I really like this simile of "frugality as a muscle". I'd characterize myself as a frugality girly-man, albeit with a latent goal of working out at the frugality gym more often. More on this later.
But it's not all bad. I didn't walk into this blog a completely hopeless high-income high-spending anti-Mustachian loser. Before I started down this road I held one Mustachian belief very strongly: commuting is the devil.
|Eerily accurate map of New Jersey|
I grew up in New Jersey — Springsteen Country, to be precise. Since I was a kid my mom commuted to north Jersey for work, somewhere around Poor Minorities and Hipsters; then later she worked in Executives Living in Mansions Driving Mercedes-Benzes (all too accurate). Her commute was (and is) between 60 and 70 miles one-way, for around two decades now. That's between two and four hours in the car every work day.
She's not the only one. My girlfriend's family lives in the same town, and her dad works in NYC (over 70 miles one-way). My childhood best friend, same deal, his parents both worked in north Jersey. Commuting is the culture of living down the shore — that or dealing with jackass tourists I guess.
Kids learn by example. I learned that, whatever the consequences, I'm not interested in a lifestyle that involves or entails commuting. When I got my job we settled on an apartment complex barely three miles from my office. Now that we own a house, the commute is about the same distance — a little over three miles. It's an easily bikeable commute with paths the whole way. I could even start running if I want to double-down on badassity.
Yes we're paying more to live in a nicer area. But we're making at least part of that up in reduced commuting expenses and more time at home. Even driving a particularly anti-Mustachian SUV (more on that later), I fill up maybe twice a month.
So you see, even if your focus isn't frugality qua frugality, your life can take on a distinctly Mustachian flavor. That said I'm definitely interested in streamlining our vehicle fleet, biking to work more, and spending less money on gas. It's that much easier when you decide to live where you work and work where you live.
How far away from work are you deciding to live?