Author Topic: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post  (Read 3687 times)

StetsTerhune

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My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« on: April 26, 2013, 01:30:16 PM »

So I think MMM's latest post on why it's better to not spend money makes a lot of excellent points.  I just don't happen to agree with this part of his philosophy. For me, him saying that he continues to be frugal because  "We donít want to lose the challenge and the spice that is part of life right now ", sounds just as ridiculous as "The only way to be happy is by achieving success in your career." Both of those things may be true for the speaker, but not for me.

There are two reasons why I am "frugal", one of which is dependent on the amount of  money I have and one of which isn't.

1. It's more efficient than working for money, and more enjoyable. Not that it's enjoyable (and this is I think the key difference between MMM's post and my thinking), just that it's a hell of a lot more fun.
For example, for me to plan my meals and cook them is easier and more fun than to work to earn that amount of money. If I had an infinite amount of money, I would have a chef cook for me. I'd probably still cook some things for fun, but mostly I would have my chef do it [I suspect I'd find dealing with the chef is more hassle than just cooking the food myself, but that's unrelated]. The same logic applies to almost everything in life, there are some things I currently "have to do" that I would "want to do" still, but mostly, I'd replace all "have to do's" with things I enjoy doing more.
Not that I don't enjoy the challenge of living efficiently. But that's a long way from saying there aren't challenges I'd enjoy more.


2. I derive no pleasure from spending money. And spending money is work. This would not change one bit if I had infinite money. I wouldn't suddenly by a big house. Not because a small house is cheaper, but because a small house is easier and it meets my needs.

The last MMM post is way to "frugality for frugality's sake" for my tastes. Money is only a means to an end, and for me the ideal existence is would be to completely oblivious to its existence. My absolute favorite quote about money, from Forrest Gump "Lt. Dann called and said we don't have to worry about money no more. I said that's good, one less thing."

In practice, of course, barring some huge windfall that I don't see coming, my life will probably look exactly like MMM. Or at least it would in a few years when I retire and if I have a kid and live in CO. I will always be frugal, because it better maximizes life for my tastes to live like this and not work (very much longer) than it is to earn enough to be totally free of money.

Where do other people come down on this?

TheDude

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 02:34:21 PM »
I dont know that I really have a good reason. Mostly by nature I hate spending money always have even when I was 5 according to my aunt. I also hate waste. I hate wasting gas i hate was food and i hate wasting money. I think for me being frugal is just who I am.

matchewed

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 03:15:06 PM »
So Stats, just so I'm sure I'm understanding your point, you're saying you do not agree with his idea of not wanting to lose the challenge of living a less consumerist lifestyle or are you saying you just don't like blanket life advice?

Because my interpretation of what MMM usually says is here are some reasons why this lifestyle is not as terrible as you may have heard. While the vast majority of the messages we hear in daily life tend to say just the opposite or support the "chasing success." I just view it as presenting an alternative, not necessarily saying it is the only alternative. I don't see him setting up some dichotomy here just outlining another choice in the spectrum.

As for the "whys" of frugality I can dig what you're saying. I may not agree with all the hiring of other people to do things for me but that's a personal choice. But I do agree with the focus on the things I want to do and living within your means or needs.

P.S. if you had infinite money it would be worthless. :P

Meoates1

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 05:02:45 PM »
I am not sure where I fall on this spectrum.

I am not particularly an environmentalist in the classical sense, or anything that is typically implied by that statement.  I am hugely respectful of great accomplishments, in sort of an Ayn Rand kind of way- I love great minds and hard work and the accomplishments that go along with it.  Advancements are awesome.  I grew up on a pretty self sustaining farm, but I have no desire to live in a mud hut, grow my own food and shun money or technological advancement. 

Don't know where I am going with this- I think a lot of consumerism boils down to being ungrateful or at the least being unaware.  Simpler living is about not taking things for granted.  Every breath, every step, every nutrient, every person- the more simply you live, the easier it is to appreciate all the overwhelming bounty you have.  Thinking for yourself, and making conscious choices, rather than being re-programed by ad agencies and conventional wisdom that is all wrong (like all the commentator's on the WP article.)  The post is about where he is at, this is where you are at- we are all at different points in our journey.  But it seems like, the common thread is, the more grateful you become for what you have, the less you want (or need.)  And happiness increases as you have less... which seems crazy.  But, it keeps working out to be true for me.  By the way- if you want art or music lessons, or pt or whatever- go find people, books and the world of information out there... the world is full of great teachers... many just want to share--- and the best teacher of all is experience!

StetsTerhune

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 07:02:54 AM »


Matchewed, when I hear the "consumerist" the connotation in my mind is of a lifestyle of "spending money for the sake of spending money." Avoiding this (which is basically my #2 in my first post) is I think the most important piece of advice anyone can get, and the biggest thing that I enjoy about this website. If you are buying a nice car because it makes you feel better about yourself. Or a McMansion because that's what you think society expects of you. That's the thing we should all avoid at all costs and in my mind is the core tenet of my philosophy. I consider myself very, very lucky to have been raised in a way to have almost none of those tendencies.

I think avoiding that is totally unrelated to MMM's last post saying that the challenge of "frugality" for its own sake is a good thing, which really turns me off. For me, the challenge is using the resources I have to optimize my own happiness and satisfaction. Now for some people that might mean living as frugally as possible and giving as much as possible to charity. For some people  that might mean adopting feeding yourself as well and cheaply as possible as a challenging hobby. For some people it might mean installing a pool in your backyard because it's something that they'll really enjoy using. I would never judge how anyone spends money. I will only judge why someone spends money.

happy

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 08:33:33 AM »
I found MMMs last post particularly inspiring. 

I agree with your #1 and #2, but beyond that there's something about the creation and mastery of difficulty and adversity that I think is fundamental to being really alive.  Frugality for frugalities sake if you like. 

I think about this in terms of choices like: on a cold windy day I can swim in the heated indoor pool or outside in the choppy sea pool: the indoor pool is more pleasant, but the sea pool makes me feel more alive.  I can ski on a sunny day or in a snowstorm: on the sunny day I can go hard and fast... in the snow storm I cannot see and I am more limited and must take pleasure out of my legs reacting to the landform I cannot see...again skiing the snow storm makes me feel more alive.

Quote
For me, the challenge is using the resources I have to optimize my own happiness and satisfaction.
Yes absolutely agree.....and this works whilst one has little excess. Once the resource becomes less limited (in MMMs case he could spend now triple he says) that challenge becomes harder to maintain and one can live in a soft satisfied state yet still optimised for satisfaction and happiness...ie hedonic adaptation. I see "frugality for its own sake" as an antidote to hedonic adaptation.  Its good to electively build strength and resilience against adversity....since suffering in one form or another will sooner or later come our way, like it or not. 

arebelspy

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 10:39:29 AM »
I loved his latest post!

(Link for those coming to this discussion later: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/25/why-should-i-be-frugal-when-im-so-rich/ )

For me it's not about the challenge of spending less, it's just that I don't want to spend more.

I am happy with what we spend, and live a very luxurious life.  If we wanted to get spending down, we could, but we don't bother.  We live the way that comes naturally to us, and at the level that makes us happy.

I've talked about this with people before, and how our spending wouldn't change if we won 20MM in the lottery.  All that would happen is our charitable giving would increase.

We're overwhelmingly happy now, and spending more would be more likely to decrease that happiness (putting us back on the hedonic treadmill) than increase it.

As John Stuart Mill said, "I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them."

YMMV.
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Jamesqf

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 11:16:58 AM »
Or to take the example of that enormously expensive yacht: would you get more pleasure from that motorized thing, or from a nice sailboat?

Nords

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 12:39:55 AM »
Or to take the example of that enormously expensive yacht: would you get more pleasure from that motorized thing, or from a nice sailboat?
The second-happiest day in a boat owner's life is the day he buys it... no matter how big or small it is.
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StetsTerhune

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 07:18:50 AM »
I was once told that if I want to know what it feels like to own a boat, I should just stand in a cold shower and rip up hundred dollar bills.

And yes, I do own a boat.

vern

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2013, 07:31:38 AM »
Ha ha!  I sold my Bust Out Another Thousand last year. 

Yeah, I was happy.
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plantingourpennies

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2013, 11:24:34 AM »

As John Stuart Mill said, "I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them."


+1 for JSM...
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No Name Guy

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 06:42:50 PM »
Silly boats with motors and sails.  Get a real watercraft - a touring kayak.  ;-)  Load it up with the backpack camping kit, a week of food and hit the water for some touring / camping that costs pretty much nothing (one of the advantages of living in the greater Seattle area).

Oh, and on the subject - I can see frugality for it's own sake, just as I can see exercise for its own sake.  On the latter, I LIKE the feeling of being in good condition - of being able to hike up a mountain quickly or cover 20-30 miles a day, of being able to bike miles on end, of being able to paddle 20 miles in the kayak.  It lets me go places and do things that many can't do.  Frugality for it's own sake.....well, I like being efficient with my spending such that if / when I need to be able to spend on something, I can, should I choose to, since I haven't pissed it all away - I like feeling like I COULD [buy ridiculous consumer crap], even though I don't. 

On the JSM quote:  After spending 5+ months on a thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail carrying all that I needed on my back, one learns what desires really matter, and what are Madison Ave manufactured bullshit.  Of the former - shade, shelter, a warm sleeping bag, water, food....of the latter, most anything else.

Jamesqf

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 09:38:38 PM »
I like feeling like I COULD [buy ridiculous consumer crap], even though I don't.

Exactly.  I don't buy that stuff because I can't afford it, I don't buy it because I want not to have it in my life.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »
Or to take the example of that enormously expensive yacht: would you get more pleasure from that motorized thing, or from a nice sailboat?
The second-happiest day in a boat owner's life is the day he buys it... no matter how big or small it is.

This doesn't hold true for small sailboats.  Most owners of small sailboats are very sad to let them go.

kevin78

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 03:59:27 PM »
Silly boats with motors and sails.  Get a real watercraft - a touring kayak.  ;-)  Load it up with the backpack camping kit, a week of food and hit the water for some touring / camping that costs pretty much nothing

That is a great idea.  Especially since all that could be carried with a small car : )

Jamesqf

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 10:41:22 PM »
Silly boats with motors and sails.  Get a real watercraft - a touring kayak.  ;-)  Load it up with the backpack camping kit, a week of food and hit the water for some touring / camping that costs pretty much nothing

That is a great idea.  Especially since all that could be carried with a small car : )

Horses for courses.  A kayak (or a canoe) would be great to paddle around rivers & lakes, or along the seashore.  Not so great if you're headed out on a cruise to Tahiti :-)

MrsPete

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2013, 07:05:47 PM »
I kind of side with you on this one.  I personally am not motivated by meeting a certain number, though I can see that for people with a different mindset, the challenge could be enjoyable.  I also am not competative by nature. 

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 09:29:50 PM »
What an awesome post. I had actually skipped this post when I saw the title because I really didn't think it applied to me. I'm not rich, yet!

I'm not sure where the OP disagrees, maybe I'm missing something. I completely understand MMM's side on this. Efficiency is a challenge. In nearly every action, we all strive for some sort of efficiency and try avoiding waste, some of us take it to the next level and beyond.

I suspect the point of frugality for MMM is more the act of meeting goals, and even blasting them more than anything. Retiring early was a means to an end, that end was good quality time with people that matter doing things that matter, away from non-BS "fun" canned and sold to us daily. Two related, but seperate things altogether.

Frugality is like healthy living in a way. Maintaining the six pack abs is more of a matter of finding challenging and fun activities, or seeking out great nutritious foods rather than simply avoiding McD's and trudging along on the treadmill for an hour a day. The former is fun and likely to have lasting benefits, the latter is a chore and will backfire. If frugality is a challenge anticipated eagerly, for a goal or simply for fun, I think MMM's post makes a lot of sense.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 09:33:11 PM by -JR »

arebelspy

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Re: My Money Philosophy, or Why I disagree with MMM's Last Post
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2013, 09:33:04 PM »
I suspect the point of frugality for MMM is more the act of meeting goals, and even blasting them more than anything. Retiring early was a means to an end, that end was good quality time with people that matter doing things that matter, away from non-BS "fun" canned and sold to us daily. Two related, but seperate things altogether.

Frugality is like healthy living in a way. Maintaining the six pack abs is more of a matter of finding challenging and fun activities, or seeking out great nutritious foods rather than simply avoiding McD's and trudging along on the treadmill for an hour a day. The former is fun and likely to have lasting benefits, the latter is a chore and will backfire. If frugality is a challenge anticipated eagerly, for a goal or simply for fun, I think MMM's post makes a lot of sense.

Agreed.  It's the same reason he took his bike through the snow in his latest post (Anti-Automobile April Wrap Up).  The challenge and demolishing of badass goals.
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