Author Topic: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)  (Read 27573 times)

tooqk4u22

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MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« on: May 29, 2012, 02:44:27 PM »
I looked over MMM spending the last two years and I am amazed at how low it is.  I have been trying to figure out how to even come close or where the real issues are.

Property Taxes are off the charts for me even though he lives in a bigger house that is worth more - I know the only way to solve this is to move to CO. 

Utilities are 3x what mine are - I guess A/C is not needed in CO but heat has to be. WTF?

Food is higher much of do to three kids, I clearly drink more, and we tend to have several family gatherings throughout the year.

Insurance - MMM auto/home is less than just my home insurance. WTF?

MMM is kind of cheating on the cell, internet, and health care - all of those if not employer subsidized would increase costs a bit - they are in my budget (HC would go up a quite a bit if I stopped working). 

I also budget $300/mo for home R&M and $50/mo for auto R&M - the roof may not go tomorrow but it could in 10 years.

There's obviously more but I am driving myself nuts trying to figure it out and push mine down. 

Anybody else look at MMM spending and compare it to theirs. 

AJ

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 03:26:13 PM »
Utilities are 3x what mine are - I guess A/C is not needed in CO but heat has to be. WTF?

Do you have electric heating/water heater/cooking? MMM has gas for these and it is way more efficient. Also, I think he has sort of optimized his place for passive solar. IDK about CO, but here in Oregon A/C is only really needed about two weeks a year, so sometimes we can just sweat it out.

Insurance - MMM auto/home is less than just my home insurance. WTF?

Sounds like you have a more expensive house? Or, one more prone to floods/fires/theft? Or, maybe you need to shop around or raise the deductable?

MMM is kind of cheating on the cell, internet, and health care - all of those if not employer subsidized would increase costs a bit - they are in my budget (HC would go up a quite a bit if I stopped working).   

I agree, a more accurate version would include the cost of these. When we draw up our budget, we include $500 a month for healthcare ($250 for premiums on a catastrophic plan, $250 to deposit into the HSA for regular items and just-in-case events) even though we get insurance through DH's employer for now. We budget $20 a month for cells because if DH's wasn't employer-paid we would both have cheap pay-as-you-go plans with VOIP at home.

But other than that, everything on MMM's budget looks really reasonable to me. Some of his items are higher than mine, and others are lower, but it all seems within the range of doability. Maybe you live in a higher cost area?

atelierk

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 03:46:58 PM »
Right now, I'm living on just under $24,000 (after taxes) per year but that's just me compared to 3 in the MMM household. I continue to find ways to shave my expenses, but I'm not sure I'll be able to go much below $23,000. Every situation is different, of course; where MMM has a small child, I have an elderly dog that right now is ringing up some fairly frequent vet bills. My property taxes are $2566/year even though I live in a much smaller house than MMM (but I do have almost 2 acres of land). My health insurance is $341/month. Homeowner's insurance is $383/year. Car costs are $137/month which includes insurance @ $587/year. Gas & electric average $134/month. Food costs are $384/month for organic, pastured, local (I feel very strongly about not supporting the industrial food system) and some (okay, a few too many) meals out.

I think the most important thing is to track your spending, if you're not doing it already. Don't shoot for a specific goal; just write down every penny you spend as outlined in Your Money or Your Life. Tracking keeps you hyper-aware of where it all goes; my guess is you have lots of little leaks which are really adding up. I found that, over time, I would question a lot of potential purchases and wants very closely because I knew I'd have to write them down and very often I ended up not buying. My spending decreased considerably, yet it was completely painless. Although I never really liked shopping, I found that tracking turned me into a bonafide anti-consumption frugalista. It's easy not to spend money now.

kolorado

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 07:53:20 AM »

Property Taxes are off the charts for me even though he lives in a bigger house that is worth more - I know the only way to solve this is to move to CO.
Not necessarily. You can live cheaply almost anywhere. My family of 5 moved from NJ to CO last month. We spent less than MMM in NJ when we owned and we'll be spending less than MMM in CO as we rent. It's not a contest though. His budget is posted to see what can be done when you've become well trained in a frugal and simplistic lifestyle. Learn and strive to do better, challenge yourself! The point is that there are cheaper options in almost every area if you are actively looking to reduce your expenses.
In NJ, the land of the ridiculous taxes and insane utilities, we paid $2600 a year in taxes on an 800 square foot rancher(no garage, no basement, no attic, no frills at all). Our neighbors with 1800 square feet paid over $5K a year. Why do you think we chose to manage with less space?
Electric in NJ was $.20 a KWH. It's $.10 here in CO which is awesome. :D Even so, our rental does not have AC so we'll see how that goes. In NJ we choose to have a window AC unit instead of installing central so that we would be extremely mindful of the cost involved it its use.
No matter where you are, you have choices!

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Utilities are 3x what mine are - I guess A/C is not needed in CO but heat has to be. WTF?
Yours are 3X less or more?

Quote
Food is higher much of do to three kids, I clearly drink more, and we tend to have several family gatherings throughout the year.
I spend less than $300 a month on food for my family of 5. It's not that hard. We have lots of extras too. However, alcohol comes out of our personal spending allowances. Hubby and I get $50 a month each to spend on toys, entertainment , going out and alcohol. Alcohol is not a food, it's optional and fun so it comes out of allowance and does not belong in the food budget.
We entertain too. We've had 4 dinner parties over the last month. What's great about dinner parties though is that even though it costs me $15-20 for all the food, the guests usually bring that or more in appetizers, dessert and alcohol. Win-win!

Quote
Insurance - MMM auto/home is less than just my home insurance. WTF?
Shop around and often! I save 10-20% every time I call around and switch.

Quote
MMM is kind of cheating on the cell, internet, and health care - all of those if not employer subsidized would increase costs a bit - they are in my budget (HC would go up a quite a bit if I stopped working). 

I hear some complainypants-ism here. It's not "cheating" to find a cheaper solution for your family. Expense write-offs vary by career and situation. You can choose to alter your situation or career for more write-offs. Otherwise just do what you can in your current situation to lower your expenses as much as is possible.
His budget should be inspirational as you actively search and work to lower your own budget.
Post your budget/spending and we can help you find ways to lower your expenses.

Bullseye

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 08:03:50 AM »
We're also way off, our 'happy spending level' is $40k, with wife and two hungry boys.  I figure part of that difference is climate, and that I'm in Canada, where everything costs more.  Here's our annual budget, with no mortgage;

$9,600 Groceries and household goods (incl paper products, hygiene, cat stuff, etc)
$4,800 Fitness for 4 - jiu jitsu for 3, pilates, swimming, skating, rock climbing, gym, frisbee, hockey
$3,500 Utilities - Gas, Electric, Water, Internet, Phone
$3,300 Property tax (house value $450k, 1700 sq ft)
$3,000 Vacations (cottage rental, camping trips, couple cheap weekend getaways)
$2,400 Vehicle replacement/depreciation
$1,700 Insurance - Home, auto, life
$3,000 Gas (costs way more in Canada)
$2,000 Home repair/renos
$1,200 Meals out
$1,200 Beer and wine (we entertain a lot)
$500 Donations
$500 Annual prof dues
$5,000 Misc - gifts, parties, garden, clothes, vet, misc household
---------
$41,700 Total

I could definitely cut a few thousand out of this, but I feel it would impact our quality of life too much.  When kids are gone, this would drop $6-8k per year, I figure.  If we moved to a smaller house, and biked even more than we already do, that would also save more.

tooqk4u22

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 11:39:34 AM »
Kolorado

800 sf house for family of five is impressive - don't think i will get there - I am in 1600 and that seems to be the right fit.  In NJ taxes range about 3% of values putting your house at around $90-100k.  Not really any areas in NJ with those prices that are near jobs - great if already FI but I am not there yet and don't want an hour+ commute. 

$300/mo for food is impressive as well - are your kids little/big. Can you describe your typical meals during the week.  I agree alcohol is not food and is optional, and can be cut out/down if needed (I think). Dinner parties are good and we do it how you describe but then this is when the alcohol budget gets blown out.   

My utilities are 3x higher based on what you say a good chunk of it may be due to lower rates in CO - between this and taxes I could make out going to CO.  My guess is insurance, especially auto, is a lot cheaper as well in CO than in NJ. 

Don't mean to complain about him cheating just saying that if they decide not to work those jobs then they will have to pay for it - I benefit from some of those same perks now but if I am FI and don't work then I need to pay if I want it so it is part of my FI budget.


smedleyb

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 05:56:06 PM »
It's all about perspective; I'd rather focus on the fact that I've cut my overall spending 20-25% over the past 18 months.  Reaching MMM levels of spending is not possible given my situation, but slashing another 10-15% over the next 12 months is more than doable and a goal my family is working hard to achieve. 

The key is to keep moving forward and not regress into a consumption rut. 


arebelspy

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 07:32:05 PM »
It's all about perspective; I'd rather focus on the fact that I've cut my overall spending 20-25% over the past 18 months.  Reaching MMM levels of spending is not possible given my situation, but slashing another 10-15% over the next 12 months is more than doable and a goal my family is working hard to achieve. 

The key is to keep moving forward and not regress into a consumption rut.

That's a great attitude.  Comparing to someone else is hard due to different circumstances (family size, location and cost of living there, paid off house vs mortgage or rent, medical issues, etc. etc.)

But setting goals to challenge and beat your past self is great!  Past me is so going down!
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kolorado

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 11:36:39 AM »
Kolorado
In NJ taxes range about 3% of values putting your house at around $90-100k.  Not really any areas in NJ with those prices that are near jobs - great if already FI but I am not there yet and don't want an hour+ commute. 
I don't blame you on the commute part. Don't know what your profession is but there are jobs. My dad's factory is always hiring. $20 an hour and up to operate glass making machines. My SIL works for Lockheed Martin. She just bought a lovely 3bdrm, $120K house in a nice Cape May Court House neighborhood this year. It was a foreclosure. She did all the painting, a friend installed hardwood floors and her dad and brother-in-law helped her renovate the bathroom. She put about $15K into it and it's really really nice! Her commute is 20 minutes. Many good deals to be had and there is work. It may not be in your preferred field though(like my DH and that's why we moved to CO). I can only speak for South Jersey. No idea what the jobs/real estate is like North of Hammonton.
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$300/mo for food is impressive as well - are your kids little/big. Can you describe your typical meals during the week. 
Sure. We have 9yo boy, 7yo girl and 20 month old girl. Their growing caloric needs are as much as mine. It's not unusual for my son to eat 8 pancakes in a sitting or 2 or 3 hot dogs or PBJ sandwiches. I'm a Flexitarian so I only have meat a couple times a week so that saves a bit of money.
I usually make something homemade for breakfast or we have a previously made baked good like banana bread or fruit pie or simply toast and fruit. Today was wheat pancakes, not from a mix, and scrambled eggs and coffee. Lunch will be Hebrew National hot dogs(only brand I buy), cucumbers/celery/carrots with ranch dressing, and leftover baked beans. Typical lunches are leftovers or sandwiches(natural pbj on wheat, home roasted chicken or turkey, egg salad, etc)with a fruit or veggie. Tonight's dinner will be baked ham, au gratin potatoes(not from a box)and steamed broccoli with a chocolate pudding pie for dessert(again, no box mixes).
I generally cook only 4 planned dinners a week like tonight's. The other nights we eat leftovers or something quick like salads, plain pasta and sauce, or burgers from the freezer. We have homemade pizza every Friday night. It's less than $2 to make a medium pizza with toppings. I make 4 and freeze whatever isn't eaten for quick lunches or snacks over the weekend. The real tricks are to buy "staple" ingredients and make as much from scratch as possible, stock up when the prices are low and don't waste food.
What I don't buy is another factor that gets our costs down. I don't buy juice, it's nutritionally useless unless you're making it at home from actual fruit and veggies. I don't let my kids drink endless quantities of milk. I do buy soda but we split only 2 cans on pizza night. I don't buy candy unless it's for a birthday. I won't buy Hamburger Helper type stuff, mixes of any kind, or canned soups(have they ever invented anything that is a bigger rip-off?), not even with a coupon. I don't buy snacky stuff outside of pretzels and rarely chips and crackers. When the snack bags come out everyone gets a small bowl and that's it. When I buy chips, they last 3 or 4 days even with the entire family eating them. I rarely buy cereal. We all prefer homemade goodies or eggs and toast over cold cereal. Processed foods aren't as filling as "real" foods. Once you really get off the hydrogenated oils and corn syrups you realize how much more satisfying less processed foods are. It sounds hokey I know but it's true! When you fill up faster and stay full longer you will spend less on food.
I'm not a big fan of their writing but I just borrowed "Cut your grocery bill in half" by Steve and Annette Economides from the library. They do almost everything I do so if you want more ideas than I have time to give, read it!


Mrs MM

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 11:39:44 AM »
I think it's nice to see how others are spending and then tailor it to your own situation.  As far as utilities go, MMM has an article on our electricity bill:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/10/ill-show-you-my-electricity-bill-if-you-show-me-yours/

Our average is 299 kWh per month.  It makes more sense to look at it this way.  An interesting point in that article is this:

"Another interesting note about my house last year I rented it out to some international friends who happened to be visiting the US for exactly one month while we were away on a long trip. The usage by the tenants for that month was 971 kWh, just a bit more than the national average. So there you have it usage is controlled by YOU, not your house or your location."

For our phone and internet, the amounts would be much lower than what we currently pay if these expenses were not covered by my job, since we would have very different phone plans.  We'd also have health insurance.  I will likely be leaving my job entirely very soon, so you will all get to find out what happens there.  :)

The key is really to shop around and look at your usage.  Can you lower your bills easily?  Can you find lower car insurance, etc...

For cars, we rarely drive, so our car costs are very low, even if gas prices are high.  The time we drive the most is when we take our annual trip to Canada.  I'm not really sure why our maintenance costs are so low on our cars, but it's probably because we don't drive much.  We've never had to make any major repairs to any vehicle.

Property taxes are what they are, so you can't do much about those.  It's really all the extra discretionary spending that you want to focus on.  Can you reduce food costs?  What is in your misc category? 

Honestly, with the exception of the fixed costs of property taxes, utilities, etc. most of our spending ends up being on frivolous things (crossfit, excessive trips, misc stuff).  I really feel like we are overdoing it most of the time... It would be interesting to compare costs from month to month.  I've been thinking of doing this via Mint, but wasn't sure if there would be interest.  I do think that living locally and not driving is the main thing that keeps our costs down.

gooki

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 04:26:47 PM »
And you know what it is ;)

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 05:13:38 PM »
In the book I was reading, Poor Economics, poor people living on 99 cents a day do the same thing.  When they get extra money, it goes to tasty pricier morsels instead of other food or needs.

gooki

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 07:20:22 PM »
What I am trying to figure out is how to spent less than $1000 a month and still eat all the fresh seafood, sushi, organics and still go out to eat on weekends.. maybe there is no such a thing..

To be honest I'm not any better - $700 a month for the three of us (and one of them isn't even two years old yet). I've accepted this is the amount I'm happy to spend on food. In that budget is a few luxuries - smoked salmon, free range chicken, eggs and bacon, eating out every second week. All of which could be substituted for cheaper alternatives. But it's a lifestyle cost I'm happy with.

tooqk4u22

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 10:02:44 AM »
All of this is great.  Thanks Mrs. MMM and Kolorado for the additional input.  I am heavier on food like others because I do enjoy grilling a steak once in a while or seafood, which are far more expensive, but also have a lot of vegetarian meals (by the way for the longest time I considered any meal without a meat/fish item to not be a meal - except maybe pasta then a few years ago my wife made a veggie chile-like meal and it was awsome).  Cereal (healthy varieties), breads, and milk are other drivers of higher food budget - I have made my own bread by hand but it is a lot of work and time for the return, i need to find one of those $10 bread machines like MMM.  We try not to eat to many processed foods but they still invade the house a bit.

I am working on reducing the energy (can't overcome that rates are double hear vs. CO) but have put in CFL bulbs and last week installed a whole house fan, which has been awesome so far and hoping it will reduce A/C needs although probably not by much in July/August but before it would also include May - September due to hot upstairs -  hopefully no more.


windawake

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 11:17:22 AM »
I think focusing on how far you've come is great.  Compared to some, my pre-MMM spending level was pretty low (just less than $20,000).  I was spending $1,660 a month, and cut that to $1,500, and for the last two months have been at $1,400.  It's encouraging to see your own personal improvement and I enjoy looking at monthly vs. yearly expenditures because change on a monthly scale makes it much easier to see improvement over time.

tooqk4u22

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2012, 12:19:40 PM »
For our phone and internet, the amounts would be much lower than what we currently pay if these expenses were not covered by my job, since we would have very different phone plans.  We'd also have health insurance.  I will likely be leaving my job entirely very soon, so you will all get to find out what happens there.  :)



Please do keep us posted on this front.

dancedancekj

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2012, 12:29:15 PM »
The point is.. I love food too much to give it up... I know that fresh sushi grade tuna steak is very expensive.. I can eat rice and beans and still get the good nutrition from it. But I am having a really hard time to eat uninspiring food in order to save money.

I understand your need for good food. I can tell a perceptible difference between different varieties of canned beans, and it ruins the food for me if I buy the wrong kind (ironically, Walmart has some of the tastiest canned beans I've found)
I'm trying to see if I can find some solutions for you here without sacrificing quality of the food here, let's take a look at your list.
- organic chicken & paper carton imagine free range chicken broth
Could you buy a whole organic rotisserie chicken? Strip the carcass of the meat, then slow-cook the bones for a good amount of home-made chicken broth. Alternative would be to get locally grown organic and free-range chickens in bulk and roast them yourself, saving even more $$$.
- sweet onion, corn, mushroom, green beans, mix green salad, tomato, garlic, organic celery,
Have you tried growing your own greens? Super easy, and can be done for pennies. You can also obtain some of the more gourmet stuff (sunflower shoots, pea shoots, ramps) for much cheaper than what you'd pay at the store
- ravioli, pre-made
Have you tried making your own? I prefer most of my home-made versions to the store bought stuff. I also get a lot of satisfaction out of acquiring skills such as making ravioli that kicks the storebought version's ass.

I would also say don't be afraid of branching out and trying different recipes with cheaper foods. Take canned sardines: I hated them, despite them being a bargain, until I found a couple excellent recipe ideas for them (To be specific: Grilled with teriyaki glaze over rice, curried sardine salad with walnuts, apples and raisins, ceviche style with avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapenos and drenched in lime juice) Then, they were tasty! I was able to drop my shopping bill for seafood by a ton, and it opened up a whole new range of recipe possibilities for me. I find www.thekitchn.com to be an invaluable resource for exploring as well as revisiting foods and recipes. Not all good food has to be expensive, I believe.

grantmeaname

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2012, 01:01:08 PM »
my savings rate is already at 40%+, I don't want to let go certain things that I find enjoyable, i.e. food and kids education.  These are the two items I am not willing to give up in order to save more money...
Likewise, I don't think spending more on your kids necessarily means they'll turn out any better. You can raise kids with every advantage in the world without sending them to an Ivy League preschool.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2012, 01:06:19 PM »
On the subject of beans, they freeze well, so just cook up 3-4 pounds and keep em on hand. No need for canned.

dancedancekj

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2012, 05:42:38 PM »
The point is.. I love food too much to give it up... I know that fresh sushi grade tuna steak is very expensive.. I can eat rice and beans and still get the good nutrition from it. But I am having a really hard time to eat uninspiring food in order to save money.

I understand your need for good food. I can tell a perceptible difference between different varieties of canned beans, and it ruins the food for me if I buy the wrong kind (ironically, Walmart has some of the tastiest canned beans I've found)
I'm trying to see if I can find some solutions for you here without sacrificing quality of the food here, let's take a look at your list.
- organic chicken & paper carton imagine free range chicken broth
Could you buy a whole organic rotisserie chicken? Strip the carcass of the meat, then slow-cook the bones for a good amount of home-made chicken broth. Alternative would be to get locally grown organic and free-range chickens in bulk and roast them yourself, saving even more $$$.
- sweet onion, corn, mushroom, green beans, mix green salad, tomato, garlic, organic celery,
Have you tried growing your own greens? Super easy, and can be done for pennies. You can also obtain some of the more gourmet stuff (sunflower shoots, pea shoots, ramps) for much cheaper than what you'd pay at the store
- ravioli, pre-made
Have you tried making your own? I prefer most of my home-made versions to the store bought stuff. I also get a lot of satisfaction out of acquiring skills such as making ravioli that kicks the storebought version's ass.

I would also say don't be afraid of branching out and trying different recipes with cheaper foods. Take canned sardines: I hated them, despite them being a bargain, until I found a couple excellent recipe ideas for them (To be specific: Grilled with teriyaki glaze over rice, curried sardine salad with walnuts, apples and raisins, ceviche style with avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapenos and drenched in lime juice) Then, they were tasty! I was able to drop my shopping bill for seafood by a ton, and it opened up a whole new range of recipe possibilities for me. I find www.thekitchn.com to be an invaluable resource for exploring as well as revisiting foods and recipes. Not all good food has to be expensive, I believe.

I appreciate the suggestions. But I have very little free time on hand. I do too much other stuff like 40 hours full time work, volunteer, church work, playing with kids, rock climbing training, 14er training, video gaming competing for leaderboard. Spending large amount of time in kitchen or growing food is not my interest nor have the time to attend them. I would rather spend a weekend in the mountains with my family than attending a garden.. Just different preferences... So I use money to buy time.. I guess.

I understand that. Mustachianism is all about making priorities for the things that are important to you. I don't know if there is much other way of cutting your food costs unless you can discover lower prices for your food somewhere.

sol

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2012, 09:37:36 PM »
I don't know if there is much other way of cutting your food costs unless you can discover lower prices for your food somewhere.

I can't believe this board is going to let that statement stand when applied to someone who voluntarily shops at Whole Foods.

dancedancekj

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2012, 10:00:41 PM »
I don't know if there is much other way of cutting your food costs unless you can discover lower prices for your food somewhere.

I can't believe this board is going to let that statement stand when applied to someone who voluntarily shops at Whole Foods.

Sorry, I'm not very good at doing punches to the face :/

windawake

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2012, 10:16:31 PM »
There is a fundamental tension between eating ethically and eating frugally.  If you don't have the same food ethics of someone, it is easy to suggest that they stop shopping at Whole Foods.  However, I find shopping at the co-op to be the #1 ethical priority in my life (besides maybe biking and very little car use), so I understand not wanting to shop elsewhere. 

I can feed myself from the co-op and farmer's market for $150-$200 a month but only by buying in bulk and cooking a lot, so if you don't have time to do that and really value shopping at Whole Foods, then your prices will likely not decrease.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2012, 10:26:22 PM »
It's not just the Whole Foods that irks me.  It's the BMW weekend car in addition the regular cars, and the materialism and vacations and the conspicuous consumption and everything else.  The more Kitty posts here, the more confused I get about why she's even on this forum.

Hey Kitty, if you have super high expenses and are happy with them, then feel free to live large.  This site has nothing to offer you.  Every time someone here suggests that you might reduce your expenses, you seem to respond with "but I LIKE spending all this money!" which is fine, but perhaps misplaced among the Mustachians.

So I use money to buy time.. I guess.

LOL. My husband has a BMW 328xi wagon. It's not even his primary car. It's his weekend toy car

I don't want to let go certain things that I find enjoyable, i.e. food and kids education.

The problem is.. I love food too much...I am getting so picky.. sometimes it has to be a specific brand..

I go to wholefoods for convenience about twice a week to pick up something that is missing

My parents paid off all my private college education..

The wedding itself cost $7500 in Hawaii...
But flying everybody over there and housing everybody plus a week long vacation for all my family and some close friends cost us $35000.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 10:35:15 PM by sol »

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2012, 07:47:44 AM »
And yet again, I have to jump in. Spending more money on food does not make the food more ethical. Whole Foods is not the only place to shop ethically for food. I would argue it's not even necessarily more ethical than what you'd get at your regular chain grocery. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are really more about greenwashing and convincing buyers to purchase exotic, expensive choices than actual ecologically sound enterprise. The FDA organic and free-range labels are more or less jokes anyways, and they're being applied on a colossal scale to things barely better than their conventional counterparts as a way to justify obscene markup. You can buy more ethical food, but I wouldn't blindly assume that things are more ethical because they're from WF/TJ. You want ethical? Try a farmers' market, a raw milk cooperative, growing your own, or joining a CSA. You want to feel ethical and you want to pay out the ass for it? Shop away at Whole Foods.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2012, 07:59:51 AM »
It's not just the Whole Foods that irks me.  It's the BMW weekend car in addition the regular cars, and the materialism and vacations and the conspicuous consumption and everything else.  The more Kitty posts here, the more confused I get about why she's even on this forum.

Hey Kitty, if you have super high expenses and are happy with them, then feel free to live large.  This site has nothing to offer you.  Every time someone here suggests that you might reduce your expenses, you seem to respond with "but I LIKE spending all this money!" which is fine, but perhaps misplaced among the Mustachians.

So I use money to buy time.. I guess.

LOL. My husband has a BMW 328xi wagon. It's not even his primary car. It's his weekend toy car

I don't want to let go certain things that I find enjoyable, i.e. food and kids education.

The problem is.. I love food too much...I am getting so picky.. sometimes it has to be a specific brand..

I go to wholefoods for convenience about twice a week to pick up something that is missing

My parents paid off all my private college education..

The wedding itself cost $7500 in Hawaii...
But flying everybody over there and housing everybody plus a week long vacation for all my family and some close friends cost us $35000.
Is it too early for Scotch b/c now I need a drink. Good god, these comments sound like excerpts from the "Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy" thread.

Sol, thanks for the cold splash of water in our forum's collective face.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2012, 08:01:56 AM »
The more Kitty posts here, the more confused I get about why she's even on this forum.

I felt that way for the first post or two, but I quickly realized it was an epeen thing, along with some mild trolling (though she hasn't realized it's hard to get a rise out of people here), and quickly tuned most of her posts out.  I figured most others had made a similar observation, as they weren't jumping on her for her ridiculousness.
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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2012, 08:12:45 AM »
I felt that way for the first post or two, but I quickly realized it was an epeen thing, along with some mild trolling (though she hasn't realized it's hard to get a rise out of people here), and quickly tuned most of her posts out.  I figured most others had made a similar observation, as they weren't jumping on her for her ridiculousness.
Vv good points, arebelspy, I will follow your lead. And thanks for the link, I had zero idea what "epeen" meant :-D

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2012, 10:08:07 AM »
Vv good points, arebelspy, I will follow your lead. And thanks for the link, I had zero idea what "epeen" meant :-D

I hadn't heard it before either....although it's a pretty sexist term dontcha think?

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2012, 10:58:58 AM »
I don't think so. The whole point of the term is that it's mocking the person showing off. The analogy is that the person showing off on the forum is tantamount to guys arguing about who has the bigger dick and is therefore more manly, which is of course a totally ridiculous thing to do. What about it is sexist?

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2012, 11:15:44 AM »
I don't think so. The whole point of the term is that it's mocking the person showing off. The analogy is that the person showing off on the forum is tantamount to guys arguing about who has the bigger dick and is therefore more manly, which is of course a totally ridiculous thing to do. What about it is sexist?

Hmmm your analysis makes sense, I guess I'm being overly sensitive today! In general I don't like descriptors (positive or negative!) that are gendered as they lead so easily to sexist stereotypes. If I were to make a case my argument would be as follows: even though you're right that it would be silly to say the person with a bigger penis is more manly, the fact that being 'manly' is generally considered a positive thing, however you measure it, places a gender constraint on the whole issue and keeps the womyns down!!! Yes, I realize my argument here is a stretch but that's why my gut reaction is to view body part analogies as sexist. :-)

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2012, 11:25:06 AM »

Yes, I realize my argument here is a stretch but that's why my gut reaction is to view body part analogies as sexist. :-)

This would seem analogous people arguing over who's more hysterical because they have the bigger uterus.  Yes it's sexist, but only because it demeans the gender in possession of the body part being referenced.

If Kitty's purpose here is to brag about her consumption, then she will probably be disappointed when she figures out that it is not causing the kind of envy she's hoping for with this crowd.

For our next act, sol will sign on to the bodybuilding.com forums and brag about how skinny he is.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2012, 11:31:36 AM »
There is a fundamental tension between eating ethically and eating frugally.  If you don't have the same food ethics of someone, it is easy to suggest that they stop shopping at Whole Foods.  However, I find shopping at the co-op to be the #1 ethical priority in my life (besides maybe biking and very little car use), so I understand not wanting to shop elsewhere. 

I can feed myself from the co-op and farmer's market for $150-$200 a month but only by buying in bulk and cooking a lot, so if you don't have time to do that and really value shopping at Whole Foods, then your prices will likely not decrease.
I shop at Whole Foods on occasion (but not often, it's not at a convenient location).  But you can buy quality foods there for not much money.  I find that they have good sales on ethical meats.  Their bulk bins for rice, beans, etc. are the best prices in town (better than the co-op).

However, if you get sucked into the pre-made foods, hot and cold bar, pizza, sandwiches, etc...yeah, your bill will be $50 when you went in to get onions and black beans.  Not that it's ever happened to me. ;-)

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2012, 07:12:36 AM »
I shop at Whole Foods on occasion (but not often, it's not at a convenient location).  But you can buy quality foods there for not much money.  I find that they have good sales on ethical meats.  Their bulk bins for rice, beans, etc. are the best prices in town (better than the co-op).

This is my experience as well. A lot of local grocery stores (at least where I live) are just not that good. The produce isn't fresh, so you either can't buy as much produce as you'd like or it goes bad before you can use it (and when you count this wasted money, it's ends up as expensive as Whole Foods anyway). So I shop at Whole Foods and one local grocery store that I really like. There are a few things that are actually cheaper at Whole Foods. And there are some things you just can't find anywhere else.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2012, 02:01:19 PM »
The more Kitty posts here, the more confused I get about why she's even on this forum.

I felt that way for the first post or two, but I quickly realized it was an epeen thing, along with some mild trolling (though she hasn't realized it's hard to get a rise out of people here), and quickly tuned most of her posts out.  I figured most others had made a similar observation, as they weren't jumping on her for her ridiculousness.

That's not a fair attack.. Our income is different. We spend half what we make on W2 and not a single dime on our investments.. I could have bought a boat, a  million+ dollar house, and get all kinds of stuff that matches my income and assets, but I don't.
At mid 30's, I have accumulated millions of networth. Yet, I don't ever live beyond my means.. Living way below my means got me here. I am an immigrant started with ZERO dollar.. I got where I am by working hard, going to top 10 schools and don't spend what I make. And I took risk and studied math and invested. I think we are the same at the core.. The concept is the same. The different is .. I have a much larger income from both W2 and investments.

I don't know why ppl quoted my wedding cost. $7500 is much less than American average...especially I could have paid an American average wedding with cash, but  I spent $35000 to fly everyone out and gave them a vacation, that's because I am willing to give to others. I didn't spend that money on me.. I gave everyone I cared about a Hawaii vacation. And yet, I am being attacked.. People here are not quite friendly.. It's hurtful to think that I am a bad person by giving to family and friends..



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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2012, 02:16:41 PM »
Nobody's saying you're a bad person. What people are saying is that it seems like you trot out the incredible amounts of money you spend on things (like a $43k wedding) as if you're trying to impress us, and it's both counterproductive to mustachian discussions and totally unimpressive to this audience.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2012, 03:32:30 PM »
Nobody's saying you're a bad person. What people are saying is that it seems like you trot out the incredible amounts of money you spend on things (like a $43k wedding) as if you're trying to impress us, and it's both counterproductive to mustachian discussions and totally unimpressive to this audience.

Problem is you read it wrong. i didn't spend $43K on my wedding. I spent $7500. Why is it so hard to understand that?
I donated $35K as gift to people I care. Giving has to be a way of living. Giving gives you happiness. Yes, be impressed that I am willing to give. But NO, I will never ever never ever spent 5 figures on a stupid wedding.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2012, 05:23:10 PM »
I certainly don't think you're a bad person, at all.

Just the stuff MacGyver quoted (which was but a sampling of your posts) often comes off as boasting on things that don't impress us much, thus why I said I tuned a lot of it out.  Nothing to do with you personally.

And no offense or attack was intended.  Your posts are just... not for me.  But by all means, keep posting.  Someone may be enjoying them or getting something out of them!
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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2012, 11:36:20 PM »
It's not just the Whole Foods that irks me.  It's the BMW weekend car in addition the regular cars, and the materialism and vacations and the conspicuous consumption and everything else.  The more Kitty posts here, the more confused I get about why she's even on this forum.

Hey Kitty, if you have super high expenses and are happy with them, then feel free to live large.  This site has nothing to offer you.  Every time someone here suggests that you might reduce your expenses, you seem to respond with "but I LIKE spending all this money!" which is fine, but perhaps misplaced among the Mustachians.

So I use money to buy time.. I guess.
If you think money is more important than time, you got it all wrong.
LOL. My husband has a BMW 328xi wagon. It's not even his primary car. It's his weekend toy car
I am responding to a person's BMW post. Took it out of context, it looks awful. My husband isn't on the same page with me and I a struggling how to fight ths battle with him.
I don't want to let go certain things that I find enjoyable, i.e. food and kids education.
kids education is foremost more important than me. I am willing to give everything for them. Yes, I enjoy food, but I know I need to work on this food addiction issue.
The problem is.. I love food too much...I am getting so picky.. sometimes it has to be a specific brand..

I go to wholefoods for convenience about twice a week to pick up something that is missing

My parents paid off all my private college education..
Again took out context. I am trying to explain my college professor parents took dish washer jobs to support me, so I will do the same for my kids. In my culture, education is everything.

The wedding itself cost $7500 in Hawaii...
But flying everybody over there and housing everybody plus a week long vacation for all my family and some close friends cost us $35000.
I believe American average wedding cost $27000. I spent $7500 and shared some money with ppl in my life. What's wrong with giving?
Is it too early for Scotch b/c now I need a drink. Good god, these comments sound like excerpts from the "Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy" thread.

Sol, thanks for the cold splash of water in our forum's collective face.


You took everything out of context and attacked me, it is not fair. I just posted all of my financial numbers. Please take a look, I don't think I am the clown you think I am.

But I am certainly getting the message that this place does not welcome my comments. I got it. ok?

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2012, 08:04:07 AM »
Kitty--
In my view, I wouldn't say your comments aren't welcome here.  Personally, I'm all for someone with a high net worth engaging with questions of needs/wants when they don't "have" to.  That said, a common thread in this site is that you examine all choices rationally and punch yourself in the face for your moments of blindness, greed, irrationality, laziness... Part of the "social contract" of engaging in the community is making yourself open to that.

Whereas some financial groups may give you the go ahead that if you can afford it it's okay to have your wants...and they will praise you for how your hard work led to your riches etc., that's not really the focus here. It's more to help you aggressively examine the consequences of your decisions etc. not just for your bottom-line but just for the sake of not being wasteful, of clearing the clutter of contemporary life, of improving the world.  Stopping off at WFM twice a week for missing things is clutter--not because it's WFM but that's way too much shopping/driving (unless you're walking/biking and it's part of your exercise). Spending 35K to fly friends/family to Hawaii may be interpreted as "generous," but it could also be seen as detrimental to the environment, money you spent that you could have used to have spent more time now with your children, or to the generous causes you want to fund (e.g., the philanthropy goals you mention in your journal).  I think the thing to realize is that having a lot of money doesn't get you off the hook for the wisdom of any of your decisions in this community.  And you're always free to argue about anything you disagree with, but the forum's purpose is to help you really engage with even your blind spots.

IMO what I liked least about Sol's post was that it was partially framed in the third person--"complaining about Kitty" and then the way the group responded was as at times if you weren't here.   You've clearly participated enough and in varied ways to not get that kind of "troll" treatment.  That struck me as socially "off" and not in line of the spirit of the forum which is more directly confrontational.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 09:28:42 AM by twinge »

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2012, 09:30:04 AM »
Well said, twinge, and thanks sol for addressing it head on as well.  I'd rather not make someone feel like they can't comment, but I'm glad someone is willing to administer the punches in the face that are sometimes needed.

Great post twinge.
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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2012, 11:43:16 AM »
Well said, twinge, and thanks sol for addressing it head on as well.  I'd rather not make someone feel like they can't comment, but I'm glad someone is willing to administer the punches in the face that are sometimes needed.

Great post twinge.

LOL, I take it that you enjoyed punching my face right on right? It's bruised and bleed all over right now.. LOL
Anyway, side of joking, point taken. I will be more mindful when maneuvering around here. Like I said in the last post. I am looking for the same thing here like everyone else, that is how to live minimal but meaningful. My asset size or income level is irrelevant. I have bad habits that I am struggling to kick off and I do need seasoned folks to point me to the right direction..

So like I said, point taken and i will be extra careful if you guys don't mind me posting.. There are lot of smart folks here and I like it here.. 

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2012, 12:00:55 PM »
There is a fundamental tension between eating ethically and eating frugally.  If you don't have the same food ethics of someone, it is easy to suggest that they stop shopping at Whole Foods.  However, I find shopping at the co-op to be the #1 ethical priority in my life (besides maybe biking and very little car use), so I understand not wanting to shop elsewhere. 

I can feed myself from the co-op and farmer's market for $150-$200 a month but only by buying in bulk and cooking a lot, so if you don't have time to do that and really value shopping at Whole Foods, then your prices will likely not decrease.
I shop at Whole Foods on occasion (but not often, it's not at a convenient location).  But you can buy quality foods there for not much money.  I find that they have good sales on ethical meats.  Their bulk bins for rice, beans, etc. are the best prices in town (better than the co-op).

However, if you get sucked into the pre-made foods, hot and cold bar, pizza, sandwiches, etc...yeah, your bill will be $50 when you went in to get onions and black beans.  Not that it's ever happened to me. ;-)

What is ethical meat?  LOL


I have no ethical issues eating meet, if you want to eat it, eat it, but don't convince yourself that one meat is ethical and one is not.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2012, 12:09:01 PM »

What is ethical meat?  LOL

I have no ethical issues eating meet, if you want to eat it, eat it, but don't convince yourself that one meat is ethical and one is not.

I once saw a billboard on the highway that had one piglet and one puppy. The text read "Why love one but eat another?"
Very interesting, but didn't give me the guilt when I made myself a chicken taco...

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2012, 12:22:36 PM »
What is ethical meat?  LOL


I have no ethical issues eating meet, if you want to eat it, eat it, but don't convince yourself that one meat is ethical and one is not.

Yes, because the world only exists in black and white. Things are either right or wrong with no gray areas whatsoever, no good-better-best.

Either you have no idea how commercial meat is produced, or you have a very one-dimensional view of ethics.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2012, 12:23:43 PM »
What is ethical meat?  LOL

We don't need to get into an animal-rights discussion here. But we can at least acknowledge that some animals raised for meat are treated well during their lives and during their slaughter, and some are treated very poorly. Call it an ethical difference, a moral difference, or whatever. Some people don't want to think too much about the difference, let alone put a name to it. So be it. But don't LOL at the attempts of others to engage with this issue.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2012, 12:35:07 PM »
No it is not black and white, and that is why i question the term ethical meat.  It is indeed balck and white when you only consider the life of the animal.

Is it ethical to the animals?  To the water quality of our streams and our environment? To the world food crisis?

I LOL at people convincing themselves that by shopping at whole foods they can get ethical meat.  The term itself is a bit of an oxymoron IMO, and I will LOL at what I feel like LOLing at.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2012, 01:19:55 PM »
It's fine if you find it oxymoronic, but if the most productive thing you have to say is "LOL", you're not convincing anyone and you're making more than a bit of an ass out of yourself.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #48 on: June 08, 2012, 01:21:01 PM »
Dodging my above questions is very productive however.

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Re: MMM Budget (I can't get anywhere close)
« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2012, 01:25:51 PM »
No it is not black and white, and that is why i question the term ethical meat.  It is indeed balck and white when you only consider the life of the animal.

Is it ethical to the animals?  To the water quality of our streams and our environment? To the world food crisis?

Ah, yes. The old "this issue is so complex that the right answers are essentially unknowable and thus the whole notion of ethical living is an exercise in self-deception" argument. It's a little easy, is it not?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 01:27:56 PM by planteater »