Keeping Up With the Mustaches Forget the Joneses
Every day we hear about the Joneses, the family down the block that we are attempting to keep up with. What I have never hear is a phrase of whom we should keep up with. You see I’m a positive guy and I want an example of someone to follow rather than an example of whom I should stay away from. So I decided to select someone quite famous in the personal finance world and see if I am Keeping up With the Mustaches aka the right people we should be keeping up with.
1. Save Half of Your ‘Take Home’ Pay
I can proudly say we are saving half of our ‘Take Home’ pay, currently most of our savings is going towards paying down our rental property, we will be increasing this amount of savings as I complete my debt tornado and finish paying off my student loans.
Keeping Up with the Mustaches Thing to Do: In one of his more famous posts MMM, discusses how a savings rate can lead to early retirement, but it also mentions just how important it is to reduce spending.
2. Forget the Big, Fancy Car. In Fact, Pete Says Don’t Borrow Money For a Car, Ever
I made a mistake on this one early and so did Mrs. Even Steven, I bought a Mercedes Benz which is the fancy part and she bought a big Toyota SUV. We separately did try to keep up with the Mustaches as I sold my Mercedes shortly after moving to Chicago so the fancy was gone. The big SUV is still here, the good news is this vehicle is completely paid for and has been for quite some time. While I don’t think we are keeping up with the Mustaches I do think we are not far behind.
3. When You Have Money, Downsize and Don’t Buy Too Much House
I don’t think we are personally at the point of downsizing, but I’m going to latch on to buying too much house as reading in between the lines. We were approved for a much larger mortgage amount than what we eventually bought. In fact we were going to what felt like every Chicago multi-unit foreclosure looking for just the right house to fix up at a great price. What happened for us, turned out to be the catalyst in our early retirement blue print. We could be living down the street in a 2500 square feet single family home, instead we are living in a 1,200 square foot multi-unit without a payment to speak of.
Keeping Up with the Mustache Thing to Do: MMM actually bought a house in 2013 and gave a few tips on how to buy a house or how not to buy a house depending on your choice if the glass is half full or half empty.
4. Do Home Improvements Yourself When Possible
I really try to keep up with the Mustaches on this one, I really do. The truth is we have had contractors do a rehab of the house right after we moved in, since then we have had contract work done at reasonable prices along the way. I’m not saying I don’t try to fix things, we have painted more walls than I can even think of, done our own landscape and yard work, sanded down and stained our front door, and a couple other small projects and fixes along the way. I’m not keeping up with the Mustaches, but maybe I’m a Mustache in training on this one.
Keeping Up with the Mustache Thing to Do: Mr. Money Mustache would tell me to get on YouTube, Google it, read a book on the subject, become friends with people who know how to DIY, and probably direct me to the DIY page on his site.
5. ‘Trim the Fat’ from Your Day-to-Day
In the ABC article one of my favorite quotes was “until you are a multimillionaire you make your own coffee”. Man do I need a kick in the pants on this one. I buy coffee almost every day, I have a $20 budget per week on coffee and lunch, time to start making a few extra cups of coffee at the house you Jones! Cutting the gym membership and hitting the bike or a good set of dumbbells was also a tip. This one I’m killing it, I cut my gym membership about a year and half ago, I’m working on building up my workout habits with walking the dog twice a day, running twice a week, biking to work on Fridays, and adding a few more good workout habits along the way including a kettle-bell that needs to get off the floor and into my hands.
Keeping up with the Mustaches Thing to Do: MMM would tell me to quit budgeting for eating out, I mean you are not a multimillionaire yet right? He would also send me to the MMM forum because in his words those people are more bad-a$$ than I am.
Hopefully I have coined a new phrase forget the Joneses we are now Keeping up with the Mustaches. They live below their means, save half of their income, spend frugally, believe bigger is not better, and prefer DIY.
It’s been nice meeting the Mustaches, but the real question is are you keeping up with the Mustaches?