Author Topic: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok  (Read 4326 times)

kevinb421

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Hi all!

I'm here pretty much every day but rarely interact. A couple weeks ago there was a person posting some pretty negative things and accused us all of being to exclusive to new people or those that have different views than this forum.
I hope my recent revelation helps some of those on the fence that might be concerned about posting.

I make a decent salary and max a 401k, 457 and have a great pension.  I also own my own business that produces a modest amount that can be inconsistent.  For the years I have followed this forum I have always judged myself for some frivolous spending, still having 10 years of work left that will make me 44 when I FIRE,  purchasing nicer used luxury cars rather driving the 15 year old prius, etc.
What I've realized in the last couple of months is that comparing myself to the most frugal among this forum and MMM himself and not matching up isn't as bad as I thought. At the end of the day I am in a better place than nearly everyone else in the USA.

I have luxury goods, I have paid people to work on my home rather than do it myself, I have a savings account that is 100% going to buy a Tesla when it has enough, when I travel for work I will occasionally eat at a restaurant rather than go to the grocery store, and all of this is ok. At the end of the day I have no consumer debt, I am contributing a large % of my income to retirement accounts and will be retired early.

Yes, I am envious of those among us that were more disciplined to retire in their 20s and 30s, but that will likely not be me and that's ok. What I've realized is that being upset with myself for not keeping up with those people was the unhealthy part. I've come to accept my path and continue to focus on long term choices rather than beating myself up for wanting a $300 pair of wireless headphones for the plane or saving for a Tesla when my 2013 Audi is a freaking amazing machine of technological wonder. It's ok to love cars and spend some of my income on that with the proper planning and decision making.

That's all for now, hopefully this helps anyone that is reading this forum and thinks they will never be able to match what the most frugal among us can do. I used to read this forum with jealousy that these people had no consumer desires and I desperately wanted that for myself, but you know what? I do have those desires and rather than try to destroy that part of myself I make smart choices, research how much it will affect my happiness and purchase what fulfills those wants/needs.

To me now Mustachianism is about being smart with the world's resources as well as your own. It's not about a 100% focused race to the finish line of employment.

Thank you all for continuing to post interesting stories, articles, questions, and comments. I really let this forum affect my mood for a long time that I wasn't good enough and I feel my change in perspective has really improved my interactions here.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 10:43:40 AM »
Great post and thank you for the insightful write-up.

I think you're right that some on this forum can be quite prescriptive about what being "Mustachian" really requires. To some, it requires a social and ecological conscience, a rejection of consumerism, and a rejection of economic exploitation (as far as is practical, without going nuts like refusing to invest in any stocks at all). To others, it's just an extension of the basic principle that you have to consciously choose where you invest your time and energy, and you should make calculated financial choices with that in mind.

I tend towards the latter, more laissez faire view. In a lot of ways I'm not Mustachian. But that's okay. This community is for all comers, I think, as long as they're interested in rationally improving their financial position.

StarBright

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 10:51:28 AM »
Lovely post - thank you for sharing! I'm so glad you aren't beating yourself up anymore.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 11:09:55 AM by StarBright »

FireHiker

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 10:52:28 AM »
To me now Mustachianism is about being smart with the world's resources as well as your own. It's not about a 100% focused race to the finish line of employment.

I totally agree! Compared to many here I'm not all that Mustachian, but I really like hanging out here because I think it's good to stay challenged and accountable. I have plenty of ways that I don't fit into the standard MMM picture: clown house, usually buy cars new (although mid-level and then we keep forever), spend much more on travel and food than the average here. I even, gasp, have an Apple watch... and even though my commute is 2 miles I am likely never going to bike to work. I get most of my errands done at lunch time since home is so close. Surely it saves more money to drive to work and go to the store without kids in tow. Anyway it definitely saves some sanity.

That said, there are some amazing things I've taken away from my time here, and I do "fit in" at least in some ways: no cable, no longer pay anyone to clean our house, though we did for years and I certainly am not going to judge anyone who does! Our savings rate is typically 40%, although it was 52.8% last month, over 50% for the first time ever! We live 2 miles from work, max out all pre-tax savings avenues, and I do have a 2008 Honda Civic.

Really, though, I think it comes down to awareness and personal accountability. The big takeaway for me has been to make my OWN decisions about what is important to me and to live beneath my means in order to prioritize the things that are important. Don't do things just because everyone else around you does those things...avoid hedonic adaptation and only add expenses if they really provide value to you.

I also feel very strongly that incremental progress is better than no progress, and there's no need to reject something entirely but rather to take what improves your life and leave what doesn't. I like to think there is something beneficial here for anyone.


Bloop Bloop

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2019, 10:56:17 AM »

Really, though, I think it comes down to awareness and personal accountability. The big takeaway for me has been to make my OWN decisions about what is important to me and to live beneath my means in order to prioritize the things that are important. Don't do things just because everyone else around you does those things...avoid hedonic adaptation and only add expenses if they really provide value to you.

I also feel very strongly that incremental progress is better than no progress, and there's no need to reject something entirely but rather to take what improves your life and leave what doesn't. I like to think there is something beneficial here for anyone.

Nail. Hammer. Head!

BallerOnABudget

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2019, 11:39:31 AM »
Fellow lurker here. I like the concept of this thread - so often it feels like this site is a big collection of perfectly optimized people who all fit the same ideal mold. In the spirit of demonstrating that there are other variations of us out there, I'll also speak up. I don't make 100k+, don't drive an EV, I sometimes buy food at restaurants, don't vote democrat, have a 45 minute commute, don't have side hustles or rental properties, don't set my AC at 80 in the summer, and I freaking CRINGE every time I see one of those "I'd like to live in the south for LCOL but aren't they all backward racists?" discussions (live in Houston, btw). I do max out various retirement accounts, put money away for my kids, avoid debt, keep consumer stuff to a minimum, and try to be kind to everyone I meet. So for people out there reading this, just know that not everyone is a 25 year old making $250k and living off lentils to retire at 30 then dedicate their life to saving the world.

Laura33

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2019, 12:07:08 PM »
Yes, I am envious of those among us that were more disciplined to retire in their 20s and 30s, but that will likely not be me and that's ok. What I've realized is that being upset with myself for not keeping up with those people was the unhealthy part.

Keeping up with the Joneses is an unhappy way to live, no matter who the Joneses are.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2019, 12:20:02 PM »

Fellow lurker here. I like the concept of this thread - so often it feels like this site is a big collection of perfectly optimized people who all fit the same ideal mold. In the spirit of demonstrating that there are other variations of us out there, I'll also speak up.

In a couple of  threads I've championed the spirit of free speech.

By your post so have you.

Kudos!

As to "perfectly optimized people,"  read the Mu$tachian$' journals.

Shakespearean in their sweep,  they lay bare in stark, often moving detail  that all aspects of the human condition   affect Mu$tachian$.

I assure you that ice cream, cake, and candy are not the everyday experience of most Mu$tachian$.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 02:31:15 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

Aelias

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2019, 12:55:02 PM »
Fellow lurker here. I like the concept of this thread - so often it feels like this site is a big collection of perfectly optimized people who all fit the same ideal mold. In the spirit of demonstrating that there are other variations of us out there, I'll also speak up. I don't make 100k+, don't drive an EV, I sometimes buy food at restaurants, don't vote democrat, have a 45 minute commute, don't have side hustles or rental properties, don't set my AC at 80 in the summer, and I freaking CRINGE every time I see one of those "I'd like to live in the south for LCOL but aren't they all backward racists?" discussions (live in Houston, btw). I do max out various retirement accounts, put money away for my kids, avoid debt, keep consumer stuff to a minimum, and try to be kind to everyone I meet. So for people out there reading this, just know that not everyone is a 25 year old making $250k and living off lentils to retire at 30 then dedicate their life to saving the world.


I think there's actually a pretty broad range of how closely people on this forum hew to the principles of "true" Mustachianism.  Some folks are pretty intense.  Some folks would fit right in at Bogleheads.  Some just pop in here for a minute without really reading blog and . . . seem a bit lost.

I think almost anyone, if they're being honest, can find things in their lifestyle that aren't optimized.  We're pretty hardcore on some things (I drive an EV!  That I power with my solar panels!), but I have a restaurant habit that would horrify many people here, I don't bike anywhere, and when we want stuff, we buy it. It's just that by turning away from consumerism, we want less stuff and the stuff we want is more practical.  And, TBH, if you are making a big income, a 50% savings rate is nothing to brag about.  Someone saving 10% of a 50K income is way more hardcore than I'll ever be.

As @FireHiker said, I come here for the challenge and the accountability.  It's good to see people who are better at this than we are. It motivates me to do better.  For example, there's a thread around here that talks about the hypocrisy of "left wing" Mustachians.  I didn't agree with a lot of what was said, but one point that resonated with me was that if you care about the environment, you shouldn't be flying all over creation just for funsies. That is exactly the conclusion my husband and I came to about 6 months ago.  So, we're trying to cut down on flying.  And our savings and carbon footprint are better for it.

All of this is to say, I hope no one is intimidated or discouraged by the people who appear to be living "perfectly optimized" lives.  First, they probably aren't.  And second, it's better to have a big tent of people doing Mustachianism imperfectly than a tiny group of people who do it "perfectly."

And anyone whining about not wanting to move to wherever because that's where those people live (whoever the target "those people" might be) can STFU right now.  It's 2019 and the internet exists.  Whoever you are, you can find your people almost anywhere.  And Houston is the most diverse city in the country. 

https://wallethub.com/edu/most-diverse-cities/12690/#detailed


DaMa

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2019, 01:59:27 PM »
I found MMM in 2014 while googling for cheap cell phone plans.  (Republic Wireless.  Yes!)  I have enjoyed this discussion forum immensely, and not just for the financial info.  It's nice to have a group of generally like-minded people to share ideas, thoughts, and experiences with.  I've learned a lot.  I am certainly not pure Mustachian -- I like to eat in restaurants and take cruises.  But now I drive an 8 yr old subcompact, live in a paid off 800 sq. ft house, never shop for entertainment (hate it!), eat a lot of lentils and beans at home, etc..  AND I am a much happier person than I was before.

I got kind of jumped on when I posted a question in these forums not long ago, and I thought it was pretty harsh.  But, they were right, and it did get me to rethink the situation.  I decided if I wanted people to be nice and tell me what I wanted to hear, I'd go shopping with some girlfriends.  :-) 

Bruin

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2019, 02:47:08 PM »
I'm not a "perfectly optimized" one either. I am a long time lurker and only recently collected enough courage to post. Previously I was a long time lurker on Bolgeheads as long time as when it was with Morningstar.

I have found the Mustachian community and joined the cult. That's all it matters.

In my household, we save more than 50% of our income,

BUT

I am still okay with DH's 70-mile commute each way and not "Curing your Clown-Like Car Habit".
I am still okay with getting a puppy and not listening to the "Great News! Dog Ownership is Optional!".
I am still okay with reaching a 3% WR already, working more years and not following "the 4% Rule: The Easy Answer to How Much Do I Need for Retirement?Ē.

Do I think I'm a Mustachian? Absolutely yes.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 08:47:59 AM by Bruin »

pachnik

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2019, 02:51:51 PM »
I like this thread.  I am definitely not totally MMM either.  And, anyway I found out about FIRE too late in life to RE.  Hopefully, I'll be able to retire a bit earlier than 65 and I'm okay with that. 

I do drive a 10-year old Civic and plan to hang onto it for a long time.  Shopping for me is a chore rather than entertainment so that's good - keeps me from wandering the mall.  I review my expenses and think whether they are worth it or not.  We eat out once a week and even then it is always inexpensive ethic restaurants.  We both use the library.

But we are taking some expensive trips now while we still can - I'm 55 and my husband is in his early 60's.  Our health is good but that can change pretty quickly at our ages.  I also go to a fairly pricey salon for hair cuts.  Sometimes, I buy books when I need them for book club.  For now, I am commuting by car but my husband rides his bike.

I enjoy reading the forum because it makes me think about my spending.   
ETA - I have a 35% savings rate on an average income.  Husband is about the same.


Wrenchturner

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2019, 03:15:04 PM »
I think it's good to be faithful.  To have faith that you can work toward your goals, and that those abstract ideas of FIRE can be realized through incremental work.  That you can cut your spending with discipline, increase your income with sensible career positioning and investing.  And that you can have gratitude to a good legal system, a good banking system, and hopefully a good community to thrive in.

Us humans like to keep our goals unclear so we don't have to confront our clear failures.  But if you work hard and stay appropriately aimed, you can thrive and move forward consciously.  And that is much better than drowning in fog.

undercover

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2019, 03:21:11 PM »
What a boring life to live your life based on a set of rules some random dude in Colorado published to his own personal website.

Half-joking of course. There are some good ideas and it definitely comes from a great place but it's pretty stupid to think you need to be 100% in, else you're out.

The blog just happens to be a path that a lot of people can follow and is basically a roadmap that MMM himself wrote and followed himself because that's what he knows and that's what worked for him.

Imagine Elon Musk writing a blog in a similar fashion.

Cassie

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2019, 04:18:05 PM »
I enjoy the blog as a baby boomer itís how we raised 3 kids and we paid cash for my 3 college degrees.   Now at 65 we are less frugal since who knows how much time we have left. 

jlcnuke

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2019, 04:50:06 PM »
I've never been a Mustachian. I like some of what MMM has to say, and agree on some of his philosophical positions, but they all primarily come down to "spend on things that bring you value", which is an individual thing. To some, that means I don't belong here at all. To others, the financial advice I can provide is useful. To me, the combination of many similar financial beliefs, ability to help others with financial issues, and support for my own goals (financial or otherwise) means I still "fit in" here, regardless of how many "tenets" of MMM's that I personally agree with or follow.

I'm a big fan of being content with yourself and your plan, whatever that is and whatever other's think of it as long as it doesn't negatively impact others directly or intentionally. You do you, and you can be sure that you are far from the only person here that isn't "all in" here. I recall many threads over the years talking about how it's been getting "less hardcore MMM" in the forums over the years, and that's okay imo.

FLOW

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2019, 05:07:04 PM »
Oh yeah, it's definitely okay.  About 1/3 of the people on this board regularly pay for a house cleaner. 

Not really into the hippy dippy/save the planet side of Mustachianism.  I mean I recycle and all that, but if I'm driving a half mile to the library on a beautiful day, I'm not beating myself up for it. I pay a kid to mow my lawn.  I pay a guy to shovel my driveway. 

We all get to decide what we spend our money on.  If Mustachianism is about spending your money thoughtfully and intentionally, I guess I'm Mustachian.  Either way, Pete's blog and the awesome folks on this forum, have made me a shit ton of money over the last 6 years. 

Anyway, who actually wants to be Mustachian anyway?  If I were to take a jaded perspective, I'd say Mustachianism is a belief system that allows you to feel self-righteous about getting filthy rich. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 05:14:27 PM by FLOW »

Parizade

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2019, 12:06:56 AM »
What a boring life to live your life based on a set of rules some random dude in Colorado published to his own personal website.

Half-joking of course. There are some good ideas and it definitely comes from a great place but it's pretty stupid to think you need to be 100% in, else you're out.

The blog just happens to be a path that a lot of people can follow and is basically a roadmap that MMM himself wrote and followed himself because that's what he knows and that's what worked for him.

Yes, this ^

MMM is just another human who had some good ideas to share. I'm grateful he's shared them because following his advice made my life better, and I'm grateful to people on this forum who have provided excellent advice too. But they are only people,  not gods, and this is a collection of ideas, not a religion. I filter whatever I read here through my own reasoning and take only what makes sense in my life.

Linea_Norway

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2019, 02:12:11 AM »
I like some of what MMM has to say, and agree on some of his philosophical positions, but they all primarily come down to "spend on things that bring you value", which is an individual thing.

Indeed, we should spend our money on things we value and not on standard consumer shit that we buy blindly because advertisements tell us to do so.

Some people come to this forum with large debts and make a case study that shows they spend more than they make. Then it is in place for us to show them all the options where they can save, to get them out of that situation and back on track. As soon as you are in a financially comfortable situation, you can prioritize differently, but without immediately overdoing it in mega-consumerism.

We have a television subscription (add free), we pay for a stable internet connection and we currently live in a clown house. That last thing was not a smart decision and we will downsize next year. We also think it is okay to invest into hobby gear, as that is how you want to spend your free time. But of course, we buy and sell second hand where applicable.

And at the end it is all about priorities. If you really, really want to quit your job as fast as possible, then it is probably worth it to do some hardcore saving. On the other hand, if you have a job you enjoy and don't mind working a few years longer, then you have more room in your budget for some of the things you value.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 08:39:21 AM by Linea_Norway »

Malkynn

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2019, 04:49:53 AM »
Anyway, who actually wants to be Mustachian anyway?  If I were to take a jaded perspective, I'd say Mustachianism is a belief system that allows you to feel self-righteous about getting filthy rich.

Harsh dude.

Omy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2019, 06:44:51 AM »
I've been face punched here for over saving...and I have taken it to heart and recently decided to FIRE this July.

In 1997, my exH and I left our jobs with a net worth of $800k (mostly in the stock market so no surprise that it dropped quite a bit shortly after we quit working). We withdrew less than 4%/year for expenses and we were Mustachian before the term was coined. We lived on a boat, didn't have a car, walked or biked to get groceries, worked occasional odd jobs - a grand adventure in our 30s. We did this until 2002 when we separated and divided our net worth by 2.

I lived frugally for another 2 years without a real job, but I did buy a car to get around. At this point I had 7 years of living off the nest egg successfully, but I decided to get a "real" job and became a realtor. I also met my now hubby and we combined finances after awhile and bought a modest home. By 2009 we had enough to sail off into the sunset again, but we both enjoyed our jobs and were saving A LOT with our large incomes and frugal natures in our HCOL area. So instead we bought the clown house which I LOVE and we rented out our modest home. Fast forward 10 years, we now have over 3.5 times the net worth we had in 2009 - and we just bought another rental. All 3 houses are paid off (also face punch worthy depending on who you ask around here).

We eat out a lot, own a Prius and a less Mustachian sedan, and don't bike anywhere because we'd get ourselves killed. I've had "one more year" syndrome for so many years I've lost count. We don't buy "stuff" - we both hate shopping for anything other than necessities. Our cars and phones are old, and we have very few luxuries.

The point to this rambling post is that there are many ways to live a life - and many ways to be Mustachian. Optimize and prioritize for your wants and needs. Take the advice that resonates for you on these forums. And when the masses here are beating you up, there is probably a good reason.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 07:44:05 AM by Omy »

poniesandFIRE

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2019, 08:18:56 AM »
Same! I don't post much, but I'm here reading and learning a lot. Quite a bit of my life/career revolves around horses and that is a pretty non-mustachian world. But we save a ton, we will likely pay off our home in the next 24 months, and are on track to be FI by 2025.

When I first posted here, I got some face punches for my truck, but it's our journey and we know our business/life best, so we still have the truck. And likely will have the same truck in 10 more years.

But, everything I've read and learned over the past few years have given us the motivation to make some hard choices to help reach FI, like cutting DishTV and satellite radio, raising our 401k contributions and slashing our grocery/eating out budget. We're now hitting about a 50% savings rate thanks to writing our very last check to daycare this month and that rate will increase more in the next few years.

I used to feel some level of guilt about not being a "better mustachian," but I've also come to realize that's craziness and not worth my mental energy to stress about.


use2betrix

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2019, 09:22:31 AM »
My boss calls me frugal all the time, but I am far from frugal or mustachian compared to this forum. I rent a reasonable apartment in a LCOL state with no debt/loans, and am still lucky to spend under $6k most months. If I was totally frugal, I could probably be closer to $4500 most months without changing a single major thing, other than our discretionary spend.. our ďblowĒ money.. Fortunately, my income is high and so is our savings rate.

Contrary to some beliefs here, I view the purpose of this site for everyone to learn and improve. Find a way to retire early if they want to, or have a more comfortable savings rate and path forward. I canít even imagine what my life would be like without the blog initially, and eventually the forum. I read the blog posts off and on for a couple years (probably read all of them twice) before ever moving over to the forum. My wife and I feel like we are living in luxury in our 2 bed, 2 bath apartment, even though it constitutes less than 8% of my monthly take home pay. Without this forum I guarantee I would be spending far, far more on cars, motorcycles, vacations, and tons of ďstuffĒ that I donít really need.

Cassie

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2019, 10:39:19 AM »
I really like spending according to your values.  Itís different for everyone.  We highly value our dogs and spend money on high quality food and vet bills.   When younger we valued things more than experiences and now we have done a 180.  I like the saying that you can have anything you want but not everything. 

FireHiker

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2019, 10:43:59 AM »
I like the saying that you can have anything you want but not everything.

I like this saying too. I quote it often!

SunnyDays

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2019, 10:54:54 AM »
Well, anyone could be 100% Mustachian if they want to go live in a cave and hunt and gather all their food.  Wouldn't have to work a job another day in your life and you'd have total freedom.  But who wants that lifestyle?  Any other way of life is a compromise between work and consumerism.  Everyone decides for themselves what they want those compromises to be.  To each his/her own.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2019, 10:58:12 AM »
I think of myself as an accidental semi-mustachian. Iím not frugal. I grew up poor and have no desire to live or emulate being poor or living with secondhand things. However, Iím also not a big consumer and donít love fancy things, I donít desire to look rich. I donít have a car cause I havenít needed one. Discovering MMM helped me focus my money cause I was wasting it being overly indulgent and generous and I had no plan. So now I donít shop often, but when I do I spend money on quality. I indulge in experiences, mostly travel. I donít own a home either but my rent is huge. I do a have a cleaner. I feel like money is no object cause my wants are small, but they are meaningful.

Villanelle

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2019, 11:24:17 AM »
I'd say I'm in this moderate-mustachian camp.

We recently signed a lease with an obscene rental amount.  I couldn't be happier about that choice.  It gave us a walkable neighborhood with a short, free commute for DH.  It gives us the ability to walk to grocery stores and restaurants (yes, we eat at restaurants!) and to be a one car-family.  So in some ways, it still embraces mustachian values.  But the rent!  And the size.  It's 2 bedrooms, around 2000 sqft.  Not massive, but more than we need. 

In other words, it's a balance.  As are most things in our lives.

What I take away from this place is the thoughtfulness.  It's a reminder to spend within our values, and to make sure those values are well-considered, and as well-defined as something as nebulous as values can be.  I've optimized some categories, but it may have actually made me more profligate in other areas, and I'm thrilled with both of those things.  I'm a more thoughtful consumer.  It's the "thoughtful" part of that that is important to me to manage, and the results on the "consumer" part are secondary. 

That, and the Shockingly Simple Math and other investment insights are the valuable parts of mustachianism for me.  I'll never rewire my own home and in a pinch I may buy pre-cut watermelon on occasion if I'm in a hurry or feeling overwhelmed.  And I'm entirely good with that. 

That said, I generally remain pretty quiet about the less mustachian aspects of my life.  I'm good with those thing and don't feel the need to defend them, and if people threw face punches about them, it wouldn't bother me at all because I'm good with those choices, even if others--to include Prophet Pete--might not be. But I feel like there's a culture and a vibe here, and I respect that, so I don't generally talk about things that run counter to that.  I don't want to be the person who brings a bacon cheeseburger to the vegan picnic, even though I'm very comfortable not being vegan.  That wouldn't quite feel respectful, and to me, nor does talking about my massive rent and how happy I am about it, or the fact that I paid someone to clean our last place when we moved out because I was utterly overwhelmed with life and planning an international move, among other things, and how I think that as a great decision. 

habaneroNorway

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2019, 02:27:51 PM »
Yes:®
- grocery shopping skills
- hardly buy anything anymore
- use our version of craigslist to get stuff (mostly for the kids) ang get rid of stuff
- when doing something, I research how to get it cheap / good value for money
- lots of biking/walking/running
- commute by muscle year-round, cover most daily needs in walking distance
- pretty high savings rate (albeit on a pretty large income)
- do most home maintenance myself (repairs, mowing)
- buy stuff that lasts for a very long time
- mostly free hobbies
- cook all meals from scratch
- use free firewood a lot in the winter
- if something breaks, always try to fix myself before sending in for service

No
- own a Tesla
- like fancy restaurants, but don't go very often
- do like my wine
- have a house cleaner (but do the dishes and laundry ourselves)
- have Netflix and HBO
- house bit bigger than necessary

For me its first and foremost about being conscious and not spending on crap, replacing perfectly functioning stuff, optimize spending, investing and having a comfy financial cushion. Do like my job and the perks that come with it, but plan to retire quite a bit earlier than normal. There is always room for improvement, and this blog and forum is a great source for inspiration, ideas and discussions on that.

Striking a good balance between spending now and saving for the future. Where that equilibrium is varies a lot. And if shtf its good to know how and what to adjust.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 02:29:49 PM by habaneroNorway »

Body Surfer

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2019, 05:02:49 PM »
Good thread. We live life in moderation- which we believe gives us the best of both worlds. I appreciate hearing about the diehard MMMers, but we are moderate MMMers. I will work a bit longer so I can have more enjoyments in life.

sillysassy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2019, 12:37:32 AM »
Good thread. We live life in moderation- which we believe gives us the best of both worlds. I appreciate hearing about the diehard MMMers, but we are moderate MMMers. I will work a bit longer so I can have more enjoyments in life.

yes sometime u need to relax a little so that the journey can last.
we are running a Marathon, so some moderation is needed.
you need a couple of time now and then to recharge and motivates yourself!

deborah

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2019, 02:42:08 AM »
Mustashianism is about realigning your life to match your values, and continually questioning whether you have that alignment right. FIRE is a goal for most. Frugality is a method that works better for most than the alternatives (having more income or continuing along the path youíre travelling).

ender

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2019, 05:49:29 AM »
Mustashianism is about realigning your life to match your values, and continually questioning whether you have that alignment right. FIRE is a goal for most. Frugality is a method that works better for most than the alternatives (having more income or continuing along the path youíre travelling).

+1

Our goals involve giving a lot of money away.

We might aim for FI or even FIRE but the main reason I care about financial optimization is for this reason.

happy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2019, 06:50:07 AM »
I'm retired and so I've solved the problem of money as Jacob would say. I wouldn't have done it without mustachianism, Pete and this forum. But I did it without riding a bike, so what?

spartana

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2019, 07:20:13 AM »
I've been FIREd as long as MMM has been and didn't find this forum until afterwards but it matched my own path to FIRE closely. So I guess I'm a Spartanian which holds the same values as a mustashian but without the side gigs.

ender

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2019, 07:39:52 AM »
I'm retired and so I've solved the problem of money as Jacob would say. I wouldn't have done it without mustachianism, Pete and this forum. But I did it without riding a bike, so what?

I think if I understand the koolaid right we're supposed to run you off the forums for heresy :)

Malkynn

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2019, 08:19:08 AM »
I always wonder what friggin' definition of "Mustachian" people are using???

To me it means living a healthy and fulfilling life through mindful spending where you avoid the ridiculous overconsumption that is rampant in our society because chances are, there's a cheaper and just as good option out there.

Pete lived a pretty normal middle class life, and he enjoys being handy and active so a lot of his optimization revolves around being handy and active.

For a minimalist like me it involves living in a very small condo and owning less stuff.

For someone else it's slow travel.

Overall it's a very simple message that most of the time, spending more will actually make you less happy. That's it. 

Mustachianism isn't really about savings, it's about learning not to lie to yourself and learning to spot your own bullshit when you do.

JestJes

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2019, 10:17:53 AM »
Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. I know I have benefited from this forum so much but I don't follow everything. Part of this may be because I don't really hate working and I don't even have a dream job or anything like that. Even my side hustle at a grocery store brings me joy. I think maybe after I  have children this may change but right now I'm going to keep working and saving. I'm still on a journey and the direction may change.

happy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2019, 04:56:31 PM »
I'm retired and so I've solved the problem of money as Jacob would say. I wouldn't have done it without mustachianism, Pete and this forum. But I did it without riding a bike, so what?

I think if I understand the koolaid right we're supposed to run you off the forums for heresy :)

Yes, but I hope on judgement day my second hand prii (I'm onto my second one now after the first started chewing oil) will save me if I plead for mercy.

BeMurda

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2019, 05:14:41 PM »
Great thread. Also, it's worth pointing out that while MMM is great for holding people accountable and a lot of basic logic, he is just straight up wrong about some things. He is not the example of who everyone should be.

One example is his dislike of television, etc. It's possible to like reading and watching television. The last ten years have arguably been a golden age for TV as an artistic format. And now you don't really have to watch commercials. As someone who enjoys artistic works I couldn't imagine how much great stuff I would have missed out on had I taken his advice and gotten rid of my television. My life would be significantly less rich.

jeninco

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2019, 09:59:53 AM »
I always wonder what friggin' definition of "Mustachian" people are using???

To me it means living a healthy and fulfilling life through mindful spending where you avoid the ridiculous overconsumption that is rampant in our society because chances are, there's a cheaper and just as good option out there.

<snip>

Overall it's a very simple message that most of the time, spending more will actually make you less happy. That's it. 

Mustachianism isn't really about savings, it's about learning not to lie to yourself and learning to spot your own bullshit when you do.

I was going to say this, but your phrasing would be hard to top.

We live in an incredibly HCOL location (for housing). We do a couple of activities that require driving some weekends. On the other hand, we mostly ride bikes during the week, our grocery budget is OK for the amount of fresh produce we eat, we don't bring in people to clean or work on our house or have cable (or even a TV, although I pay for stable internet as a work cost). We're, like, mid-mustachian, except that ...

we're about to pay full freight for at least one of our kids to attend private college. He decided (with our blessing) that he'd be well suited at an incredibly academic small college that does need-blind admissions, and then will support all students who need it, primarily without loans. We don't (and shouldn't) qualify, and that $ should go to kids who do.  And we (with some help from our families) have been saving for this (separately from our retirement savings) since our two kids were born. Partly because of the medium-mustachian way we've structured the rest of our lives, we can afford to do this and retire (not especially early) when, or before, our younger kid finishes college. Since we have jobs we basically find engaging and interesting, we're OK with this trade-off. We were fortunate enough to finish college without loans, and we feel that we should pay it forward.

beeboy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2019, 12:25:52 PM »
Hi all!

I'm here pretty much every day but rarely interact. A couple weeks ago there was a person posting some pretty negative things and accused us all of being to exclusive to new people or those that have different views than this forum.
I hope my recent revelation helps some of those on the fence that might be concerned about posting.

Thank you all for continuing to post interesting stories, articles, questions, and comments. I really let this forum affect my mood for a long time that I wasn't good enough and I feel my change in perspective has really improved my interactions here.

Thanks for posting this thread. I feel like I'm in a similar boat to many of the posters here. We definitely aren't full blown Mustachians, but we are still better at not overspending beyond our means, while saving/investing a higher percentage of our salaries than 95% of people in the country. I've been lucky enough to have a relatively high income for a number of years, but I didn't by a Ferrari, a 1M dollar condo and a boat, while putting myself up to my ears in debt. I also haven't invested everything in straight up passive index funds, but have a MS account with many individual stocks. Regardless, the advice and inspiration from many has been invaluable and I learn something new nearly everytime I'm here. 

eav

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2019, 01:33:25 PM »
So happy this thread popped up! I also feel like the r/financialindependance forum can be pretty toxic in its judgement. I get downvoted to infinity when I post anything that's middle-of the-road "MMM"

I just don't want to look back and think I passed up on treating myself occasionally for the future, which cannot be counted on in the first place. Live according to your values is all. I've found there's power in being able to strike a balance in life and not pull to either extreme (wasteful spending or excessive frugality) which can sometimes exist to ease a deep-rooted emotional issue like anxiety or lack of satisfaction elsewhere in life.

Now when I hear someone is buying something lavish, ie. a new Mercedes I'll just say "Good for them. They must get a lot of enjoyment out of that." Ultimately, there is no right and wrong in how to live life (other than extremes that cause harm to others and yourself)

Kumbaya to all!


 

kevinb421

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2019, 09:03:53 AM »
Awesome to hear I'm not the only one that feels this way. Thanks to everyone for all the encouraging words and support!

deborah

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2019, 08:07:59 PM »
You may want to look at this poll I did a couple of years ago.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-type-of-re-person-are-you/

Not only are you not the only one here who feels that way, but you aren't far from being part of the majority!

conwy

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2019, 03:55:01 PM »
Interesting reading everyone's variations on this.

I consider myself an urban / semi-nomadic / techie / minimalist strain of Mustachian.

I don't own a car, but rely on public transport rather than cycling. I prefer to rent a sparsely furnished room in a share-house close to the city rather than owning a home in the burbs. I own no more possessions than I can carry-on a flight. I travel a lot, both for holidays and working abroad. I value experiences more than things, but I own a small number of high-quality portable appliances, chief of which is my laptop / money-maker. I have a gym membership, to help me stay fit, healthy and motivated. I listen to ambient, 80s Japanese pop and vapourwave.

This lifestyle is working pretty nicely for me so far.

My dream is to have a big enough 'stash of stocks to live on 0.35% and maintain this lifestyle, minus having to work for money (though I'll probably continue to work and continue to get paid).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 04:03:29 PM by conwy »

js82

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2019, 05:03:52 PM »
We all get to decide what we spend our money on.  If Mustachianism is about spending your money thoughtfully and intentionally, I guess I'm Mustachian.  Either way, Pete's blog and the awesome folks on this forum, have made me a shit ton of money over the last 6 years. 

Bolded part is pretty much how I feel.  I have a high savings rate compared to most people(but pales in comparison to the most frugal on these forums), but I also splurge on some things and have hobbies that aren't particularly cheap.

What I don't do is feel the need to spend money to impress people/meet societal expectations.  If someone misjudges my financial situation and consequentially treats me differently because I drive a high(ish) mileage Hyundai instead of a new Mercedes/Tesla they're not my type of person anyways.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 05:08:04 PM by js82 »

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: I'm not totally Mustachian and how I came to realize that's ok
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2019, 07:28:44 AM »
Mustachianism has taught me to be hyper aware of "desire cycles." I believe we're (in modern western culture) primed and conditioned to be constantly wanting of something. Even self improvement and lack of purpose in life are types of personal dissatisfaction that lead (usually) to consumption. When we seek fulfillment, we usually look for it in some form outside of ourselves, and this usually involves products and services. Craving products and services is part of the consumer desire cycle.

On the other hand, it's not entirely healthy to abstain from all desires, either. Truly enjoying experiences and material goods for their own sake is a highly pleasurable part of life. I have tried to stay dispassionate about the consumer cravings, and not judge them harshly (as perhaps some people here do) but be more aware of them as part of my conditioning. Ultimately it's up to me to find peace with who I am, with what I have, rather than succumb to the constant churning dissatisfactions. Once I realize they're there, I have the choice to give in to them, or not. That is the peace and freedom I'm looking for in life. If I decide to enjoy a "luxury" good (in quotes because notion of luxury is entirely relative) then I will enjoy it freely without guilt or regret.

I was really interested in learning about Stoicism (via Pete) and hedonic adaptation. I've learned to wait before purchasing anything; to stick to hobbies that I've started rather than flit from one interest to another; to borrow rather than buy; to think of DOING rather than HAVING; to minimize purchases from the past and develop more of a minimalist attitude. To be truly happy I believe we need very few material possessions.

I am not as Mustachian as some here, and that doesn't really bother me. I do pay someone to clean my home. I take public transit vs. riding a bike. I eat out a lot. I travel and like to stay in nice places. But to me, the defining feature of hedonic adaptation is the dissatisfaction people feel when they attain a certain level of comfort and luxury, and the constant desire for MORE comfort and luxury. I am not seeking more - I'm completely happy with my level of comfort, and could easily dip to less comfort if necessary. With time and awareness of these desire cycles, I would like my lifestyle creep to gradually creep down, not up.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 07:30:23 AM by Mmm_Donuts »