Finance: Living the Good Life on Less, Or, Ode to Mr. Money Mustache

 

There’s a shocking number of people who really don’t like their job, live for the precious and elusive weekend, or just feel like money is tight.

These Weekend Warriors are like me in many ways: They enjoy travel, adventure and sleeping in, good food, fun, family and flexibility. But they’re also fundamentally different: They roll up to work in nice cars (the dealership gave them a great deal), grasping double tall lattes between manicured digits. Every couple weeks there’s a cute new dress and naturally, a matching pair of shoes.

They don’t see a problem with paying $75 a month for cellphone bills. They don’t like buying used clothing or furniture, and regularly indulge in fast food and lattes because it’s only $5 bucks and they they deserve it. Life’s not complete without cable tv and lots of outings on the town.

In small quantities, none of these things are harmful (except for the car loan and cable tv- those, my friends, are terrible). And anyone who knows me knows I love going out for coffee and chocolate treats. But the reality is, people are bleeding money. It’s just oozing out and they don’t even know it.

I was one of those suckers until recently, before my sisters convinced me I needed to start reading Mr. Money Mustache. They bugged me about it for months; it was super annoying, and I indignantly refused because I thought I was already doing pretty well for myself.

They saw this: single girl making a salary as a teacher, no kids, no hubby, no silly debt (save for a whopping $30,000 in student loans for my masters degree, and a $245,000 mortgage…), with all the potential in the world to save money like a squirrel hoarding nuts and eventually leave the endless weekend-warrior cycle for good, with no negative impact to her quality of life whatsoever.

I saw this: single girl working her butt off making a teacher’s salary, little room for financial changes, exhausted after a day of 75 boisterous 7th graders, and not ‘treating’ herself to dinners out, double-tall-hazelnut-soy-lattes-extra-whip-with-a-brownie-on-the-side and the occasional shopping spree?!?! Heeeeck no! I ‘deserved’ that stuff! No way was I gonna give up my soy lattes, sister(s).

But as fate would have it, on November 22nd, 2012, curiosity got the better of me and I finally discovered my guru

Mr. Money Mustache in the flesh at a meet-up in Seattle. He bought me a beer for being the first person to show up on a bicycle! 2nd up was my brother in law!
Mr. Money Mustache in the flesh at a meet-up in Seattle. He bought me a beer for being the first person to show up on a bicycle! 2nd up was my brother in law!

And BAM! In a couple hours, a brand new girl was born!

And all thanks to my bothersome sisters, my life changed forever. I couldn’t stop reading; Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, until I had read every single word written and annoyed the bejesus out of my boyfriend by talking about nothing else. Literally. Yes, it turned into a ‘minor’ obsession, but all the better in the long run. I needed a serious change (albeit unbeknownst to me), and there it was, burning out my retinas in the wee hours of the night.

The gist: You don’t like your job? Money is tight? You can’t afford to adventure? If you’re lucky enough to be sitting in front of a computer you own, you can probably change those things. You don’t have to work nearly as much as you think you do if you just learn to live a great, but frugal, lifestyle. Or you can work hard, learn to save it, and in 10 years (or even less), retire. If you love your job right now, you’ll love it even more when you aren’t forced into it.

Do you want to learn to become more financially free? 

Don’t worry! Insights into this new world, plus manageable tips, coming soon.

 

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