I go by Brutal Honesty and I need punching in the face.
I have wasted my money, not my life mind you, because that money was spent doing things that I love (travel), things that are on my bucket list (travel) and learning the skills of my favourite hobbies (surfing, are you seeing a theme yet).
But for all the fact that I've done loads, I haven't got a penny to show for it. In fact, I'm 36, single, earning 30K a year in base salary, with a hair under 8 grand in credit card debt (7K of which is on interest free cards), a shitty flat on an interest only mortgage, and a sudden yearning desire for early retirement that dates from pretty much the moment that a friend linked to the MMM blog. In the three weeks or so since I've read every blog entry, and the vast majority of the comments. I've slashed my spending by almost 40% and am working on another 10% or so in the next month.
And I've calmed down.
Mentally speaking I worried about money, all the time, but ever since making the simple decision that I intend to beat my dad to retirement (he retired at 53, giving me 17 years) I've stopped worrying about money. I'm kidding, beating my dad to retirement age isn't actually the goal, more of a fun little extra. My expenses come out of my bank automatically as Direct Debits are a big thing, and I no longer waste money on a daily basis. I feel like I've hit an almost zen like level of calm.
I still have work to do. I've got a 40 mile round trip commute, and the property market in my home town being what it is, I cannot afford to move. So instead, I'm looking for work local to me. That alone will knock almost 150£ a month off my bills. (yeah, Brits get raked over the coals for fuel costs compared to Americans). I actually only learned how to drive and bought a car because of this job, I've always lived near to where I worked.
Being raised Dutch, I'm an avid cyclist, even now that I own a car, but I'd love to leave the car for long trips such as visiting my parents and not for day to day nonsense.
I'm also trying to eliminate frivolous entertainment spending. The cable bill is on the chopping block, and other things are being evaluated on the strict Mustachian criteria of 'will it give me longer term happiness, than getting my debts paid off'.
I haven't got a clue where Brits should invest their money, from what little research I've done so far (and keeping in mind I'm probably 6 or 7 months away from paying back all my credit card debt, so I still have some time) I can't buy Vanguard funds directly since it's an American thing, but I'm equally sure that these forums will throw up a batch of answers once I start digging.
So here I am, not earning a lot, having lived wild and free, and wanting a better life.
I'm also already somewhat Mustachian (call it an 8th Mustachian if you will). I've always cycled, because I love cycling. I'm a minimalist by inclination, having figured out years ago that stuff doesn't make me happy. I don't occupy more space than I need to (my 350sq ft flat is perfectly sized for me, annoying neighbours notwithstanding), my first and only car was a decade old when I bought it and was paid for cash, and I'm perfectly capable of living within my means.
Counter to that however, is that I'm mentally lazy. My friends joke that I'm Mr. Easy Mode, and if I can trade money for convenience I have historically done so. After all, what's the point of money if you don't use it. I just never followed that thought through to it's logical conclusion of using my money to make more money. So this is where I need that punch in the face, because my mental laziness is a real problem. It leads me down roads such as half-assing my career (because I'd rather not work than work in my cubicle job, and why I'm still only on 30K), not paying attention to my money (because it's effort, and there's more of it next month) and other really bad habits.
All of which changed overnight when I started reading the blog. I actually felt acutely ashamed at the way I'd treated money, and by extension myself, when I had so many options open to me when I was young. Hell, had I realized this blog was around five years ago I'd be well on my way to retirement, as it is, well, I'm still on my way to retirement, just running a bit late.
So yeah, that's me. If anyone wants details, ask and ye shall receive. I'm Dutch so I consider my finances perfect fodder for publication.
One main thing I'm going to do this year once my spending is under control, is look for better paying work. I'm a little envious when I see all the case studies of people earning 50K or 100K and talking about living on 'only 30K' and realizing their bottom level is more than I bring home in a year after taxes. But then I punch myself in the face and remind myself that I'm not them, and I'm not living their life.
Sadly, I don't have much to sell (I'm a bit of a minimalist as mentioned), and I'm probably going to need to retrain as while my IT skillset is still current, it's also become depressingly commonplace in the UK, so it's harder to command a decent wage. I've got a decent following on Instagram (53K and climbing) but have so far failed to find a way to earn money doing it. So if anyone has any good suggestions on how to add a few K's to my income, bring it on. I'm eager and ready to learn.