November 17, 2013 | Posted in:Spend less

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Making SacrificesIt’s a fair assumption that someone who invests almost three-quarters of their disposable income must have to make some pretty significant sacrifices to perpetuate that kind of behavior.

While I’d agree that our family does things differently than the average Middle Class American family, there isn’t one area that I feel like we deprive ourselves or our children.

I felt like I should compile a list of all of the areas where the average person would probably think that I am forcing my family to make sacrifices. You can be the judge.

Groceries

I’m not sure what most people think my family eats. They probably think our diet consists primarily of rice, oats, beans and water. All of the cheap, and nearly free stuff.

But we actually spend A LOT of money at the grocery store. During an average weekly shopping trip we’ll spend about $75.

With that $75 we buy a lot of fruits, vegetables, and meats. We also buy a bunch of other stuff like almond milk, seltzer water, rice cakes, cereal, pasta, and occasionally ice cream.

I’ve never felt like our pantry looked emptier than anyone else I know. We just don’t buy any crap food like TV dinners, pre-made anything, and we hardly buy junk food.

The main reason we spend so little at the grocery store is because I know what GOOD prices looks like. I always make sure we’re getting the best deal in terms of cost per unit/weight.

We never use coupons either. They don’t make coupons for anything we normally buy, especially store brand items.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: ZERO

Vehicles

Recently I was having drinks with a friend of mine and the topic of conversation shifted to car insurance. I told him that we pay $300 every six months total for both of our vehicles. He got ANGRY! He pays nearly as much as that for one car EVERY month!

Our two vehicles are a 2008 VW Passat and a 2008 Ford Edge. They’re both paid off and our plan is to keep them running for the next decade or so. My friend is single and has a brand new fully financed 2013 Acura. Of course he’s going to pay more for car insurance than we do.

Having paid off vehicles with high deductible insurance policies means that we’ll have to shell out less money to the insurance companies every six months.

We try to minimize our driving expenses as much as possible as well. One thing that we did to reduce our spending on gas was move closer to work. My wife and I also carpool, which saves us money and makes sense considering we work in close proximity to each other.

Another way that we save gas is by turning the car off if we’re going to be stopping for more than 10 seconds. We do this at ATMs, when we’re waiting for somebody, and any other time we may be idling for no reason. I also like to ride in the draft created by semi-trucks whenever possible. This can increase gas mileage up to 25%! Just don’t get too close.

I guess you could consider it a sacrifice to not buy a new car every 2-3 years. Personally, I can’t understand paying $20k-30k for a two-ton box on wheels to take us to work and the grocery store. Since our vehicles are almost brand new they’ll easily run for another 200,000 miles or more.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: TWO (one point for each new car we’re not going to buy)

Dining out/Coffee shops

Anybody that knows anything about me knows that I could eat Chipotle burritos every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

Fortunately for my body and my wallet, we only eat at Chipotle occasionally. Like once or twice a month.

Over the course of a normal week we may eat out once, and order pizza once. When we eat out it’s usually at either Panera, Chipotle or a local BBQ joint. We hardly ever spend over $20, and usually bring our own drinks.

We started ordering a pizza every Friday night, because it is actually more cost effective that making our own. We had been making homemade pizzas for a few months, but shredded cheese can be super expensive.

One of the best investments we’ve ever made as a couple was a pair of decent lunchboxes, so we could bring our lunches to work every day. By doing this we save nearly $50 every week. We eat better than most of our co-workers, because our meals are always homemade and are never greasy cheeseburgers. There’s no sacrifice involved in eating well!

I’m a big coffee drinker. Every morning I make myself a travel mug worth of coffee to bring to work. And I usually have another cup when I get home. We still buy specialty drinks occasionally from coffee chains — maybe once or twice a month. If I could make those drinks at home, I’d eliminate this spending altogether.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: THREE (one point for every weekend that I don’t get to eat a burrito)

Clothes

I have an amazing wardrobe. So does my wife. So do my kids. I might be biased but I think that they are the best dressed kids at daycare by a mile.

The best part about it is that my ENTIRE wardrobe probably cost about $200. I have name brand clothing that fits, and so does the rest of my family.

We buy nearly all of our clothes at the thrift store (preferably Goodwill or Savers). It sounds cheap to people who don’t care about money, but we save so much by not shopping at the mall it’s insane.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: ZERO (we literally never go to the mall EVER!)

Household Goods

We moved into a new house in September which came with a horrible, old and faulty fridge. It needed to be replaced, but we wanted to find the perfect fridge to replace it with. It also needed to have the perfect price tag. And meet Mrs. Moneyseed’s high standards.

She spent a couple weeks looking through the listings on Craigslist. We wanted stainless steel. We didn’t want to pay more than $500.

Then the PERFECT fridge popped up for $499. It was about a year old. And we knew it was going to sell pretty quickly.

My wife contacted the owner and we went to see it on Friday night after work. It was just as amazing in real life as it was on the Internet. We called up a friend with a truck and picked up the fridge this afternoon.

This is how pretty much every transaction has gone for us. Every time we want something we try to find it as cheap as possible, then we buy it when the price is right.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: TWO (we lose some time searching for the best products)

Entertainment

Back in January we cancelled cable TV. This may have been the single most liberating thing we’ve ever done as a family.

First, we got our time back. We don’t have to aimlessly flip through channels to find something to watch. We don’t have to fill our heads — and more importantly our children’s heads — with advertisements. And we don’t have to pay a $90 cable bill every month.

To supplement our lack of cable we have a Roku box that’s hooked up with Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus. Since we share a Netflix account it’s essentially free for us. Hulu Plus costs $8 a month, and Amazon Instant Video is free for Prime customers.

We haven’t purchased a single DVD since we bought the Harry Potter complete box set from Amazon for $30 two years ago. We watch all of the Harry Potter movies annually as a Christmas tradition, so that was worth the cost.

We occasionally rent new movies from RedBox as well. But we hardly go to the movie theater. We’ve been once this year to see Ender’s Game. And we went once last year to see The Hobbit.

As far as music is concerned we have a subscription to Spotify. It’s $10 per month, and let’s you download whatever songs you want to as many authorized devices as you own. You can then listen to the music is ‘Offline Mode’, which means absolutely no bandwidth usage for mobile devices.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: ZERO (only because I can’t assign a negative number)

Vacations

This year we had a FEW epic vacations.

We spent a week in Orlando. Three of those days we had park hopper tickets to Universal Studios.

We spent a week in St Louis. Four of the days were spent at FinCon (the Financial Bloggers Convention). The others were spent with family.

We spent a week in Ecuador. This was our first International trip since my wife and I were married, but it was all inclusive and including airfare we spent less than $3,000 on the whole week.

We spend a lot of time traveling, so we try to make it as cost effective as possible.

Level of sacrifice in this category from 0-10: ZERO (we vacation more than most people, I’ll never complain about time off from work)

A Sacrifice-Free Family

Our family doesn’t make sacrifices. The average Middle Class family does.

What we do is called Optimization. We get the same level of Value out of the things we spend money on, we just tend to spend a LOT less than most people. We hunt down deals. And we’re not afraid to buy second hand.

We know that our efforts will allow us to walk away from traditional work by our mid-30s instead of sacrificing another 30 years of our time for a paycheck.

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50 Comments

  1. Mr. Money Mustache
    November 17, 2013

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    1: Man, you guys have ridiculously large, new, fancy cars!! A Ford Edge?! What are you, a pimp? ;-)

    2: Check out costco’s shredded mozzarella. Combined with a bread machine to make your own crusts, you will be back in pizza heaven. Cheaper and healthier too.

    • Pam E-P
      November 18, 2013

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      Wrong! You should be shredding your own cheese! Pre-packaged shredded cheese has cellulose (wood pulp) in it. Buy block cheese in bulk and shred at home. Better yet, but fresh mozzarella and you’ll never want to eat a pizza with any other cheese. I don’t have a Costco, but Sam’s and BJs carries fresh mozzarella that is reasonably priced.

      • Johnny Moneyseed
        November 18, 2013

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        The comment section of this post turned into: why Johnny Moneyseed is dumb for not buying blocks of cheese ;)

        Point well taken!

        • Leslie Beslie
          November 20, 2013

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          Surprised you buy shredded cheese if you buy base ingredients and not-pre-packaged for everything else! Old habits! Shredding your own cheese tastes sooooo much better than the gross bagged stuff and is definitely cheaper.

          • Johnny Moneyseed
            November 20, 2013

            You learn so much from writing a blog. And when 30 people tell you to shred your own cheese, you know you’re in the wrong.

            I’ll look for a cheese grater this weekend. Thank you entire Internet! ;)

            Grating Cheese

      • Nikki
        March 21, 2014

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        I would actually say that you should always consider your cheese selection.
        1. Sometimes the per unit price on the shredded cheese is actually cheaper.
        2. Sometimes you can get the most appropriate amount if you go with one over the other – maybe the per unit price is a little higher but total price is lower and you wouldn’t be able to use up the bigger package.
        3. But, if you need it to last a while, and it’s hard cheese, you’ll want the block so you can easily cut off any mold and salvage the rest. Not so much with shredded.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      We have a fleet of giant gas swallowing vehicles, yes. I don’t even pretend like we get good gas mileage, or that they’re practical vehicles for any reason. But we make the best of them!

      It’s nice to have the SUV for big stuff and to transport the animals. It’s paid off, and I’m not really in the market to trade the thing in. I would in a heartbeat if we needed the money, though.

      We need to get a damn Costco membership. I love making homemade pizza. It was one of the highlights of our Friday nights. And a great activity to keep the kids entertained.

  2. kyle
    November 17, 2013

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    This is a fantastic post, thanks for sharing this insight. I just began to follow you, MMM, MadFIentist, Jlcollins,etc a few months back and you guys all inspire me so much. I’ve always been a good saver and good with my money, never in debt, but you and your financial blogger friends take it to a whole new level. The best part is, you are still living a fulfilled and happy life. I’m 31 and am on track to retire in the next 10 – 15 years if I play my cards right. I only wish I had started a little sooner in my early 20s. May I ask, how long have you had this frugal mindset and your age?

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      It’s all about how your perceive your life. If you’re happy living a frugal lifestyle then it doesn’t matter how much you spend. Our quality of life is probably much higher than people who spend their weekends at the mall, but those people would never admit to that.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I’m 29 years old. I’ve always had a frugal mindset, but only really started putting into practice over the past 4 years or so.

  3. Doug @ The-Military-Guide
    November 18, 2013

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    Sounds like you guys are doing fine. Best of all, your kids are learning how to live a high quality of life at a very low cost.

    But people will still pity you for missing out on the finer consumer possessions in life… I’ve never figured out how to help them feel better about their problem!

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Nords — People at work used to call me “Sergeant Save-a-buck” as a jab, because we’re so good with saving money. The crazy thing is that, I didn’t really ever do anything outwardly to show that I was living a frugal lifestyle.

      I have decently new vehicles, modern cell phones, etc. So from the outside it looked like we were a normal couple. But it seems like people can sense the underlying frugal nature. I couldn’t care less what they think, unless they want advice and then I’m all ears.

  4. rick
    November 18, 2013

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    Nice post,

    Though I gotta say a cheese grater and slicer will save you a ton of money in the long run. I’m sure you can find good ones at the Goodwill, But even buying them new in the store, you’ll have made up the difference in cheese costs after just a couple loafs of cheese. I think by far the two biggest money saving kitchen devices is the cheese grater and slicer.

    $15.00 at my local warehouse store gets a 5 lbs.name brand block of medium cheddar, and it lasts a couple weeks for our family of 4 cheese lovers. And bricks store better and longer than slices or shredded. And less packaging waste as well.

    If you want real sticker shock compare the price per pound of grated parmesan cheese to block parmesan. And fresh grated tastes so much better.

    Though when it comes to the slicer, I prefer the planes over the wire and roller ones, it’s much more durable, and produces smaller cheese slices allowing you use less but still get all the flavor.

    And as for graters, get two – a big one for soft cheeses and veggies (hashed brown potatoes, carrots for salads etc), and a fine toothed one for harder cheeses, which will also serve the purpose of lemon zester and works good for garlic instead of a garlic press.

    Though even with a grater/slicer, it’s nearly impossible to beat the price of pizza from one the delivery or take and bake chains. Unless you make your own crust, but even then it’s about break even, especially in my house where each of us has our own favorite toppings with little if any overlap.

    • Robb
      November 18, 2013

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      Thank you Rick! I never imagined I would be in a position to make fun of Johnny Moneyseed AND Mr. Money Mustache in the same breath, but seriously, you guys are paying the store extra to pre-shred your cheese for you? My jaw is on the floor! I wish I could pretend my arm was extra buff from all the cheese I’ve shredded myself, but since it only takes about 30 seconds I can’t even do that. ::giggle::

      Oh, and do yourself a favor and google a recipe for Cauliflower crust pizza. If you aren’t already a roasted cauliflower nut like me, it may sound weird, but it tastes SO GOOD and is gonna be a whole lot more healthy. The only trade off is that you really have to eat it with a fork.

      I love the rebranding of “sacrifice” with “optimization” though. That is a far more accurate and powerful way to describe what we do!

      • Holly@ClubThrifty
        November 18, 2013

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        I second the cauliflower crust pizza. I saw a recipe somewhere and tried it….it was great. It’s probably fairly low-calorie and low-carb too.

        • Micro
          November 18, 2013

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          The recipe I followed for cauliflower crust was definitely not a low calorie crust. Of course, the recipe I followed called for a heft amount of cheese to help hold it together. Then given my love for cheese, I added on a bit extra. It was good but I do prefer whipping together my own bread crust with garlic and oregano. If only I could perfect the beer crust I’ve had at a pizza joint while I was in college.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      We actually do make our own crust. We have a pretty amazing bread flour recipe. Although, after reading the comments here I think I’m going to have to try making a cauliflower crust pizza at least once to try it.

      I know I’ve seen a few cheese graters at the thrift shop. I’ll pick one up next time we go there, and we’ll be back on the homemade pizza bandwagon!

  5. Little Miss Money
    November 18, 2013

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    Great post! I used to think that ‘saving’ and ‘budgetting’ went hand in hand with making sacrifices. I never compromised, I always chose what I thought I needed. Which of course, led to debt – and a lot of it. Now that I’m actually on a tight budget, and working my way out of debt, I’ve become much more creative in living a fulfilling and fun life. From eating out all the time to not at all: I eat much healthier and more varied. From hopping on every expensive adventure (or night out) to actually asking myself if I really want it – and choose to stay home: much more rest.
    It’s all about perspective. I realize now that I lived a very shallow life, seeing value in the wrong things. I feel like I’m more present now, more conscious of what’s truly worth my time and money. If anything, I’d call that a blessing.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      I think a good dose of debt is a healthy way to turn someone into a frugal person. It’s the people who never learn the lesson that end up working until they’re 90 years old.

  6. Mr. 1500
    November 18, 2013

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    MMM called you a pimp. Ha!

    -> Johnny Pimpyseed
    -> Johnny Moneypimp

    Actually, Johnny Moneyseed sounds a wee bit like a pimp name, so no modification required!

    But seriously, the car insurance thing hits home. We also pay $600/year for 2 cars.

    One of my coworkers just got a promotion and her immediate reaction was to buy a 2014 Corvette for 65K. She went out of her way to explain how I should get one too because insurance is so cheap, only $100/month. What?!?

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Yeah, try buying that car while you’re in your 20s as see how much you’d pay for insurance. Jeez!

      I guess I do have kind of a pimpish name. It’s not as pimpish as J. Money though. Especially because he shortens it to J$ in the signature block of his emails! :)

  7. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle
    November 18, 2013

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    MMM reads your blog. You are big time for sure.

    I am attempting to save by making better food choices but not sacrificing too much. I am a fast food addict and that is a waste of money and hard on my waist line. I never want to feel like I am sacrificing or inconveniencing myself because then I get frustrated and go dangerously off the budget track.

    Feeling satisfied without feeling denied is the secret to a good budget and a good diet.

  8. Finance and Fitness Dreams
    November 18, 2013

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    Can you provide a breakdown of the costs for internet, roku, amazon, etc. Also did this affect anything you did with a bundle package?

    I’m currently in year 2 of Directv, so we pay around $75/month now, cheaper in year 1 of course. We do not have the internet, but my wife has a wi-fi card through work that gets us through what we need. I’m a huge sports fan, especially college basketball so it’s hard to see us completely removing ourselves from cable.

    As far as the clothes portion, I couldn’t agree with you more, I work in a professional atmosphere and purchase about 95% of my clothes from a local thrift store. I remember purchasing 5 or 6 Kenneth Cole dress shirts for around $4 or $5 each and thinking why doesn’t everyone just do this. I have even made a little money on the side with an eBay shop called GQ Casual http://stores.ebay.com/GQ-Casual and just started new online store gqcasual.com with the same idea, buying brand name clothing for a huge discount from retail, this takes away the hours of searching and knowing you are getting a good product.

    Great article to see the approach you are taking with spending and cutting costs, thanks.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      It was $80 for our Roku (w/ free shipping).
      It costs $8 per month for Hulu Plus.
      It would cost $8 per month for Netflix (if we didn’t share).
      It would have cost $200 to cancel cable, but I argued with Verizon until I was blue in the face.
      We spend $55/month on Internet. A decent connection is required for streaming.

      I’m not a sports fan in the least, so I can’t really help too much there. But I could probably find some info for you about cutting the cord if you want to email me.

      • Finance and Fitness Dreams
        November 19, 2013

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        As of right now I don’t think I’m ready to cut the cord on cable. I mean we are essentially paying the same amount in our cable billt that you have for internet, about $70. I think having the wi-fi card with work, makes things easier. If this ever went away, I could see tossing away cable for the summer, I have done it once before and didn’t really miss much. Living in Chicago for the winters, makes it a little tougher since going outside is a mission.

        I’m going to inquire the fee associated wtih cancelling all together, maybe that will get me a discount. Thanks for the offer I’ll email you if I need to figure out the sports dilemna.

  9. Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
    November 18, 2013

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    This is pretty much how we feel – we haven’t really sacrificed at all. We have fancy gym memberships, and two paid off soft-top cars. The biggest experiment we’re looking at will be seeing how much of an inconvenience it will be to park the gas guzzling car in the driveway for 3 months. If that’s as easy as we think it might be, we’ll probably sell it and then only worry about one depreciating asset in the driveway.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      We did exactly what you’re about to experiment with. BUT — there were a few times when we needed the SUV. To transport our dogs, and especially when we moved.

      If both of your vehicles are cars, though, I could imagine your experiment ending in a victory for you. Unfortunately, for us it was not.

  10. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living
    November 18, 2013

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    I’m such a thrift store junkie that I can no longer justify the cost of brand new clothing unless it’s crazy cheap. You can often find better quality, pre-shrunk clothing at a thrift store for half the price anyways!

    As far as the fridge goes, how come the person was selling a year old fridge? Have you had a lot of good experiences buying second-hand appliances? I’m curious as I never really thought about trying that route before for large appliances as I thought you could only get something kind of old.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      The people who were selling the fridge were pretty well off. They’re house was a massive McMansion — probably around $500-600k easily.

      They had the house built to their specifications, but the builders would only put in a few different models of appliances into each home. The model they ended up with was ‘too small’ for them.

      They wanted to get rid of the thing quickly, so they could take advantage of a decent sale going on at an appliance store in town.

      This is pretty much exactly how every purchase we’ve ever made from Craigslist has gone.

  11. Retired by 40
    November 18, 2013

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    I think this is all about attitude. Obviously, you have a good one! When you realize that there is a less expensive way to do almost everything, and that it involves only a little effort, you attitude shifts. A person not used to doing the things you do – like shopping at Goodwill for clothes – may see it as a burden, but you excellent attitude allows you to feel as if you are not making a sacrifice.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 18, 2013

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      There are even cheaper ways to do everything that I currently do. I just need to figure out what they are and how to implement them. All while keeping the family happy of course!

  12. Pam E-P
    November 18, 2013

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    We can correct you on so little that we pounce when presented with the opportunity! ;)

  13. Michelle
    November 18, 2013

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    A very thoughtful post, thank you very much!:) I wish I could feel the same way about feeling like saving isn’t a sacrifice. I’m currently spending $15-20/week on food bc of my nearly $300/ month disability retiree insurance, something I’m not willing to give up bc of my health issues/coverage is really good. Also work is not steady so I give the hawk eye to every dollar I spend. I hope to get there one day though! Mental breakthroughs are the best :)

  14. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild
    November 18, 2013

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    Writer’s block, my ass ;)

    I have a weird fear of the thrift stores. Not like a “gross that’s old” fear, but more like a “my legs are six feet long” fear and a “I can’t put outfits together without the help of mannequins” fear. To shop in a thrift store takes a level of confidence (and a normal size) that I just don’t possess! Eh, that’s probably just an excuse. Maybe I’ll hit up the local Goodwill just to see, it’s been awhile.

    Even if your kids weren’t the best dressed, they are so freaking gorgeous, it wouldn’t matter :).

    Also, can I ask what your grocery store of choice is? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten on $75 a week (post college ramen noodle diet, at least). I think we may be over-consuming at meal time…

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 20, 2013

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      Our grocery store of choice has changed more times since we moved to Maryland than I can count.

      Right now it’s Shoppers.

      My favorite part about Shoppers is that they don’t have a loyalty card. I’m so sick of the loyalty card mentality, and this place has honest pricing. Their produce is great. Their bakery, and meat sections are amazing. And their store brand products are the best I’ve ever had. In most cases they’re BETTER than the big-name-brands.

      As far as the Thrift Store anxiety, I think we’re going to have to talk more about this in another format.

      • Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild
        November 24, 2013

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        I was a Giant Eagle shopper in Ohio and I LOVED its store brand products but it was so expensive.

        Now I shop at Fred Meyer (rewards card) and Trader Joe’s (no rewards card). I shop the European way (basically one day at a time) which may be the problem… Also, I group alcohol in with food spending.

  15. dojo
    November 19, 2013

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    LOVED your article and it’s so similar to our situation.

    1. We don’t eat out too often. We just calculated this last night (had a chat with hubs) and it turns out we ate out 6 times this ENTIRE year. We’re cooking at home and don’t have to deal with the crap most restaurants serve.

    2. we don’t buy processed food, so our grocery bill (even if we’re foodies and don’t always run for the best price) is still smaller than others’.

    3. my car is 5 years old. I plan on using it at least for 5 more years (more if possible). Don’t see the need to buy a new one, when this one can be used for a long time.

    4. we do travel and it’s one of our ‘big expenses’. It’s important to us and we had some amazing experiences. We’re being pretty frugal here too, so we can enjoy a lot for less money.

    5. we don’t buy clothing unless we need it. Husband hasn’t purchased anything this whole year (his wardrobe is full of good clothing) and I purchased only few maternity pants since I can’t fit in the regular ones anymore.

    6. we don’t change our gadgets each year, we buy stuff when what we have breaks.

    We’re not unhappy or deprived, we cover what’s important to us and can save money better

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 20, 2013

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      You put us to shame with how little you eat out. We’ve eaten out a bunch. Way more than we should. But the further along we go, the less we find ourselves with the desire to eat out.

      I think it’s okay if you’re in another country or region, and you’re trying the local cuisine. But to eat at fast food restaurants, or garbage chains like TGI Fridays or Applebees, you’re just straight-up throwing money in the toilet.

  16. The Warrior
    November 19, 2013

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    No idea where you live Johnny but we, in Denver, just got Aereo service for tv and are cutting the directv bill this month. It’s awesome. Check it out.

    No I’m not a Aereo rep. It’s just really cool to still get live local hd channels and be able to record.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 19, 2013

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      Yeah, Aereo is awesome. They offer it just south of here, but it’s not available in our area yet.

      So far Hulu has covered the of the programming that we’d watch on the basic channels. We don’t do awards shows, game shows, local news or any of that chatter.

  17. Chris
    November 19, 2013

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    Nice work Pimpseed ;) I enjoyed this little blurb and really goes with how we are approaching things right now. We have a few extra luxuries that we trade down as no longer needed or don’t fit our purpose. If they still work and don’t cost us anything then I don’t look to change. Keep living a fun filled life and enjoy yourself but make sure the non believers still think you are sacrificing lft and right :)

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      November 20, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      Thanks Chris. I try not to talk about money with people in real life unless they bring it up, just because my views are so outside of the norm.

      Without talking about finances you wouldn’t be able to tell how much money we spend in a year. That’s how it should be!

  18. Lisa E.
    November 20, 2013

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    How fitting, I just had Chipotle for lunch today – it was delish!

    This breakdown is really, really helpful. I like how you said you guys don’t sacrifice – you optimize. Very inspiring!

  19. Justin @ RootofGood
    November 22, 2013

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    Sacrifices? What sacrifices?! You have summarized how I feel about our spending. Most things we value just don’t cost a lot of money. We tend to be perfectly fine with inexpensive options that others somehow consider a sacrifice. $15 to buy top quality ingredients for an awesome meal is commonly looked down upon in favor of spending $100 on a fancy (but crappier) meal out somewhere.

    We are about to spend some big bucks on an in wall double oven. We cook like mofo’s and it will come in handy. It might be 3x the cost of a basic range with oven/stovetop combo, but it makes our tiny kitchen more functional and is a good tool to assist us with cooking for large gatherings which we do relatively often. $1200 is the most we will spend, and craigslist has a few good options for half that if we can find the right one.

    It’s all about focusing on what brings you value instead of defaulting to some mindless consumerist sentiment of always having the best (even if you don’t value it at all). For the oven, I look at the extra $300-800 that we will pay vs. the absolute cheapest option a good trade off for something that we will use all the time.

  20. TeacHer
    November 23, 2013

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    Great post! FWIW, I am anti shredding my own cheese because I have seriously cut myself TWICE on a cheese grater. I’m not a spaz in the kitchen, so as far as I’m concerned, cheese graters are the devil’s playthings.

  21. Chris Guthrie
    November 24, 2013

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    Perhaps it’s because I was in a car lightly hit by a semi (back rear quarter panel when he tried to merge into a lane we were already in) but I prefer to steer clear of them rather than run behind them.

    No car damage other than taillight and some jolted nerves but it’s stuck with me. (That and I’ve replaced 2 windshields because of semis).

    With regard to Craigslist looking I just never seem to find good deals worth buying. I suppose part of the fun is in finding the deal but it’s always hard for me personally to justify the lengthy time investment to find a good deal.

    My main method for living on a lot less than what I earn is in just not increasing my spending as my earnings continue to climb.

    Just found the blog perhaps I’ll see you at fincon next year. I meant to go this year.

  22. Steve
    December 9, 2013

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    Been more of a lurker than a commenter on your blog, but finally leaving a comment: great post!

    I laughed especially hard with MMM giving you beef about shredded/block cheese :D

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      December 11, 2013

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      Thanks Steve. Yeah MMM and the rest of the world apparently knew something that I didn’t about cheese. Glad to have a new commenter :)

  23. Ellen
    February 6, 2014

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    This is such an excellent post, a great summary, and presented with your usual lovely positive style. Crikey there sure are a lot of critics out there ! but I’m sure you can see from the analytics that loads of folks read without commenting. I’m sure like me they get inspiration for their own journey by getting an insight into yours.

    Sometimes it feels quite weird to be a non-consumerist! My family just don’t get that we drive a 10 year old car which we OWN and hubby maintains himself, because it does exactly the same job as their brand new ones bought on credit. It’s so absolutely incorrect to judge people’s success and net worth by things like their car! The great thing about FI blogs is to realise that there actually are other people out there with the same mentality working away at their futures along with us!

    Thanks for your blog and kudos for the fact that you don’t have advertising clogging it up, that is so rare. I used to quite like retireearlylifestyle but it looks like a garbage dump of advertising, just to use it as an example. All the best to you and your family.

    • Johnny Moneyseed
      February 6, 2014

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      Thanks Ellen! Less than 1% of readers leave comments (which is fine).

      I’m not a big fan of in-your-face advertising. It doesn’t do much for a site. But if you look around there are a few advertisements on the site for products that I actually endorse, but they’re usually text-links within the articles.

  24. Meadow Lark
    March 2, 2014

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    Excellent post! I see a lot of optimizations in my life. For instance, smaller house closer to work. I clean less and commute by bike, which I love.
    Just a note on shredded cheese – where I live you can get shredded cheese for $3/lb when on sale at Smiths and Albertsons. And of course Walmart if you bring in the other stores’ flyer. Just as inexpensive as the block. And it freezes great.

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