Author Topic: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015  (Read 30865 times)

Maya

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #100 on: January 04, 2016, 08:11:22 PM »
My phone is pay as you go with bell. No data, unlimited texts and calls at 50c per min. I don't use it except for emergencies and just text. Basically so daycare can reach me if kids need something.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #101 on: January 05, 2016, 05:56:47 AM »
And I thought my cell phone was good!  But I find I am using my cell as my primary phone and my house phone is my secondary phone, an extra $10 with Fido.  But one way or the other we both have a cheap second phone - win!

My phone is pay as you go with bell. No data, unlimited texts and calls at 50c per min. I don't use it except for emergencies and just text. Basically so daycare can reach me if kids need something.
The measure of civilization is how people treat one another.

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RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #102 on: January 05, 2016, 06:00:28 AM »
I think you can max your RRPs but not claim it, or only claim part.  So you can get the advantage of longer investment time, by investing as you have room, but optimizing your tax benefit.  Not 100% sure about this, say 95%, so check it out, but if you have the money it might be worth doing.

Costa Rica - I hope that was in February?  There comes a point when even the toughest Canadian can be lured to warm beaches.  ;-)

- Contributed to my RRSP (just enough to lower myself to lowest tax bracket, but leaving enough left-over for when I make a higher income).
- Took a frugal and lovely vacation to Costa Rica (counting it as a win because it makes me insanely happy and the two weeks cost as much as my paycheck was for those two weeks... so not too bad).
The measure of civilization is how people treat one another.

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RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #103 on: January 05, 2016, 06:11:14 AM »
@K20 - a lot of this sounded like my last few years - then I clicked and you are a guy.  We should link your spendy ex-wife up with my spendy ex-husband - think how happy they would be together  ;-)   I just want to know how you managed to get all that debt transferred to her - I am stuck with half of ours.  It is amazing how easy it is to live relatively frugally once the spendy person is not involved. And often there is plenty of money to fulfill ours wants as well as our needs, once we are not subsidizing the spender.

Off to find your journal - Hawaii,mmm.  Hope you have pictures! ETA - did the journal search,couldn't find you.  Address in journals?

Maybe you could link your journal at the bottom of your posts?  Given that you wrote "I'd be interested in your thoughts on my transformation."

Started to make some changes after my 25 yr. spendy marriage ended in May 2015. Since then...

- got rid of $300,000 in total line of credit and mortgage debt -- all transferred to spendy former spouse. Current total debt $0
- stayed in a friend's cottage on a lake gratis for two months post marriage
- let my hair grow since May
- sold my 2012 Jeep and am now happily car-free
- cancelled my CAA membership
- bought a decent used bike, negotiated a half-off list price deal
- started to eat more vegetables and less meat
- learning to cook healthier, cheaper meals: trading computer lessons for cooking lessons
- cancelled my Sirius XM subscription that I had for 5 years.
- didn't re-up my Flickr paid account
- disconnected, deleted the app., zeroed the balance and said goodbye to a 6 yr. Starbucks habit
- now brewing my own coffee rather than going out
- stopped buying stuff
- simplified my wardrobe: currently 2 T-shirts and 2 Aloha shirts 6 to 10 workout gear items
- currently living a re-boot dream 2nd of 5th month in Hawai'i - will go home with more $ than when I arrived
- brought only carry-on luggage and my bike to Hawai'i for my 5 months here
- reduced eating out to once-a-month while trying not to think of restaurants as a food source
- didn't renew my Costco membership: will go with a friend to use her card (today in fact)
- started to walk 2 miles 2-3 times per week
- continue to swim or ride a bike 3-4 times per week
- lost 32 pounds after my retirement 2yrs. ago

I feel very fortunate that I listened to my parents in the 70s and went to university and got a job with a defined benefit pension that will see me through for the rest of my life. Life is good as I've always tried to be a glass-full kind of thinker. I discovered MMM just before Christmas so you can imagine my excitement while reading his posts and knowing I was already a follower. Bonus that MMM is a Canadian like me.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on my transformation.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 10:56:48 AM by RetiredAt63 »
The measure of civilization is how people treat one another.

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HenryDavid

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #104 on: January 05, 2016, 10:58:15 AM »
Been doing something like MMM for years, having read YMOYL in the 90s, so lots of the easy stuff was done (one cheap car, little driving, cheap house, LCOL, biking, DIY) . . . however.
-entirely stopped with the remaining coffee-shop trips at work, in fact any/all food at work: -$800 /year
-finally stopped paying for haircuts! -$350 /year
-annual re-negotiation of insurance etc. -$400 /year

And so on . . . but the main thing is:
-only worked 75% and lived for all of 2015 on the amount that will be available in retirement (from a work pension and SWR from savings).
This worked out perfectly, including much travel and luxurious living (i.e. wine and nice food). Yes there's STILL room to cut back if ever needed.

So this was "pre-tirement" year 1 of 2. Pension kicks in after that.
Sort of a glide path toward total freedom to "work" ONLY at "fun stuff that doesn't really pay." Or not at all.
Loved the extra time/freedom and did not miss the foregone cash. There's no substitute for experiencing, in part, the life you are planning.
Proved that the (also foregone) extra savings I might have piled up by working 100% are also not gonna be required. So . . . onward.
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MasterStache

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #105 on: January 05, 2016, 12:13:44 PM »
Lots of great people making good changes. Congrats to you all. I'll keep my list short and sweet
  • Downsized our home reducing our mortgage roughly 40%
  • Paid off all remaining debt
  • Traveled more (2 actual vacations and 2 hiking/camping trips)
  • Made significant home improvements
  • Biked much more, as opposed to driving
  • Started getting in shape again (continuing into 2016)
  • More than doubled our savings rate

Lancchick

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #106 on: January 05, 2016, 01:26:24 PM »
Yes, congratulations to all for more mindful living.

In 2015:
-I discovered the MMM website
-I started the FIRE conversation/research with my husband.
-Purchased an income property (currently making improvements to rent February 1, 2016)
-Started eating out much less
-Started to develop an attitude of gratefulness for having a relatively rich, safe, and fantastic life.
-Negotiated for a much lower internet rate with Time Warner Cable.
-Cut my cell phone data plan and what I pay
-Discovered I could read the Washington Post online for free instead of $10/month by using my graduate student email account. Also went from paying $20/mo for the NYT online to $7.50/mo.
-Cancelled my $5/mo Consumer Reports online subscription. (I kind of regret that. The rate is now $8/mo.)
-Bought a used VW Golf TDI right after the scandal which saved me close to $2,000 on the purchase price. I now get fuel at most twice a month as opposed to every 10 days. Sold my 2001 RAV4 for $4,400 (above Blue Book).
-Got LASIK
-Finished Invisalign
-And, began purging my closet of clothes and shoes I don't wear anymore.

Wow, that was cathartic. I had no idea how much stuff I accomplished last year. And there's so much more I didn't list.

Merrie

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #107 on: January 11, 2016, 06:22:50 PM »
I feel like 2015 was the year we started to get our finances back on the rails after years of living a faintly frugal version of the typical North American spendypants lifestyle. Things we did:

-Started a budget spreadsheet to get a handle on what we were spending where and allocate money at the beginning of the month.
-Learned to live within budget categories rather than spending stuff and then trying to wedge it into the budget (this was the big one for my husband, that I've been pushing for for a long time).
-Got funds established for recurring fixed and variable expenses (insurance, car repairs, etc.)
-Practiced more at thinking over how to solve non-urgent problems over the long term rather than just throwing money at them. 
-Started using our rewards credit card for everything to get rewards points. (paying off credit cards each month.)
-Joined Costco and learned to shop there; got a Costco card and are using it to get rewards points.
-Improved our home's energy efficiency by insulating the attic, insulating various gaps in the basement, and replacing the ancient water heater and HVAC system with energy-efficient versions.
-Cooked at home more and ate out a lot less, making it a conscious decision each time we ate out.
-I stopped buying food at work and cut down a lot of my spending at work by shopping less frequently and not stockpiling. (I work for a drugstore; the food there is all convenience food and it tastes lousy. And I don't need to have 5 bottles of shampoo in the closet gathering dust.)
-Instead of buying a new couch when our old one started to fall apart, rebuilt our old one and also made new cushions for a used one we got from our neighbor, yielding 2 fresh couches for $400 or so.
-Refinanced my student loan to cut the interest rate from 6.8% to 5.365%.
-Got serious about making extra payments on student loan rather than paying extra only when we had the money.
-Upped my 401k contribution rate from 8% to 12% (and to 13% this last week) and contributed $5500 to an IRA for my husband.
-Started biking more frequently and bought a cargo bike secondhand.
-Did our taxes myself and learned a lot about tax planning that informed my approach for 2015 and going forward.

Plans for 2016:
-Potentially refinance house if we can get down to 80% loan to value and thereby ditch PMI. We are sitting on about 10k of money from my husband's parents that may get us there.
-Hoping to pay off one student loan entirely and I think we can do it.
-Hoping to fence off garden so we can start gardening more--the deer ate most of our garden this last year.
-Hoping to de-landscape some parts of our yard so we have more time for productive gardening and don't have all these ugly under-maintained patches.
-Hoping to max out 401k after getting a promotion at work, though I'm not sure this'll happen.

That's a decent list, though I feel like realistically we are only at the start of a long process. I feel like I have made a lot of progress in terms of my mindset and my husband has made some, though not as much as I'd hope for. But I'll keep on trucking.

Nickyd£g

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #108 on: January 12, 2016, 06:41:07 AM »
Great thread!  Since I discovered MMM, I have:

* Tracked my spending, made a budget and started throwing money at debt
* Changed jobs to a permanent role - a little further away than my old job, where I was a contracter, which does involve spending £30 a month on a train ticket, but it is roughly the same wage and has great benefits, I can see me staying until I retire
* Enrolled in the company pension plan, with a 9% match
*Walk EVERYWHERE possible.  I even got a little shopping trolley on wheels and walk to and from the grocery store weekly
*Switched to Lidl (Aldi equivelant) for groceries
* Turned off heating, lights etc as much as possible, resulting in a £400 return from my electric company
* Sold quite a few items online, got approx £400 in profit
* Painted my spare room myself rather than get in a decorator
* Seriously cut down my at home wine consumption

While I have never had cable, not had a car for several years and have always made my own lunches, I never knew where my money was going.  MMM has changed that, as well as helping me declutter my life and home and get healthier.  I am now on track to pay off my debt and get saving within the next two years, and while I won't retire early - well, I hope to be 60 rather than the expected 67, I will be FI by 48 - I'm 45 right now.
A goal without a plan is just a wish

TheFirstMan

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #109 on: January 20, 2016, 07:48:43 PM »
This is an awesome thread. Congrats on your progress!

Here's my list of 2015 financial accomplishments:

- began tracking expenses in Mint in earnest
- reduced restaurant spending by 50% or more
- switched from Verizon to Cricket for mobile phones - savings of nearly $100/mo
- cut my electricity bills in half by using my windows the old fashioned way
- quit Starbucksing myself (except when using a cc reward gift card)
- made lump payments to student loans (about a third of the principal) in addition to regular monthly payments
- paid off my husband's (@#$%!) car loan in full using summer salary
- moved savings account from BOA to a mix of high interest accounts at 5%: Netspend/Brinks/Ace Elite plus Ally at 1% for immediate access
- quintupled my 401k monthly contribution and maxed our IRAs
- earned about $1300 cash in credit card churns plus over $200k miles (taking my husband on trip to Europe for less than $100/person soon!)
- earned about $1400 selling stuff in attic/garage on Craigslist, yard sale etc.
- refinanced my mortgage from 30 years at 5% to 15 years at %2.875
- Began buying most of my work clothing second-hand on Poshmark
- Started an HSA now that my employer is offering and signed up for payroll contributions that will max it next year

Can you tell more about this one?

"- moved savings account from BOA to a mix of high interest accounts at 5%: Netspend/Brinks/Ace Elite plus Ally at 1% for immediate access"

TheFirstMan

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #110 on: January 20, 2016, 08:14:14 PM »
Since starting to grow my mustache in late 2014...

-lost 20 lbs and kept it off

-started biking to work in mid-May and got over 1900 miles in by year-end

-developed an amazing oatmeal recipe (cheap + healthy + delicious = trifecta!)

-built a small cold frame for the garden to extend the growing season

-started to use our crockpot

-decreased my caffeine consumption

-got two promotions, for a raise of 25%

-sold mutual funds with high expense ratios, bought Vanguard

-sold a lame life insurance policy, bought Vanguard

-sold some expensive hobby gear for $2,000, bought Vanguard

-started renting our place on Airbnb, earning $2500 in 7 months

-opened 529s for the kids

-maxed 401Ks and IRAs for the first time

-started getting credit card bonuses, leading to a free cross-country train trip for our family

-took advantage of some bank account promos, earning 500, with another 300 almost in

-started raising livestock, learning a lot, getting very cheap, very high quality meat and eggs, and pocketing $400

-hit a savings rate of 44% (which will increase in 2016 due to our household income rising)

-went through everything we own and got rid of a couple car loads

-switched cell phone providers, saving over $1000 on the year

-switched car and home insurance, saving about $700 for the year

-"downgraded" a car, putting another $7000 in the bank

-got equipment to switch my beer-brewing to all-grain (and save more)

-got at least 3 others into MMM : )

« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 08:26:13 PM by TheFirstMan »

CashFlowTurtle

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #111 on: January 21, 2016, 12:19:00 PM »
The wife and I started the mustachian lifestyle changes in 2014, mostly before finding this website (although I think reading the website has been helpful for her). There is one undeniable mustachian item I've picked up in 2015:

*** eating fistfuls of almonds for an occasional mid-day snack ***

YoungRetire

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #112 on: January 21, 2016, 08:40:51 PM »
I'm going to make a change in 2015.  I'm going to search more seat cushions for free change to put onto my mortgage ! I'm getting the F out of debt !

FrugalFan

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #113 on: January 26, 2016, 11:34:53 AM »
It kind of feels like things are at a standstill now but looking back we did make a lot of changes:

Transferred funds away from active management and into index ETFS
Increased our savings rate by a lot
Improved energy efficiency
Cut back on spending
Sold some things we didn't need
Started getting more credit card rewards

I'd like to set some specific goals for 2016 too.

angelagrace

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #114 on: January 26, 2016, 12:26:40 PM »
Great job everyone! Some 2015 highlights:

-worked my ass off at my job, got 15% raise enabling hubby to stay home with our baby and not pay for childcare, while he does side hustles and works on adding value to our home
-had our first baby, the old fashioned way! We did a home birth with awesome nurse midwives, the whole thing including pre- and post-partum care cost $2500 (would have paid our full $5000 deductible if we did a hospital birth). More importantly, had a beautiful empowering experience, drug-free (and yes it did hurt like hell but I now know I am super woman!)
-all baby gear was basically given to us as gifts! We've spent very little on her.
-needed a suit for hubby since he was getting ordained, scored a massive sale at Joseph A. Bank and got 75% off. I mention this because it was a huge win! Got a super nice suit for $200! The sales lady said she'd never seen a deal that good there.
-cut down on food wasting in our house big time, which allowed us to buy more organic. Been shopping mostly at Costco and sales recently. Making our own baby food too of course.
-lost weight without dieting or gym by being thankful for my food and not overeating, breastfeeding (the most amazing diet ever), and going on walks here and there. Baby gets great nutrition for free while using up my fat stores. A win-win!
-working on decluttering big time after reading Marie Kondo. Loving it! Selling extra stuff.
-put in garden beds
-upped my 401k contribution, and our company started doing a better match woo!
-started cutting my own hair and hubby's hair and realized I'm super good at haircuts haha! About to try my own balayage highlights soon...
-focusing more on what truly matters to us--God, family, etc.
-learned how to make delicious food for gatherings and potlucks using cheap ingredients. Bread, eggs, popcorn, etc--people love it and I don't spend much!
-also I do use a lady cup as some mentioned above, but again, breastfeeding is also amazing in that it delays getting your cycle back, so I haven't had to deal with that all year! Woo!
-working on paying off all debt as fast as possible including the house so we can just work part time things we love (our version of FIRE--we are artists)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 12:49:49 PM by angelagrace »

CorpRaider

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #115 on: January 26, 2016, 04:05:32 PM »
Cut cable!!!  It's going to be hard to do without sports (and a few other channels), but going to make a run at it!

elcheapo

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #116 on: January 26, 2016, 04:13:53 PM »
Neat thread. Here's the life changes/accomplishments for 2015, for both my wife and I.

FIRE'd (both)

Got pregnant (wife)

Self-published some books (wife)

Got rid of all the stuff we owned, save two backpacks (both)

Started full time traveling the world as nomads (both)

Walked 500 miles on El Camino de Santiago (both)

You really walked 500 miles ? You are my hero !

arebelspy

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #117 on: January 26, 2016, 05:50:59 PM »
You really walked 500 miles ? You are my hero !

It's simultaneously not as hard as it sounds, and really difficult.  :P
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

elcheapo

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #118 on: January 27, 2016, 12:12:55 AM »
You really walked 500 miles ? You are my hero !

It's simultaneously not as hard as it sounds, and really difficult.  :P

Thats a ton of exercise Good Job !  Saved gas also !

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #119 on: January 27, 2016, 09:46:09 AM »

-Cancelled my $5/mo Consumer Reports online subscription. (I kind of regret that. The rate is now $8/mo.)


FYI, check out your local library, because mine allows me to access Consumer Reports online (from my home) for free.

EcoCanuck

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #120 on: January 27, 2016, 09:50:48 AM »
Useful and Inspiring thread.

2015:
- Took a job in a new country. Doubled my salary. Expenses went up 100% but new salary more than covered it.
- Turned down a car for the job and took the rideshare offered instead - saved on gas, insurance, maintenance, parking (x2).
- Eliminated (multiple) daily coffee purchases. Enjoy one on the weekend - because you do need to reward yourself.
- Prepare my own lunches / dinners
- Lived in a hotel for 1 month during relocation. Reversed my routine to eat a large breakfast (included in hotel), stocked up on fruit at the hotel for snacks. Made sandwiches for lunch. No kitchen in the hotel but cleared out the minifridge and filled it with fruit/veg and made salads for dinner.
- Stocked up on free shampoo/soap/tea/coffee from hotel for a month.
- Took short local vacations, had friends/family visit and explored with them.
- Read a few financial books.

2016 Goals:
- Work as hard as possible.
- Learn more about investing / start investing properly.
- Have baby #1! ........................... (without mat leave benefits)
- Secure good insurance to cover expanding family
- Continue saving like crazy until whatevers next.
- Study side hustle opportunities for 2017+ (will be too busy in 2016 to start anything)

Bumperpuff

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #121 on: January 27, 2016, 03:46:27 PM »
In 2015 I:
cut my grocery bill in half
Cut my restaurant expenses by 30% (mostly spent while traveling for work)
Cut my spending on recreation and alcohol by 50%
Bought a bike
Moved several thousand dollars from a savings account to stocks
Began contributing to my 401k

in 2016 I plan to:
cut my grocery bill by 30%
further reduce restaurant expenses
Ride my bike to and from work (28 miles round trip) all summer
Fully fund my 401k

Ms Maggie

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Re: Mustachian Life Changes made in 2015
« Reply #122 on: January 27, 2016, 04:30:08 PM »
2015! A big year!!

-I discovered MMM! (July)
-Finished grad school
-Got a new job and increased income by 40%
-Opened my first 401k
-Became a YNAB user
-Started paying down debt like a wild child!
-Opened a savings account that actually does something
-Moved apartments and cut my train/bus commute by 30 min!
-Fixed my car door by myself for $5.99 and got words of encouragement from a dude walking by as I labored
-Procured a bike
-Procured a library card
-Evangelized MMM to anyone who would listen
-Became a homesteader and learned to make fancy lady staples such as almond milk, veggie broth, and hummus

2016:
-GOODBYE credit card debt (Feb 7th!!! so close)
-Begin the student loan trudge. (Feb 8th...)
-contibute the matched amount to my 401k
-Figure out what investing entails...
-Work towards my dream job situation day-by-day, minute-by-minute!