May 09, 2016

Investigating Rigorous Frugality With Mr. Money Mustache

created at: 05/08/2016Mr. Money Mustache is a one of kind guy who runs a blog specializing in "financial freedom--through badassity." His extreme devotion to practical frugality, the DIY aesthetic, and a re-using ethic has inspired many people to live a more care-free lifestyle, unburdened by much of the materialism we find around us. But as this poignant New Yorker article points out, there's a whole lot more to it...    I want to say briefly that I think it's very easy to fall into an echo chamber of millennial men talking about how they're "not materialistic, [they] just want a few quality things -- a good minimalist lifestyle." Now, personally, I subscribe quite hard to that belief and I've lived in accordance with that idea to varying degrees of rigidity at different times in my life. However I see how it can become a near fetish and people can become manic in their pursuit for the transcendent minimalist lifestyle. Which I normally wouldn't even bring up since I think mainstream cultures could use a little bit of a push in this direction, except that this is a place where a lot of us are attracted to quality things coupled with a minimalist aesthetic. 

This article in the New Yorker struck me as a thoughtful meditation on the realities of adhering to a minimalist lifestyle in the modern era and how one man chooses to navigate those difficult decisions for himself and his family. I was inspired by his ideas and his fortitude, while it also made me re-evaluate the imporantance of "minimalism" and frugality. I'd love to hear some thoughts from those of you that check out the article or from those of you who are more familiar with the Mr. Money Mustache website.

Here is the link to the New Yorker article.


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bruno on May 12, 2016:

@shadow - thanks for sharing. I agree, some of his tips/advice might not apply to everyone. For example, he gets health insurance for free through his wife, which loweres his monthly spending by about 6k/year. So for those of us (like me) who have to buy our own insurance, it makes it seem like we're doing something wrong.

I also think you have to take relationships into account ... just because you might be willing to cut your spending down drastically, doesn't mean your spouse/family wants to do that. So it's a question of balance.

That said, I agree the blog is totally worthwhile and inspiriing in many ways. 

Shadow on May 10, 2016:

I came across his blog through a podcast on the website The Art of Manliness. Was curious to see who this guy was and decided to start from the very beginning of his blog. Suffice it to say, I really enjoy his no-nonsense practicality when it comes to being Frugal. Plus he's just a down to Earth guy that throws in some humor whenever he gets the chance. 

I absolutley would recommend his blog. 

That being said, there are a few things I'd like to point out:

1. He lived with his parents until he graduated from a local college being able to save a boat load of money in college expenses + room and board. He left college debt free so he was already way a head of the game. 

2. Him and his wife were making really good money as software engineers and I believe he said his annual income was about $180k for a few years until he decided to "retire" from the workforce. They lived very modestly and socked away a ton of money.

3. With all that money, he invested in a Vanguard mutual fund ($600k) and can live off the dividends 

4. Started his own handyman business for whenever they need extra cash


So if you have student loan debt, live in a house with a mortgage, or don't make $180k, you probably won't be able to do what he did at age 35, but he still has very good points on reducing your expenses overrall, insourcing (learning new skills and being creative for entertainment) rather than outsourcing (paying for goods and services).