WOW! Who would have thought that in just 1 month (the official anniversary is tomorrow on the 16th) that we would have made so many changes. Seriously, this Mr. Money Mustache lifestyle is so worth it. Who wouldn’t like to retire early? And it is so clear to me that it is 100% possible and doable now (even though my parents totally did it!). Many looking to plan their finances for retirement will use sites like SoFi for information on things like IRAs and 401k.
It all started with a Tim Ferris podcast interview with the Mustachian Man himself… Mr. Money Mustache. You can listen to that here. I listened while I was on a quick run, and holy shizz it felt like a revolution in my Soul. Dramatic I know, but for real. This is powerful stuff.
We are the typical suburban family in the Dallas Metroplex (although I am crunchier and hippier — is that a word? Let’s go with “more hippie like” than most of my neighbors and friends). As zen as I am, it took me until my 30s (okay, mid-30’s) to get to a point where I give “zeros” about what other people think of me. Prior to that I gave lots of f&#ks about what friends and family and even strangers might think. Weird, I know…but I would bet many of you do too.
You know the drill, keeping up with the Jones’s… come to find out the Jones family works 80 hours a week, is up to their eyeballs in stuff, maintains a huge house, car payments, fast boat, marina slips, really up to their eyeballs in debt, despite a shockingly high income, fiscal irresponsibility, and waste. That’s the thing though, debt can hit anyone. It’s important to try and avoid debt if possible. Not only can it cause a lot of stress and worry, it can also have a negative impact on an individual’s future. Debt can lower a credit score, reducing the chances of banks borrowing you money. Although my friend recently sent me this link here explaining that you can build your credit score up by using credit cards. That’s one way to increase the chances of getting a loan in the future. Hopefully, we can manage our money well enough to avoid debt like the Jones’s.
We have been truly blessed with the hubs working hard and raking in the moola for us, and frankly with a consumption driven lifestyle there is no end in sight until he is 65. We want to spend time as a family, without the stress of a corporate job.
We were already the family that shunned amusement parks and typical “fun” stuff. Really even my kids despise them. We’re barefoot and outside most of the time, any find true joy in working with our hands. When we really examined it, we were living in duality. It’s a lot to keep up with.
So along came Mr. Money Mustache, and this post here where I tried on his lifestyle. I rode my bike on my errands. Freakin’ liberating! Since then it has been an all out battle on slashing ridiculous costs and even trading my car AND I look at everything we purchase in a 10 year window… even a cup of coffee.
Here’s how we instantly begin saving $1395 a month:
Cable Bill: So yeah, we had a big fat satellite bill. It was just about at $200 a month. We love live sports (particularly football) so this was a tough one to figure out. Not to mention the area we built in doesn’t have any internet options other than slow ass DSL, so streaming can be difficult. But nonetheless we found a great option and cut our bill down to $25 per month + Netflix $7.99 per month. This offered a total savings of $167 per month or $28,892 over 10 years. (I will put together a full post on my findings soon.)
Mobile Phone: Cell phones are another tough one, I can see cutting this further as we near our FIRE date but for now, we switched providers and plans, and cut our monthly hit from $325 to $107 (and they gave us a free iPad to do it.) That saves us $218 per month or $37,714 over 10 years.
Grocery Bill: DAYUM, we were wasting some food and money around this place. Our grocery bill was $1200-1400, for a family of 4 (2 adults, a 2 girls 6 and 8). We have cut it to about $500 (still working that one down). I would like to see it drop further and I expect that it will with my garden and some additional frugal grocery budget moves. You can check out my primer here on what we are doing, I will go more into detail very soon. But that saves us about $700-900 a month or $121,000-$155,700 over 10 years.
Overgrown 11mpg SUV: Yeah, one of the first things that I considered to free up some cash, was trading my (paid for) 2010 Nissan Armada for something small, useful, economical, and cash-buyable. And I did, I traded for 2015 Kia Soul (~35mpg) clean title with 26k miles on it (read 40k more miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty) and the dealer paid me $2015 to take it.
Miles per week: I’m still working this one out, because I didn’t track it previously, but we bike most places. And with the trade of the vehicle above, and biking places we can, we are banking $160 instead of spending it on gas each month.
Fun Budget: We live within walking distance of the lake, have a creek in our backyard, and acres of forest behind us. It’s all outside baby! Plus we got library cards too for when it’s too cold, rainy, etc to be outside. We budgeted $100 per month for miscellaneous fun, and thus far haven’t spent it.
Stuff-itis: We have been selling off stuff and donating stuff like CRAZY people. Seriously, I’m sure our neighbors are scratching their heads wondering what I am up to with the number of people I have coming in and out of our little gated community. There are probably rumor mills a churning, LOL. This is our final month in our storage unit, so that will save $150 per month (or $25,950 over 10 years), not to mention all the cash I have made on my online garage sale “side-hustle.” I’ve been looking into lots of other ways that I can make money and I’ve got a few ideas. One of my friends suggested that I try gambling on somewhere like the site paybyphonebillcasino.uk as a way to make money. I have to admit, I don’t know much about gambling so I’ll have to practice a bit first! It seems like a good idea though. I’ve also thought of starting a Youtube channel as I’ve heard you can make a lot of money on there too. My wife has been learning about the benefits of app jobs like Uber and she sounds really interested in that. There are so many options so if you’re looking for a side hustle you’ll be spoilt for choice!
We have set an aggressive goal of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) of 5 years, which includes paying off our mortgage. I can see that happening faster, if we elect to change up our swanky digs in exchange for another area or home. I am intrigued by the tiny home movement (although tiny for us would be 600-1000 square feet and it would require some more outdoor perks).
Think the mustachian movement is right for you? I like things to happen fast, if you are the type that likes quick results, then start small with your changes so you can get some wins quickly. We are aggressively changing as much as possible BUT it takes time to undo some of the fiscally ridiculous things we have done… like contracts on $200 satellite bills and storage units. As much as I would like this to be a light switch type situation, where “poof” I can undo decades of ridiculous consumerism, it’s not. But change is happening!
What questions do you have? Where can you stop the hemorrhage?
Prefer to listen to a sa-weet southern accent talk about this shizzle? Check out the Podcast: