Author Topic: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?  (Read 6259 times)

Mike Key

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My comment in the Hair Cutting thread got me thinking and wondering. I enjoy my barber shop because of reminds me of my childhood and times spent with my grandfather. Everything about the experience I enjoy greatly.


And I'm wondering, is it anti-mustachian to spend money on experiences? It's like the thread about Hobby Lobby, some people will spend thousands of dollars stuffing their home with wall decorations that could of been spent creating a memory at a national park or a camping trip or something.


And I'm kind of under the impression that doing with less things and less consumerism, means not only freeing up cashflow for FI, but freeing up cash flow to enjoy the things that bring us the most enjoyment in life.


I love the outdoors, climbing, hiking, backpacking and camping. See Proof



Clearly there are no mountains in FL. But for me, giving up my car and riding my bike means, paying of debts faster and moving closer to a lifestyle where a trip to the mountains is more reality than once every 10 years fantasy vacation that costs $1000000000000000000000 and seems impossible.


Am I making any sense?

Jarvis

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 07:46:03 AM »
I'm 100% with you.  I've read many articles about sources of happiness.  Purchasing things does not bring lasting happiness.  However, amazingly, the happiness gained from experience actually increases over time. 

The idea behind this effect is that, over time, you forget how much that blister on your foot hurt when you hiked up the mountain, but you remember fondly how awesome the view was.

arebelspy

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 08:04:37 AM »
I don't think it is.

IMO, It's Mustachian to live your life consciously, deliberately, the way you want.  If that involves experiences over things, then do that.

In fact I'd guess that most people on these forums would pick experiences over things in a poll.

I'm curious what would make you think it is anti-Mustachian?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 09:08:55 AM by arebelspy »
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sol

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 08:57:58 AM »
It's certainly not antimustachian to seek out valuable life experiences, but it may be antimustachian to pay full price for them.

velocistar237

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 09:24:05 AM »
I have coworkers who will save up for a few months and then spend their savings on a trip to an exotic location. That is definitely not Mustachian.

It's Mustachian to know how to run the numbers and determine whether to defer gratification. It's also Mustachian to dissect and destroy costs so you can have what you want without spending away your financial freedom.

Jacob argued that what you value has to do with your personality. He writes about dealing with the current vocal majority who value experiences over stuff.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/you-should-value-experiences-over-stuff.html

The same can be said about those who value other things over experiences. A lot of people who came over from the ERE site will value autonomy over experiences. You're a different person, and you're going to have different preferences. Even if you're willing to delay your retirement in order to have experiences, it doesn't make it Anti-Mustachian.

arebelspy

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 09:59:26 AM »
A lot of people who came over from the ERE site will value autonomy over experiences.

I've never heard it put that way, but that describes me perfectly!  I'd rather delay experiences to ER.

Thanks for the insight.
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Bakari

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 10:06:59 AM »
It is Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences which you could have for free, with a little more creativity, time, and effort.

Fortunately, the sort of things you are into tend to be free (or close to it).  If your passion was racecar driving or skydiving, figure out ways to do it would be difficult, but hiking?  That just means walking off of the pavement!

Is there any possibility you could move?  If you lived somewhere like Colorado or Oregon for example, you could find mountains to climb and forests to camp in bicycle distance away from home, dropping the cost of the trip down to zero - and possibly lower your living expenses at the same time!

Mrs MM

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 10:16:54 AM »
I think experiences are very important and very Mustachian, but as a Mustachian you will value real experiences that connect you to yourself, your family, and the Earth. 

You will choose an experience roaming around, hiking, and camping in national parks vs. a family trip to Disneyland that drains your very spirit.  You will forgo the luxury cruise and choose to snorkel in a lagoon instead.  You will visit with family at a cottage, have meaningful conversations, go for hikes in the moonlight, and build campfires in your backyard.  You will skip the $3000 REI adventures biking trip through France, steal their itinerary, and go on your own biking trip around France that will kick REIs ass.  Better yet, you will keep it local and bike across the US-fuckin'-A!

You will find your own way and make it an adventure.  You will bypass the tourist buses and forge into the wilderness.  You will relish the journey and enjoy the destination.  It doesn't take much money to have a trip/experience of a lifetime.  All it takes is a spirit of adventure and a willingness to go against the crowd.

Mike Key

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 11:21:12 AM »
Is there any possibility you could move?  If you lived somewhere like Colorado or Oregon for example, you could find mountains to climb and forests to camp in bicycle distance away from home, dropping the cost of the trip down to zero - and possibly lower your living expenses at the same time!

Actually we looked at Colorado Springs as my wife was offered a Job in 3 places, here in St. Pete, Colorado Springs and Hawaii. The cost of living in both Colorado Springs and Hawaii was just too high when I was looking at the numbers compared to St. Petersburg. The additional benefit for my wife is that she has a sister here and her parents are moving here in the Fall.

Oddly enough, Florida is growing on me. Especially the more I ride my bike. And I just do not know how to explain it. I am an outdoorsy guy, but I just feel totally at peace here. Everyday I just see myself living here longer and longer. I really don't know how to explain it anymore.


I think experiences are very important and very Mustachian, but as a Mustachian you will value real experiences that connect you to yourself, your family, and the Earth. 

You will choose an experience roaming around, hiking, and camping in national parks vs. a family trip to Disneyland that drains your very spirit.  You will forgo the luxury cruise and choose to snorkel in a lagoon instead.  You will visit with family at a cottage, have meaningful conversations, go for hikes in the moonlight, and build campfires in your backyard.  You will skip the $3000 REI adventures biking trip through France, steal their itinerary, and go on your own biking trip around France that will kick REIs ass.  Better yet, you will keep it local and bike across the US-fuckin'-A!

You will find your own way and make it an adventure.  You will bypass the tourist buses and forge into the wilderness.  You will relish the journey and enjoy the destination.  It doesn't take much money to have a trip/experience of a lifetime.  All it takes is a spirit of adventure and a willingness to go against the crowd.

This is true. I have a friend who took me across country and I always envied how he does it. Turns out he's a super Mustachian. He has a business selling tshirts at concerts, lives out of a mobile home, and spends his time criss crossing the country, sleeping in rest stops, walmarts and any place he could find to stay and save a dime. Dude only bought food at Walmart and never bought anything that he couldn't cook himself. Totally debt free and had some crazy credit card system for maximizing his cash back.

Joe would use things like the Mennonite Your Way Guide to find people to stay with that lived closed to national parks. And he's not a Mennonite!!

Joe's advice to me was one I've held onto for awhile. Most people travel like tourist and they can never afford to stay anywhere long.

AJ

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 11:26:12 AM »
Its easy to extol the virtues of experiences like hiking and biking and spending time with loved ones. But the OP mentions that he enjoys the experience of getting his hair cut at a barber shop (as opposed to, I presume, getting it cut at a salon or cutting it himself.) Is that in the same category? I feel the same way about eating at a nice restaurant vs. a dive or cooking for myself. Perhaps some ladies enjoy the experience of buying their clothes at an upscale boutique vs. thrifting or visiting outlet stores. I have a hard time conceding that paying for those "experiences" is mustachian. Perhaps they could be classified as a guilty pleasure?

arebelspy

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 11:38:17 AM »
To me, the most elegant way I've heard it is:

Spend money on what truly makes you happy.
Cut ruthlessly everywhere else.
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velocistar237

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 12:49:06 PM »
Its easy to extol the virtues of experiences like hiking and biking and spending time with loved ones. But the OP mentions that he enjoys the experience of getting his hair cut at a barber shop (as opposed to, I presume, getting it cut at a salon or cutting it himself.) Is that in the same category? I feel the same way about eating at a nice restaurant vs. a dive or cooking for myself. Perhaps some ladies enjoy the experience of buying their clothes at an upscale boutique vs. thrifting or visiting outlet stores. I have a hard time conceding that paying for those "experiences" is mustachian. Perhaps they could be classified as a guilty pleasure?

It's simple to estimate how long these things will delay your retirement. If that's a trade-off you want to make, then go ahead, and who cares what we think. MMM splurged on a house, and haircuts are so much smaller than that. The big picture determines whether it's Mustachian or not.

masont

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 01:02:03 PM »
To me, the most elegant way I've heard it is:

Spend money on what truly makes you happy.
Cut ruthlessly everywhere else.

Genius

AJ

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 01:34:15 PM »
Its easy to extol the virtues of experiences like hiking and biking and spending time with loved ones. But the OP mentions that he enjoys the experience of getting his hair cut at a barber shop (as opposed to, I presume, getting it cut at a salon or cutting it himself.) Is that in the same category? I feel the same way about eating at a nice restaurant vs. a dive or cooking for myself. Perhaps some ladies enjoy the experience of buying their clothes at an upscale boutique vs. thrifting or visiting outlet stores. I have a hard time conceding that paying for those "experiences" is mustachian. Perhaps they could be classified as a guilty pleasure?

It's simple to estimate how long these things will delay your retirement. If that's a trade-off you want to make, then go ahead, and who cares what we think. MMM splurged on a house, and haircuts are so much smaller than that. The big picture determines whether it's Mustachian or not.

I agree ;)

The post title asked whether it was mustachian, I just thought we should explore that, since it is what the OP actually asked.

Mrs MM

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 01:53:35 PM »
To me, the most elegant way I've heard it is:

Spend money on what truly makes you happy.
Cut ruthlessly everywhere else.

Genius

True - as long as you truly know what makes you happy. 

I know women that get manicures, pedicures, $100 haircuts on a regular basis and they say they couldn't go without.  Can this really be?  These same families have debt and constantly complain about money, but they tell me in the same breath that they signed up for this great new yoga class.  I think they would benefit a lot by cutting out all the excess for a year and see how it goes.  When something that is actually a habit is tied to your happiness, then it's hard to tackle it and to see it for what it really is.  Same goes for simple things like having a daily glass of wine.  Why not have it weekly and enjoy it more?

As far as the haircut goes, I think you have to pay for things sometimes that truly make you happy, but only after having tried another way.  For example, I get my haircut at a salon once a year.  To do it every month would seem ridiculous to me and I might not enjoy the experience as much.  I have also had MMM cut my hair and realize it works fine as long as my hair is still long, but I prefer to get a more stylish or shorter cut every once in a while.  But, I make it a birthday gift to myself and it feels like a huge treat.

When you do things in moderation (and you know the alternative or how it feels to go without), then you can truly enjoy them.  I guess it goes along with "hedonic adaptation" and what becomes the new "normal".

Having said all that, I personally would not splurge on anything (haircuts, restaurants, coffee, whatever it might be) if I had any credit card debt or any other type of high interest debt.  Pay that stuff off first and then enjoy your small splurges when you can afford them.

A lot of this depends on your personal financial situation and what your goals are...

Mrs MM

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2012, 01:58:11 PM »
Getting back to Mike's original post, he seems to have answered his own question.  For him, the barbershop is totally worthwhile (what a wonderful memory and feeling that must be!) and he knows that he can give up some stuff now for benefit later.  There's still plenty to enjoy in life when you focus on the small meaningful every day moments.  I guess I just feel like people should explore other options and go without for a while as they might learn something new.

Dave

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2012, 03:50:33 PM »
What is mustachian is being concious of the choices you make. Driving to work instead of biking, eating out instead of cooking, going to the barbers vs DIY clippers - all ways of spending money you could otherwise save, in exchange for something (convenience, taste, experience, comfort, whatever) you want to experience.

So, I wouldn't say it's inherently antimustachian to go to the barber (in fact, Mrs MMM's hair strategy is right on the mark as far as I'm concerned) although I think it's potentially antimustachian for sure.

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 04:30:56 PM »
Perhaps one could offer a friend a ride to the barber the next time the friend needs a haircut?

Then you get the experience of hanging out with the guys at the barber shop without paying $20 plus tip for something you can do at home, while having a legitimate reason to be there.  The dollar or two of gas is basically a gift to the friend, who would otherwise have driven himself there.

James

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Re: Is it Anti-Mustachian to spend money on experiences vs things?
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2012, 07:14:11 PM »
I love getting my hair cut at the barber, so I can totally sympathize.  I have no high interest debt, but it still hurts every time I pay the barber that $15 ($13 plus $2 tip because it's a small local barber and I want her to stay in business).  Since my wife refuses to cut my hair, I might make that one area that is simply being worth it to me despite the cost.

I also pay good money to have experiences, such as paying a guide to help a friend and I climb the Grand Teton last summer.  I have to say it wasn't a very Mustachian trip for a few reasons, many of which I can change.  I might make choices in the future that make me more strictly Mustachian, or I might consciously vary from the standard MMM is setting, I just haven't worked that out yet since I have much bigger areas that are taking a blow torch to my mustache right now.