Author Topic: How long for your family to get Mustachian?  (Read 2139 times)

Displaced

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How long for your family to get Mustachian?
« on: April 22, 2013, 04:21:37 PM »
When I first found this website 2 months ago, I changed overnight in my mindset and my actions.  We're still adjusting to living our new lifestyle and I'm wondering how long it took for your family to get as Mustachian as you desired for the majority of your spending?
So far we are making plans to move to a new state and procure new jobs to decrease our state income tax, decrease our mortgage, and live closer to family to make our lives better and more Mustachian (which will take a few months more), decreased our car insurance rates, decreased our cable, stopped eating out and stopped fast food, switched vehicles to improve fuel economy, stopped routine expensive shopping trips and excessive car errands, shop on craigslist and ebay when possible, decreased entertainment expenses, and make homemade "organic" wipes and detergent (which are very expensive).  My best change has been my new mindset of "Whoa!  We can't just WASTE money!  That's Not acceptable".
But there's still a lot of room for improvement:
we still spend a lot on groceries, still commute and do errands by vehicle instead of bike when possible, still have cable and expensive phones, haven't worked much on energy reduction by electric/gas, travel too much, and I'm sure a lot of other things too.
I'm thinking it may be up to a year or more before we've cut down on the majority of our expenses, and a lifetime to fine tune everything.  If it were just me it might be faster but with a family I need to implement things a little slower and have discussions, etc.
What's your opinion on how long it took to analyze your living situation and implement changes and new habits for the majority of your spending? 

happy

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Re: How long for your family to get Mustachian?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 11:44:31 PM »
Everyone is different. Some folks with families see the light and  get everything sorted within months. Others take longer. Me, I'm very slow: I started in Jan 2012, and probably most of the "easy win" changes were done within a year. I'm still finding things to improve. I find I stick with things better if I make slow change and don't backslide... if I do too much at once I get overburdened and give up, so slow change works best for me.  A lot of things were decisions not to do something I might have otherwise done: e.g. update my 7 year young car, so this is just a decision and doesn't require anything done. I reviewed insurances etc as they came due, so it took a year to get through those things I pay annually. As far as my teenagers go, well  I've just gradually tightened things up. We really don't eat take away at all now, previously maybe twice a week. It took a while for the raucous cries to settle but they really don't ask anymore.  I make sandwiches for lunch: if they want lunch from the canteen, they have to pay for it themselves. Not sure how old your kids are, but I find my teens  play bluff a lot:  "I want it! I need it!" IF Mum is paying. If they have to pay for it..."mm well, I'm not sure its really worth it".

I agree with "fine tuning for a lifetime"...I'm doing stuff now I never would have considered up front.

dragoncar

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Re: How long for your family to get Mustachian?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 01:58:48 AM »
I think it depends on how entrenched you are.  Some people have a lot of barriers to mustachianism built in to their lifestyle.  Long term leases, underwater car loans, cell phone contracts, etc.   You can get out of these, but it can take time to unwind (you mentioned insurance, although in every state I've lived you can change that immediately and get a refund on any prepayment).  It can take a while to change habits as well, and I have a feeling (but no evidence) that there is more habit "momentum" in an entire family vs. an individual.  On the other hand, there's a built in support mechanism for positive changes... so maybe try to put that to work.  It sounds like you are making progress at a rate that works for you.  After getting rid of emergencies, I think you have to progress naturally lest you have an adverse reaction to going "cold turkey".

jrhampt

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Re: How long for your family to get Mustachian?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 08:03:05 AM »
It's also been a gradual thing for us over a few years.  "Unwinding" is a good way to put it.  For a while early on, each month we would have an active optimization goal, as we kept finding and shedding unnecessary subscription expenses, gym memberships, lowering car insurance payments, etc.  That was the easy stuff with a quick payoff.  It took a bit longer to get rid of the last student loans and PMI, refinance the house to a lower rate, and make home improvements for optimizing energy consumption.  Then there were some things we had been holding on to longer that we finally got rid of about a year ago - cable and the expensive cell phone plan.  We gradually cut back on going out to eat, lunches at work, and did more cooking at home.  We got closer jobs/worked more from home, and used the library more.  We cut out the liquor store just a few months ago.  I've been working on curtailing my clothes/personal maintenance budget for ages and this is actually the first month I haven't spent anything at all on clothing/cosmetics/hair (honestly I could live off the excess I already have for quite some time).  Over time I find we just spend less and less while income grows (despite taking a pay cut for one of us to move to a less stressful job) and the savings increase.  My husband was just marveling the other day at how he has more excess for investing now than ever even after the pay cut.  Maybe this fall we'll switch to an HDHP with an HSA - who knows?  Every time I think we can't possibly get any lower, we do somehow without really missing anything.  We're still about 3.5 years out from our baseline FI goal, but it keeps getting better.  And we haven't even made drastic changes like getting rid of our cars or moving to a low-tax state like the OP is talking about (yet).