Thursday, January 5, 2012

Growing a money mustache takes a while

It's been a little over two months since I decided to adopt the philosophy espoused by Mr. Money Mustache. In that amount of time, the initial shininess has worn off and I feel like I'm beginning to settle in for the long haul.

At first I was really excited. Here is a guy offering an answer to the 9-to-5 for 40 years existence otherwise in front of me. Change your life for the better, even — man up and spend time on the things you should be doing anyway. Like try improving yourself or learning how to replace a toilet tank gasket instead of eating potato chips on the couch watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

The first few changes are easy. Making a preliminary budget and getting a library card, for example. I found I could score big savings by cutting back on groceries and bringing lunch to work every day. But sweeping changes to one's consumption are tough. I don't know how much of it is willpower versus changing one's self-image, but I definitely feel a struggle in reducing how much I consume.

It's a good, righteous struggle. I feel my life starting to have purpose again, a feeling I took for granted until graduate school beat it out of me. I know (generally) where I want to be in ten to twenty years, and I know (again, generally) how I'm going to get there. But now comes the really tough part, and that's the follow-through.

By follow-through I don't mean how difficult it is to deny oneself their daily latte or equivalent. I mean, time is slow, I only receive a paycheck so quickly, and I can't spend all month checking Mint to see my 'stash creeping toward that savings goal.

Don't get me wrong. I still have a ton of work to do. You've seen my monthly budget. There are hundreds of dollars of fat I need to trim. There are habits I need to establish and skills I need to learn and material possessions I need to purge. But those aren't the only things I'll be doing month-in and month-out for the next decade. I'm starting to see the reason MMM suggests profitable leisure time — your time has to be filled with something. Best to make it count.

Mustachianism isn't some get-rich-quick scheme. The path toward Mustachianism entails real, meaningful change. I feel like this is one of the most important goals I've set out for myself. And, like most things worth doing, this is going to take a while.


  1. Well, this is the tough part of it all. That's really the rub here. It's a slow process. After I sold my car, moved to a smaller and cheaper apartment, cut my cell phone bill, cut cable, cut my food expenses by half, started walking everywhere and got to the point where I can reliably save over 60% of my net income there is really nowhere else to go with the budget. At this point it's a slow waiting game. But, I like's what makes it so rewarding in the end. It's what separates the strong from the weak. If it was easy we'd all be retired by 40!

    Enjoy your journey Acolyte.

  2. I feel you. It's hard to wait for that check to come every month. But as long as your making big movies 12 times a year (if your paid one a month like me) you'll get there eventually. It is a struggle, but it feels good.

  3. "Mustachianism isn't some get-rich-quick scheme."

    Actually it is, you just have to redefine your definition of rich.

    And don't worry, it will come. First the shininess has to wear off so you can find a deeper meaning of what you're trying to accomplish, besides just escaping the 9-5.

    PS. Any chance you would enable the option to comment as name/URL? I just found your blog and enjoy it, but I have to sign in as a different google account just to comment...

  4. @TJ,

    I think I'll also need to redefine "quick" :)

    Also I changed the settings so you don't need to sign in to comment. That was Blogger's default setting. Thanks.

  5. This post was exactly what I needed to hear right now. I'm currently struggling with long hours at work and not seeing the debt go down fast enough simply because those paychecks only come once every 2 weeks. But this was a good reminder that it's not going to be a walk in the park to fully convert to mustachianism - and it won't happen overnight. Also, it's always nice to be reminded that you aren't the only one struggling with something.

    Best of luck to you sir.

    1. I'm glad I could help you out. Sometimes I get down thinking about my ~30k debt load and how much I'd rather be building a 'stash of investments. But I get happier when I accept the inevitable, because then I can focus on improving myself and enjoying the hard work. MMM is right about enjoying hard work, and while it's not something in my nature, it's something I'm trying to learn.

      Good luck to you as well!

  6. Bravo! Been watching and reading from the sidelines...How is the GF handling the change? Your doing great!! Meant to comment before, now that I have read all of the content. Will post when I can. I wish I had started earlier myself. Keep focusing on your goal, when you peek at the obstacles then it becomes easy to lose sight of the goal. Imagine if the GF was on board as mush as you!! Congrats!!

  7. The first step is simply identifying the problem and creating a basic plan - which you've done! You're bound to slip up from time to time. My wife and I went out to eat last night at a fancy pants restaurant...which isn't in our budget...but it was a rough week. Back on track now. Keep up the good progress!