Author Topic: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends  (Read 3979 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« on: April 27, 2013, 01:56:38 PM »
Hi folks,

I'm a 32-year old married guy with two kids under 5yrs old.  I live in an gut-wrenchingly overpriced and wasteful suburb of Philly called the Main Line (yech).  My wife and I both work and make ~$120k/year and are debt-free. 

In a former life (in Cambridge, MA), I biked year-round, we both walked or biked to work, and were much more frugal.  By choice.  Because we liked it that way.  Two years ago, we moved to the Main Line, both of us embarking on much more intense careers, and have regretfully assimilated with the local, hightly anti-mustacian, lifestyle (driving kids to school 1.5 miles away, eating out, buying frivolities on amazon, long commute to work for one of us, you name it).  We tend to justify our expenditures as "necessary" (daycare) or "time-saving" (eating out).  Prior to making a purchase, we rarely ask ourselves "do we really *need* this?"  We just buy it.

That said, we are both harbor an inner-mustache, and are in agreement about the need to change our lifestyle.  This summer a job relocation will take us to another ridiculously affluent suburb (this time a western suburb of Boston), and we want to use this opportunity to enact a major lifestyle change -- to become more mustacian.

My main concern is finding a community of mustachians (or at least of like-minded folks).  I know that if your lifestyle differs from others it can be isolating.  As an example, my wife and I were (very) late adopters of cell phones.  I still have a "dumb" flip-phone.  She recently upgraded to an android device (I loved the article on the $10 cell phone plan by the way).  The main reason that we ended up getting phones in the first place was not because we needed them to communicate "out" to the world or to each other, but because without cell phones, people were not communicating "in" to us.  In the age of cell phones, gone are the days of making plans.  Everything was done "on the fly" and we didn't have the tool (cell phone) to partcipate.

So I'd like advice on building a mustacian-tolerant community in a highly non-mustacian environment.  I'd love to hear from recent converts and experienced mustacians about difficulties you faced on the social front when transitioning to the mustacian lifestyle.  Did you have conflicts with friends? ("want to grab a beer?"  "let's meet up for dinner" etc.)  How about parents/siblings ("can you come down for the weekend")? 

I'd especially like to hear from folks who are living a mustacian lifestyle (of any degree) in a particularly non-mustacian location.

While I look forward to spending time with mustacians, I want to be able to maintain friendships with consumer-mucus laden folks as well!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 05:06:40 PM »
This is a perfect time to take the initiative with your friendships, I do this all the time to keep control of our finances while maintaining the best friendships in my life.

You mentioned in your post how friends call at the last minute to get coffee/go to dinner, etc. This is where you can turn it around, call them instead with a plan!
Such as, "Hey, Bob! My wife and I are going to Acceptable Restaurant X and would love for you to join us tomorrow evening."
or invite them to a BBQ at your home, or initiate that call to coffee yourself.

If your friends know they are already going to see you soon, they are less likely to call you last minute to get together doing something more expensive than you feel comfortable doing.

If they call and you don't want to do what they suggest, just tell them you already have something planned and suggest a better date/time/place, etc. It's none of their business what your plans already are. Really, if your plan is to nap on the couch that's your business :)

If they ask about why you biked to the coffee shop just tell them you're changing up your workouts, getting out of the gym/yoga class for a bit, enjoying the nice weather, etc.

The best way is really keep your focus on what is most important in your life and keep those activities in front of you and let the extraneous things go by the wayside. For me it is my art, visiting museums/galleries/studios, with friends. There is very little I do that isn't related to this in one way or another.  For my husband it is his triathlon workouts and races with friends.


  • Stubble
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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 08:05:17 AM »
For me, I have very few friends... well ONE that I hang out with often.

We would always go to the pub & play Poker, quite often spending $25-$30 in a night...  All it took was one conversation at his house (with both wives present) about how we're on a new budgeting system (YNAB) and that we are tracking all the money we spend to try and help save & pay down debt...  Apparently it sunk in, the next week my friend was talking about how his wife budgets, and that we should try and save some money...

Ever since then, we've bought beer and taken it home, avoid the pub 90% of the time, and have fun around the campfire/video games/online poker once a week. 

It's amazing what just letting them know does, until they know you're trying to save money, they'll just continue on like normal!

Importantly, don't tell them any more than they have to know, let them ask questions when they want to, that way you're not coming across as preachy or anything, just informing, and if they want to know more they can ask :)


  • Stubble
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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 08:23:10 AM »
This is one of my biggest challenges.  I have some great girlfriends and while I would not call any of them spendthrifts they are by no means cheap.  Alot of the social activities that we share tend to involve congregating at each others house which makes it very economical.  I am member of a ladies book club as well as a group of friends that try and meet up once a month.  You guys may want to try and focus your activities at your friends' houses.  You can start this by hosting dinner with friends and seeing if other folks are interested in doing the same. 

Sometimes I say no if I know what they are doing is expensive and I am really not that interested. I have met friends for brunch and eaten before too. 

I talk with my friends about my budgeting and desire to retire early.  I think they probably think I am a cheap bastard but what are you going to do.  I always try to be gracious about hosting folks at my house to show I am not a miser.

It takes time though and most people like spending money.

When traveling with some friends we did a really bad job at driving where we would eat and really went way above our restaurant budget for the month.  I will have to be more organized in the future.  We did have some amazing meals but it is so easy to let this one budget item get out of control.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 08:26:42 AM »
I like CrochetStache's suggestions.

I know exactly where you're talking about in PA!  I would say that in that area there is a certain mindset that "scrimping" may be a symptom of a serious problem--the specter of economic failure may rear its head!  Anyone having anything to do with you may be infected as well! 
So you are in the right place in wondering how to get the "right" sort of friends, not just keeping your non-mustachian ones (though of course some of those will be worth keeping if you genuinely like each other).  Generally I have had good luck broaching the subject of finances with people to see how they react.
The good news in that region is that you are getting a high income and you have very little to worry about in terms of school quality or neighborhood safety, so you won't be tempted to spend extra for the most important things in life.
Having grown up in that region though not in that area, I think there is actually a pervading philosophy--perhaps from the old-money families of Philadelphia or perhaps from the puritanical heritage--that you can safely be cheap so long as you are confident about it.  It's the stereotypical rich kids wearing ripped jeans because they're not worried about anybody thinking they're actually poor.   So if you are going to embrace a less-expensive lifestyle, don't be shy about it, own it!


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 09:23:58 AM »
Ah, the Main Line - I live in North Chester County - more country-feeling, but definitely non-mustachian neighbors for the most part.  We live in one of THE top school districts in the state (Owen J. Roberts), but everyone seems to have a need to send their kids to private school... really don't get it.
Anyway, there are plenty of things you can start doing to exercise your frugality muscles - bike the Schuylkill river trail to build up endurance.  Stop eating out - it doesn't matter where you live for this one.
You're going to need to decide where the trade-off is for you and how "like-minded" you want to be to attract the kind of friends you want.  Hang out and do things that are going to attract the kind of friends you desire - I would think with kids, that it would be easier to attract friends, you already have something in common.  That being said, you're probably not going to find them at Karate or Piano lessons - more like Community Day and 5k races in the picnic areas.

Do things that you like and you'll naturally meet the type of people you want to hang with.

Able was I ERE

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Re: n00b mustacian -- how to do this and keep your friends
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 07:05:08 PM »
This summer a job relocation will take us to another ridiculously affluent suburb (this time a western suburb of Boston), and we want to use this opportunity to enact a major lifestyle change -- to become more mustacian.

Drop a note in the Boston meet-up thread, a new mustachian is a good excuse to organize another meet-up.  There are even a couple of families in the mix (mine included) with similar-aged children.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!