Author Topic: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?  (Read 24756 times)

jybaatl35

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How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« on: November 30, 2013, 11:13:23 AM »
How do you explain your mustachian lifestyle to others?

At work, it seems people just don't understand me, as I am sometimes questioned on why I am not doing what everyone else is doing.  For example, all my coworkers go driving around and buying themselves lunch everyday, while I eat my packed lunch at my desk.  I get looks of sympathy and comments like "don't you ever want to get out for lunch?"

Another example happened this week was my coworkers called me scrooge and the "Christmas miser" because I don't waste my money on Christmas decorations and my husband and I don't buy each other gifts.  It's not Christmas that I have a problem with - it's spending unnecessarily!!

I don't feel I can give them my true reasons because it would just sound like I am lecturing them, and the typical consumer does not want to hear a dissertation on the power of compounding.

Just curious if others have a great way of explaining themselves without sounding rude?

footenote

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 11:16:01 AM »
Someone in another thread (please identify yourself as I cannot remember whom to credit!) suggested answering with positives like "I bring my lunch because I love cooking so much!" This way, it's explained as a positive for you, not something that brings their choices into question.

Russ

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 11:32:33 AM »
^ yeah that's pretty much it. People don't like judgemental people. If you feel like you're being judgey you probably are.
I bring my lunch because I like to cook
I don't do huge holiday stuff because I'd rather spend that energy on family time
I ride bikes because it's fun and I like being outside
If I don't want to spend money on something, it's not because I don't want to spend money, it's because I'm saving for something (preferably something people can relate to, like a house or whatever)

It helps to project confidence about your choices and own them with a little humor instead of getting upset, e.g. "you're such a Scrooge" "haha I guess I am!"

Also stop giving a fuck what other people think. This will naturally turn away people who disagree with the way you live your life and bring in people who agree with the way you live your life. The second part takes a little longer though, so people tend to get too discouraged to carry on before they get there.

ETA: If you do it right, you should never feel like you're "defending" yourself from anybody. That's in relation to both how you explain your choices and how you receive criticism of those choices.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 11:34:27 AM by Russ »

jybaatl35

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 11:38:36 AM »
That's good advice, Russ.  Maybe using the word "defend" wasn't the right choice here.  I don't actually care what they think about me, but it starts to get ridiculous when coworkers start passing on gossip like "can you BELIEVE Sally doesn't buy Christmas gifts?"  Then people get the wrong idea about me through the grapevine.

NinetyFour

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 11:59:54 AM »
I struggle with this at times.  Mostly, my co-workers either think that I am odd (in a harmless kind of way) or super-human (as in, "You actually bike up that hill every day??!!??").  I have begun to share some of my financial goals with a co-worker, and I excitedly tell her when I find money (which I seem to often do, as I get around town either on a bike or on foot).  She responded by hiding a few pennies in my (messy) office, so that I can be thrilled later when I find them.  Hmmm...not quite sure what to make of that.  But that's OK--for me, those "found" pennies go right in the "Other Income" column in my spreadsheet!!

brewer12345

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 12:02:25 PM »
The positive spin is a good idea.  Some of it is also the development of a thick skin.  You are doing something outside of the US mainstream, so get used to criticism.

Zikoris

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2013, 12:26:18 PM »
My secret weapon is "convenience". Everyone understands that.

I tell people that eating out is inconvenient and a headache for vegans, and it's easier to just bring my own food for lunches.

I don't have a car and walk and bike everywhere because it's the fastest and most convenient way to get around(I live in the downtown core of a major city).

I don't buy clothes because it's a huge inconvenience and headache trying to find stuff I like, so I just sew my own stuff that fits me perfectly and is exactly what I want(and is a small fraction of the price).

Also, I travel a lot, so people just assume I'm saving for my next trip(or maybe paying off my last one) - and I don't correct them. International travel makes a VERY good excuse, because it's something a lot of people dream about but don't actually do, so they're not aware of the exact costs and how cheap it can be. I actually put over triple my travel budget into retirement any given year.

davisgang90

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2013, 01:03:25 PM »
I've had a few discussions with an old boss who I greatly admire.  He retired from the Navy and then started work as a Government Service employee.  He has paid for 3 of 4 kids college (one is on a ROTC scholarship) and is paying for his daughter to work on her MBA now. 

He and his wife both work and have no plans to retire anytime soon.  When I started my blog talking about retiring early, he told me I need to think about quality of life and keep raking in the big bucks after I retire from the Navy. 

My response was that I was beginning to define quality of life as more time, not more money.  Not sure I'm convincing anyone, but you never know.

Empire Business

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2013, 01:21:19 PM »
You don't have anything to explain; they do.  They already know this which is why they are staging a proactive offensive defense by acting like they feel sorry for you.  It's their issues, not yours.

GuitarStv

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2013, 01:32:22 PM »
I just tell 'em it's because I'm cheap.

NinetyFour

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2013, 01:35:43 PM »
I have recently been biking to the ice rink (and schlepping my hockey gear on my trailer).  Last week, one of my teammates asked me, while in the locker room prepping for a game, if I had biked to the rink.  My response was, "Did you drive?!?!?!  (Look of horror on my face.) Don't you know that EVERYONE bikes to the rink now???"

dragoncar

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 01:44:12 PM »
My secret weapon is: I don't give a crap what other people think.

I honestly don't know how the people here who have "high emotional iq," or who seem very upset when others disapprove of their lifestyle, stay mustachian.  I couldn't if I was constantly swayed by consumerism, commercials telling me how to make other people like me and fit in, etc.

Honest Abe

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2013, 01:45:22 PM »
i mostly keep my mouth shut, especially at the office. Then again, I don't bike to work so there is nothing really conspicuous about my lifestyle that people may ask about.

Bakari

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2013, 01:58:19 PM »
I guess I've just been lucky.  Maybe its because of living in the SF Bay Area of CA.  Maybe its because when you are different enough, no one has any expectation of conformity.  I really don't know why.

No one's really ever questioned it.
I guess I am "that guy" among the Coast Guard Reserves, but no one asks "why?".
Friends, family, neighbors, just accept me as me.

Tyler

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2013, 02:09:31 PM »
I don't defend myself, nor do I go on the offensive to "convert" others.  I just live my life the way I want and lead by example.  I've found that if I'm outwardly happy, relaxed, and friendly to others, people are more likely to ask for advice than criticize my choices.

Free_at_50

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2013, 02:43:15 PM »
Here's something for you to look forward to.  Once you get to FI (or at least FU status) you can tell people in your office you don't have to give a rat's ass because you have been bagging your lunch and saving for the last x number of years as opposed to throwing money out the window.  Just the other day my boss told me that a meeting we had coming up with our new VP was a chance for me to impress her.  I just laughed and said those days are way behind me, good luck worrying about that...  lol.  It was a lot of fun being able to say that and come to think of it the last couple years have been some of the most fun years of my career thanks in part to bagging my lunch!  :)

mm1970

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2013, 02:51:36 PM »
How do you explain your mustachian lifestyle to others?

At work, it seems people just don't understand me, as I am sometimes questioned on why I am not doing what everyone else is doing.  For example, all my coworkers go driving around and buying themselves lunch everyday, while I eat my packed lunch at my desk.  I get looks of sympathy and comments like "don't you ever want to get out for lunch?"

Another example happened this week was my coworkers called me scrooge and the "Christmas miser" because I don't waste my money on Christmas decorations and my husband and I don't buy each other gifts.  It's not Christmas that I have a problem with - it's spending unnecessarily!!

I don't feel I can give them my true reasons because it would just sound like I am lecturing them, and the typical consumer does not want to hear a dissertation on the power of compounding.

Just curious if others have a great way of explaining themselves without sounding rude?
I'm very familiar with the lunch question, have heard it at my last two jobs, and kinda started a "packing your lunch trend" at both.

Reasons I don't go out:
1.  I used to be fat (truthfully, I now have 30 lbs of baby weight to lose) and the food out isn't very  healthy and doesn't taste very good.
2.  It's much cheaper to pack a lunch.  I calculated once that by packing my lunch and my husband's lunch every day (or almost, he does eat out 2x a month), I save $16,500 every five years.  Which, by the way, is enough to buy a new, compact car with cash.

Shortly after I started my new job 5 years ago, my husband was in an accident and our car was totaled and we bought the Civic for cash, so it was very easy to explain to people that bringing my lunch allowed me to do that.

mm1970

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2013, 02:55:51 PM »
I have recently been biking to the ice rink (and schlepping my hockey gear on my trailer).  Last week, one of my teammates asked me, while in the locker room prepping for a game, if I had biked to the rink.  My response was, "Did you drive?!?!?!  (Look of horror on my face.) Don't you know that EVERYONE bikes to the rink now???"

We live one block down the hill from a large park with soccer fields, softball fields, hiking trails, etc.  My husband and I like to walk there.

It's at the end of a dead end street, so there's a little opening in the fence.  But if you want to drive there, you have to drive AROUND the hill, the entrance is on the opposite end of the park.

One day we were walking out of our house and our neighbor (house behind us, we share a driveway) was heading off by car to softball and said "have a good walk!"

We were already at the park when he got there.  He said "how did you get here so fast?"

Uh...you know you can walk there, right?  He had no idea he was so close...

mm1970

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2013, 03:03:20 PM »
Here's something for you to look forward to.  Once you get to FI (or at least FU status) you can tell people in your office you don't have to give a rat's ass because you have been bagging your lunch and saving for the last x number of years as opposed to throwing money out the window.  Just the other day my boss told me that a meeting we had coming up with our new VP was a chance for me to impress her.  I just laughed and said those days are way behind me, good luck worrying about that...  lol.  It was a lot of fun being able to say that and come to think of it the last couple years have been some of the most fun years of my career thanks in part to bagging my lunch!  :)

I had a lunch with a former coworker yesterday.  She got laid off in August along with 20% of our work force, and it was really hard on her.  Generally we've had really bad morale for the last year, and I've thought of quitting.  She urged me to not quit without a job waiting.  I didn't really know how to explain that I had enough FU money that it doesn't matter.  So I didn't.

Snow White

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2013, 03:24:59 PM »
I just tell 'em it's because I'm cheap.

I do the same thing and I don't give a damn about what people think. 

Nudelkopf

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2013, 03:33:33 PM »
I used to say it was because I was a student (which was true). Now I say that I'm trying to save as much as possible (also true) :)

JHC89

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2013, 03:37:44 PM »
My secret weapon is "convenience". Everyone understands that.

I tell people that eating out is inconvenient and a headache for vegans, and it's easier to just bring my own food for lunches.

I don't have a car and walk and bike everywhere because it's the fastest and most convenient way to get around(I live in the downtown core of a major city).

I don't buy clothes because it's a huge inconvenience and headache trying to find stuff I like, so I just sew my own stuff that fits me perfectly and is exactly what I want(and is a small fraction of the price).

Also, I travel a lot, so people just assume I'm saving for my next trip(or maybe paying off my last one) - and I don't correct them. International travel makes a VERY good excuse, because it's something a lot of people dream about but don't actually do, so they're not aware of the exact costs and how cheap it can be. I actually put over triple my travel budget into retirement any given year.

Zikoris: Do you have any tips on traveling internationally cheaply? I've been heavily focused on saving, but I don't want to miss travel opportunities while I'm young. Not that older people can't travel, I just don't have many responsibilities outside of work.

chasesfish

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2013, 04:07:22 PM »
I really don't give a damn, but I tend to say "I spend my money on travel" or use the busy day excuse when packing my lunch.  I can't help but not bust up laughing when they ask me about replacing my truck when it's in the shop.

They just don't get that a rental car and a repair might equal a month and a half of their car payment, and it happens to me less than once a year.

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2013, 04:43:57 PM »
This is quickly becoming a new problem for us too. We recent cut cable, our gym membership and stopped eating out. This had a few friends and family members ask if we were "doing okay" money wise. My husbands parents know that we are cutting costs to both lessen our monthly expenses in favor of a long term goal, and also to absorb the blow of recent pay cuts. They are mustachians without knowing it. Other family assumes we are going broke I think

I'm curious on what to say to friends who do place a BIG emphasis on gifts and holiday spending? I recently had a tense conversation with a friend who basically implied that we are hurting ourselves by not doing gift exchanges, and that Christmas is about the wonderful gifts and " making memories" rather than trying to be no-fun penny pinchers. I kinda jabbed back that it was more important to us to remain debt free than give gifts (they have 64k in consumer/student debt). Most of our friends feel bad for us and our children that we don't go hog wild at Christmas. We bake, decorate a tree, look at Christmas lights, listen to music, and the kids do get some gifts on Christmas and stocking with practical stuffers in it. I don't think our kids are suffering terribly. Its hard to not feel defensive though....

Russ

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2013, 04:47:57 PM »
I'm curious on what to say to friends who do place a BIG emphasis on gifts and holiday spending? I recently had a tense conversation with a friend who basically implied that we are hurting ourselves by not doing gift exchanges, and that Christmas is about the wonderful gifts and " making memories" rather than trying to be no-fun penny pinchers. I kinda jabbed back that it was more important to us to remain debt free than give gifts (they have 64k in consumer/student debt). Most of our friends feel bad for us and our children that we don't go hog wild at Christmas. We bake, decorate a tree, look at Christmas lights, listen to music, and the kids do get some gifts on Christmas and stocking with practical stuffers in it. I don't think our kids are suffering terribly. Its hard to not feel defensive though....

Sometimes you just have to get new friends

pachnik

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2013, 04:59:04 PM »
My parents are old-school frugal types so no problems there.  I think my mom is relieved that I have come back to the family fold.   My closest friends are retired and semi-retired and are pretty non-spendy too.  If anyone at work says anything about bringing my lunch, I just say that not bringing my lunch has added  up over time and leave it at that.

jybaatl35

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2013, 06:59:35 PM »
Wow!  Glad I am not the only one!  I think I mostly do what has been recommended - just try to give a brief answer and leave it at that.  It's just difficult to swallow when people give you a look that says "I feel sorry for you" or "You're weird."

But as someone commented...I guess they will understand when my packed lunches and lack of commercial holiday gift buying means I get to retire decades before they do!

Zamboni

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2013, 07:19:51 PM »
I have recently been biking to the ice rink (and schlepping my hockey gear on my trailer).  Last week, one of my teammates asked me, while in the locker room prepping for a game, if I had biked to the rink.  My response was, "Did you drive?!?!?!  (Look of horror on my face.) Don't you know that EVERYONE bikes to the rink now???"

Rod Brind'Amour was famous for hopping on the bike and heading to the weight room after EVERY game during the NHL season (even at 39, putting the 20 year old players to shame.)  So there you go. . . just emulating Rod.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 07:27:29 PM by Zamboni »

Freckles

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2013, 07:33:53 PM »

Zikoris: Do you have any tips on traveling internationally cheaply? I've been heavily focused on saving, but I don't want to miss travel opportunities while I'm young. Not that older people can't travel, I just don't have many responsibilities outside of work.

I'm not Zikoris but I was just reading today about international travel hacks on a site called Nerd Fitness.  Someone else here on the forum mentioned it to some other person on the forum (sorry, I don't remember who on either side!).  Anyway, he had a lot of useful information.  http://www.nerdfitness.com/search/  Type in travel and you'll get lots of articles.  Hope that helps!

chasesfish

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2013, 08:02:29 PM »
I have recently been biking to the ice rink (and schlepping my hockey gear on my trailer).  Last week, one of my teammates asked me, while in the locker room prepping for a game, if I had biked to the rink.  My response was, "Did you drive?!?!?!  (Look of horror on my face.) Don't you know that EVERYONE bikes to the rink now???"

Rod Brind'Amour was famous for hopping on the bike and heading to the weight room after EVERY game during the NHL season (even at 39, putting the 20 year old players to shame.)  So there you go. . . just emulating Rod.

Rod would be a hall a famer if he didn't have the touch of stone hands around the goal...

I enjoyed watching him in Carolina, guy was a fitness nut

Roses

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2013, 08:32:58 PM »
My secret weapon is "convenience". Everyone understands that.

I tell people that eating out is inconvenient and a headache for vegans, and it's easier to just bring my own food for lunches.

I don't have a car and walk and bike everywhere because it's the fastest and most convenient way to get around(I live in the downtown core of a major city).

I don't buy clothes because it's a huge inconvenience and headache trying to find stuff I like, so I just sew my own stuff that fits me perfectly and is exactly what I want(and is a small fraction of the price).

Also, I travel a lot, so people just assume I'm saving for my next trip(or maybe paying off my last one) - and I don't correct them. International travel makes a VERY good excuse, because it's something a lot of people dream about but don't actually do, so they're not aware of the exact costs and how cheap it can be. I actually put over triple my travel budget into retirement any given year.

Zikoris: Do you have any tips on traveling internationally cheaply? I've been heavily focused on saving, but I don't want to miss travel opportunities while I'm young. Not that older people can't travel, I just don't have many responsibilities outside of work.

This guy is great:

http://www.madfientist.com/travel-hacking-and-slow-travel/

Zamboni

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2013, 09:09:45 PM »
^Thank you for posting that!  I was trying to figure out how to explore the world by living in different places after FIRE, but whenever I searched "live in another country after retirement" all I would get is lists of countries where people low on cash can buy a retirement home and stretch a dollar (Colombia, Nicaragua, and Vietnam anyone?)  Now I know that "slow travel" is the correct term for what I really want to do.

athomeintheworld

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2013, 09:47:48 PM »
Like this thread, thank you.  We are pretty quiet about it.  It's pretty much been a "secret" between my husband and I.  I don't want to alienate anyone else.  I understand this way of life is not for everyone. 

Zikoris

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2013, 12:30:18 AM »
I wouldn't even say we're REALLY frugal with our travel budget - we budget $3500/year for travel each, split over two major trips each year, which seems like quite a bit to me. That said, the stuff we do to keep costs down on the road is actually the same stuff we do to keep costs down at home...

1. We don't drink, either at home or travelling - that's a big one for a lot of people

2. We research food options before we go, so we don't end up starving and going to tourist-premium types of places in desperation. We get a map of the city(s) we'll be in beforehand and mark out the vegetarian restaurants, so during our wandering whenever we get hungry we can just head for the nearest place on the map. This results in much higher quality food for way cheaper, especially in Europe. When practical, we try to secure accommodation with cooking facilities and use grocery stores. Even when we don't have cooking facilities, we try to have a few meals as picnics with cheap stuff from a local grocery store - we had a very nice picnic once in a tiny medieval village in rural France that was a baguette, avocado, apple juice, crisps, and some fruit, for maybe 3 Euros.

3. We plan it so our accommodation is near transit, in a walkable part of town, near the train station, or whatever so we don't need to take taxis. We use public transportation extensively.

Anatidae V

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2013, 05:42:14 AM »
A lot of people I work with bring their own lunches and bike to work for fitness reasons, quite a few bike nuts too. Cite whatever good attribute the thing you're doing in question has that you can think of in the moment. I find this is actually a good way to convince myself to do more frugal things as well!

little_owl

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2013, 06:23:46 AM »
This is an interesting thread!

I tend to keep fairly quiet at work (only one other co-worker is aware I am Mustachian, and we have sworn each other to secrecy).  This is because I think my career would be impacted now if it was known that I was not gunning for a top management job, but in fact am gunning for retirement.

However, I also try to put a good spin on things when we are asked about why we cut cable, which is something I usually share because I know nothing about all the TV shows.  Like others, I will explain that I enjoy reading, hiking, and other non-TV hobbies more, so I cut cable and never looked back.

I find that it is hard to find Mustachians in real life, which is why I enjoy this forum and others so much.

ender

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2013, 06:37:13 AM »
My secret weapon is "convenience". Everyone understands that.

I tell people that eating out is inconvenient and a headache for vegans, and it's easier to just bring my own food for lunches.

I don't have a car and walk and bike everywhere because it's the fastest and most convenient way to get around(I live in the downtown core of a major city).

I don't buy clothes because it's a huge inconvenience and headache trying to find stuff I like, so I just sew my own stuff that fits me perfectly and is exactly what I want(and is a small fraction of the price).

Also, I travel a lot, so people just assume I'm saving for my next trip(or maybe paying off my last one) - and I don't correct them. International travel makes a VERY good excuse, because it's something a lot of people dream about but don't actually do, so they're not aware of the exact costs and how cheap it can be. I actually put over triple my travel budget into retirement any given year.

Ahhh this is great! I'm going to start using this same explanation.

NinetyFour

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2013, 06:43:22 AM »


I find that it is hard to find Mustachians in real life, which is why I enjoy this forum and others so much.

+1.  I do struggle at times with the loneliness of the mustachian lifestyle.  Feels like I'm always going against the grain.  Then when you throw in the fact that I am vegetarian, and atheist, I am downright odd!  There are times it's tough, like at 5pm on a dark, cold, perhaps snowy day, when I brave the elements on my bike or on foot for my commute home and am passed by someone driving in their nice warm car!!  Now that I have found this MMM community, though, I inwardly smile knowing that my forum friends would think commuting by bike or on foot in those conditions in seriously badass!!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:42:42 AM by NinetyFour »

MrsPete

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2013, 07:44:46 AM »
^ yeah that's pretty much it. People don't like judgemental people. If you feel like you're being judgey you probably are.
I think this line carries a great deal of truth.  It doesn't even matter whether you are actually passing judgement on your co-workers' choices -- though we all see some decisions so idiotic that it's impossible not to form an opinion -- the point is that they think you're being judgemental about their choices.  This is one of those cases when perception is reality. 

Why would they feel this way?  Simple:  They know they should be saving for the future, they know they should be brown-bagging their lunches, they know they can't afford a vacation in the Caribbean -- and seeing you make "the right choices" is a reminder of their shortcomings.  Just like the overweight person who sits down to a double bacon cheeseburger and fries knows he's making a bad choice, people who aren't saving know they should be more disciplined.  Doesn't matter whether you personally were thinking, "What an idiot" or simply pondering how tonight's episode of Breaking Bad will turn out.  A whole lot of people will fill in the blanks for you. 

Should this matter to you?  Of course not.  You make your choices, your friends and co-workers make their own.  You should always be pleasant to other people, but you're out of high school, so don't get too caught up in, "What do they think of me?"  I know, this is sometimes easier said than done.

We live one block down the hill from a large park with soccer fields, softball fields, hiking trails, etc.  My husband and I like to walk there.

It's at the end of a dead end street, so there's a little opening in the fence.  But if you want to drive there, you have to drive AROUND the hill, the entrance is on the opposite end of the park.

One day we were walking out of our house and our neighbor (house behind us, we share a driveway) was heading off by car to softball and said "have a good walk!"

We were already at the park when he got there.  He said "how did you get here so fast?"

Uh...you know you can walk there, right?  He had no idea he was so close...
Okay, I could've made this mistake easily.  My sense of direction is horrible, and if the roads were long and twisty-turny, I might not have recognized that it was such a short distance "as the crow flies". 

mm1970

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2013, 07:53:39 AM »
Quote
I'm curious on what to say to friends who do place a BIG emphasis on gifts and holiday spending? I recently had a tense conversation with a friend who basically implied that we are hurting ourselves by not doing gift exchanges, and that Christmas is about the wonderful gifts and " making memories" rather than trying to be no-fun penny pinchers. I kinda jabbed back that it was more important to us to remain debt free than give gifts (they have 64k in consumer/student debt). Most of our friends feel bad for us and our children that we don't go hog wild at Christmas. We bake, decorate a tree, look at Christmas lights, listen to music, and the kids do get some gifts on Christmas and stocking with practical stuffers in it. I don't think our kids are suffering terribly. Its hard to not feel defensive though....

Wow, this is so sad.  Answer a question with a question...

"You don't think that baking cookies, decorating our tree, going for walks to look at the holiday lights, singing Christmas carols, and spending time with our children makes the holiday special enough?"

Miamoo

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2013, 01:13:00 PM »
No need to defend (or am I taking that particular word in it's negative connotation),or to explain your choices unless they ask you to explain.

I think it's pretty rude that anyone would remark about another one's choice of lifestyle in the first place.  That anyone would give a 'put down' or negative comment only shows their own insecurity and perhaps jealousy?  So . . .  do what you feel is right for you, no reason for excuses. 

If they're only co-workers I'm thinking . . . that's only temporary anyway.  If they're 'friends' . . . who needs that sort of a 'friend"?

Be confident that what you're doing is right for you and/or your family and screw the rest of 'em.

Richard3

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2013, 01:42:26 PM »
Most people think my lifestyle is awesome (but then I'm semi-retired and work from "home").

When I was working in an office I was pretty eccentric anyway (eating "dinner" food at breakfast time, not wearing shoes, doing weird stuff for charity) so people didn't really care about whether I brought lunch or bought new shirts as regularly as they did. I also very obviously didn't give a **** what they thought about me so any petty bullies pretty quickly gave up (it also helps that I have a quicker and nastier wit than almost anyone).

My close colleagues / direct reports actually used to joke about how I must be super rich because I never spent money on anything.


Russ

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2013, 01:50:06 PM »
(it also helps that I have a quicker and nastier wit than almost anyone).

I'm not nearly as incisive as I used to be, but this is still such a useful thing to have.

MrsPete

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2013, 04:43:11 PM »
This works in all situations: 

Adopt a slightly amused face and say, "Why would you think it's okay to criticize the way we celebrate Christmas?" 
Or, a more general phrase:  "Why would you think it's okay to say that to someone?" 

NO reasonable answer exists. 

Then change the subject fast. 

oldtoyota

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2013, 06:30:58 PM »
Maybe one part of the problem is discussing not buying gifts. Why tell them? If they ask, you can say you aren't 100% sure or you are hubby are saving up for something special (no need to elaborate). Turn the conversation back to them. I find people are usually only to happy to talk about themselves so ask them questions to get the focus off of your choices.

Greg

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #45 on: December 01, 2013, 06:55:05 PM »
It's all in how you spin it.  When they ask why you don't go out, say something about the quality (or lack thereof) of the available restaurants.  And gift giving might be something you do throughout the year, rather than at the end of it.

People sometimes ask me why I own and drive old vehicles (newest is 25 years old).  I explain I prefer to be able to fix them when they need it, and the challenge of the diagnosis and the fix are things I enjoy doing with my time.  Some people give me that "you're crazy" look and some people look on in awe. 

mikefixac

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2013, 09:33:20 PM »
Quote
I do struggle at times with the loneliness of the mustachian lifestyle.  Feels like I'm always going against the grain.  Then when you throw in the fact that I am vegetarian, and atheist, I am downright odd!

Holy shit, after all these years, I found my twin;)

NinetyFour

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2013, 09:45:23 PM »
Did I mention I am single?  And female?  ;-)  In any case, glad to know we are twins!!

imustachemystash

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2013, 10:18:07 PM »
I'm pretty honest.  I tell them that I want to retire early and want to help the environment.  Sometimes people will be intrigued and I will recommend either this blog or "Your Money or Your Life".  Other people just think I have a silly idea which makes me want to prove them wrong someday. 

lifejoy

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Re: How do you defend/explain your lifestyle to others?
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2013, 10:43:11 PM »
Many of the people in my life are very frugal. My close friends are more careful with money than I am! My parents are soooo frugal.

So I can't always relate to this. But I do try and keep a lot of my situation secret from those that might not understand.

(Example: I'm not telling anyone how little I plan on spending in getting married, with the exception of a few close friends that just GET IT)