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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: tomsang on August 17, 2013, 09:11:10 AM

Title: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: tomsang on August 17, 2013, 09:11:10 AM
After watching the Matrix, I wondered if it was smart for Neo to take the Red Pill. The real world was pretty messed up and miserable. It would have been easier to just take the Blue Pill and lead his life in the cubicle.

"This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." - Morpheus, The Matrix

We have always been savers with 30%+, but with salary increases, side gigs and spending cuts we have exceeded 70% the past few years.  Our spending currently would put us squarely in the Antimustachian Wall of Shame, yet we are going through a transition where we don't fit in or have not built strong relationships with mustachians and we are not connecting and our relationships with some of our long term friends is deteriorating as our values are diverging. This appears to be a transitioning period, but it sometimes feels like it would be easier to buy a Tesla, buy a boat, buy fancy clothes, toys, and "live the life".

We value and spend facepunch worthy amounts on trips, concerts, dinner out, kids, and events so we haven't become hermits yet we don't buy the fancy cars, boats, designer clothes, Coach Bags, expensive toys, etc.  We now shop at Value Village, watch what we buy, wife (based on her preference not money) does not die her hair, and just look at most purchases as clutter vs. needs.

Thoughts on the transition, has anyone else gone through the process, any words of wisdom?  This is not dire, just a wrinkle that I was not expecting.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Adventine on August 17, 2013, 09:58:49 AM
...yet we are going through a transition where we don't fit in or have not built strong relationships with mustachians and we are not connecting and our relationships with some of our long term friends is deteriorating as our values are diverging.

I'm going through this right now as well. It's a bit disorienting. Sometimes very lonely.

Words of wisdom? I don't have any, really. But I sympathize. The temptation to go back to the old ways--to keep up with everyone else--is very strong.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Xavier on August 17, 2013, 10:28:22 AM
I may get hammered for this opinion, given that I'm a neophyte here (Matrix pun intended), but it looks to me like your doing things very well and have done nothing face-punch worthy.  Perhaps we're just on different parts of the spectrum.  I still aspire to get to the point you're at:

We have always been savers with 30%+, but with salary increases, side gigs and spending cuts we have exceeded 70% the past few years.
-Sounds pretty damn impressive to me.

We value and spend facepunch worthy amounts on trips, concerts, dinner out, kids, and events so we haven't become hermits yet we don't buy the fancy cars, boats, designer clothes, Coach Bags, expensive toys, etc.  We now shop at Value Village, watch what we buy, wife (based on her preference not money) does not die her hair, and just look at most purchases as clutter vs. needs.
-It sounds to me like you value and have given priority to meaningful experiences over unnecessary material possessions.  Nothing to fault there in my books and again, you sound farther along on the path on this than I.  I knew there was a study on  stuff vs. experiences in terms of satisfaction so I dug it up:
http://phys.org/news189277732.html

I'm rambling, which seems to be my forte (edit: spelling :) ) of late, but the red pill/blue pill idea is something that I got lost in thought on this week.  I feel like I'm deprogramming myself to some extent right now in a few areas.

I do feel that 'stuff' has its place.  Even a zen monk may have need of a can opener now and then.  I think the trick is not to make the stuff our master.  Doesn't sound like you have any worries there.

Have a great weekend!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: daverobev on August 17, 2013, 10:30:41 AM
I think you can fit in while still being intelligent.

That's the problem - it's not that people who have money spend it, it's that *everyone* thinks they are "middle class" (which means something different to me as a Brit than you Americans I think, but still).

If you're doing well, your retirement is on track, you don't have an outrageous amount of debt and you're AWARE of how debt and money and advertising all works - great. You're not stupid, you're an adult, you can make choices.

IMHO mustachianism is at heart a movement to get the people who do NOT have a clue about debt to wake up, do just a little digging and go.. oh, shit, I can't *afford* this stuff even though this company will give me credit! I have to take responsibility for myself!

I dunno. I'm kinda a lonely introvert in a foreign country, so I guess I can't really comment. My adopted family (wife is Canadian) must think I'm pretty strange/cheap.. which I guess I am.

So maybe you, like me, just need "a thing" that means you meet more people who might be on the same page as you. I work remotely for old contacts in the UK so that isn't helping me much. And, for me, the blue pill.. well, would be a job in Canada, and I don't think that's too likely too soon (child due in the next few months, with me going to be stay at home father). Maybe through the child I'll meet people? I think that happens!

Meeting likeminded people when you're in the minority. It's not like there's a "Mustachetown" in large cities! But it'd be cool if there was!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: TinyLightsBelow on August 17, 2013, 11:22:11 AM
It seems obvious that your worry here is social isolation and not too much related to Mustachianism itself. It's really difficult when you step outside the norm in terms of behavior, because you become quick to find that the way that you connected with people dissipates. I had the same issue when I became a vegan because suddenly I couldn't eat anything my friends or family loved to eat, and my peers definitely didn't have interest in hearing me blab on about my ideology. The same could happen if you became an atheist, changed your political views, decided not to use alcohol or smoke, etc.

It really sucks at first but it does get better. Like you said, you haven't forged strong friendships with Mustachians -- yet. But it will happen. And many of your other friends may find they don't have too much in common with you any more, but there will be ones who want to stick around. It's a long and alienating process but there's a light at the end of the tunnel called getting to do what you want AND hang out with great people! Keep persevering.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: FunkyStickman on August 17, 2013, 01:14:39 PM
Most people aren't ready to be unplugged from the Matrix. That doesn't make your reality any less real, it just changes the way you can interact with them.

You can take the red pill, and pretend you didn't, but sooner or later you will hate living a lie.

You can take the blue pill, but since you're already here... that's kind of not an option. You already know the truth.

Or you can take the red pill, go on living like you know the truth, and let things sort themselves out naturally.

If your friends can't wrap their brains around how what you're doing is working, you don't change your beliefs for them. And you probably can't change their beliefs until they are ready to change.

The best thing you can do is just live the example, and let them come to their own conclusions. When they are ready, they will ask questions.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: lentilman on August 17, 2013, 01:37:23 PM
Don't forget that Cypher made a deal with Agent Smith to get back in the Matrix.  So even in the movie people were conflicted about the choice.

I would say that TMND, YMOYL, MMM, etc. are just offering people the pill.  The choice of lifestyle is still open (either way).

Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: DocCyane on August 17, 2013, 01:58:03 PM
Just remember, if Neo hadn't taken the red pill, he wouldn't have found Trinity.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: willn on August 17, 2013, 02:12:45 PM

we are not connecting and our relationships with some of our long term friends is deteriorating as our values are diverging. This appears to be a transitioning period, but it sometimes feels like it would be easier to buy a Tesla, buy a boat, buy fancy clothes, toys, and "live the life".

We value and spend facepunch worthy amounts on trips, concerts, dinner out, kids, and events so we haven't become hermits yet

Sounds rough. I'd say relationships based on bonding over stuff aren't that satisfying.  Relationships based on values, shared experiences and emotional connection are more satisfying, and the weaknesses in your previous bonds is showing because you now value different things--and that's a positive thing.  I think you'll soon form new bonds with others who now share your values.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Zamboni on August 17, 2013, 02:53:38 PM
Having formerly lived in a quite affluent neighborhood, I completely relate to what you are saying.  Most of the other ladies at the pool talk only about two topics 1) shopping and 2) their children.  Social issues, politics, interesting books, science, music, or even gardening?  Nada.  My bridge group was slightly better (but not much.)  So, the less I shopped, the less there was to converse about.  Eventually I felt a bit ostracized bc I just couldn't participate in those discussions.  Oh well.

Now I live in a more modest area, and people here are much more interesting imho.  There are definitely more like-minded people here.


Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: MustacheCowboy on August 17, 2013, 07:13:26 PM
I think Funky nailed it. Stick to your truth and it will work out for you and your family.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr Mark on August 17, 2013, 10:00:51 PM
Just go for it.  F#@k the ones who want to judge you based in the car you drive, the places you eat out at...

Continue to create your own reality, and don't take the blue pill. FIRE at an early age does have a lot of matrix analogues...
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Petari on August 18, 2013, 04:36:37 PM
I would say don't underestimate how much your worldview has now diverged from that of the non-Mustachians you encounter in life. When you keep this in mind, you should feel much less frustrated interacting with non-Mustachians, as you remember that principles like frugality, conscious consumption, the value of purchasing freedom that are mundane to us are new and threatening and unconventional and scary for those who have not gone on this journey of reflection to arrive at the point where you are now.

In terms of relating to other Mustachians...I think one of the most important pillars of Mustachianism is consuming consciously in a manner driven by your values instead of by society's expectations, and doing so in a frugal/efficient manner.  Another aspect of Mustachianism that some people (not all by any means) find important is a struggle or quest to find happiness in ever more simple living, reducing consumption not with the goal of saving more, but with the goal of consuming less in order to lead a happy and fulfilled life.

The short answer I'll give is that if you do the first thing but not the other, some people might say you're doing just fine as a Mustachian, and some might say you're falling short. I'd say you are doing just fine, but slowly, over time, continue to question what really makes you happy and what you need to be fulfilled, and maybe you'll find that it takes less than you originally thought. This is not a debt emergency so radical change is not the answer here, but perhaps there is merit in stepping out of your consumption comfort zone, even if that comfort zone is well within the borders of Mustache-land.

In the end, I think our goal truly is to live life in accordance with our values, and to make money our servant rather than our master.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: FiveSigmas on August 18, 2013, 06:04:32 PM
Hey, Tom. I don't have any words of wisdom, really, but I can empathize. Losing friends is tough (through drift or otherwise). I'm hoping, though, that you aren't losing any close friends just because of different philosophies on money.

I like the Matrix analogy, and I do think making the change from spend-thrift to financially aware can be pretty life-changing, but I don't think it invalidates one's entire pre-MMM existence.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: steveo on August 19, 2013, 01:20:22 AM
I'm lucky. I now earn a pretty good income but most of my friends are losers with no money so its all good. My family and the in-laws are loaded but luckily for me they are also cheap and low class.

My advice is to try and develop friends like me. Ideally you have family that are cheap as well.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: dorkus619 on August 19, 2013, 07:42:03 AM
Now I live in a more modest area, and people here are much more interesting imho.  There are definitely more like-minded people here.
^ I like this reply ^

Perhaps moving and/or making new friends would help. Try an inexpensive hobby (geocaching is free if you already have an android phone - c:geo app) to meet new people. Maybe there is a bicycle club/group near you?
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: SavingMon(k)ey on August 19, 2013, 08:22:00 AM
I second the "find a bicycle club" idea. For $20/year I have made some great friends who love the outdoors and a hard workout like me. Not all of them have Mustachian ways, since some are way too eager or proud of fancy carbon bikes they ride a handful of times every season. Many have become good friends, though. But you may find another club for another interest (like Sierra Club type thing for hiking), that cost almost nothing or even nothing, and that's where you'll find people who share your values. Gardening club? Book club? I hope there are some options around where you live.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: tomsang on August 19, 2013, 09:39:38 AM
Thanks everyone for all of the advice and suggestions.  As we approach FI, I am realizing that it is becoming less about the math, investments, and returns and more about defining your philosophy and how you are going to live your life. If you start down this path right out of college, then your lifestyle and friends naturally mold into a MMM way of life.  If you start 20 years out of school and then start to make changes it takes awhile before it feels natural.  I think the comparisons to veganism, diets, exercise are probably very inline with the transition. If you were a vegan from an early age, then you would not even understand the difficulties.

From looking at a few of the recent posts on MMM, it seems like people are asking about post FI social life and how to communicate with others. I think as people get to within a few years of FI, the social and the philosophical questions become more relevant. 

Example of recent posts on MMM, include 
1) How do you deal with being rich?
2) Do you tell people you are FI?
3) If you suddenly hit FI, would you stay where you live?

I think I have been focused on getting the numbers to work, and now need to focus on defining what our post FI life is going to look like and start making changes now so it is natural when retirement occurs.

And of course, in the FI world it always comes back to the Trinity Study.     
Just remember, if Neo hadn't taken the red pill, he wouldn't have found Trinity.
Wow!  The more you dig into early retirement, the more parallels to the Matrix pop up.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: sol on August 19, 2013, 10:06:24 AM
I think I have been focused on getting the numbers to work, and now need to focus on defining what our post FI life is going to look like and start making changes now so it is natural when retirement occurs.

Every retirement planning seminar I have ever been to has heavily stressed the notion that you don't retire "from" something, you retire "to" something.  You don't retire to be free of your job, you retire so that you can have the time to pursue something else you already have lined up.   

Too many people retire to daytime television.  Even this notion of "I'll just take a few months off to relax and then get around to finding my real retirement goals" seems dangerous to me.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 19, 2013, 11:11:11 AM
This thread hits pretty close to home to our current situation. The wife has a group of close friends who have lately been making her feel like an outsider (for whatever reason). I used to tolerate them and their husbands for her sake, but have since walked away and have been more frank with her. Most of them were too worried about their social status in the community and material items. When we'd all hang out, the topics were gossip and shallow conversation. No thanks. I told the wife I'd rather not hang out with them but she is welcome to anytime. There's more to life on so many levels.

I find this a lot with groups of people. They are reflections of popular culture, which really is of no interest to me. For us it's sort of hard to fit in because the wife and I are such individuals, there isn't much in common with the majority of folks.

The Matrix is an amazing metaphor for the way things really are. Some people crave to learn the truth and with embrace it, even if its uncomfortable. Others want to run from it. I generally run from people who run from the truth. I simply have a very hard time being friends with someone who does not share a similar philosophies, whether it be about sustainable living, striving for FI or libertarianism. If they don't connect with those, we have to connect on something else, like art, hobbies or activities. But I could never be friends with the anti's, who live a material centric life, spending too much on things, and always talking about things that just don't matter.

I will say this. No one should have any guilt in living a nice lifestyle. As long as they living well below their means and that lifestyle is responsible financially and environmentally conservative. I mean, if MMM wants to travel to Europe once a month, or own a Ferrari, there's no shame in that. He's earned it and he's saving 50%+.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: daverobev on August 19, 2013, 01:35:21 PM
I think I have been focused on getting the numbers to work, and now need to focus on defining what our post FI life is going to look like and start making changes now so it is natural when retirement occurs.

Every retirement planning seminar I have ever been to has heavily stressed the notion that you don't retire "from" something, you retire "to" something.  You don't retire to be free of your job, you retire so that you can have the time to pursue something else you already have lined up.   

Too many people retire to daytime television.  Even this notion of "I'll just take a few months off to relax and then get around to finding my real retirement goals" seems dangerous to me.

That is a *very* good point, and at the moment - I'm sorta retired - I'm finding life a little dull. In 3 months (aaaargh) I'm going to be SAHD which means I'm likely to be quite busy...

So I'm looking at conversion vans so the three of us can go travelling the continent while my wife is on maternity... heh.

Bugger. I might just do it, too!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 19, 2013, 02:28:19 PM
I will never understand the anxiety of "retiring". My parents moaned about it. "What we do all day!?"

Only in America are we afraid to do "nothing". More 1st world problems!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: SavingMon(k)ey on August 19, 2013, 03:03:44 PM
I will never understand the anxiety of "retiring". My parents moaned about it. "What we do all day!?"

Only in America are we afraid to do "nothing". More 1st world problems!
My dad in Brazil was afraid of the same thing. He didn't say it out loud, but he procrastinated on retiring for years. Now he is enjoying himself. I asked him the other day if he's bored. "Not a bit" was his reply. He's enjoying his 2 grandchildren, writing a book, and took up practicing yoga several days a week. He's 72.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: mcsemike99 on August 19, 2013, 06:06:13 PM
We have been living like that for a while and we don't worry about it anymore.  We spend for the things we think are right and save a heck of a lot of money.  I still need to work for a few more years, but we are well on our way.  My coworkers just call me cheap, and I just tell them that I am.  It is just words and doesn't affect how we live our lives.  Counting the days when I can walk out the door and do things that make me happier and leave them to be ground down everyday by having to go to jobs they don't like or really want to do.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 20, 2013, 01:30:56 AM
Tomsang, if I'm reading you right one of the things you're going through is feelings isolation because friends and family don't "get" the MMM lifestyle.  I can relate to that.  The big thing for me regarding "regular" people is that I tend to judge--I need to work at giving them a break for not being able to use logic and tear themselves away from their conventional, consumerism based lifestyles.  This helps for me:

1.  Realize that frugality, or lack of it, is just one facet of a person's whole being.  It's important, but if you were friends with someone before, the things you liked about them are still there.  You can't think like a Scientologist and go all "us" vs. "them".  Or, maybe you have outgrown them, and whatever commonalities you had with them in the first place are no longer there. That's ok too, friendships die natural deaths all the time. 

I think the reason the MMM blog is so popular is that MMM isn't just theoretically talking about FI, he's living it.  So, if you live it and retire early, maybe it'll inspire people in your social circle to do the same thing.

2.  Around people I still want to hang with, I just don't bring the Mustachian stuff up, just like I don't bring up my workout or my diet.  I might casually mention MMM once to a good friend in a one on one situation, and if it doesn't resonate with them, then I don't mention it again.  I can see how it would come off kind of like "hey, let me tell you all about my personal relationship with Jesus".

3.  I still go out with my friends to restaurants.  I just get an iced tea and keep the refills coming.  The first few times people will ask you WTF is up with you, are you not feeling well, but believe me, they'll adjust.  When I'm asked why I'm not eating, I just say I'm not much into eating out, or something like that.  You can work out verbiage that sounds good.  I never launch into the frugality thing in a setting meant for fun. 

4.  I often suggest getting together at someone's house rather than going to some commercial, money sucking establishment.  Again, I never say "let's hang at my place because it's cheaper".   

5.  I remind myself that there is no red pill--in fact, red pill/blue pill is not the best analogy for me.  To me, going back to chasing happiness through stuff isn't possible anymore, It's not in me.  it would be like uninventing the nuclear bomb.  I'm older than most people in this forum, I've made about every financial mistake you can make, and through that I've won some hard earned wisdom.  To go back to a conventional lifestyle would be like a former racist who has had an epiphany still living around racists.

6.  The idea about joining groups is a winner.  Meetup is a great place to find all kinds of groups, and volunteer work can also be very fulfilling.

7.  I don't know where you live, but people are arranging local MMM meetings all over the world through this forum.

One thing--what you said about it being easier for a younger person to adopt the Mustachian lifestyle doesn't ring true with me.  An older person isn't just a young person with more deeply ingrained habits--life is not easy; it can kick your ass, and most folks my age have had a number of good ass kickings.  This leads to some reflection of how you've lived your life, and this reflection leaves you open to change.  The 20 year old me wouldn't have been receptive to frugality at all.  Non-frugality, though, did not work for me, in that I'm not where I would've liked to have been by this age, so I was totally on board not long after I found the MMM blog.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 20, 2013, 07:47:33 AM
That's what it comes down to. Find new friends that share your lifestyle more. So it's not so awkward socializing, you don't stick out and feel awkward. I fell super awkward about debt ridden, spend happy people that value material items more than interesting conversation.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Freeyourchains2 on August 20, 2013, 08:07:01 AM
Is it just me or does any Government or Dictatorship remind me of the AGENTS in the movie?

They want to keep the Matrix flowing smoothly, so they can collect the taxes from the worker spenders. Their very existence depends on the Matrix and it's people.

When you take a Red Pill, they are after you from that point on! Trying to prevent you from unplugging others. They even attempt to make laws to keep you working and to keep you consuming. They also invoke fear into your mind if you attempt to leave the matrix. "$275,000 for a child" "Buy a huge mansion, with a mortgage, you can afford it!" "But you need cable TV, how else will we Advertise to you?"

There are a LOT more analogues hidden in the movie then meets the eye.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 20, 2013, 08:36:21 AM
Is it just me or does any Government or Dictatorship remind me of the AGENTS in the movie?

They want to keep the Matrix flowing smoothly, so they can collect the taxes from the worker spenders. Their very existence depends on the Matrix and it's people.

When you take a Red Pill, they are after you from that point on! Trying to prevent you from unplugging others. They even attempt to make laws to keep you working and to keep you consuming. They also invoke fear into your mind if you attempt to leave the matrix. "$275,000 for a child" "Buy a huge mansion, with a mortgage, you can afford it!" "But you need cable TV, how else will we Advertise to you?"

There are a LOT more analogues hidden in the movie then meets the eye.

Yes the analogies are great in the movie. It's not only governments that want control, its also corporations. They are similar in that they both want order. And they can only do so because a large portion of the people also want that order, and will accept some degree of servitude to be safe and cared for. As well as enjoying a decedent life, even if it means being a slave to debt. Many social circles are like this. Happy in the matrix.

Neo riddles about he machines we built but now cannot tear down, because we need them to survive. I need to watch the whole series again.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: impaire on August 20, 2013, 08:56:47 AM

1.  Realize that frugality, or lack of it, is just one facet of a person's whole being.  It's important, but if you were friends with someone before, the things you liked about them are still there.  You can't think like a Scientologist and go all "us" vs. "them".  Or, maybe you have outgrown them, and whatever commonalities you had with them in the first place are no longer there. That's ok too, friendships die natural deaths all the time. 

(...)

5.  I remind myself that there is no red pill--in fact, red pill/blue pill is not the best analogy for me.  To me, going back to chasing happiness through stuff isn't possible anymore, It's not in me.  it would be like uninventing the nuclear bomb. (...).

One thing--what you said about it being easier for a younger person to adopt the Mustachian lifestyle doesn't ring true with me.  An older person isn't just a young person with more deeply ingrained habits--life is not easy; it can kick your ass, and most folks my age have had a number of good ass kickings.  This leads to some reflection of how you've lived your life, and this reflection leaves you open to change.  The 20 year old me wouldn't have been receptive to frugality at all.  Non-frugality, though, did not work for me, in that I'm not where I would've liked to have been by this age, so I was totally on board not long after I found the MMM blog.

I wanted to quote your entire post, but I stayed reasonable with a few highlights :)

Thank you, this entry really resonated with me, and not because these were things I was already thinking. I definitely need to work on my "us vs. them" mentality as far as consumerism goes, and this is part of the little pushes helping me crystallize a more open-minded approach to fitting in with family members and friends who are consumption-oriented, but not only consumers.

OP, I was raised more or less mustachian, and in my teens and twenties, I really enjoyed spending (a lot) on experience. I am now swinging back to saving more... You can move between the two positions a bit... I guess some of the issue will be to figure out if your friends are really friends, or just acquaintances with (fading) common interests!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 20, 2013, 01:05:30 PM
Thanks Impaire, and yeah, I can totally relate to the constant struggle between wanting to be frugal and wanting all the slick consumer crap we're constantly being bombarded with.  These advertising guys are experts at getting us to feel that longing in the pit of the stomach.

A few weeks ago I decided I needed a food processor (my old one is in Texas with my ex wife), since I had committed to making my food rather than going out to eat.  I looked at some new ones, but decided it would be best to get one on Craigslist.  Well, I got one, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a Mustachian/frugal purchase.  I got a professional Kitchenaid model that's super powerful and quiet, has a box full of attachments, and is built like a tank.  I'm sure my grand kids will one day be using it.  The thing is, it was $95 (US), which is somewhere between 1/3 and 1/4 the price of buying it new, but you can get a modest food processor brand new for less than that.  You can get a decent used one on Craigslist for $25-ish. 

So, not sure if I scored or if I missed the point entirely.  On the way home from this purchase I didn't have that good feeling you get when you know you just chalked up some frugality points.  But it was a cool shiny thing, ooooh, looooook at it.  I imagine myself when I bought it, walking towards it like a zombie with my arms straight out in front of me, my fists full of hard earned money, saying "FOOPROCESS!" instead of "BRAINS!".
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 20, 2013, 01:13:43 PM
^ LOL Mark. As long as we can laugh about somethings instead of clutching all of our items with our eyes bugging out, we are better off.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr Mark on August 20, 2013, 01:41:25 PM
Mark b, sounds like a great purchase. Should last forever, perform great, and shouldn't take long to earn its purchase price back. Fret not dude.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: footenote on August 20, 2013, 03:25:25 PM
Mark B - I know an engineer who consulted at Kitchen Aid a few years ago. His conclusion: they over-engineer their products' reliability and longevity. My battleship grey Kitchen Aid stand mixer works as perfectly today as it did the day I bought it over 25 years ago. FOO PROCESS, a-waaaay!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 20, 2013, 03:46:02 PM
It's one of those brands in which you get what you paid for. Top shelf stuff there, and worthy of the price paid.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 20, 2013, 05:47:33 PM
Thank you all for the feedback, I'm feeling a little better as I make my cauliflower tortillas using my new food processor.  Here's the recipe:

http://slimpalate.com/cauliflower-tortillas-paleo-grain-free-gluten-free/
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 21, 2013, 09:03:12 AM
Nice. How'd they turn out? My wife tried to make cauliflower mashed "potatoes" (sans potatoes) and..... eh, not so good.

We are thinking of diving into bread making with almond flour or rice flour. The Udi bread is killing us is at $4.50 a loaf.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 21, 2013, 02:23:09 PM
Nice. How'd they turn out? My wife tried to make cauliflower mashed "potatoes" (sans potatoes) and..... eh, not so good.

We are thinking of diving into bread making with almond flour or rice flour. The Udi bread is killing us is at $4.50 a loaf.

They were good, actually.  The taste was good.  Not quite as flexible as I would have liked, but that might be because my "cauliflower" was actually one of those broccoli/cauliflower hybrids.  I went to the grocery store first, and they of course had regular cauliflowers, but they were about $3.50.  So, I continued on to the 99 cent store, which had the Broccoflowers, or whatever they're called.  Overall, a success.  And, I got to play with my food processor (yay).

Hey, not sure where you are, Mr.Macinstache (are you even in the US?), but the 99 cent store near me has had a nice variety of Udi's bread items--pizza crusts, bagels, hamburger buns and regular white bread.  Sadly for them and better for me, almost no one who shops at the 99 cent store buys gluten free bread items, so I get the picks of the litter when I feel the need for something that resembles bread. 

I found out about three years ago I'm allergic to wheat, so I've spent quite a bit of time investigating and experimenting with the non-wheat flours--potato, tapioca, brown rice, almond, bean and others that don't spring immediatley to mind.   I also tried Bob's Red Mill prepackaged flours, which I think are very high quality.  My overall conclusion?  Meh.  They'll kind of do if you really feel like you need a starchy fix, but man, to me you can't confuse them with actual yeasty, stretchy, doughy, crispy on the outside bread.  Non-wheat bread is crumbly and the taste is mediocre.  I'll probably continue to make (or buy, if they continue to be available at the 99 cent store) are pizza crusts, because a life without pizza is a life of hardship :-)

But now that I think about it, those cauliflower tortillas would work perfectly as pizza crusts...
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: EK on August 21, 2013, 02:34:59 PM

I found out about three years ago I'm allergic to wheat, so I've spent quite a bit of time investigating and experimenting with the non-wheat flours--potato, tapioca, brown rice, almond, bean and others that don't spring immediatley to mind.   I also tried Bob's Red Mill prepackaged flours, which I think are very high quality.  My overall conclusion?  Meh.  They'll kind of do if you really feel like you need a starchy fix, but man, to me you can't confuse them with actual yeasty, stretchy, doughy, crispy on the outside bread.  Non-wheat bread is crumbly and the taste is mediocre.  I'll probably continue to make (or buy, if they continue to be available at the 99 cent store) are pizza crusts, because a life without pizza is a life of hardship :-)

But now that I think about it, those cauliflower tortillas would work perfectly as pizza crusts...

Here ya go- just bookmarked this yesterday:

http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 21, 2013, 02:37:22 PM

Here ya go- just bookmarked this yesterday:

http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html

Hey, that looks perfect Evakatharina!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 21, 2013, 02:46:06 PM
Nice. How'd they turn out? My wife tried to make cauliflower mashed "potatoes" (sans potatoes) and..... eh, not so good.

We are thinking of diving into bread making with almond flour or rice flour. The Udi bread is killing us is at $4.50 a loaf.

They were good, actually.  The taste was good.  Not quite as flexible as I would have liked, but that might be because my "cauliflower" was actually one of those broccoli/cauliflower hybrids.  I went to the grocery store first, and they of course had regular cauliflowers, but they were about $3.50.  So, I continued on to the 99 cent store, which had the Broccoflowers, or whatever they're called.  Overall, a success.  And, I got to play with my food processor (yay).

Hey, not sure where you are, Mr.Macinstache (are you even in the US?), but the 99 cent store near me has had a nice variety of Udi's bread items--pizza crusts, bagels, hamburger buns and regular white bread.  Sadly for them and better for me, almost no one who shops at the 99 cent store buys gluten free bread items, so I get the picks of the litter when I feel the need for something that resembles bread. 

I found out about three years ago I'm allergic to wheat, so I've spent quite a bit of time investigating and experimenting with the non-wheat flours--potato, tapioca, brown rice, almond, bean and others that don't spring immediatley to mind.   I also tried Bob's Red Mill prepackaged flours, which I think are very high quality.  My overall conclusion?  Meh.  They'll kind of do if you really feel like you need a starchy fix, but man, to me you can't confuse them with actual yeasty, stretchy, doughy, crispy on the outside bread.  Non-wheat bread is crumbly and the taste is mediocre.  I'll probably continue to make (or buy, if they continue to be available at the 99 cent store) are pizza crusts, because a life without pizza is a life of hardship :-)

But now that I think about it, those cauliflower tortillas would work perfectly as pizza crusts...

Ah, I wish there was a 99 cent store here... sounds like awesome deals on the GF stuff!. I'm in Missouri, smaller town. My options are limited to Super Wal Mart, Schnucks, Target, Aldi and the farmers market.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 21, 2013, 05:06:55 PM

Ah, I wish there was a 99 cent store here... sounds like awesome deals on the GF stuff!. I'm in Missouri, smaller town. My options are limited to Super Wal Mart, Schnucks, Target, Aldi and the farmers market.

Too bad...but the view out your window is probably much nicer than mine.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr Mark on August 21, 2013, 10:15:16 PM
Costco does some decent bulk gluten free flours.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: James81 on August 21, 2013, 10:57:17 PM
In the words of Dave Ramsey:

"If you live like no one else, then later you can live like no one else."

Or take this analogy if you will:

A lot of people when they quit smoking gain a bunch of weight. For many people who quit and then go back to it, they cite the weight gain as the reason why. But the reality is, that's just the addiction talking. The addiction will put whatever thoughts in your mind that will cause you to keep choosing your old path over and over, even if the solution is completely illogical and crazy.

The desire to go back "to keep up" is sort of like choosing cigarettes as a way to maintain your weight. It's a matter of thoughts and thought processes, and it's so easy to reach for old, ineffective solutions to our problems.

Imagine, however, if you could create a new solution this problem. Imagine the former smoker realizing that his weight gain isn't being CAUSED by the lack of smoking, it's being caused by the void that's left by leaving an old habit behind.

Imagine, then, that your new feelings, the ones that urge you back to a lifestyle or excess, are caused by that very same void.

The solution isn't to go back to your lifestyle. The solution is to find new and creative ways to fill the void.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Bigote on August 22, 2013, 03:15:04 AM
Never having seen the Matrix, I thought this thread was about a different blue pill....
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 22, 2013, 07:22:56 AM

Ah, I wish there was a 99 cent store here... sounds like awesome deals on the GF stuff!. I'm in Missouri, smaller town. My options are limited to Super Wal Mart, Schnucks, Target, Aldi and the farmers market.

Too bad...but the view out your window is probably much nicer than mine.

I'm looking at a wall of bricks outside my window right now. LoL! I'm jealous you can buy the Udi stuff at the 99 cent store. They must be test marketing or just selling overstock?

Either, time to put this bread maker to work for us...
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 22, 2013, 11:40:11 PM
yeah I think it's overstock, so I'm afraid it's a temporary thing.  My waistline is saying "thank god for that".

Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mark B on August 23, 2013, 12:12:36 AM
LOL Bigote.  As a (ahem) mature man, that blue pill is still A-OK with me. 
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: mgreczyn on August 23, 2013, 09:40:19 AM
Man I hope to do that transition someday.  First I need to transition from winding-down-gig-in-contracting-industry to making so much money on salary, side gigs and investments that I can live the life I want and still only spend 30% of income.  It seems like you ARE spending a lot of money on things that add value to your life, such as concerts, trips, etc.  The question would be does any of that other stuff add value to your life, or would you literally just be buying it to fit in?  For example, at a certain income level, a Tesla could be a very mustachian purchase, but if you have no interest in the technology or the car then you would hate it every time you saw it.  A boat?  I don't know, do you like boats?  It's probably not the possessions themselves that gain you entry into the club your former or soon to be former friends are members of.  It's the pursuit of the new, fancy, shiny thing/experience/membership.  The cult of exclusivity. It's a bottomless pit, no matter how deep you go somebody else has gone deeper and is taunting you from the depths.  Got a Tesla?  How can you not get the boat to go with it?  And no, you cannot park said boat in anything less than the best, most exclusive marina.  Also, you have to be in a fancy country club so you can show off the Tesla even more. Are you a billionaire?  Now you need your own super-yacht and America's Cup team.  Etc. etc. etc.  I think that having taken the red pill that life would make you straight up miserable.  Don't sweat it, live the way you and your wife want to.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: NestEggChick (formerly PFgal) on August 24, 2013, 07:26:28 PM
One thing that might help is joining one of the MMM meetup groups. If there isn't one in your area, create one!
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/meetups-and-social-events/

I've been to a few in my area and it's great to be around people who just get it. It might help you feel a bit less isolated.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: tomsang on September 07, 2013, 10:39:25 AM
For Bigote and others who haven't seen the Matrix - You should go see the movie, but if you want a spoiler here is a clip on the scene about the Red Pill and the Blue Pill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCUhFZnxoBU
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: James on September 07, 2013, 11:25:32 AM
Boy, the Red Pill, Blue Pill idea hits a big thought in my life as well. My wife and I used to be fundamentalist Christians (more or less, it's a broad spectrum), and though we were never horrible with money, we always seemed to spend more than we brought in unless we constantly focused on trying not to. The kicker was buying a huge lake house right at the top of the market, and then taking a handful of red pills over the following few years. I often wonder if we would actually be more happy never going through those years of thought and change, and just muddling along like we had been.


This is the part where I impart some special wisdom about what worked for me and how to make it all better... or maybe not. Sometimes questions don't have answers. Regret may be the most powerful emotion we have, it can really pull a person apart. I find the entertainment of this question in and of itself does me little good, so mostly I avoid it and try to look forward. I can tell myself taking the red pills was right, it made sense, I don't want to be blind, I want to live a "real" life, things are more meaningful now, I never really believed those things anyway, I will be happier with my finances later, I will find even better friends going forward, etc, etc, etc. But none of those things really help, the only thing that helps me is to shut those thoughts down after giving it a fair moment to ponder them. I just don't see a resolution to the question, so the best answer to move forward without resolution, and to be ok with that. I am happiest when I am moving forward best I know how. If there are regrets or missing part of my life, I need to focus on resolving that, not figuring out if I would be better off in some alternate reality.


Having said that, I greatly appreciate the question. This is a great place to bring out those thoughts and put them down on paper. And it's also a great place to find ideas for what to work on after considering these ideas and then setting them aside. I think that is a big reason I keep coming back to MMM, it gives me reminders of things to focus on rather than the regrets my mind might consider.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Elaine on September 08, 2013, 12:50:44 PM
I've recently had a pretty big falling out with one of my closest friends. We have different ideas about money, but that actually had nothing to do with it. I'm 26 and she's 28, and while I'm sort of over the whole "going out and getting wasted while hooking up with random people", it's still a big part of her life. I don't feel like going to a party that starts at 10:30 pm, with an after drag party at 3:00am,  but I'm also not still single like she is. She's happy to pay a $20 cover charge at a club, I no longer see the purpose. I'm a big reader, she isn't- as I get older I am realizing that I prefer to stay home and do projects than go out all the time. I'm shocked because I was a pretty big party girl (ok, shamefully big), but people change. We had some of the best times ever in college, and I don't think they were worthless, it was an awesome time!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that life is evolution, and sometimes friendships are just for a season. I have other friends from college who are still very much a part of my life, but she isn't one of them. It doesn't devalue the time we did spend, I have no ill feelings toward her at all. But I'm sure that from her end of things it appears that I've become boring, old, settled (all negatives in my social circle). In reality, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm working on a book (Fantasy/sci fi epic, in case you were wondering-yes I work in IT), I love to cook, I just started Aerial Silks classes (which feeds a craving I've been ignoring, I used to be a ballet dancer ages 5-20ish, but that fell away when partying seemed more enticing).

At first I was angry thinking about how my friend might now consider me a bit of a loser. But then I checked myself and got some gratitude for my life. I have so much, awesome financials thanks to MMM, great relationship, adorable cat, nice apartment that fits all our needs, a job that will help lead me to FI. Now I don't feel angry or slighted. I am aware that there are things I have that she may never have, and everything always looks different from the outside. Best of luck, I'm sure you will be happy with your decisions!
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on September 09, 2013, 11:19:58 AM
Boy, the Red Pill, Blue Pill idea hits a big thought in my life as well. My wife and I used to be fundamentalist Christians (more or less, it's a broad spectrum), and though we were never horrible with money, we always seemed to spend more than we brought in unless we constantly focused on trying not to. The kicker was buying a huge lake house right at the top of the market, and then taking a handful of red pills over the following few years. I often wonder if we would actually be more happy never going through those years of thought and change, and just muddling along like we had been.


This is the part where I impart some special wisdom about what worked for me and how to make it all better... or maybe not. Sometimes questions don't have answers. Regret may be the most powerful emotion we have, it can really pull a person apart. I find the entertainment of this question in and of itself does me little good, so mostly I avoid it and try to look forward. I can tell myself taking the red pills was right, it made sense, I don't want to be blind, I want to live a "real" life, things are more meaningful now, I never really believed those things anyway, I will be happier with my finances later, I will find even better friends going forward, etc, etc, etc. But none of those things really help, the only thing that helps me is to shut those thoughts down after giving it a fair moment to ponder them. I just don't see a resolution to the question, so the best answer to move forward without resolution, and to be ok with that. I am happiest when I am moving forward best I know how. If there are regrets or missing part of my life, I need to focus on resolving that, not figuring out if I would be better off in some alternate reality.


Having said that, I greatly appreciate the question. This is a great place to bring out those thoughts and put them down on paper. And it's also a great place to find ideas for what to work on after considering these ideas and then setting them aside. I think that is a big reason I keep coming back to MMM, it gives me reminders of things to focus on rather than the regrets my mind might consider.

Being that you're in my generation.. you might be familiar with this song... it helps me out a lot sometimes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O7jmmSYI9U

My wife has a hard problem living in the present... she lives in the future..always planning and looking forward to things. It's weird how people live in different time relative to their existence.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: WageSlave on September 09, 2013, 03:00:58 PM
I think the financial aspect of your lifestyle can be defined in terms of a continuum, with ERE/MMM on one end, and the consumerist debt-laden over-spender on the other end.  The middle is probably someone who got a "C" in Personal Finance 101: he isn't spending more than he makes, but could stand to do a fair amount of optimizing.

tomsang, I get the impression that you're like me, in that you're somewhere between MMM and the midpoint, the 25th percentile, so to speak: doing far better than the typical first-world middle class individual, but still not living up to the standard set by MMM.  Clearly there are different opinions on the "philosophy" of Mustachianism.   Some will say you're already there, since you're saving so well and living in a conscientious manner.  Others take a harder line on the issue, and want you to be nearly a clone of MMM before you're truly living out the philosophy.

I agree that it can be alienating to go "further down the rabbit hole" of Mustachianism (to use the Matrix analogy).  When I think and post on these things, I like to start with the How to Go from Middle-Class to Kickass (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/08/how-to-go-from-middle-class-to-kickass/) post.  My spending is around twice that of MMM's... but it's still far less than MMM's former colleagues, and I'm lucky to make a considerable wage---enough that my savings percentage is definitely "MMM approved".  But the savings rate is really only one facet of the overall MMM lifestyle.

I see some signs of relationship straining with my closest friends.  They also have high incomes, but take the "your lifestyle should reflect your status" attitude.  For example, luxury cars.  We got into a somewhat heated argument about how wasteful they are.  I was looking at downsizing and going more fuel-efficient; my friends think I'm ridiculous for not getting a luxury car.  As others have said, it's a matter of values.  They value the "finer things" in life, even if it means working longer or even leveraging yourself; I value getting FIRE sooner than later.

That story might make me sound like I'm living the Mustachian life.  Clearly, my friends are candidates for the "Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy".  But if you pick the story apart, so am I.  Though I'm going for a small, fuel-efficient hatchback, and paying cash, I'm still looking to buy new, and indulge in a few upgrades.  And why am I buying a car anyway, why am I not using my bicycle for 99% of my transportation needs?

I found great comfort in the book The Millionaire Next Door.  It seemed to be largely about people who were more like myself: that is, recognizing the value of saving and investing, and generally living below one's means.  But by and large, I don't think these were "extreme frugality" types (except maybe the Scottish).  I suspect most fit in the 25% percentile I suggested in the continuum discussion above.

Last year, my wife and I took a semi-expensive adults-only vacation with said friends.  It wasn't crazy expensive, but definitely and indulgence, and quite unlikely to be "MMM approved".  We had a great time.  Part of my justification for the trip was that, with kids, I really won't have opportunities to do these kinds of things very often.  But while there (since I had more time to think than I usually do), I found myself thinking about Mustachianism, and what makes me happy.  Yes, I want FIRE very badly, and the best way to get there is to reduce costs and spending to a minimum.  But what happens when sweating every penny becomes an obsession?  If it's just saving for the sake of saving, then is that what I really want out of life?  Well no---it's saving for a longer-term, bigger goal.  But if reaching that goal means I have to give up these rare opportunities to relax without kids and enjoy the company of friends, is it worth it?  (And in case I mis-characterized my friends: yes, we clearly have some drifting values.  But still we share a number of values, and more importantly, don't take ourselves seriously enough for the differences to matter.  We can disagree, and maybe even get a little tense, but 10 minutes later we're all laughing again.)

While some friction between friends does occur, I can thank my kids for helping smooth things out.  Without kids, I think my friends would be more often trying to pull me into spending money.  But with kids, we barely have time to get enough sleep, let alone do all this stuff that requires money.  Increasingly, the gatherings with friends are increasingly low-key, and more of the lines of "let's hang out at someone's house and just take it easy for a few hours."

I'm living in Chicago now, as are the high-income friends I've mentioned.  I'm a transplant to this city, though.  In my hometown, I have friends and family of much more modest means.  I'm only here for the high-paying gig, and when I hit FI, it's back to my hometown.  This is in line with what other people in this thread have suggested: it can really help to literally move in order to better surround yourself with more like-minded people.  And I think you really have two options: surround yourself with other rich-but-frugal Mustachian types, or people who simply don't have the means to live "above" MMM's lifestyle.  Either way, you fit in.  :)

I also believe that moving back to my hometown will further help me reduce expenses---but then again, maybe it's just a dangerous rationalization for letting my expenses be where they are now.  If nothing else, housing costs will all but vanish (I have a mortgage now, but will own outright after FIRE).  The number of times my Chicago friends will be able to rope me into spending money will effectively be zero---spending money with them will now be a special occasion, rather than a regular weekend thing.  Restaurant selection will shrink dramatically, so the temptation to eat out will be lowered.  Living near both sets of grandparents means free babysitting.  And I'll have so much more free time to DIY all the things we now pay for to save time.

As evidenced from this post, clearly, I favor the "soft form" of Mustachianism; I haven't fully drank the kool-aid.  I still maintain a number of "typical" middle class lifestyle behaviors, but I do so conscientiously (insofar as my own values are concerned), and spend far less than I earn.  And I still keep an eye out for waste and areas where we can save more.

I think that, loosely speaking, with regards to Mustachianism, people fall into three camps: (1) hopeless, (2) natural, and (3) transitioning.  The first are the ones who'll never get it; these are the haters that show up spewing vitriol whenever MMM gets mainstream exposure.  The second are the "natural" Mustachians, the ones who have always, instinctively lived a life similar to MMM's.  The last group are probably the biggest group, those who are not natural Mustachians, but who want to adopt a similar lifestyle.  And I'm sure within this group there's still a fair amount of diversity, from those that just need to make a few little tweaks, to those that need a radical lifestyle overhaul.  But in either case, you have a transition, and the dynamics that encompass the transition can make it smooth and easy, or painful and difficult.  A major factor in the transition is one's spouse---that's got to be one of MMM's FAQs: "I want to be like MMM, but my wife/husband doesn't, what do I do?"  The fundamental question is, what happens to my relationship to someone I love when our values change?  Framed that way, the question applies not just to one's spouse, but his family and friends as well.  In the worst case, there's divorce/disownment/ended friendships.  But more likely (and hopeful) is probably some middle ground or compromise.  Which do you love more, your wife or Mustachianism?  Assuming the former, you'll probably relax your definition of Mustachianism a bit to save your marriage.  Hence, the continuum.  Stated another way, depending on how far you want to take it, it's really a character-defining situation.

My last paragraph made me think about this question in a more general sense: what are your biggest sticking points when it comes to transitioning to Mustachianism?  Is the numbers/math?  Is it giving up convenience and luxury?  Is it the effect it will have on your relationships?  Is it simply the fear of getting out of your comfort zone?  The answers, and the degree, will of course be different for everyone.

Whew, that got pretty long.  I'll be happy if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.  Even happier if anyone got anything out of it!  :)
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: tomsang on September 10, 2013, 12:33:22 PM
Whew, that got pretty long.  I'll be happy if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.  Even happier if anyone got anything out of it!  :)

Thanks for the post. I did get a lot out of it.

Thanks for everyone's input.   
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Adventine on September 11, 2013, 01:06:31 AM
Whew, that got pretty long.  I'll be happy if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.  Even happier if anyone got anything out of it!  :)

I liked it a lot as well :)
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Osprey on September 12, 2013, 01:19:33 AM
Whew, that got pretty long.  I'll be happy if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.  Even happier if anyone got anything out of it!  :)

I also liked your post! It's interesting what you say about "natural" mustachians versus the new ones, and about the different value systems. When seen from this perspective it's easier to to understand the fears and incorrect assumptions of non-mustachian friends and family, and to address them (if the relationship is woth it to you).
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: Ishmael on September 12, 2013, 06:33:39 AM
According to the author of the book "The Happiness Hypothesis", Jonathan Haidt, everybody has a story in their head about how their life should be. This story can be anything - CEO of a major corporation, or a freedom seeker who travels around in a van from place to place.

A major factor of our happiness is how closely our lives actually match up to this inner story. When you read MMM and an article resonates, that's because you're learning parts of your own inner story. 

In the Matrix, Neo was unhappy, and he needed to understand why - that's what the red pill did for him. That's what MMM and others are doing for people - explaining exactly WHY the consumerist lifestyle is inherently unhappy, and more importantly, what they can do to fix the problem.

Therefore, the difference between taking the red pill and the blue pill is that with the red pill a person can now understand how to fix the problem. The problem will still exist with the blue pill, but they can't ever know how to fix it.

Also in the book mentioned,  he examines the role of buying stuff towards happiness. Conclusion (not surprisingly to anyone here) is that it provides a short-lived rush of happiness that fades out very quickly. It's a never-ending treadmill that leads to a place of emptiness because there will be a point where you either can't buy the next thing to make you happy, or it loses all meaning - like a drug addiction.

Happiness is largely controlled by two other things - a person's natural baseline (which can be reset by meditation, cognitive therapy or certain pharmaceuticals) and their involvement with other people in a cause larger than themselves.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: oldtoyota on September 12, 2013, 09:38:03 AM
Nice. How'd they turn out? My wife tried to make cauliflower mashed "potatoes" (sans potatoes) and..... eh, not so good.

We are thinking of diving into bread making with almond flour or rice flour. The Udi bread is killing us is at $4.50 a loaf.

Mr. Mac. Do you guys like challah? The UDIs was killing my good bill too and I found a good challah recipe. PM me if you want it.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: MsGuided on September 25, 2013, 12:24:29 AM
Whew, that got pretty long.  I'll be happy if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.  Even happier if anyone got anything out of it!  :)

Thanks for the post. I did get a lot out of it.

Thanks for everyone's input.   

Your post helped me to understand my thoughts in a more coherent way.  In some ways I'm similar to you and have been trying to figure out exactly where on the MMM continuum I want to land.  Still processing it, but know I feel very Mustachian with my peers in real life and very extravagant when on this site/forum. 

I see a lot of wisdom in seeking out either wealthy mustachian types or those who don't have a lot of money to spend.  Unfortunately, in our neighborhood and most of the circles we run in, we are surrounded by mostly people spending a lot, even those who consider themselves frugal.

Thanks for your post.  I'd love to read more of your thoughts.
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on February 26, 2014, 08:18:01 PM
I now realize this is a dead thread (as I started my post to it), however, with the advent of Bitcoin (something you'll never hold in your hand), YouTube, etc., we are living incredibly further virtual lives.  It's an interesting intersection between living more of our lives online and seeking FI early (being different from the masses) - virtual life is a good reason to get to FI early (more time to live self-directed life) and good support to allow you to reach FI earlier (more 'cheap' options / money saving ideas).  Sorry it's a little bit of a ramble, but I think it's interesting that I may think I've taken the Red Pill (if I follow through with FIRE'ing) only to accidentally have taken the Blue Pill (spending all of my new found free time online)!   

:)  Probably doing a horrible job of expressing this, but I think it's in human nature to end up 'blue pilling' sooner or later :)
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: soccerluvof4 on February 27, 2014, 06:30:56 AM
What if he took both pills? .....haha.


Anyhow i agree with many others on here stay the course. I think alot of people while they wont admit would much rather live more like you are and just cant get off the hampster wheel. Its easier for them to stay their course than make the change. In time as i have found out more and more people will come out of the woodwork and look to find you! 
Title: Re: Red Pill or Blue Pill, Do you ever one wonder about just taking the blue pill?
Post by: scrubbyfish on February 27, 2014, 01:46:03 PM
Just learned this is an old thread, but since it got reignited, I'm going to run with it.

Really appreciating this conversation. I've had a few things pop up in my MMM/social journey.

1. I have a kid with me full-time, thus much contact with the outside world is with other parents. I find it very, very difficult to connect with other parents, even the very interesting, wonderful ones. This is just logistics: we meet at our kids' activities, and outside of those we're all on different schedules -including kid bedtimes- and are also exhausted/shell-shocked as a result of raising humans. If we meet socially, the kids are with us and this interrupts the flow. These facts frustrate me to no end. However, I'm hoping to soon move to a town where the geographic area is much smaller, and the ratio of homeschooling families is much higher. I'm thinking this new combination may allow more of a free-flow between households.

2. In my effort to get a grip financially, I had to largely shut people out for a while. Some of my companions were really committed to a non-MMM life, and it was hard for me to move forward financially while hanging with people who were super committed to remaining in poverty, or to me doing so. The other piece was that moving out of poverty took all my resources: time, energy, money, etc. Between caring for my kid and moving us out of poverty, I had nothing left for social relationships. So in the transition, I was simply alone. After the transition, other stuff popped up, as described below.

3. One favourite friend is so extremely frugal I can't get him to do anything with me that costs more than $2. Sometimes I want to do something like see a play, or take a ski lesson, and would love to do these with a friend, but this one insists that everything over $2 is a no go. On the flip side, I am much more frugal than other people, such that I am essentially in my friend's position in relation to them (case in point follows)! In either position, I end up feeling like I'm largely flying solo and can feel sad about it.

4. I've recently been finding like-spirited people at 12 Step recovery meetings. However, I do not get to see them outside of the meetings, for two reasons: One, they are all super busy and not available to meet except for the hour after meetings, when they all go to a coffee shop. I already donate to the meetings, and do not feel I can also afford a coffee out afterwards. I also don't want to make my kid sit through a meeting PLUS adult coffee, and am reluctant to spend $15/hr on child care. I feel this loss.

5. Another friend started out super frugal while I was more spendy, and over the last year or so we "traded places". We can't seem to be samies at the same time. We each keep influencing the other in whatever new direction we're taking, and by the time the other catches up, we've morphed our original position. Example: We had a standing date of dinner out once a week, but he decided to take up intermittent fasting. I initially resented that this beloved point of connection was gone. But eventually I came to love the financial savings. Then he got into indoor climbing and wanted me to come along, but I was in my new budget. When I proposed meeting outdoors, I learned he had just released his car to save money. And so on. Ha!

All of these affect my social life, and in direct relation to my MMM consciousness. The good news is both friends (#3, #5) and I are in full agreement about long conversations over a cup of tea, long walks, etc. So we do what we can together and sometimes one funds another to come along where there is a difference of financial opinion. My biggest barrier is child care -with child care I would be free to do lots of free stuff as they come up. But that's not my reality at the moment. But I'd rather have my kid anyway :)