34 Comments

  1. Great post – experiences over stuff all the way. I wrote about hedonistic adaptation too – its an interesting one. It’s something you allude to – Own your stuff, do not let them own you! the more you do abstain from being a consumer, the more enjoyable it tends to become 🙂

    • Sorry we missed your comment, James. Hedonistic adaptation is an interesting concept. I’ll look for your post on it.

      We didn’t realize how deeply we were being brainwashed by advertising, especially during the holiday season, until we got rid of cable TV. I highly recommend that to everyone.

  2. We have so much clutter in our apartment but we are currently house hunting and we once buy one we will get rid of the unused clutter. It just takes space away and collecting dust. We are imaging that when we move in with the stuff we only need their will be so much space. Can’t wait!!
    Like you said experiences are more life fulfilling than materialistic items!! Thanks for the guest post Mr Xyz!

  3. Great guest post. I can relate to how you feel. For me, spending money pushes my goal of early retirement further away. I only buy what we need and truly want. When we do buy, we also look for the best quality at the lowest price. I am fine with spending more for a product that will last.

  4. This is fabulous! Having a partner on the same page is key. It is very hard to roll a boulder up a hill if your partner is strapped to it instead of helping push. Getting rid of crap you don’t need is also huge! I moved to my boyfriends about a year ago and never emptied my apartment. It just sat there with all my things in it while I made do with the few clothes that I brought to his place. When it came time to get it rented last month I realized how much crap I had that I don’t need…pretty much everything that was there! I sold a ton (all my furniture), gave away things to friends, and donated the rest. Very few of the things did I bring back here. As time goes by you realize that the more things you buy don’t fill the gap of what you are really looking for. Quality time with family and friends, nature, time to be creative. Those are the things that truly matter…coincidentally, those things happen to be FREE! 🙂

    • “Having a partner on the same page is key. It is very hard to roll a boulder up a hill if your partner is strapped to it instead of helping push. ”

      No truer words have ever been written. If it weren’t for Mrs G, instead of being FI, I’d be broke, swimming in debt, and running the Long Island militia. She truly saved my life.

      Thanks for another sage comment, Miss M. You got a fabulous mind.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story!

    The Mad Fientist has a great podcast with Michael Kitces that touches on this topic.

    The main problem is that as people’s income rises so does their “cost of living.”

    People think of living simply or frugal means cutting back on everything and living on spaghetti.

    In actuality, it means not expanding on how you currently live. It also means mastering the big stuff.

    If you can spend $100k less on a smaller house, and not fill it with stuff, you’re going to be much further ahead on the path to financial freedom than just cutting back on Starbucks coffee trips.

    • “People think of living simply or frugal means cutting back on everything and living on spaghetti.

      In actuality, it means not expanding on how you currently live. It also means mastering the big stuff.”

      I love it. A lot of wisdom there, Nick. I’ve always said the key to being financially independent is being half normal. The typical new car purchase, for instance, is over $30K. If you can limit your next car purchase to $15K or less, and save the difference, you’ll give yourself a wonderful opportunity of achieving FI before you’re 50. And the amazing thing about being half normal in an American sense is that such a lifestyle is far from deprivation. Buying a four-year-old Camry instead of a new BMW is in no meaningful sense a sacrifice. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I like the cut of your jib.

  6. I’ve read that it’s pretty much proven by now that experiences bring lots more long-term happiness than possessions. Buying stuff can resemble drug addiction, in terms of giving a short-term rush that wears off pretty quickly.

    I agree with an approach based on balance, having great experiences, and putting a premium on savings.

      • Haha! So true. One of my greatest joys while working was seeing that 401(k) contribution come out my paycheck every two weeks. And I still get a high adding change to my change jar. Oh, the thrill of conspicuous saving!

    • Nailed it, Miguel. Whenever I get together with friends and family we always manage to bring up past experiences. I don’t recall us ever discussing past purchases. What cars we had ten years ago is absolutely meaningless. But that family trip to Disney World or the time the gang went to Lambeau Field for a Packer game only grows in significance. Experiences are surely the secret sauce of life. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  7. I love that you each work less than 40 hours a week and have pretty flexible schedules. I think that would have been really hard for me to do if I found the FIRE community earlier! (We were almost FI when we found it and we were always pretty frugal.) After just returning from camping for two weeks, it is amazing how little “stuff” you actually need. You are mastering that young which is terrific. It’s amazing what stuff sits around your house not being used year after year. Nice post!

    • “It’s amazing what stuff sits around your house not being used year after year.”

      Ah, the curse of wealth married to the curse of impulse. The sooner you master frugality, the sooner these scourges are removed from your life. Thanks for another keen observation, Vicki. I love the way your mind works.

  8. Good stuff! I also am in the camp that thinks you don’t have to never buy anything, but just need to be choosy and mindful about what you are buying. This is why I love the book Your Money or Your Life. It just makes me think twice about where my hard-earned money is going. And the more I have saved, the less I am beholden to work for someone else.

    • Hey Tonya. Oddly enough, I’ve yet to read that classic. I finally got around to reading The Richest Man in Babylon this year. Perhaps it’s time to finally pick up Your Money or Your Life. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. We went through a cleaning of the house too. I love selling everything on craigslist and think it is often underrated. My closet now is streamlined and my garage is nearly empty.

    The area that we accumulate the most in is with our toddler, but even his stuff gets donated. We just gave away 4 bins of his kids clothes and toys. It felt great and removed the constant pressure to have kid number 2. Now, I figure if we get kid #2 in 2-4 years we can accumulate what we need for the time being.

    As for frugality, it is the key to wining the savings game. When we were trying to pay down over a $100K in consumer debts and my wife student loans, we started being much more spending conscious and took the additional cash and placed it into our debt. Those 3 years of less spending changed how we fundamentally use money which has been huge for our net worth.

  10. Strictly from a numerical perspective. The best thing someone can do starting out on the FIRE path is master FRUGALITY. let someone else (me) figure out the relative merits of “snowball” vs “avalanche” debt retirement strategies. Max the gap between income and outgo. Toss a coin to choose snowball vs avalanche, then pay off debts ASAP.

    Master the dark arts of personal finance after you’ve got enough money to buy Vanguard Admiral shares (e.g. VTSAX).

    • We definitely worship at the altar of frugality. We’d much rather travel the country and own our time than have a lot of expensive stuff that will only bring us temporary joy. Mr and Mrs XYZ found the secret to true happiness. Would that more Americans followed their example.

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