Confessions of a Bad Mustachian

A brief intro­duc­tion before we begin: Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache is arguably one of the biggest names in the FIRE sphere. He retired at the age of 33 and has been writ­ing his blog for the last 6 years. You can find him at www.mrmoneymustache.com.

Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache, or as I and many oth­ers know him, Pete, is in the top 5 of most influ­en­tial peo­ple in my life. Right up there with my favorite teach­ers, Girl Scout lead­ers and camp coun­selors, and for­mer man­agers.

I first found Pete’s blog some­time around my junior year of col­lege (2011−2012 ish). To say it imme­di­ate­ly blew my mind is a very mild under­state­ment.

He lit­er­al­ly changed the course of my entire life for the bet­ter.

If I hadn’t found his site, chances are I wouldn’t have stum­bled across this finan­cial inde­pen­dence world until much lat­er. Who knows how many dumb mis­takes I would’ve made before that!

Fun­ny nei­ther of us have changed much in 2 years!

I met Pete in the very-tanned-flesh for the first time at my first Chau­tauqua. You can read the linked post above for a quick over view of why the trip was so amaz­ing, and get a small inkling of the rea­sons I’m eager­ly await­ing this year’s Chau­tauqua!

He was a big part of why I enjoyed the trip so much. Every­one who goes on the trip gets a one-on-one with one of the “Big Bloggers/Speakers”. Mine was with Pete. We went over all my finan­cials, talked about future plans and what I should do in a few dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, and then spent the rest of the time gos­sip­ing like lit­tle old ladies about var­i­ous things in life.

I was a lit­tle over 2 years into my FI life at that point. Hav­ing some­one, let alone Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache him­self, review my finances and help me plan for the future was HUGE. It was all the val­i­da­tion I need­ed and more to keep going with this crazy finan­cial inde­pen­dence idea.

He has impact­ed so many dif­fer­ent aspects of my life that I’m not sure I can list them all [but of course I’m going to give it a shot any­ways]. Note that these all fall under the blan­ket of things I’m doing to work towards ear­ly retire­ment.

Hous­ing

I was heav­i­ly influ­enced to live close to work to lessen the costs of gas, main­te­nance, and wear and tear on the car. I have picked out hous­ing for 4 dif­fer­ent loca­tions now, and none of them were fur­ther than 3 miles away from the office, with the excep­tion of my cur­rent place but we’ll cov­er that lat­er. Why would I live so close to work? So I can bike there!

Bik­ing

I have a beau­ti­ful Can­non­dale Quick bicy­cle. Her name is Jacque­line, or Jack for short since you know, Jack be nim­ble, Jack be Quick! Hah puns are the best. I rode my bike to the gym, to work, and even over to the near­by state park to run instead of dri­ving over there. I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have done so with­out his guid­ance and exam­ples that it can actu­al­ly be done.

Body­weight Fit­ness

That whole “ride my bike to the state park” thing was anoth­er way I was influ­enced. Why pay for a gym mem­ber­ship to run on a tread­mill when I have a thick­ly wood­ed, rolling 208 acre tract of land to run around for free? Now that I no longer live there, I instead bike up to the near­by out­door fit­ness set at the park and work out there.

DIY

See­ing his posts on all the work he’s done to his house, oth­er people’s hous­es, and his back­yard stu­dio inspires me to do my own hand­i­work. With my house being old, there’s a lot of work to be done on it! Unfor­tu­nate­ly it’s not in the best shape, so I’m pay­ing oth­er peo­ple to get it back into good shape and then I will main­tain it from there. This one might actu­al­ly be more of a wash at this point.

Car

My prac­ti­cal self bought my 2005 Pon­ti­ac Vibe even before I knew it was list­ed on Pete’s Top 10 Cars List. It goes to show you, though, how Pete’s phi­los­o­phy on life enhances my view on life. If I hadn’t found his site chances are high I would’ve bought a new car 1 or 2 years after grad­u­a­tion, instead of keep­ing my trusty car for as long as is prac­ti­cal. I’ve also done a lot of DIY main­te­nance on the car where­as before I would’ve just left it at a shop and paid some­one else to do it. YouTube is a won­der­ful thing!

I think that about con­cludes the list of things I’ve changed in my life because of his influ­ence.

Pete’s unique take on FI is known as Mus­tachi­an­ism. It goes from peo­ple who use it in some areas, like me, to peo­ple who live and breathe every­thing he says. Those on the lat­ter end of the scale can be more than a bit fanat­i­cal. (Some peo­ple- includ­ing Pete- joke he’s cre­at­ed a cult). The vast major­i­ty of Mus­tachi­ans I’ve met in real life have been very cool, very inter­est­ing, and very laid back.

Not so much in the com­ments of his arti­cles.

Good thing I was ready for it!

It became read­i­ly appar­ent after read­ing his lat­est arti­cle Hous­ton Attor­ney Thrives on Doing the Impos­si­ble — Dai­ly that there are still some things I dis­agree on.

AC

I am a huge fan of AC. Step­ping inside a cool NOT COLD house is the best feel­ing on a day that is 98 degrees with 90 per­cent humid­i­ty for a heat index well into the hun­dreds. Fun ran­dom fact, the dew point in the Mid­west gets pushed up sev­er­al degrees by all the corn dry­ing out lat­er in the sum­mer. I learned that a few years ago and it total­ly made sense.

Any­ways, my point is, it’s gets gross around here. I lit­er­al­ly can­not sleep some­times with­out AC. I’m not a Sto­ic by any means. I appre­ci­ate being able to con­tin­ue my life in cool com­fort dur­ing the apex of the sum­mer.

Same goes for AC in the car, minus the sleep­ing thing. Hav­ing your win­dow down on the inter­state at 70+ mph is a sure way to go deaf.

Speak­ing of.……

Car

Wait wasn’t this fur­ther up?” Yep.

Fun­ny how you can agree and dis­agree on a point. One of Pete’s catch phras­es is “clown cars”. He does not like it when peo­ple dri­ve.

The floor enjoys AC too.

My response? Too damn bad.

I live approx­i­mate­ly 12 miles from work. I can get there in rough­ly 20 min­utes dri­ving my air con­di­tioned car. The route to bike to work is rough­ly 14 miles long, cov­ers near­ly 300 feet of ele­va­tion drops AND gains, and would take well over an hour.

Part of the bike route is on a bike path.…. but that’s if it’s not flood­ed or closed due to a major road con­struc­tion project hap­pen­ing over it.

My job is also some­thing that pre­vents me from bik­ing. I go where my users are, and that means if they’re doing some­thing off­site, chances are I am too. Which means trav­el­ing from one loca­tion to anoth­er. Not some­thing they’re will­ing to let me take so much time for, and not some­thing I want to do attired in pro­fes­sion­al cloth­ing in weath­er that could range from -10 plus wind­chill to 100+ degrees.

Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache lives in a tem­per­ate area of Col­orado. It’s usu­al­ly very dry, sun­ny, and doesn’t get too cold in the win­ter despite hav­ing a moun­tain range in his fig­u­ra­tive back­yard. If they do get snow, it’s gone a few short days lat­er.

Us sor­ry schmucks that live in the Mid­west often have snow linger around the entire win­ter. We can go an entire week with­out see­ing the sun due to snow/rain/general gloom.

Gwen why don’t you just move clos­er to work so you can ride your bike?”

I live and work in two dif­fer­ent states. One of the states is a finan­cial mess with high tax­es. I save more by liv­ing in the oth­er state and dri­ving in every day than I could if I lived close and biked in.

So.…. where does this leave you now?”

It leaves me unashamed­ly dri­ving to work every­day.

When I fin­ish up this chap­ter of my life, I will be sure to move to a walk­a­ble area with bet­ter weath­er.

Until then, I’ll con­tin­ue to be a “com­plainy-pants, ‘sog­gy’ Mil­len­ni­al”!

To those of you who reached out after see­ing the com­ment sec­tion of MMM’s arti­cle, I real­ly appre­ci­ate the words of sup­port! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this are­na! 🙂

Are you a bad Mus­tachi­an? Let me know in the com­ments!

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56 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bad Mustachian

  1. Oh lawd, this is so good to hear. I’ve always been a naughty Mus­tachi­an with my cars and A/C. I do get his point, but I mean, c’mon. In Texas A/C ain’t an option, Pete. Lol. 🙂

    But I do like his no-non­sense atti­tude; I think that’s what makes his approach so effec­tive. You can’t save mon­ey if you’re mak­ing excus­es all the time, after all. I think we just took his approach and mold­ed it to fit our own lives. Thanks, Pete! 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pinch­er recent­ly post­ed…Life Insur­ance: Scam or Life­line?My Profile

    • I’ve been in Texas in the sum­mer with lim­it­ed access to A/C and it sucked. Def­i­nite­ly not an option there!

      After all, doing some­things like he says is bet­ter than doing no things like he says!

  2. MMM wouldn’t be MMM if he said “Oh, that’s cool, Gwen. Your unique sit­u­a­tion per­mits you to side­step your badas­si­ty until retire­ment”.

    His voice is there to con­stant­ly chal­lenge us and raise our aware­ness that we can ALWAYS do bet­ter and that if we don’t, that is our choice and that we need to own the con­se­quences. No com­plain­ing!

    I have two dogs that are a sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial bur­den, but I wouldn’t swap them for any­thing in the world. Joy and love trumps mon­ey. And that is my choice! And at the end of the day, I think Pete cares more about hap­pi­ness than finances. 🙂

    • That’s a fair point. Only by being so harsh online in his MMM per­sona can he get peo­ple to think. For me at this stage in my life it would be tough for me to do much bet­ter. I could prob­a­bly find one or two areas to improve but I’m not sure the effort is worth it.

      ARGH. You just made me remem­ber I was going to include pets and paper nap­kins in my list. I love my floof and I’m so hap­py he’s here with me.… even if he costs me mon­ey 🙂

  3. MMM was also our first expo­sure to the FI world a lit­tle over a year and a half ago. I tried to be a “good” mus­tachi­an by keep­ing the ther­mo­stat set high­er in the sum­mer and wait­ing as long as pos­si­ble to turn the heat on in the win­ters. I start­ed rid­ing my bike to work and I even made a clothes dry­ing rack that mounts to the wall to use instead of our dry­er.

    Since then I’ve real­ly only stuck with rid­ing my bike to work as I was a avid cyclist before find­ing MMM. Even though I guess that makes me a “bad” mus­tachi­an, we still are on track to be able to retire in 15–16 years with­out any extra income from side hus­tles. These last cou­ple of months have been slow though since we have reduced retire­ment con­tri­bu­tions in order to pay off my car loan in a cou­ple of months. Not to men­tion we are mov­ing next week to make it our sec­ond move in the last 4 months. 😐

    • Yeah! Bad Mus­tachi­ans unite! I don’t hang my clothes to dry either. I don’t like how they dry stiff even though I don’t use fab­ric soft­en­er. 2 moves in 4 months is rough! I did some­thing sim­i­lar and I wasn’t a fan.

  4. I no longer dri­ve but I do have access to my husband’s car any­time we go on a long trip. I don’t bike and don’t real­ly plan to bike (because I’m ter­ri­fied of it!) I know too many peo­ple who have died bik­ing in the city. Maybe I need to let go of that fear. He best thing about Pete is what anoth­er com­menter said, he doesn’t let you get away with excus­es. Some­times it can make him seem abra­sive but hav­ing met him in per­son as well, he’s not. So jeal­ous you’re going to Chau­tauqua again and wish I was going with you!!
    Mil­len­ni­al Boss recent­ly post­ed…What 90s Movies From My Child­hood Taught Me About Mon­eyMy Profile

    • I read in the news yes­ter­day anoth­er bik­er was killed in my town. Peo­ple around here do not look out for bicy­clists and it can get down­right scary.

      Pete the per­son and Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache are two dif­fer­ent peo­ple. I could get offend­ed at the name call­ing but I know why he’s doing it so it doesn’t both­er me. Now if he calls me sog­gy in per­son, we gonna have issues haha

  5. In think­ing about it, I am not the best Mus­tachi­an by any stretch. I find hav­ing a fam­i­ly makes it tough. I some­times joke if it were just me I could decide to live in a box and eat KD until I had all debt paid off and lots of mon­ey saved, but once you have a fam­i­ly you are mak­ing deci­sions for oth­er peo­ple and not just your­self. Plus, kids are real­ly expen­sive!!! We don’t spend much mon­ey on toys or oth­er friv­o­lous ‘stuff’ but piano lessons, swim­ming, bas­ket­ball, ten­nis, mar­tial arts, and oth­er ran­dom activ­i­ties add up real­ly fast. There is val­ue though I feel in hav­ing them involved in things, and my eldest in par­tic­u­lar would choose to spend his time read­ing and writ­ing rather than being active, so being enrolled in activ­i­ties ensures he gets a good amount of exer­cise. If you have a spouse who is not down with the process it is a real chal­lenge. My spouse and I have man­aged to ‘meet in the mid­dle’ with regard to mon­ey (she would spend more, I would save more) and so we are mak­ing progress but some­times not as much as I would like. I do spend a lot on mar­tial arts lessons/fitness, which for a pure Mus­tachi­an might be a no-go, but I feel I get great val­ue for it and it is my phys­i­cal and men­tal out­let. Some­day I hope to recoup that mon­ey by aban­don­ing my cur­rent desk job and teach­ing mar­tial arts, so I can jus­ti­fy it that way maybe. 🙂

    Ulti­mate­ly, if you are spend­ing a bit of mon­ey in ways that you real­ly appre­ci­ate and enjoy, I see noth­ing wrong with that. It’s the mind­less spend­ing (buy­ing cof­fee every day just because, buy­ing things you don’t real­ly need, buy­ing clothes when you have 3 clos­ets full, etc) that we should all look at cut­ting out.

    • I’m glad it’s just me at this point in life. I can do what­ev­er I want. Sleep in? Done. Go vis­it friends in Vegas over 4th of July? Done! No need to explain or jus­ti­fy to any­one but myself. It also means I’m the one in charge of results and there are no excus­es come the end of the month. It’s all on me to not vis­it Star­bucks or buy my lunch at work too many times!

  6. Girl, you know how I feel about the car thing. I total­ly saw you get ripped and I felt for ya! I am not show­ing up to work a hot mess and fly­ing around on planes for 12 hours. That being said, I try my best not to use her when I am home. Now that the ice and snow are gone I have been rid­ing my bike more but for cer­tain things (like trans­port­ing bubs) the bike isn’t an option. All that being said, and I think you can agree, the mes­sage Pete sends is envi­ron­men­tal­ly sound. I try my best to off­set my lifestyle in oth­er ways such as being veg­e­tar­i­an, walk­ing a ton, and nev­er ever using the sin­gle use bars of soap in the hotels. 😉 Haha — a girls got to have her stan­dards!

    Some of the biggest issues I strug­gle with are in regards to the cli­mate in Chica­go (as you also men­tioned being a Mid­west girl). As much as I would LOVE a small town lifestyle in a much milder cli­mate (prefer­ably one I can grow my own food year round in!) that isn’t where I am at right now. I will be there in the very near future, just not today. I am always up for a chal­lenge and love the moti­va­tion that MMM pro­vides. I have and will con­tin­ue to sock it away for future use. Do what you can until you can do more. That’s the point I am cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing at. 🙂
    Miss Mazu­ma recent­ly post­ed…An Aha Moment… Reverse Engi­neer­ing FIMy Profile

    • I expect­ed it, tbh. Argu­ing with Pete in the com­ment sec­tion of his own posts nev­er ends well! I’m also oth­er­wise envi­ron­men­tal­ly con­scious: recy­cling when I can, buy­ing used, donat­ing old usable stuff instead of dump­ing it.… Also, I’ve tak­en the soap thing a step fur­ther and bare­ly use any at all! I use it in the kitchen and to wash my hands in the bath­room, but I don’t use soap on the rest of me. You’d nev­er be able to tell! I want to go even fur­ther down the rab­bit hole and even­tu­al­ly stop hav­ing to use sham­poo!

  7. As a fel­low Mil­len­ni­al in the Mid­west, I too use my car more than MMM would advo­cate.

    For­tu­nate­ly, my apart­ment is fair­ly new, with fair­ly good insu­la­tion, and I am on the ground floor. This means that my apart­ment almost nev­er gets above 75 degrees even with no A/C! I run my ceil­ing fan dur­ing the day and occa­sion­al­ly my ven­ti­la­tion fan at night time, but I can usu­al­ly make it through an entire sum­mer with no A/C.

    For dri­ving, due to the nature of my work, I am already liv­ing about as close to my work­place as I can (about 10 miles). Between work and where I live is noth­ing but corn­fields, a nation­al guard train­ing cen­ter, and a riv­er, so I’m in the same sit­u­a­tion where I could the­o­ret­i­cal­ly bike to and from work, but it would be pret­ty dif­fi­cult, time-con­sum­ing, and the sav­ings wouldn’t be all that great (maybe $40 / month) due to cheap gas and no traf­fic where I live.

    Ide­al­ly I would want to live with­in walking/biking dis­tance of work, but that’s not real­ly fea­si­ble for my indus­try, so I’m mak­ing due with what I can.

    • It’s espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult when you live just out­side of town. There are no side­walks, no bik­ing paths. All you can do is ride on the edge of the road and pray no one runs over you! Gas is just over $2 a gal­lon here, so I fill up about once a fort­night if I don’t dri­ve to anoth­er city on the week­end.

  8. You got­ta do your own thing. I like MMM because I feel like he chal­lenges me to do more with less than I would have on my own. But some­times I get “lazy.” I would prob­a­bly be hos­pi­tal­ized from face punch­es if he saw how much my wife and I spend on restau­rants…

    • He’s good for face punch­es, but I also wish he would rec­og­nize not every­one is in the same sit­u­a­tion. I’ve adapt­ed a lot of his teach­ings into my life and feel like I’m doing a pret­ty good job at that!

  9. Would you hate it if I took to call­ing you Sog­gy?

    I don’t think you need to explain Gwen. You’re doing a fan­tas­tic job with your finances, and you’re mak­ing sol­id, informed choic­es. Could you do cer­tain things bet­ter? Prob­a­bly. So could we all.
    Mrs. BITA recent­ly post­ed…Pigs Get Slaugh­teredMy Profile

    • Very much so! Makes me feel like a slouch when in real­i­ty I’m doing bet­ter than 90% of my peers at this whole adult­ing thing.

  10. I own a moped. Sil­ly me, I need a kick in the pants from MMM to use the dang thing. I live too far to walk, nev­er attempt­ed bicy­cling, but I absolute­ly looooove to moped back and forth to work. There’s one inter­sec­tion where I take my life in my hands, (maybe two) but being out­side motor­ing along at 30mph at 70mpg dur­ing my com­mute cer­tain­ly improves the mood. If you can tol­er­ate the addi­tion­al time it’ll take to moped com­mute, I rec­om­mend it.

    • Glad that works out for you. Because of the dan­ger, I’m not sure I would rec­om­mend it for most peo­ple unless it was some­thing they real­ly enjoy. I had a motor­cy­cle that got 60 miles per gal­lon. After adding up and com­par­ing the expens­es it real­ly didn’t save enough to make it worth the risk. While it’s insur­ance and depre­ci­a­tion was cheap it was an addi­tion­al expense since I still have to have a car. And there are plen­ty of cheap cars that get 40 miles per gal­lon, so that’s what I’d be com­par­ing too. I.e. at the end of the day, I was jus­ti­fy­ing my unsafe Hob­by by say­ing it didn’t cost me much or save the small amount of mon­ey.
      Will con­tin­ue “caging it” with Cav­a­lier / Civic. Safe trav­els!

      • Got­ta say I’m with Charles on this one. A friend had a moped in col­lege and it worked great for get­ting around the small col­lege town. Here, it would be much more dan­ger­ous. I would have to mod­i­fy my route to exclude the inter­state and major roads. At that point I might as well just get that motor­ized bike and be done with it.

  11. You still have some fuzz on your upper lip, young lady! Pete pro­vid­ed a plat­form for us to build our finan­cial inde­pen­dence. It is imper­a­tive we don’t try to “be like Pete”! Pete is Pete; Gwen should be Gwen. Just because you dri­ver does not mean we kick you out of the mus­tache club or even give a stern look. Pete’s goal, I think, is to get you to think about what you are doing. He suc­ceed­ed.

    BTW, nice update on where your life is.

    • It keeps grow­ing no mat­ter how many times I shave it all off 🙁

      If there ever comes a time where I’m not think­ing about the things I’m doing, it’s time to get my health checked out!

    • Excel­lent point to make. Life is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent here than in Col­orado or Cana­da.

  12. I had to stop read­ing MMM because I would have turned into a troll. I got the impres­sion that it’s more about punch­ing in the face than throw­ing out ideas. Since I didn’t real­ly need a punch in the face I decid­ed stay­ing away from his stuff was the best thing for both of us.

    • He is polar­iz­ing. I start­ed out think­ing every­one liked and fol­lowed him, but the deep­er into the com­mu­ni­ty I got the more I found out that wasn’t the case. Just like fru­gal­i­ty, there are var­i­ous lev­els and it’s all about find­ing your com­fort zone.

  13. Sor­ry to hear you got your feel­ings hurt. Yes post­ing and anti bicy­cle mes­sage on the MMM blog was a poor choice. Live life your way. You don’t need a blog post to jus­ti­fy why you are doing your own thing. Just be you. Who cares what any­one else has to say about.

    • Obvi­ous­ly you do if you came all the way over here to com­ment. Like I said, I knew what I was get­ting into. I also said I’m not offend­ed. I don’t appre­ci­ate it, but I’m wear­ing my big girl panties and can han­dle it.

  14. Imag­ine hav­ing to live with him! 😉

    Just kid­ding. Pete is tough and he def­i­nite­ly walks the walk, but he’s very for­giv­ing in real life and some­times even breaks his own rules. Hav­ing an elec­tric car cer­tain­ly helps with the dri­ving thing, as his main issue with cars is envi­ron­men­tal.

    But, as some­one men­tioned above, he wouldn’t be MMM if he didn’t call you out on it. I mean, tech­ni­cal­ly, you CAN bike. You just choose not to. Hav­ing it be undoable and choos­ing not to do it are two dif­fer­ent things. It’s an impor­tant dis­tinc­tion when you’re try­ing to change people’s per­spec­tive and set the bar high­er on what is pos­si­ble.

    Great pic­tures, by the way! You just keep doing it your way. After all, all or noth­ing rarely works in real life.

    • I’ll pass. See­ing him once or twice a year is enough for me! haha­ha. Since I have met him in per­son so many times, I know he’s just using his MMM per­sona to make the point. Thanks for com­ment­ing Mrs. MMM!

  15. I saw you com­ment on the MMM post when it came out and could see both sides. Per­son­al­ly, I think FI is about using mon­ey for things that can real­ly impact your hap­pi­ness, and then sav­ing the rest — the path to FI shouldn’t be mis­er­able. Some peo­ple may enjoy the idea of sav­ing a lit­tle bit of mon­ey each year by bik­ing every­where and tough­ing out the heat. And if that makes them hap­py, great! But AC is one of those essen­tials I won’t budge on. Not always — I can han­dle my apart­ment up to 78 degrees. After that, I am not a hap­py camper. In my opin­ion, fru­gal­i­ty is a tool. And tools are not right for every sit­u­a­tion.
    Matt Kuhn @ Prof­itable Mat­ters recent­ly post­ed…Finan­cial Inde­pen­dence: 8 Great Ways to Reach FI Soon­erMy Profile

  16. I know exact­ly what you mean! Around the time of CMSE this past Jan­u­ary, Jason and I were debat­ing buy­ing a sec­ond car. We felt like we were being bad Mus­tachi­ans, but my office was mov­ing. This change made a 2 minute walk to work into a 6 mile com­mute on all high­ways. After test­ing bus routes, eval­u­at­ing oth­er hous­ing options, and fail­ing to prove that I could be un-clum­sy (this ruled out the bike on high­ways) we got the sec­ond car. We knew all the costs we were incur­ring in the short term and long term but it was the most sim­ple solu­tion to the issue and yes, I do give myself the occa­sion­al face-punch for it. Glad to know there are oth­ers who have had the same dilem­ma and that we aren’t the only ones who opt­ed for the dri­ve.

    Also, we LOVE our A.C. in our swamp (aka South Flori­da)

    Rock on Gwen!

    • We can be in the “no need to feel bad” camp togeth­er! I’m sure you got a prac­ti­cal, eco­nom­i­cal, and fuel effi­cient vehi­cle since not dri­ving wasn’t an option. My next car will prob­a­bly be a new­er Cam­ry or Civic.

  17. Great post Gwen! Like your­self and so many oth­ers I found MMM ear­ly into my own jour­ney (through the Mil­len­ni­al Rev­o­lu­tion), and every blog­ger that com­ment­ed there led me to check out their respec­tive blogs to get their take on FIRE, fru­gal­i­ty, etc. It nev­er fails to amaze me how strong and diverse the com­mu­ni­ty is, and how much respect and sup­port is out there even when the opin­ions diverge. I think we can all agree that, while there may always be that some­what unat­tain­able bar set by Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache, it’s all about the effort and gen­er­al phi­los­o­phy – and you are absolute­ly killing it on your own terms! I think that one needs both MMM and the spendy­pants of the world to mea­sure their own efforts against… and blogs like your own for inspi­ra­tion along the way!

    • So true, Frosty­FIRE! If you don’t like what one blog­gers says, you’ll be sure to find some­one bet­ter aligned to your philoso­phies. Peo­ple ask me “Should I start a blog? It seems like every­thing has already been said!” But everyone’s expe­ri­ences and the way they imple­ment the FI Basics into their lives are dif­fer­ent since we’re all dif­fer­ent!

  18. Those com­ments were pret­ty unfair.

    I love MMM. He also intro­duced me to the whole idea of FIRE. I stum­bled on MMM from ERE (Ear­ly Retire­ment Extreme) and found it instant­ly engag­ing.

    It does get a bit extreme at times, but if peo­ple only do half the things he sug­gests then they’d still be in a much bet­ter place finan­cial­ly.
    Owen @ PlanEasy recent­ly post­ed…Liv­ing Small: The Best Way To Save Mon­eyMy Profile

  19. Gwen, no pun­ish­ment from this guy! PERSONAL finance is just that, PERSONAL. Some­times (now I’LL get the pun­ish­ment) MMM fol­low­ers can tend toward the legal­is­tic. COME ON, FOLKS! It’s PERSONAL! Do what works for you (like DRIVE THAT CAR!), and adopt those areas of Mus­tachi­an­ism that work for you.

    Noth­ing wrong with that. Noth­ing at all.

    • Yeah I mean I think I’m doing some­thing right when I’m still sav­ing ~45% of my income.…

  20. Hi Gwen! I’m new here.
    I’m sure MMM was most­ly as tough on you *because* he knows you IRL.
    But he seems par­tic­u­lar­ly attached to the Bik­ing and Badas­si­ty pieces — for good rea­son, I think. Bik­ing and Badas­si­ty go hand in hand: Once you’ve biked through all types of less-than-ide­al, uphill, hot, pour­ing rain, freez­ing “you did what?” rides, it results in a real change in your brain. Sud­den­ly you feel embold­ened to take on all man­ner of things that peo­ple express shock/doubt that any­one could do. And that is the key to reach­ing FI faster. I think you can only get so far with­out that “I don’t care what oth­er peo­ple think and I take naysay­ers as a chal­lenge” mind­set.
    All that being said, you have some good finan­cial rea­sons for liv­ing where you live and hav­ing to dri­ve, so car­ry on. Maybe in the near future you’ll feel like giv­ing it a shot on occa­sion.

    • Oh, and my Bad Mus­tachi­an con­fes­sion: Get­ting a pro­fes­sion­al hair­cut. I have nat­u­ral­ly curly hair, and though I do stretch it out between cuts, this is my Achilles Heel. I’ve most­ly stopped buy­ing any clothes beyond absolute neces­si­ty, and I don’t wear make­up except on rare occa­sion. I could set­tle for hair that looks shab­by, but … it makes me feel awful when I look in the mir­ror.

  21. I agree, I too have to dri­ve to work. I lit­er­al­ly live as close as pos­si­ble, but the loca­tion just does not make it safe for fea­si­ble to bike. In future jobs, I hope that I am able to live clos­er.

    Also, liv­ing in the Mid­west, I total­ly feel you on the A/C. I love sleep­ing with the win­dows open, espe­cial­ly dur­ing a thun­der­storm, but when it starts get­ting gross out I do not par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoy sleep­ing in sweat.

  22. Imag­ine find­ing MMM and FIRE after being mar­ried, hav­ing kids and liv­ing a lifestyle that is prob­a­bly a 5 out of 10 on the mus­tachi­an scale. We were already on pace to retire ear­ly, but MMM showed me that we could do bet­ter. If it were just me, I would prob­a­bly be will­ing to be a 9 on the scale, but with my exist­ing life, I have cho­sen to move to a 6. I love his ideas and incor­po­rate them as I feel best fits my life. I’m not a bad mus­tachi­an, I’m semi-mus­tachi­an.

    When I saw your com­ment on his bik­ing post I knew you were going to get ham­mered, but I was pret­ty sure you knew that too. I don’t bike now for sim­i­lar rea­sons as you.

  23. His blog was one of the first I start­ed read­ing. I love his voice and his take-no-sh*t atti­tude with his lifestyle. I def­i­nite­ly can’t do or adhere to a lot of the things he lives by. I love my car. I live super close to work and am real­ly con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a bike, for well, my health and main­te­nance.

    I’d say right now, I’m a ter­ri­ble mus­tachi­an, but soon enough hope­ful­ly I’ll work towards being able to even con­sid­er myself one at all.

  24. I take nuggets from MMM that apply to my life, val­ues, needs, wants, etc. and drop the rest. My guess is he wouldn’t want car­bon copies of him­self either (although I can’t speak for him). There might be some­thing he ISN’T doing that some­one else who con­sid­ers them­selves super fru­gal is doing. I don’t think you are a bad Mustachian…you are just being the best Gwen you can be for this time in your life.

    • the best Gwen you can be for this time in your life.”

      I love this Tonya! Thanks for the encour­ag­ing words! MMM him­self says he isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly fru­gal, espe­cial­ly with regards to food!

  25. Amen, Love­ly!! We’re proud to be part of your gen­er­a­tion!! My hus­band and I have had a very pas­sion­ate dis­cus­sion yes­ter­day on whether we should keep tak­ing pub­lic trans­port to work (we live in the Mel­bourne sub­urbs, at approx. 10 miles from our house via high­way roads) or whether we should take the bike. We’ve upped our sav­ings rate in the last six months from already 48% to 63% (no din­ing out, low­er­ing elec­tric­i­ty bills, rene­go­ti­at­ing all utilites, low­er­ing gro­cery bill, no cloth­ing,…), but pub­lic trans­port remains a big blob in our month­ly stats… I wish it were more com­plex than that, but I’m just real­ly not big on bikes: traf­fic in Mel­bourne peak hour is chal­leng­ing and my physique is lim­it­ed. And I for­gave myself. I’ll try again when it’s sum­mer here.

    • Cut every­thing out until you find your lim­it and then make that your new lev­el of life. Don’t feel guilty there are oth­ers out there doing “bet­ter”!

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