If not you better throw them up before December passes so you can get the full 30% federal tax credit (it drops to 26% in 2020). Not sure what the payout on solar is in CO, but in PA it crushes bonds or other “safe” investment, while helping the planet.

      I’m sure you’ve got at least $20k invested in low returning bonds so why not move it over to solar and make more with less risk? If you aren’t convinced check out my full numbers and analysis on my blog.


    • Amy November 20, 2019, 10:32 pm

      I am a school teacher and you won’t believe this but…I have had some parents…. they don’t make their child a lunch, they don’t even send their child with money to buy the cafeteria food…. they sometimes pick up take out food and hand deliver it to the child at lunch time (think fast food)! But now even that isn’t good enough, so the child gets deliveries by Uber eats of their food to school at least three days per week. I’m sorry but PB&J just ain’t cutting it anymore?

  • DCJrMustachian November 18, 2019, 10:45 pm

    For me, a huge benefit of “make your own” is that your result is much fresher, healthier, and more delicious than a commercially-acquired counterpart.

    I use whole wheat flour, mix in spelt and other grains, and then add high-end vegan toppings. I top with basil from my herb garden, luxury heirloom tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fancy vegan cheese… a classic flavour combination that is vegan and uses a calibre of ingredients that you generally won’t find via regular delivery. And it’s still much cheaper than delivery!

  • Ryan Ottawa November 19, 2019, 12:52 am

    In order to play devils advocate here I’d say that any multi millionaire from the tech sectors time is still going to valuable once they have retired. Life only gives you one set of time so we can pay people to do things like make pizza in order to make more time for ourselves (esp of millionaire). A normal millionaire wouldn’t flinch at a $125 dollar dinner and escort for $500 / night once a month so why flinch over $20 pizza? One could pick the pizza up in an environmentally friendly way (with own box or something) via riding bicycle and grab a beer or more ;) with an old friend on the route to get it.
    What I’m asking is if you were given two weeks more to live, would you really be making two more pizzas for the weeks or so? And if one is so passionate about friendship etc why not take it further and only invest in companies you actually believe in? Wouldn’t that generate a relationship / friend when your a major investor? It’s like spreading your money evenly at neighbourhood restaurants, you never get to know anyone well despite getting the best deals from all of them.

    With all that said I’m a prime contender for living mm moustache way especially regarding cooking at home even though I just got knee surgery and this article helped me be reminded of cooking at homes importance $ wise.

    Thank you very much mmm!

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 11:39 am

      Yes, I’d still keep making my own food, because it’s usually both FASTER AND MORE FUN to do things yourself, as described in this article. There is no time penalty.

      When there IS a time penalty and there is no benefit to me taking the more frugal course, I usually pay the extra money to save the time.

      For example, for airplane trips, I could save about $80 per round-trip by taking public transit to the Denver airport (which takes a total of about two hours because there are no direct buses from Longmont). Instead I very gladly pay for a direct Lyft which takes only 45 minutes. I’m paying about $30 per hour saved in this case, but since I value my time at much more than $30 it is worth it.

      But if times were tight and I had no easier way to make $30 per hour after tax, I’d definitely get back on that bus (or more likely not take trips at all)

      • Adam November 23, 2019, 3:52 am

        MMM, how about an article that considers how much one’s time is worth in that particular moment. My business I highly cyclical. When times are slow, I’m a very good mustachian—Greyhound buses, extensive price comparison, DIY, etc. This has put good habits in place for when times are busy. However, when my business heats up, I am paid very well for my time and time is extemely scarce at that point. I still rely on my frugal habits, but when you’re at the redline, wise sacrifices might make sense.

    • Tim Campbell January 21, 2022, 6:46 am

      Hi Ryan Ottawa…

      You may want to read The Millionaire Next Door. The authors surveyed several thousand multi-millionaires and found that the majority had paid less than $400 for their most expensive suit, so I kind of doubt they would casually drop $500 on a hooker, plus $125 for dinner. Such spending habits are a common misconception of the wealthy, and the book shatters many others.

  • IGMR November 19, 2019, 1:05 am

    Hi MMM,

    First of all I wanted to say thank you for the inspiration and motivation. I´m a Swedish FIRE blogger who has been on the path to FIRE for 23 months now. My family has gone from living pay check to pay check to save 60% of our income. This month we will hit 10% of our FIRE number in just 23 months.

    What you are describing in this blog post is pretty similar to what our life looks like now (but we both work 100%). Our sons school is close to our home, our jobs is in biking distance, our car actually makes money because we rent it out, when we eat out we do it as mystery shoppers and make money instead of spending it. We have a giant dining table where we sit and work on our projects, draw and tinker with thinks as a family (before we were on our phones or watching TV).

    Last month we had a meet up in Malmo in the south of Sweden called Camp FI Süd. Me and a couple of other bloggers rented a place big enough for 45 people and it was packed. We had a great time and more and more people are finding FIRE.

    I often think about the pizzas – its a perfect example. Ordering a pizza takes minimal effort and time. What you are forgetting is the time spent making the money to pay for it. Home made pízza (once you get the hang of it) tastes a lot better than when you order one. The process of making it is also nice – especially when you involve the kids.

    Thank you MMM. Keep up the good work.

    • BC Kowalski December 4, 2019, 5:17 pm

      Hi IGMR,

      I know I wasn’t the intended target of your comment, but are you guys holding that Camp FI Sud every year? I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden and would love to meet other FIRE folks, especially in another country!

      Good luck with the blog friend!

      • IGMR December 13, 2019, 3:01 am


        This was the first one. Nothing is planned for next year but last year we had one in Stockholm also. If you send me an e-mail I can update you when I have more info.

        Have a great weekend!

  • SavingNinja November 19, 2019, 1:09 am

    What’s your favourite toppings?

    Our household favourite has got to be gorgonzola, olive and chorizo with Neapolitan style sauce. 🤤🤤🤤

    • IGMR November 20, 2019, 2:50 am

      My favorite topping is black kale or tuscany kale (pretty much the same). It can withstand the heat from the oven and we have lots in the garden. Sliced garlic is also nice.

      • StinelyYours November 21, 2019, 6:56 am

        In this house we take that kale and turn it into kale pesto! 2 parts kale 1 part basil, with lots of garlic, lemon juice, parm, and a little olive oil. Great sauce base.

  • Cathleen Cooks Stuff November 19, 2019, 1:19 am

    This might or kight not be a duplicate comment, but i cant seem to ever post comments with my website listed. This started off like “if you give a mouse a cookie”. Sounds like a fantastic day. Habits make things that others find difficult easy. People are amazed that I cook at home nearly every day, and fancy food ato that. Same with hanging laundry. It’s no big deal though, because I’m in the habit of doing it. We fell out of the habit of watching cable tv and have netflix and antenna. Our lives are no less enriched by being habituated to less crap. Also, pizza is really in the crust. I cheat and make a French fougasse or pain au fromage dough and use pasta sauce as the sauce.

  • R. Willis November 19, 2019, 1:42 am

    Detroit style crust, yes!

  • Tom November 19, 2019, 1:45 am

    $20 for a pizza??? wow, I can ORDER a pizza for like $5, maybe $8 for the biggest, most expensive one, though I live in Hungary. If pizza were $20, I would never order one for sure. $25000 for a kitchen??? I’m just replacing the kitchen, it will cost $3000 with EVERYTHING, including the cabinets, oven, fridge, dishwasher. All the cabinets are custom size made! So if I were buying a regular (not custom made) kitchen, it would cost MUCH less, something like $1000.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 8:20 am

      Cool, thanks for sharing those Hungarian details, Tom!

      I agree that the US is a rich and somewhat more expensive country. But I write for this audience because I happen to live here, and also because we are the world’s biggest consumers.

      Also, remember that median incomes are very high here – $34,000 per person here versus only $6k (?) in Hungary. So you would need to divide my figures by five to understand how each one “feels” to a US consumer.

      • Tom November 19, 2019, 12:06 pm

        Yes, the Hungarian median is about $6k, something like that. I guess it’s a good thing I earn the US median, but I can spend it in a cheaper country lol. I can reach F.I. earlier.

  • mh November 19, 2019, 1:48 am

    In exchange for a 20 grand kitchen you can spend 67 $ monthly in perpetuity.
    In exchange for 30-60 grand in construction/purchase cost for the part of your house you designate kitchen you can spend 100-200$ monthly in perpetuity.

    • Gerard November 19, 2019, 8:23 am

      So… having a kitchen is a bad investment, as long as you eat four times a month or less? :-)

  • Kent November 19, 2019, 1:51 am

    Simple days are the best. Today for instance. And yesterday. Usually punctuated by a swim or a bike ride. And cooking at home. Thanks for the window into your day. Our pizza has thinly sliced potato as a crust with tons of veggies on top! Baked and served in just over an hour.

    • Maura O'Brien November 19, 2019, 4:26 am

      Pls post your recipe for that potato base pizza Kent. As I am gluten free by neccesity but cannot get a decent gf base, potato base sounds right up my street. And as for the philosophy, spend less, live simple it is my mantra…Have a great planet friendly day all of you x

      • Jennifer Steinert November 19, 2019, 9:09 am

        Have you tried Chebe’s pizza crust? The trick is to roll it out fairly thin and bake it on a pizza stone for about 15 minutes, THEN add your toppings and bake for another 15 or so minutes. My family prefers it to take out, even though I’m the only one that needs to eat GF.

      • Annemarie November 19, 2019, 9:57 am

        If you are not daiey free I recommend the GF pizza crust mix made by Chebe. For tbe best GF pizza ever, precook the crust at 350, then add toppings.

      • JoDi November 19, 2019, 4:26 pm

        If you are not dairy free, this makes the best grain free flatbread I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes! It’s perfect for making pizza.

      • Tracey November 19, 2019, 7:25 pm

        Hi Maura, have you tried a cauliflower pizza base? It’s sooo good and so easy! Cut a whole cauliflower into florets, put in the oven and dry roast until cooked (approx 30-40 mins at 180 degrees Celsius). Once cooked, put the roasted cauli into a blender with 2 eggs, 75g of grated mozzarella, 75g of grated cheddar and 1 tbspn of dried mixed Italian herbs. Blend thoroughly then spread mixture on baking paper on a pizza tray and bake at 200 Celsius for 25 mins. Then you can add your toppings and put back in the oven til your toppings are cooked. Enjoy!

      • Kent November 25, 2019, 3:21 am

        Hi Maura… It’s just thinly sliced potatoes, not pre-cooked. Layered on the bottom of a baking tray. Using parchment paper. Then a whole lot of veggies on top. Red pepper, onion, kale, olives, mushrooms.. what ever you like. And while I don’t use home made red sauce, some tomato paste and tomato sauce is a layer between the spuds and the veggies. No cheese. Although it tastes great with cheese. I went plant-based a year ago. Yum, yum!

  • Piotr November 19, 2019, 2:40 am

    Does a homemade pizza cost only $4? I do not live in your part of the world so I don’t know your prices.

    I agree that homemade pizza is simply much better than frozen or ordered one (with one exception of my local pizza place), yet I feel you are falsely oversimplifying. Putting aside other marginal costs like cost of electrical energy or water I believe than on some level (way shy to millionaire level) doing pizza myself is statement of wealth, not other way around.

    I like homemade pizza and there are times when like you, I make one for family. It is indeed a great opportunity to spend time together, do something for them or maybe with them and have a good time. Yet, there could be other things I could be doing at the same time. I could earn money and time require to prepare pizza (additional times on shopping, preparing meal etc) times my hourly rate is much bigger than price of one pizza. I could be just enjoying time with my family on some walk, I could be just having some ‘me’ time or learning new things to improve my status. All of them are worth more to me than your $16 difference.

    I think that I am just not a fan of calculating only raw materials to economics calculations and telling that if you only stop spending over baseline minimum you will magically save $XXX dolars per year. I believe that my most valuable currency is time. Doing pizzas only by myself, because raw materials costs 5 times less than a ready one is wasting my time. Using it as a excuse to just do something nice to my family, bond with them – that’s worthwhile – but that’s also an investment I gladly make.

    • Kristen November 19, 2019, 2:41 pm

      I did all the calculations and yes, homemade pizza is less than $4. I even added the cost of electricity. And I calculated this using pricey King Arthur flour.

      Here’s a link to my calculations (if this isn’t allowed, feel free to delete!) https://www.thefrugalgirl.com/is-homemade-pizza-cheaper-than-takeout-pizza/

      • Piotr November 20, 2019, 2:13 am

        I read your article Kristen and I don’t see anything about time costs – and my comment is about that – not electricity costs.

        How much time did you spent preparing pizza and cleaning kitchen utensils you used to prepare pizza? How much is your hourly rate?

        • Kristen November 20, 2019, 6:16 am

          Oh, I was just answering your initial question about how much homemade pizza costs in the U.S. You said, “Does a homemade pizza cost only $4? I do not live in your part of the world so I don’t know your prices. ”

          At the end of my post, I have several paragraphs addressing the time issue, explaining that I did not calculate that; my post was just about the actual dollars.

          • Piotr November 20, 2019, 6:42 am

            Your time are actual dollars :) cheers!

            • Taconite November 20, 2019, 9:35 am

              Love all the “opportunity cost” arguments that suggest people should be working at full income capacity 24/7… The reason my family is working to be FI is so I don’t have to do this job anymore and I actually get to be a part of the kids life and do things that are more important too me and not continue to work for “the man”.
              I too make my own pizza dough and sauce at home too, it is SUPER easy and takes little time other than the time it takes for the yeast to activate and the couple hours that the dough takes to rise. Making homemade pizza is also a great because its a family activity, the kids help and learn life skills. They get to put on the pies exactly what they want so less gets wasted.
              Oh, another benefit when we make pizza in the colder months, the hot oven helps heat the home.

            • Kristen November 20, 2019, 10:36 am

              Yes, this. If I ordered a pizza instead of making it, I would not automatically be using those 15 minutes of hands-on time to be earning money.

              I can’t imagine living that way, honestly. It sounds exhausting.

            • Scientist November 20, 2019, 6:12 pm

              You’re missing the point about time. It’s about roughly maximizing utility through some mixture of having lots of fun/relaxation and earning at a high rate. Activities that are not particularly fun and that do not save that much money are just not worth it.

              I have a really strenuous job that involves lots of travel and hard problems, and I have seen firsthand that when I tire myself out in weekends doing the sort of domestic stuff I loved as a teenager, I am depleted. My job pays very well and has the potential to pay more, depending on what we discover or make. Moreover, it’s very morally compelling work for me. When I recharge, I want to recharge completely and have as much fun as I can. Otherwise, I save my energy for research. My husband and I discuss this fairly often when we realize we just spent an hour preparing or cleaning up dinner and didn’t especially enjoy those parts. And my energy level absolutely affects what collaborations and opportunities I take on.

            • Piotr November 25, 2019, 1:50 am

              Thank you Scientist!
              You understand!
              I wasn’t saying that cooking should be frowned upon or it cannot ever be enjoyable or considered a therapy/relax activities for some people.

              Just saying that not considering time in this naive calculations “what costs more” – even for simple worker is arogant. In this economy you don’t get rich by denying yourself a pizza from time to time. You get more money by earning more money in the first place.

        • Minnesota November 20, 2019, 8:57 am

          Concerning time, I’d say you’re looking at it incorrectly, at least from my view. Cooking and baking can be considered therapy, allowing for creativity and separating oneself from the day’s trivia. I did that last week by making schnitzel from a pork loin found on sale and some leftover seasoning mix we hadn’t used. German food is the best.

          • Hak November 21, 2019, 5:13 am

            As someone that cooks from scratch ever meal that I make, I agree that it affords you the opportunity to chat with your spouse, relax, and think about other matters. Indeed, I quite enjoy listening to a podcast or a lecture whilst cooking. However, there is a opportunity cost related to cooking in that I could be doing something else which could be enriching me either personally or financially. Alas, we all have choices to make and I find trying to analyse my life choices from amathematically driven perspective somewhat discumbulating and, dare I say, pointless. Each to their own of course!

  • Miss Nomer November 19, 2019, 2:42 am

    “I cut my own hair for the something-hundredth time (100%)”
    “Ordering a decent extra-large pizza including tax, tip and delivery: $20
    Dad’s Homemade pizza: about $4
    Difference: 500%”

    You’re being a bit inconsistent with your sums.
    If paying nothing rather than something saves you 100% (haircut) – which it does – then paying more than nothing must save you less than 100%. So, for example, the pizza saved you ($20-$4)/$20 = 80%.

    • AdamP November 26, 2019, 12:26 pm

      Or he could have written that the haircut saved him ∞%

      Now that’s Savings!

  • Snarky November 19, 2019, 3:43 am

    So true! While making pizza from scratch is still pricier here in Japan than it would be in the US (grrrrr, ridiculous price of cheese), weaning yourself off of convenience as a default is so important.

    I really think that by acquiring basic skills (like making bread, being able to make small sewing repairs, knowing how to grow your own vegetables) we quickly realize how many things around us are ridiculously overpriced for the sake of convenience (and laziness).

    Also, that kitchen is amazing. So much counter space envy ;p

  • EP November 19, 2019, 3:53 am

    A bit unrelated, but just wanted to say a big thank you for the change in mindset you have given me since “The Shockingly Simple Math(s) Behind Early Retirement”.

    I have strayed from the path, but every time I hear you “voice” calling me an idiot! I’m a way off FIRE, but I’m in a better position than I would have been if I didn’t get bored at work 6 years ago!

    • Tami Mitchell November 19, 2019, 9:41 am

      This. I appreciate this too. I may never FIRE with my situation, but everything I have done over the last seven years has improved my position. I stray, I reread articles to get pumped up, and I look back at spreadsheets so I can see that the impact is REAL.

      • Rick H November 20, 2019, 4:59 am

        Yes and Yes! Not only was I getting bored at work, but my health was literally beginning to suffer. It was primarily the MMM site (plus a ridiculously supportive wife) that gave me the confidence to leave the corporate world way earlier than planned. I still work – for myself, and for much less money – but it’s at something I enjoy, with almost no stress attached. Nice ‘stuff’ or nice ‘life’ – an obvious choice in the end…

  • Angie November 19, 2019, 4:34 am

    I really got sloppy over the last year because you’re right the changes creep up slowly and it’s easy to justify $20 here or there. But ultimately, not a true recipe for happiness. I’ve been hosting dinner parties at home and it’s amazing when guests say they’re eating a better meal than at a fancy restaurant. Because when you cook at home everyday you learn to make pretty good stuff that trumps the frozen packaged food that restaurants are getting anyway. Always a good reminder to slow down and enjoy the frugal life.

  • KMB November 19, 2019, 4:39 am

    Those pies look delicious, Detroit style! How do you keep the crust from getting mushy? How you people in the mountains bake anything is beyond me…

  • Tina November 19, 2019, 5:19 am

    Mmmm…..balsamic glaze makes everything better! The kitchen looks fantastic with those deep drawers! I must ask, while I’m sure your fancy schmancy toaster does wonders on bread and bagels, have you ever played with a toaster oven? Magical I tell ya (though I do love opening a night hot oven as the temperatures fade from the glory days of summer)!

  • Jesse November 19, 2019, 5:38 am

    I’m torn on this issue. Please read these comments as a person struggling to look through the “MMM is only trying to save the world from itself” lens; I don’t think I’m a complainypants.

    Such a long stretch of economic tailwinds combined with the polarization of darn near everything in the country can easily make a moral issue out of Pizza Delivery and the like, but I try not to forget the millions of adults who make their livelihood providing the services and goods you bashed above. I used to be one of them myself.

    As is the case with some of these articles, I worry that many potential frugal converts are driven away by extreme examples. What’s wrong with living it up in reasonable amounts? By saying “[Enjoyable activity] is only for ME and PEOPLE LIKE ME”, no matter how reasonable that statement is to you, you ostracize many of my family and friends that might otherwise dig your shit.

    On a related note, I’d like to suggest that you do another demographics/income poll. Based on the activity in the forums and comments, I think the audience has shifted significantly since September 2013, and I know you want to remain as effective as possible.

    • Matt November 19, 2019, 10:14 am

      I think you missed the point of the article.

    • Kira January 1, 2020, 9:53 am

      Jesse, MMM has always been so effective precisely because of his extreme (to the masses) yet genuine stance. He doesn’t want or need to convince the masses by taking a more moderate approach — he simply shares what works for him, and it’s up to each individual reader to take it or leave it. If he toned down his message, he wouldn’t be MMM and he would be just like every other financial blogger out there who suggests skipping lattes or making a rule to never spend $5 bills in order to save money and retire eventually. I, for one, would stop reading if that happened.

      I don’t implement MMM’s approach 100%, but I would never dream of telling him he should reconsider rewriting the roadmap that he used to retire at 30, which happens to be the same roadmap he shares with us when he writes articles like this on the blog. As a natural spender who also happens to be a single mom (and who orders pizza), I appreciate reading the perspective of someone who is naturally frugal because it gives me ideas on how I can challenge myself to spend less. I happened to make pizza from scratch a few weeks ago, and I was surprised at how easy it was to make the dough (waiting for the sauce is always what irks me, even when I’m just making it to put on top of some type of purchased bread). I had already decided to start making it more often so I doubly appreciated MMM sharing that he batch cooks and freezes pizza. In fact, the post also reminded me that my daughter’s paternal grandma used to come home and cook freezer meals from scratch after doing manual labor all day. We have become a society that is afraid of any kind of discomfort, but that doesn’t mean MMM needs to pander to us.

      Like you, I also noticed that the tone of the comments has significantly changed here, and I have to wonder if it’s because FIRE is temporarily mainstream or because the economy has been strong for so long. Either way, we need the genuine MMM and his message now more than ever. He doesn’t NEED us, and I expect he would suddenly resent this blog if he tried to write to appease the masses.

  • David H November 19, 2019, 6:10 am

    I really enjoy your writing. I ran into your blog right as I was starting a PhD program. Living on a PhD stipend in a major east coast city has definitely been easier because of the Mustachianism principles I learned here. Now as I’m wrapping up the degree and looking for a job, I’ve made it my solemn goal to only apply for jobs that are located in places I’m willing to live. The plan is to live <2 miles from work. Now when I apply to any job, I also stalk the neighborhood via Google maps and scout bike paths etc. I also love weightlifting so with my first paycheck, I'm going to get a squat rack and drop the gym membership. I really enjoy my line of work (engineering), so I don't know if I really want to retire early, but I'm going to do everything I can to at least get that "fuck you" money asap. Thanks MMM!

  • Nostromo November 19, 2019, 6:50 am

    I empathize with this author’s sentiments. My late father-in-law made what I consider the best pizza around. Made his own fire-roasted red peppers too. I was the first son-in-law and in my having married my father-in-law’s eldest daughter there were many perks which came with this exalted position. If I went through the quarter’s allotment of marinated red pepper fillets I needed only to ask my wife to intercede with her father and get more! It was that simple. Sure, a few times I grovelled on my own but it was much easier to ask my wife.

    Saturday night was pizza night and there’d be at least two baking sheets of pizza coming our way. Dad was a master electrician with fists as big as canned hams. Yet time and time again I saw those hands move as deftly as a microsurgeon’s in performing some complicated task and he made the best homemade pizza it was my privilege to enjoy.

  • Financial Pilgrimage November 19, 2019, 7:20 am

    Great reminder on the important things in life. We order pizza plenty with two young kids but may have to go back to the days when we made our pizza. It’s not really about the pizza but about the bigger picture.

  • Rara November 19, 2019, 7:33 am

    FACTS!!!! We’re getting too soft with this FIRE thing! FIRE or DIE! I’m kidding but serious at the same time. Just kidding, I think. Great post.

  • Amanda November 19, 2019, 7:36 am

    My husband and I are expecting #2 in a couple of weeks, rather than getting Postmates or Blue Apron we opted to make about 30 freezer meals of enchiladas, chicken and veggies, and pasta meals for an easier newborn baby phase! We spent way too much when our first was born, but we were so overwhelmed as first time parents it didn’t seem like a big deal until we looked at the bills.

    • Marisa November 23, 2019, 8:53 pm

      This is absolutely brilliant. The last thing you want to do is cook when you are sleep deprived after having a baby. I was so blessed to have friends that not only provided dinners before hand when I was on bedrest then afterwards for several weeks.

  • Gabriel November 19, 2019, 7:36 am

    Kitchen looks great! Would you ever do a tutorial video on the basics?

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 8:09 am

      Yeah, it’s mostly filmed up already! Little MM and I just need to get our act together (mostly me) and edit/post it on Youtube.

      • Drue November 19, 2019, 8:58 pm

        Please do! Would love to see it. The kitchen looks awesome and I would love to see some of the steps involved in creating it.

        PS: Love the youtube channel as well. I know your a busy guy, but do know that your videos are much appreciated by your audience.

  • Rafael G November 19, 2019, 7:40 am

    Pete, I usually freeze balls of dough to be thawed out later and made into pizzas but your freezing of entire pizzas interests me! How do you shape / freeze the pizzas? Do you layer them on cardboard, parchment paper or something like that? Do you wrap them in plastic before or after freezing or use some other storage method? Given freezer space limitations how do you freeze multiple pizzas at once? Do you keep some in the fridge while one or two are freezing and then stack the frozen ones up?

    Also what is your baking time / temp. And are you using a convection oven?

    Sorry for all the questions but I love pizza, I love saving time, and I love saving money so this is an eye opener for me!

  • Jordan Burnett November 19, 2019, 7:42 am

    Great article. I waffle back and forth between your strategy and Ramit Sethi’s strategy of spending more on the things you really enjoy. One of the things I’ve started to do (and will be writing an article soon on) is putting things in 4% withdrawal rate terms.

    From that standpoint, I evaluate every decision in terms of what it would cost in a withdrawal rate–i.e. 25X.

    A pizza out may only be $18 versus $4, but really that equates to a $450 decision ($18*25) versus $100 ($4*25).

    Over the long term (say you eat a pizza every month), that equates to $5400 at a 4% withdrawal versus $1200 at a 4% withdrawal rate. It adds up quickly.

  • Kevin Bingham November 19, 2019, 8:04 am

    There’s also being wealthy in time. Why do people order pizza? Because they are tired– they worked all day. Because they have “less time” to cook– they have less time in the day to fit everything in.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 8:07 am

      Ahh.. but what if we could figure things out where it’s FASTER to make your own pizza (or heck, even just keep some quality take-n-bakes in the freezer), than ordering and managing a delivery?

      Much like cutting your own hair is way faster than going to a salon and paying someone to do it. Or biking for in-city trips is usually both faster than driving, and cheaper and better for your health.

      These win/win situations (rather than “compromise something you actually want just to save money”) are what Mustachianism is built on.

      • Sarah November 19, 2019, 9:56 am

        Yes! I bike 6 miles to work year round, and listen to my colleagues complain about the 20+ minutes it takes to find a parking spot. Time on a bike is never wasted, but driving back and forth waiting for someone to leave is a soul-suck I hope to never make.

        Plus I have no trouble skipping up the 4 flights to my office since I’m energized from the commute!

        Win-win! And win some more!

        • Leah November 19, 2019, 12:17 pm

          I love the phrase “time on a bike is never wasted”! As I head into another cold winter of biking around Minneapolis, I think I’m going to make this my mantra. Thanks!

      • HV November 21, 2019, 2:23 pm

        As is frequently noted, the time it takes to pay for the car reeeaaaalllly slows down those errands. Add up time wasted in traffic plus all the work hours you spent paying for the damn car, filling it up and fixing it . . . and the bike is oh, 1000 times quicker.
        Not a new point but worth remembering at all times.
        Bike = quicker, healthier, richer.
        Car = slower, flabbier, poorer.
        (Effects increase over time.)

    • Heather November 19, 2019, 12:20 pm

      Really, it takes longer to order a pizza than to make one. It takes at least 30 minutes to get a pizza delivered where as one can prep and cook a pizza in maybe 15 minutes assuming you already have dough ready from a previous weekend batch.

  • Victoria November 19, 2019, 8:06 am

    My biggest pet peeves is a soda (or beer!) when out and about. My spouse likes to have a Sprite type beverage with every meal. It costs the company $0.05 and costs you $2.55 (plus tip if sit down restaurant) and you can buy a 2-litre at the store for $1.99. the only advantage with a fountain soda is it creates less trash than a can or bottle. (We choose cans at home because recyceable). But still way cheaper at a gas station than a restaurant.

    And don’t get me started on those $8 cups of beer. Happy hour is the only price I’ll splurge for a beer.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 11:29 am

      Plus, soda and other sugary drinks cost you much more than $2.50 in health destruction costs. “Don’t drink calories” is a good rule for life, and although I violate it with beer and wine occasionally, I see the consequences in the mirror (which means my arteries and inner systems are feeling the same thing) immediately when I do.

      • Katie Camel November 19, 2019, 12:02 pm

        Your friendly neighborhood nurse seconds this advice. The savings from skipping these sugary drinks extends beyond the simple dollar cost when you take into consideration the substantial effect the continual consumption these high calorie drinks have on your overall health and your future health care costs. Cutting these drinks is one of the easiest ways to immediately improve your health. PSA over. :)

  • Maria Franaszczuk November 19, 2019, 8:33 am

    I follow the same DIY approach to food myself and absolutely enjoy cooking as a creative outlet. Colder times have come and I thoroughly enjoy cooking a big pot of broth ( pressure cooker saves a lot of time for the busier ones) which I then use for myriad of soups from Japanese ramen via Polish cabbage soup to improvised whatever is in the fridge about to go off minestrone. it can be easily frozen. The economy of scale is tremendous and in line with zero waste – chicken carcasses, bones, cartilage, whatever ‘we would normally throw away can be turned into golden liquid full of collagen and vitamins. It’s a real luxury to me!

  • Steve November 19, 2019, 8:37 am

    “$20 for insurance”
    *cries in Michigan*, even liability only on a $500 1991 Caprice is around $85/mo due to our insane no-fault laws. Even with a perfect driving/claim record. All the more reason to not own cars!

    • Paul November 19, 2019, 7:38 pm

      I live in Michigan (in one of the most bike friendly cities) – good luck trying to bike with 2 feet of snow and ice underground :)

      • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 9:48 pm

        Okay, but that would be even tougher in a car, right?

        On average, having grown up in one of the snowiest regions of North America with 90% bike transportation, I have found that a good bike is just about the same as a good car in the snow, inch-for-inch. 1-3 inches is negligible, then you need to have good tires for 4-6 inches. Beyond that you aren’t really getting all that far, which is okay because nobody else is either.

        • DuckReconMajor November 20, 2019, 9:04 am

          I think on Twitter you recommended fat bikes for sand, what about on snow?

          • Mr. Money Mustache November 21, 2019, 1:13 pm

            Yeah! Fat tire bikes definitely increase your snow tolerance, probably roughly doubling the amount of snow you can ride over or through.

            Of course, if it is soft snow you are using a huge amount of energy to pedal through it, so you may want to grab a fat tire E-bike if you have to do this regularly (like in Minnesota/Alaska/Ottawa situations traversing unplowed roads or trails).

            It can sound exotic and like a hassle sometimes, but it is actually the opposite: the hassle of cleaning off AN ENTIRE CLIMATE CONTROLLED GLASS MOTORIZED ROOM, every time you want to go somewhere, is WAY the hell more work than just putting on a hat and gloves and hopping on your bike for a winter errand or commute.

            • MS November 24, 2019, 8:27 pm

              I have to disagree unfortunately. First, you don’t really get fresh snow for very long in the city. You get ice and slush and disgusting dirty snow.
              I biked in Montreal for a few years during the winter for commuting (7 km each way). I loved it and would do it again ( I cannot anymore because I now work 20 km away from home).
              But it is really hard. It is cold, you need good equipment (snow pants etc.) because you get very dirty, and the bike gets completely destroyed (corroded from all the salt they put on the streets). Every spring I would have to put 300$ to change all the chain and cassettes and whatever else. And most people do not have a place (like a garage) to store the bike. So starting to bike at -10 with frozen brakes takes some courage. Commuting takes twice as much time as during the summer, it is perilous and not a great exercise – you sweat but for the wrong reasons.
              Getting in a car and driving is easier – it is the lazy way.
              I would advocate for simplifying life in the future so you don’t need to commute long distances daily and moving to a place where you can bike year around ;) Living in these Winterlands is a big hassle … Much more expensive than living in warmer countries.

      • Jake F. November 20, 2019, 7:22 pm

        I live in Michigan’s upper peninsula and bike to work every day. I’ve been using a mountain bike successfully for the last 6 winters, but most snowy weather bikers around here use a fat bike.

    • Muck November 20, 2019, 8:16 am


      I have the same question about the $20/month car insurance. My situation is pretty close to yours; I live in Colorado, have an older vehicle with only liability, a super clean driving record, and don’t drive very often if at all, and I can’t find anything near $20/month. I’d love to hear how you are doing that.


      • JeffD November 21, 2019, 12:57 am

        You can ask for the minimum coverage in your state, and declare how many miles you drive a year. The less miles, the less you pay. I declare 2000 miles a year, but only actually use about half that.

  • Angela November 19, 2019, 9:37 am

    Well I feel guilty for ordering Rosalee’s on Saturday now, but it was delicious. Say it’s about 6 servings at $5.67 each. My homemade pizzas probably run about $10 with 4 servings so $2.50 each. I like to use a semolina/bread flour combo for homemade square pies.

  • Bob November 19, 2019, 9:46 am

    The important question is, did the pizza get cold while you were writing this post?

    Just kidding. :)

  • Francis November 19, 2019, 9:50 am

    Thank you so much for continuing to write these articles. Even saying old lessons in a new way is useful and keeps me sharp and alert to my own wastes.

    Even just now I’ve realised I’ve automatically put the heating on BEFORE putting on a fleece. The shame.

    I wonder if you could write an articles (or point out one written previously) on things relatively frugal people have noticed slip into there routine.

  • Dharma Bum November 19, 2019, 9:57 am

    I’m spending about a month down here in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona.
    Since my semi-early retirement, I like escaping the Toronto area November weather and dreariness. It extends the summer, and gives us a dose of the amazingness of the southwest American landscape. We drive down (in a relatively efficient 4 cylinder aerodynamic vehicle) and pass through the wondrous scenery of Colorado, Utah, and northern Arizona.
    My son came down to visit while on vacation, and one of the things we did was make pizzas in-house.
    I’d converted him to Mustachianism years ago, so he was very pleased with the double payoff of having amazingly superior home made pizza and saving a whack of cash to boot.
    We spent days hiking in the surrounding desert and mountains, checking out archaeological sites, and cooking meals at the condo on the $40 charcoal grill I bought when we got down here.
    The simplest pleasures are the richest pleasures.
    One thing that freaks me out about being down here is that the population at large seems to really love their massive high powered jacked up pick-up trucks and SUVs and 5 litre Ford Mustangs and Dodge Chargers. It’s like a throwback to the late sixties and early seventies.
    Southern Arizona folk live in a different world.
    High consumption gas powered mega vehicles are the norm down here.
    Most streets are minimum 4 lanes, with a common left turn lane or multiple dedicated left turn lanes. Many streets are 6 lanes. They pavement is mostly smooth as silk. Vehicles whiz by on residential streets at an average of 45-50 miles an hour all day.
    Consumption is blatantly rampant.
    Everybody seems happy.
    Diversity is non existent.
    It’s a different world.
    It’s a bubble.
    Rain is expected to come today. The first time in several months.
    I can’t wait to witness the rare occasion of flash flooding through the many washes that are normally bone dry all year.

    • Marcia November 19, 2019, 12:32 pm

      The car thing is fascinating. Here in coastal So Cal, I see a LOT of upscale cars – large SUVs. Trucks. Minivans. Teslas. Mercedes, BMW, Lexus – and SUVs. In fact, two people in the same week told me “well, it’s basically impossible to find a new car that you’d want for less than $30k.” (My most expensive car was an $18k new Civic). Contrast to when I visit the Northeast and family – esp where my husband is from, the cars are far more practical. If you own a business (plumbers, etc), you have a truck or van. Otherwise, so many of the cars – the vast majority – are sedans. Boring, old sedans.

  • Pops November 19, 2019, 10:24 am

    I would just like to get you attention diverted to one point. – OPPORTUNITY COSTS

    I agree that making a pizza vs ordering one has its own benefits. But what you do not understand is the fact that you are using one very important resource YOUR TIME. You could very well be doing something else with your time and earn a lot more that what you save. The only advantage that cannot be negated is the satisfaction you get from doing the task yourself.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 11:25 am

      … unless there were some way to make these lifestyle changes so they take NO MORE TIME, or EVEN LESS TIME, than the consumer alternative, when you consider the big picture. As described in this article and the other 500 blog posts on this site.

      • Steven November 19, 2019, 1:28 pm

        You often have to be coming from a place of wealth and privilege to be able to do something like making a pizza from scratch with less time/effort than delivery. For some people it just isn’t possible.

        • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 4:04 pm


          For fuck’s sake, you scoop some flour and yeast – the cheapest ingredients in the whole goddamned grocery store – into an optional $15 bread machine which I bought almost ten years ago from Craigslist.

          If you want this word “Privilege” to retain any relevance and meaning in public discussion (and for the record I *DO* think it is a real thing in the right context), you need to avoid shitting it out in the context of a stay-at-home Dad making some pizza for his son.

          In more seriousness, aside from things like access to health and education, the biggest advantage we can give to people who are struggling with money (at all levels of the income spectrum) is better money skills. That means teaching them how to eat frugal and healthy meals at home without having to resort to fast food or deliveries.

          Or in much fewer words: Knowledge is Privilege.

          • Nikki T November 19, 2019, 7:09 pm

            I could not agree more! Thanks MMM.

          • Mary November 19, 2019, 7:32 pm

            Brilliant response MMM. Sounds like those who choose to order their pizza may be feeling a little defensive? And how about highlighting all the positive points of a great Dad showing his son a valuable skill like cooking, how to be good with money through not blowing $20 on pizza, and how to eat healthier by making food where you control the ingredients. All while spending quality father/son time together. “Opportunity Costs” my ass!

          • Kristine November 19, 2019, 8:33 pm

            Thank you! I think many of these people use any excuse to defend not doing something for themselves! I raised one boy alone making minimal money cooking everything from scratch plus got a two year degree. It was the best years of my life! My son is now 26 frugal almost finished getting a masters degree and cooks all his own meals. Plus he has money in the bank! Keep writing, every article inspires me to do better!

          • Mustafa Hamsho November 19, 2019, 9:09 pm

            I’m privileged enough that I decided just shaving my head with electric clippers every 6 weeks saves a lot of everything: time every morning, shampoo, haircut money, and vanity.

          • Ms Blaise November 19, 2019, 9:11 pm

            thank you! thank you thank you! Thank god you answered this one MMM.

            the people who can least afford to order crappy pizza are being told that yummy CHEAP HEALTHY EASY HOMEMADE pizza is only for the rich???? FFS!
            How hard is mixing self raising flour with water and a dash of oil. You don’t even need yeast. WE make this at least once a week, add some of a basic tin of chopped tomatoes (.70 cents) and then mushrooms, red peppers, bacon, etc.

          • Marla November 20, 2019, 6:34 pm

            “Let them eat pizza” . Marie Antoinette

          • Married to a Swabian November 23, 2019, 6:38 pm

            This exchange is typical of conversations I’ve hade with friends, family and coworkers: the basic principles of Mustachianism seem so obvious to my wife, son and I, but others often seem puzzled.
            Just choose the DIY way, whether cooking, remodeling, working on your car, doing yard work, whatever and save the balance. The results are usually better anyway. Why?
            Nobody cares as much as you about anything that affects your health, home, car, etc. Why outsource it to provide profits for others? Why deny yourself the opportunity to learn a new skill?

            In this Country it’s “Give me convenience, or give me death!”.

          • Marisa November 23, 2019, 9:28 pm

            This is why I think it is so important for kids(both my sons and daughters) to be taught how to cook. I know that everyone is busy and tired but 1 hour on the weekend is enough time to shop for 7 days, then another hour to get prepped for the week. To feed my cyclist husband and my basketball playing, son and myself take at least large, in my area that is $35 delivery where I live. I also have 3 kids in college that I assist(one has a full-ride basketball scholarship, another is self-funded but we help with her auto insurance). At this point in my life I cannot justify doing anything but throwing flour, oil, sugar and yest into my $7 used bread-maker, roll out the dough, put some cheese, pineapple and tomato sauce for $1.00 a pizza. Same with coffee, .45c coffee versus $6. at Starbucks. Like you said, it really takes less time.

        • Duffy28 December 10, 2019, 9:51 am

          I see you have a problem to every solution. Instead of thinking about how you could never be this amazing because you are a victim of circumstances why not think, “HOW can I do this with my current circumstances?”

    • Marcia November 19, 2019, 12:28 pm

      So the first step might not be: instead of ordering pizza, make your own dough and sauce and pizza from scratch. Instead, the answer may be (first): buy frozen pizza. Or make pizza using naan or pita bread or french bread, with jarred marinara and already shredded cheese. That DOES take more time (still), in that you have to have the ingredients. So it takes some planning ahead. Some of my friends are not great at that, or say “but what if I don’t feel like having chili on Wednesday?” (Eat it anyway? Or put in in the fridge so the flavors meld and make a grilled cheese sandwich instead?)

    • Carlos November 20, 2019, 12:58 pm

      *sigh*… you just don’t get it, do you? MOST of the people who splurge $ 20 bucks for pizza aren’t making more money in the time it takes to do one yourself (using ingredients you planned to have available when you did your grocery shopping). It takes 10 minutes to prep everything and the oven does the rest. How many people in America are making $ 20 bucks / 10 minutes = $ 120 / hr? The national average is around $ 28 / hr.

      And not ordering pizza is only one helping point. Add the 500+ recommendations by MMM and you’re looking at some serious savings across. It’s the MINDSET that matters.

      But hey, if you work 20 hours a day and make $ 500 / hr, by all means, order a pizza!!!

  • Pat November 19, 2019, 10:38 am

    A few people I know regularly use UberEats/Postmates type of services. This is the epitome of laziness. It is ridiculously expensive but what is most distressing is the amount of takeout containers and plastic, styrofoam and plastic that is involved. Plan ahead and get some freezer pizzas or other emergency food if you find yourself tired during the week. Make yourself a bowl of lentils or a dang quesadilla at home. Thank you MMM for another great post and hope the next one is not a long time coming.

    • Josh November 20, 2019, 2:06 am

      I totally agree with you. We very rarely get takeout, but did recently and were absolutely appalled by the amount of plastic, styrofoam and aluminum foil – none of it recyclable. That one meal created as much trash as we typically generate in a week.

      Separately, the Trader Joe’s frozen truffle pizza amazing, especially for $3.99. Takes 8 min in a toaster oven.

    • josh November 20, 2019, 5:37 am

      I totally agree with you. We very rarely get takeout, but did recently and were absolutely appalled by the amount of plastic, styrofoam and aluminum foil – none of it recyclable. That one meal created as much trash as we typically generate in a week.

      Separately, the Trader Joe’s frozen truffle pizza amazing, especially for $3.99. Takes 8 min in a toaster oven.

  • Ryan Schlomer November 19, 2019, 10:42 am

    I usually plan $1 per person per meal for my family. I made chicken fried rice last night for my family of 5, and told my wife that this is a $1 total meal. And I still eat twice as much as I should.

    We make our own “$4 pizzas” on Saturday nights. I’m guessing it’s been 4 years since we have had a pizza delivered.

    In order to build wealth you can’t keep spending all your money.

  • Joseph Novak November 19, 2019, 11:07 am

    What pizza recipe is your favorite? I have several but it seems like the crust is never that good. Also what material did you use for your countertops?

  • Mr Fundamental November 19, 2019, 11:13 am

    That sounds like an amazing day that you had with your son. I love your idea of the three-way win: faster, cheaper, AND healthier. Our family of five is trying to do more of these activities. Anything we can do that involves: outside time, time spent with the family, costs no money, is healthy, is fun. These can lead to two, three, or even five-way wins!

    I must confess that we ordered pizza this past weekend, but we should’ve made it homemade. I love making homemade, because as you mention — cheaper, healthier, faster, AND it is a family activity for us with the kiddos.

    Just a minor note — your link to the car-clown page doesn’t seem active for me:
    “put away those car-clown keys”

    Happy to see you one of the “roots” articles come out.
    Cheers from Canada!

  • Anirudh Prasad November 19, 2019, 11:34 am

    MMM – what happend to Salads? Thought we all agreed Salads make us happy and Pizza does not.

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 4:20 pm

      The pizza was for my son because that’s all he is willing to eat for dinner at this point. For me, it’s two salads a day plus a few thousand calories of other whole foods to round out the diet. Very little breads or dairy though – I have grown past the age of eating pizza myself, except on rare special occasions:


      • Ms. Lady C November 21, 2019, 5:36 am

        Started my grands on eating in and healthier. We’d love to move to a better place (new city altogether) to have a much better place to live and call home. Just live a healthier, stress freeless life style.

  • Goldloeckchen November 19, 2019, 11:57 am

    We have discussed “no knead bread” in the comments section of this blog way in the past. I use their recipe for my homemade pizza. A mother of three small children can do it. It takes virtually no time.

    Homemade pizza is on the menu for tomorrow, the kids have requested it.

  • AdamS November 19, 2019, 12:17 pm

    This is really a fantastic summary of all the benefits of living a well-tuned and thoughtful existence. Bravo MMM.

    On the specific topic of homemade pizza (and a very clever hook for the article), I’m a huge fan… as well as homemade bread. If you are a sourdough baker, consider using your starter discard to make pizza dough. I just started doing sourdough recently and this is a great side benefit and reduces waste. Makes for a nice, tangy flavor in the crust! King Arthur Flour has a great recipe.


    – Adam S

  • Ozzy November 19, 2019, 12:21 pm

    None of this seems even remotely accessible to a poor person. Ex: if you can only afford to live far from your work, how could you walk/bike? If you can’t afford to have a functioning kitchen or significant implements, how could you cook?

    I think your primary point is valid, that habits which maximize savings also tend to produce other positives in life. But it feels like you’re only talking to other wealthy people, who probably don’t need advice because even if they make mistakes, fixing them is a simple matter of paying for it. Tossing around figures in the thousands, even as one time payments that make a big difference in the long run, is ludicrous for someone whose rent is 40-80% of their income as it is for many working people.

    I’m sure I will receive many comments encouraging me to just take small steps, and I appreciate that sentiment and do as much as I can to save money however possible. But please, at least acknowledge that having a bank balance of <$100 means that these ideas are AT LEAST significantly more difficult, if not impossible – not everyone has these luxuries!

    • Mr. Money Mustache November 19, 2019, 9:59 pm

      Well, I should point out again that this blog is primarily here to reduce the resource consumption of middle-to-upper class households, mostly in the US. So I focus on that rather than optimizing the advice to help people who are really struggling.

      BUT, even when addressing your specific examples, I will say again that Knowledge is Privilege. Most low income people that I know have cars, often older SUVS, and don’t even own bikes. Not because biking is hard or they live far from work, but because they are simply FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF EVERYONE ELSE THEY KNOW, and also following the example of the next rung up the income and consumption ladder.

      Similarly, if you don’t have a functioning kitchen, as long as you have an indoor bedroom or access to a park shelter with an electrical outlet, you can still go to a thrift store and get a toaster oven for $5, then go to the grocery store and get a large take-n-bake pizza for $4, and you have 2-3 meals for less than the price of a single pizza delivery. AND an oven you can keep forever.

      The shit I describe on here works for everyone. But it WON’T work for anyone who writes it off as “only for rich people”

      • A M-aire Who Finds Takeout Pizza, uh, ... meh November 20, 2019, 6:44 am

        Dear Mr Money Mustache,

        You write: “Most low income people that I know have cars, often older SUVS, and don’t even own bikes. Not because biking is hard or they live far from work, but because they are simply FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF EVERYONE ELSE THEY KNOW, and also following the example of the next rung up the income and consumption ladder.”

        I should think “FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF EVERYONE ELSE THEY KNOW, and also following the example of the next rung up the income and consumption ladder” describes all of walking, talking humanity, of whatever social class.

        And this, for me, is the value of your blog, that you articulate your thinking outside the silly box of convention. I should think your blog helps people who are struggling, but it also helps people, such as myself, who are not, as we navigate this world a-whirl with choices and their consequences.

      • HV November 21, 2019, 2:34 pm

        OK my personal inspiration for epic frugality, long before MMM, was watching immigrants in Toronto. I thought I was poor, living as a student, until I found out how these guys lived: working 2 jobs, sharing rooms, living off of a few tired end-of-day veggies from the market and HUGE BAGS OF RICE they bought for hardly anything. They had electric rice cookers in their dark little rooms. So they lived on hardly any money at all because they SENT IT ALL HOME. They were working to support even poorer people far away. This happens all over the world. Now that is bad ass: working so hard, living o so little, for people so far away. Not to retire early. If that’s possible for them, what was possible for me? So a lot comes down to your motivation and how damn stoic you are.

    • classical_liberal November 20, 2019, 11:45 am

      I’m not sure if you’re “poor”, or of you are writing on behalf of “poor” people. I’m guessing the later, and you’re not doing them any favors. Here’s why, I have a lot of friends that readers here would consider working class or “poor”. My friends, mostly, already have the MMM-type shit down. Baseline living costs of sub $1000/mo per adult is the norm. Given my experience on this site’s forum, that means they kick the shit of out of the average six figure tech worker who dominates readership here. Those folks are spending multiples of that amount and think they know how to be frugal. My point is that necessity is the mother of invention.

      The problem I see with my friends, is that once they work themselves into a better income position, they no longer exercise their frugality muscles. Car loans, nicer apartments, meals out, vacations, etc, are viewed as class mobility. It’s inherent in their thought processes that this is the good life they’ve been missing out on. Having the ability to have lived the indebted middle/upper-middle class life, and realizing that it does NOT bring any more happiness or fulfillment (the opposite actually), without having to waste too much of life’s most precious resource. time, is the true “privilege” (it’s the in word I guess).

      I don’t blame MMM for his focus on rich people, they are a good market for his type of stuff. I owe him for my initial exposure to the ides of FIRE, and I’m FI (at “poor” mans level) and semi retired as a result. But to assume poor people don’t know how to do this stuff is idiotic. They live it, daily. The privilege needed is education that standard, consumeristic, class mobility ideas in the US are horrible, unfulfilling traps. Privilege to understand that when extra money comes in it should be invested, not spend to be “middle class” and try to keep up with the rich folk on Instagram.

      I encourage every “poor” person who reads this to show these rich tech people how it’s done. You already have the skills, skills they will likely never learn. All you need is the mindset and you will be free long before any of them… Who has the “privilege” now?

    • Michael November 21, 2019, 5:44 am

      For many a change in mind-set is the most difficult part. Every upward endeavor undertaken in this world requires sacrifice in the beggining. There are two paths, the easy starts downward, and leads into the ditch. The path going up requires effort (sometimes great), but eventually your muscles acclimate, and maybe you hit a the ridge and can coast along the crest of the mountain. A person starting with greater poverty simply starts further down the mountain.

      • classical_liberal November 21, 2019, 2:56 pm

        The mindset change needed is that you don’t have waste time and energy to climb the mountain. Things are just fine down here with homemade pizza, great social group, and a small, but warm home. The problem is the we (down here) tend to socially aggrandize those folks who are higher than us. So, instead of focusing on using our considerable, already existing skills, to live a great life at the base, we trade those skills and become indebted for the tools of a mountain climber. Those who are lucky get partially up the mountain, realize the mistake, and start coming back down. Those who started off halfway up, and were only taught the ways of a climber, have no choice to to continue upwards. Unless, of course, they too learn the error of the ways. These people, though, still have to learn the skills needed to live at the base of the mountain.

    • Marcia November 21, 2019, 7:15 pm

      There’s low income, there’s poor, and there’s poverty. The rules are different for all, because the resources are different. Plenty of poor people or low income people have access to electricity, a kitchen, and at the very least, a fridge. People who are living in abject poverty or who are homeless are a whole different category altogether. Please don’t try to lump them in to one group. I read “Nickle and Dimed” recently, and it’s still relevant today. But not all people who are poor are living in motel rooms with no way to cook.

      • classical_liberal November 22, 2019, 1:45 pm

        I agree, but for most of the western world (1 billion people) true poverty isn’t even in our scope of understanding. To translate our situation in the developed west to the other 6 billion people, here’s an easy list:

        Developed west–vs–World
        Upper middle——— Not conceivable
        Middle class————1%’er
        Poor——————– Normal life
        Not conceivable—— Poor

        The vast majority of true homeless in the US are that way due to mental illness and substance abuse. This problem is mostly a systemic health care issue, as opposed to an economic issue.

  • Bob November 19, 2019, 12:23 pm

    Not sure if the culture in America differs to our country. I’ve notices that my family and friends have been feeling pity and assume I’m lazy despite doing far harder physical work like renovating kitchens, building furniture, DIY projects etc, since I FIREd from my office job a year ago.
    The context is that in our country, physical labour is extremely cheap. Tomorrow I have someone assisting me to break down brick walls, remove tiles and other strenuous work, yet their pay will be good in our country at around $12 for 8 hours of hard labour. Knowledge workers though get paid as well as any developed market. So instead of working at my old finance job (where I made upward of $250k per annum) the reason I’m doing this physical labour is because I’ve either fallen on hard times or am lazy. You maximize income, and if you do something that would attract lower pay, it’s because you’re desperate. To most people in my country it is 1 step above being homeless,a beggar, or maybe similar to working in a clothing store or other unskilled profession. I don’t enjoy their pity, and they dont understand why you wouldn’t always want to rather earn well. They do renovations too (although theyre paying someone) and they still fit it around in their 9 hour jobs, kids etx but when most labour is so cheap, then there is almost no cost saving to DIY vs outsourcing. How do I make them understand I’m not lazy? Their pity isn’t that fun at family gatherings and the earnings gap between any form of knowledge consulting/business vs my passion and fun from DIY/construction is an absolute chasm. Any advice on dealing with perception of lazy/pity?

    • kz November 21, 2019, 2:58 pm

      talk about something else and if/when this nonsense crops up, remind them that you work when you want to on what you want to, your terms, without the drudgery of bosses, boring meetings, commuting, etc. Because you’re in control, not someone else or worse, some faceless private or public-sector organization.


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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

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