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.

In a recent article and now video on ABC News Mr. Money Mustache gave a few tips on how to save money, let’s see how we are all doing and our attempt to keep up with the Mustaches.

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.

Keeping Up with the Mustache Thing to Do:  Sell the SUV and get a vehicle that is a hatchback or wagon that seems to be the smart thing to do. Better thing to do is ride a bike, All of the Time!

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?


15 Responses to “Keeping Up With the Mustaches Forget the Joneses

  • Sounds like a tv show in the making! 🙂 I would say though that in life you can take nugget of advice from people, but in the end you have to run your own race and do what is best for your family. Although I like tidbits of how he lives his life, there are some extremes I would never want to go to…and that’s what makes us all unique and different!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      The reason I wrote this post is probably not for the every day blogger/finance person. I wrote this with the idea that the Joneses are currently America’s role model in many ways and we use them as someone to keep up with. I wanted someone different, someone held in a positive light that if you follow or emulate them you will not regret doing this financially. With all that being said, yes certainly we forge our own path and create who we are financially along the way.

  • I have to say I agree with Tonya, in that, I know I will never be an “MMM” nor do I want to be. We do save about half our income – on track at 43% so far this year, are not into fancy cars, and are looking to downsize once we move.
    MMM did spur us into delving into ER and realizing it was possible, BUT, he was also the biggest reason I resisted for so long. I didn’t work hard to get a nice comfy job and life to quit that so I could start eating Ramen and bike everywhere, and I like Ramen and biking! 🙂 I like our middle ground frugality we’ve come to embrace and it works great for us!
    Mr. SSC recently posted…Our money went where??? April 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I would check in with my comment to Tonya, but yes it would defeat the purpose if after ER your life was a shell of itself with the nice comfy job and life. Finding your own path is important, but having a person you look up to or emulate can help.

  • I’m definitely not a Mustachian through and through but I do exert some qualities. I don’t save 50% of my take home pay yet, but should be able to in the next year or two. I keep my expenses pretty much the same, and therefore every raise or bonus I get goes straight into inflating my savings rate. Maybe some day I’ll get to 70% 🙂 I watched the video and couldn’t believe he drove his car to the grocery store on TV! In all honesty I love his tough rules as they push me harder to attain them.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Savings WaterfallMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Haha, I never even thought of that, how dare he drive anywhere!!! I agree with you his plan/rules might not be for you, but it pushes you a little harder to get to that next level, if once you get there it’s ok to go back to your 50% savings rate instead of 70%, it will be ok I promise;)

  • It’s great to have a more ‘healthy’ benchmark to aspire to like the mustaches, rather than the general waste of the Joneses, and I definitely have much room for improvement in all the points above. But of course, you really need to know what you value most in life, and if you end up feeling the pressure to keep up with the Mustaches even though it doesn’t align with your own values, then you’re not going to be happy. But fortunately many other bloggers and readers here DO value things like financial independence 🙂

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Well said Jason, that’s what I was going for looking at a healthy benchmark instead of something/someone to stay away from. Don’t aspire to be like the Joneses, aspire to save money and cut out some of the waste/material things in your life.

  • Its amazing how all frugal bloggers think the same way. We also save half of our pay check and do the home improvement and maintenance tasks ourselves. And mostly all of us hate borrowing money.
    SB recently posted…51 Reasons Why I Love Personal Capital Tool, A ReviewMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Saving half of your paycheck is fantastic, just that alone puts you in another category of savers.

  • It’s funny… while we think MMM has done a ton of good in helping people see that an ER path is possible, we also think that all of the comparison that the ER movement fosters (and especially the MMM forums, which can be downright preachy) is just another form of comparison and “keeping up.” For sure you’re not advocating for comparison that will make us all feel bad about ourselves, but rather for comparison that might spur us on and inspire us. But it’s funny that that’s so ingrained in human nature, that we all have to be comparing ourselves to others at all times. We’d all be a lot healthier — not just financially, but in all things — if we could somehow spot that comparing tendency!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, while we certainly need to look in the mirror first, sometimes seeing that inspirational story or person gets us to the finish line. I love your comment though because it made me think about if comparing is actually good for everyone, thanks.

  • Haha nice one here Steven! Did “Keeping up with the Mustaches” end up taking off?
    I enjoy in this article how you’re very transparent in some of your short-comings as well..
    Looking forward to catching up and see how you’re tracking now 🙂

    • EvenStevenMoney
      12 months ago

      I think a lot of people outside the FIRE movement think MMM is a extreme, I think the point I was trying to make was if we all got away from keeping up with the Jones’s we would all be in a better place financially.

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