Author Topic: How to suggest someone get started?  (Read 2911 times)

benjenn

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How to suggest someone get started?
« on: December 16, 2014, 09:45:42 AM »
Only recently discovered the Mustachian way and have really enjoyed the blog and forum.  Hubby and I plan to retire toward the end of 2015 (Thanksgiving) and move to the beach!  We'll be 51 and 52.  We've been frugal since coming up with our early retirement plan but not to the point of most on this blog probably.  We were incredibly fortunate to make a ridiculous amount of money, so that helped.

Since I've recently announced our early retirement plans around the office (trying to convince the boss he's GOT to get someone hired that I can train for the next year or they'll be in big trouble), I've had several people ask me how they can save money and hope to retire before 62 (that's the option here in our organization... 30 years or 62).

I've told them all about Republic Wireless and how that's saving us $150 per month.  I've told them about getting rid of cable (which we used to pay almost $200 a month for).  I've told them about not eating out as much, not going to Starbucks, stuff like that... and I've told them to pour all their savings into their 401Ks, too.  But I was wondering if anyone has made a list of all the things you can do to get started living a more frugal life... I think it would be really helpful if I could offer a list like that and figured there's no sense reinventing the wheel if someone else has already done it.  :)

Thanks for any help or ideas!

Future Lazy

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 10:02:40 AM »
Honestly, the place I usually tell people to start is with making a budget. Suggesting people cut back on eating out, getting fat and buying fancy coffee ice cream diabetes bombs is a great suggestion, but tends to fall on deaf ears as long as people don't realize they're spending hundreds of dollars a month on those things.

I didn't realize I was eating $150/mo++ of fast food till I signed up with Personal Capital and started tracking it. Then I was like, holy shit! I'd never pay for cable or a car payment, why am I spending hundreds of dollars on pizza, chicken sandwiches and hamburgers?!

Step two is to tell them that saving 50% of their income means they can retire in 15 years, and that saving 75% of it means they can retire in closer to seven.

Then, after that, comes the advice on what to cut back and how. Knowing your spending, and knowing what is possible (retire 7-10 years from now!), sets the stage for the rest. For someone really interested in retiring sooner over other priorities, like hamburgers and having stuff, it should come naturally.

IMO, anyways. :)

2ndTimer

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 10:29:47 AM »
The single suggestion I would make is buy little dollar store notebook, carry it with you and write down everything you spend.  The expenditure is small, you don't have to learn any new technology and the information revealed about your spending habits is breathtaking.  It is a great first step because it doesn't require much upfront energy which can be a big barrier to people just starting out.

benjenn

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 12:06:03 PM »
Both of those are great ideas!  I have kept a budget for as long as I can remember... in the last few years, my monthly budget is projected out for the next 10 years.  Yes, I know it's going to change but it just feels good to have a pretty strong idea of where our income/expenses will be.  Honestly, I completely forget that most people don't do this.  LOL.  Making a budget is a great first step.

I love the idea of keeping a spending journal, too!  That's just what you tell people who want to lose weight... keep track of everything you eat.  Well, I can see where a spending journal can help you spend less once you see it in writing.

Thanks!

going2ER

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 12:21:03 PM »
For me, the first step was to be aware of where my money was going and deciding if that was the right place.

first, I had to accept that I had debt, and then added it up and determined this is what it was costing me per month. I had to make a realistic budget that meant putting large amounts on the debt and none on the fun stuff, no vacations or restaurants. My budget changed over the first few months, I never lowered the amount I paid on debt, I did sometimes increase it, but the grocery and electric bill would vary and that's okay, it took a little while to figure out what I really needed to spend and to allow for those fluctuations. I was more aware of where my money went because I was tracking it and had more control over it. So for me the first step was acknowledging where my money was going and how it was going to get me where I wanted to be.

snshijuptr

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 12:25:33 PM »
1) Identify the "Unthinking" spending - track expenses for a month or go through your previous statements and categorize everything. This captures "wow it adds up" spending
2) Question your bills - Do these have to cost so much? Is there an alternative? Set aside time to investigate each bill and ways to reduce them
3) Find your values - This is where the beginner stuff gets left behind and we move to intermediate/advanced territory. Identify what you really value in life (check out 7 Habits, Your Money or Your Life, or another self-help type book from the library) and ask yourself if your spending of money and time reflect this.  This is where the big lifestyle changes or deep emotional decisions/acceptance come in.

I find those first 3 steps help move you from "frugal tips" to financial awareness.

horsepoor

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 12:28:32 PM »
Calculate the ten year cost of expenses like cable and gym mberships and see how much longer you'll have to work to finance the expense.

Future Lazy

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Re: How to suggest someone get started?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 12:34:17 PM »
1) Identify the "Unthinking" spending - track expenses for a month or go through your previous statements and categorize everything. This captures "wow it adds up" spending
2) Question your bills - Do these have to cost so much? Is there an alternative? Set aside time to investigate each bill and ways to reduce them
3) Find your values - This is where the beginner stuff gets left behind and we move to intermediate/advanced territory. Identify what you really value in life (check out 7 Habits, Your Money or Your Life, or another self-help type book from the library) and ask yourself if your spending of money and time reflect this.  This is where the big lifestyle changes or deep emotional decisions/acceptance come in.

I find those first 3 steps help move you from "frugal tips" to financial awareness.

+1

2013 was the first year I got a Big Girl Paycheck and made money above the "poverty line". But, at the end of the year, I didn't have anything to show for it... And it took going back and looking at ALL of my bank statements and ALL of my credit card statements to see where the money went. And it turned out we were easily spending $200-300+/mo on fast food all last year, usually $75+ put on credit card alone.

It was kind of emotionally crushing, but that crushing feeling is what it took to pull my head out of my ass. I didn't even stumble across MMM till July of this year, but he was the light in the darkness I really needed.