Author Topic: Transition to Mustachianism  (Read 4430 times)

AlwaysLearningToSave

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
Transition to Mustachianism
« on: June 12, 2015, 01:04:33 PM »
My wife and I discovered MMM a little more than two months ago.  We have both read many of the blog posts and are both on board with pursuing FIRE.  Fortunately we still have time on our side and we weren't doing too badly to begin with, but quickly recognized areas where we could do better.  Over the past few months, we have been making changes to make wiser "decade-long" financial decisions and reduce our regular monthly spending. 

As we've started the transition to Mustachianism, however, it seems our spending has actually increased over the past two months.  Some examples of the unusual outlays include: paying Dish Network cancellation fee and buying exterior TV antenna; buying 20 pounds of ground beef and 40 pounds of chicken when it was at an unusually good sale price (we have a deep freeze); buying a case of wine with mail in rebate deal ($36 outlay, but mail-in rebate brings it to $0.97 per bottle); buying two cases of cheap beer when it was on a great sale rather than six or twelve packs of fancy expensive beer; switching life insurance to annual payment from monthly (required a dip into savings); buying clothesline to reduce use of dryer; plus others I'm not remembering at the moment. 

Intellectually, I know we are making good long-term decisions but it is still a little discouraging to not see the "savings rate" column of the spreadsheet tick up in recognition of our new Mustachian efforts.  Did anyone else notice a paradoxical increase in monthly spending when transitioning to Mustachianism?  Any tips to stay motivated and inspired as we climb the first hill of the marathon?

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9247
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 01:18:43 PM »
ALTS, welcome to the forum.

Much as you should avoid reacting to every wiggle in market indices, worry not about month-to-month variation in your spending.  Keep doing good things and you will see good results in time.

If a year or so goes by and things still don't look good, well, that would be a different story....

BarkyardBQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 667
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 01:50:31 PM »
There's plenty of people who will debate the pros and cons of stocking up on food. We personally don't stock up on meat, we buy it fresh usually weekly or biweekly. We hold plenty of canned products, rices, beans, and pasta's as they are staples in most meals and buy fresh produce. We buy beer weekly or as needed.

Some of what you're doing makes complete sense. We got married last July and spent the first 6 months adjusting our expenses so we had more monthly savings and could have predictable monthly income > savings > expenses. We bought new toilets and a Nest thermostat to reduce our water and energy bill and cut and refined a lot of other expenses and spending categories. We also plan on buying some new windows, up-front costs to reduce monthly expenses. This prep period helped us enough that by January we knew exactly how much we had to bring home after maxing out deferred income retirement accounts, and we know how much extra we had to save for 6 month car insurance payments and other quarterly and yearly expenses etc.

Don't be discouraged, keep working, at your own pace and reflect on your progress. If it helps don't look at the current month, or the previous 2 months, make decisions based on how it will save you for the following 12 months, next year and also calculate those savings for a 10 year savings plan, we did something like this...

CutMonthlyYearly5 yr FIV10 yr FIV
Excessive Restaurants 8009,60057,274138,468
Carpooling to work 2302,76016,46639,810
Switching to PagePlus1331,5969,52223,020
Hosting Price Adjustment10.00120.007161,731
Sharebuilder Fee12.00144.00 8592,077
Taste of the Wild vs Blue Buffalo22.98275.761,6453,977
1,207.9814,495.7686,482209,083

         
         
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 01:53:36 PM by zdravé »

AlwaysLearningToSave

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 03:56:26 PM »
Thanks for the input and encouragement.  I like thinking of monthly spending in the same way as market fluctuations.  Also, tracking projected savings from changes is a good idea to give a more positive spin on the changes and to distinguish smart purchases that create future savings from mere "spending."

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 04:13:22 PM »
don't get too discouraged by money saving start up costs, you gotta think long term savings. for example, we bought $150 of home brewing/wine making supplies and a $90 reisling wine kit to start our home brewing hobby. definitely not immediate savings when you compare it with our $12 bottle of wine/week habit. but after just a few wine making sessions, the supplies paid for themselves (we get 30 $3 bottles of wine each time we make it, and we make wine 2-3 times a year). the quality is definitely the equivalent of spending $10-12 at the store, so over time we made back the $150 in supplies and are now actively saving money through our hobby. your clothesline investment will work similarly...it will pay for itself after a couple months of drying use.

AlwaysLearningToSave

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 05:44:29 AM »
There's plenty of people who will debate the pros and cons of stocking up on food.

I'm curious what people argue regarding pros and cons of stocking up on food.  To me, the biggest pro is being able to ride through spikes in food prices. By watching food prices carefully, we can usually achieve significant savings. Cons are extra cost of electricity to run the deep freeze and cost of materials in which to portion and store bulk food items. Another con is the opportunity cost of having otherwise productive assets invested in a freezer and cupboard full of food. The main challenge is to discipline yourself to actually eat the stocked-up food and not just sit on it. Any other arguments from other mustachians?

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1124
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2015, 07:35:10 AM »
Well, if you're feeling the bite, you might postpone some of the projects with startup costs for awhile and work on some of the areas that focus on cutting costs (like, have you revisited your insurance prices yet?). The other thing to be wary of with stocking up on consumables is that you have to maintain a balance of buying and using them up. It makes sense that you found a good deal on meat, since there are often sales around Memorial Day/Father's Day grilling. 99% of sales are cyclical, so now even if another good sale comes along before you get through this batch, you can skip buying and wait for the next one. (I may possibly be speaking from experience on this one :))

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4805
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 08:43:39 AM »
All of these decisions look like solid ones.


I am a little surprised that you listed a clothesline as an expense, which makes me wonder if you should be sure you've thought critically about how much you really need to spend to accomplish your saving goals. If you didn't already possess some good twine or nylon rope, you would indeed have needed to spend $5 or so to get some for a clothesline, plus another $5 or so for clothespins. If you spent more than that, be sure you're taking the time to consider the most efficient way to accomplish your savings goals.


And it's perfectly okay to postpone some of the things with startup costs so that you can see some results. You'll feel better and you'll get some more practice at that efficiency.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Age: 60
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 08:57:22 AM »
With both of you on board I predict a very early retirement.  Don't forget the income side of the equation is very important.   Work on those steps next.    Some people even take 7k hits on their loaned SUVs to buy used priuses.  Part of the idea is to get your average spending down to a low point, thus reducing your needed stache significantly and thus reduce your years to FIRE.   I would suggest starting a years to FI tracking sheet.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3952
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2015, 09:09:14 AM »
There's plenty of people who will debate the pros and cons of stocking up on food.

I'm curious what people argue regarding pros and cons of stocking up on food.  To me, the biggest pro is being able to ride through spikes in food prices. By watching food prices carefully, we can usually achieve significant savings. Cons are extra cost of electricity to run the deep freeze and cost of materials in which to portion and store bulk food items. Another con is the opportunity cost of having otherwise productive assets invested in a freezer and cupboard full of food. The main challenge is to discipline yourself to actually eat the stocked-up food and not just sit on it. Any other arguments from other mustachians?

Another con is that if you live in a mustachian (read: small) space, stocking up is not as possible due to lack of storage space.  And many non-Americans will not have a deep freeze, or even what we would consider a "normal" sized fridge.

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2015, 09:11:00 AM »
My big pro for stocking food is that my main grocery store is Grocery Outlet which has fantastic deals on stuff that is nearly out of date.  I wouldn't buy fresh fish this way but when they have one of their frequent 1lb/$1.00 cheese deals I buy 20 lb. and stick it in every cranny of the fridge.  Likewise when their cream cheese goes on for 6/$1.00 I buy 12 and put them in the freezer.

surfhb

  • Guest
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2015, 09:13:46 AM »
Just meal plan every week or go out and get your menu set up.   Buying lbs of meat at a time is just plan disgusting if you enjoy freshly cooked food.   

BarkyardBQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 667
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2015, 10:49:54 AM »
I'll add a thought to what some have already mentioned...

If you just buy in season you keep your costs pretty low, if you skip the eggs as prices go up and switch to another easy protein you keep the costs low.  Stocking up has this assumption that you can't weather a difference in the market and that is anti-Mustachian... working on your adaptability skills will help you save as well. Someone mentioned manager special or fresh meat with an expiration 2 days ahead, you can buy chicken and beef for meals that day/week and you can save about the same as stocking up on discounts, we buy fresh steaks not the specials though. The cost of an additional fridge/freezer could cost you more than your stocking specials.

If you fix your grocery budget* to a defined amount, if the price of something is more than usual you don't buy it, you substitute. If you can't get out of the store for your limit than you make a few adjustments.

*Budget's are also debatable, since you have to reduce your fixation on wants and focus on needs which controls your spending... mentality vs rigidity. But it you want something, blow that budget item and make a fancy dinner, invite friends over, and try to make it up somewhere else...especially if the end result is the same monthly savings.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 11:05:13 AM by zdravé »

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4805
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2015, 12:23:18 PM »
See, these arguments against stocking food assume you cannot produce any of your own food and must buy it all. I'd say that's Antimustachian.

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 318
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2015, 12:59:40 PM »
I think there can be some benefits to stocking up on food when you see good prices. The biggest one that we see is that by eating out of our pantry (and our weekly CSA box), we don't go to the store very frequently, which means we are less likely to make impulse purchases, which can add up (my husband is particularly vulnerable to this, since he always goes to the store on his way home from working out, and is starving). So if freezer meat works for you, then do it.

cripzychiken

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 194
  • Location: Central Florida
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2015, 05:03:46 PM »
To add my 2 cents on the bulk buying foods:

Pros - lower cost per meal (able to buy when on sale), more choices each night (more food in freezer/pantry to pick from), fewer trips required to the store

Cons - extra space/electricity, less fresh foods, harder to try new/random recipes (always trying to fit into what you already have).

Personally, we bulk buy pantry items, freezer veggies, and ground meats.  Fresh/weekly buy milk, eggs, chicken, fruits and veggies.  We don't have a deep freezer, but a large pantry, so that is part of what drives the choice for us.


As for the start-up costs, focus on only 1 or 2 items at first.  So you've started stocking your pantry/freezer, so wait a month or 3 before replacing light bulbs.  Spread the purchases out (while looking for sales). 

StockBeard

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 632
  • Age: 37
    • How To Retire Early?
Re: Transition to Mustachianism
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2015, 08:53:45 PM »
Did anyone else notice a paradoxical increase in monthly spending when transitioning to Mustachianism?
Yes. Our first 4 months have seen similar increases. Some of the choices you make mean increasing some "upfront" cost and saving on the long term (for us this includes paying a bigger rent after deciding to move close to my job so we wouldn't need a car). We started seeing significant results on the 5th and 6th months.