25 March 2016 –
Like me you probably have friends who enjoy going out to bars, restaurants, sports games……..? Do they like to spend up large when they’re out? Entree, main, dessert, cocktails to start, bottles of wine and fancy coffees when dining out? Plenty of overpriced beers, hotdogs and chips at the sports games?
And do you cringe when they want to do ‘rounds’ or split the bill even though your contribution to the night’s extravagance was significantly lower?
Well one of the keys to getting FIRE’d asap is learning the art of saying ‘no’.
“No, I’ll just buy my own drinks thanks.”
“No, I’m just having a main and a couple of beers so I’ll give you the cash for that”
“No, I don’t want to upsize my meal.”
“No, we don’t need the model with all the bells-and-whistles. The standard one will do all I need.”
“No, I don’t need another pair of shoes/TV/car/mobile phone.”
“No, I’ll get that book from the library rather than buying it.”
You get the picture.
So, if you’re going to achieve your goal of financial independence asap, you are going to have to learn to say ‘NO’ more often. ‘No’, to spendy friends and family, ‘no’ to salesmen whose sole aim is to separate you from more of your hard earned, but mostly ‘no’ to yourself, and that’s going to be hard work especially if you’re a natural born spender.
But luckily we have Mr Money Mustache to the rescue. Here’s a look at Mr Money Moustache’s take on keeping your spend reasonable including his six steps to protecting your ‘stache’ from spendy friends, all presented in that unique Mr MM way.
“The problem is, the Mustachian definition of reasonable spending (relative to wealth) is pretty different from the average person’s definition. If WE ran the world, there would still be decadent restaurants out there for truly wealthy people, but people still stuck in cubes and trying to get ahead would choose more affordable activities for themselves.
Alas, most of us still have non-Mustachian friends, and we don’t want to throw them away just for their spending habits. Plus, there is still some fun to be had in the odd restaurant meal or other indulgence. Therefore, you and I sometimes need to compromise in the area of expensive socialization. It’s called Protecting your Money Mustache from your Spendy Friends, and it’s pretty fun once you get into it.
1: Understand the Big Picture
One of the key differences between being Frugal (good) and being Cheap (bad) in how you handle special occasions. A frugal person may have no problem dropping $50 or $100 on a good time with friends. A cheap person will feel uncomfortable and start looking at his or her feet with even the slightest and rarest of expenditures. The key is in understanding the effect of any spending over the course of a full year, then over 10 years.
2: Take the lead in Planning
Why do non-rich people plan their social events at expensive restaurants anyway? Is it because those restaurants are the only way to have fun? Is it because they hate the idea of becoming wealthy? Is it because they’re all idiots?
No on all counts. It’s simply a habit everyone has gotten themselves into. One person suggests “Restaurant!”, the rest of them agree because it’s easier to agree than disagree, and the plan is made.
You can override the expensive planning habit by designing more of the events yourself. Dinner or drinks at a rotating series of your own places, a group bike ride, walk, skateboard, or rollerblade event (invent a novel destination), or a meetup in a public park for pick-up soccer or a fitness workout on the kids’ play structure.
Find a way to throw a Group Walk into any gathering you design – even if it’s just a trip to the beer store or a lap around a few blocks of your neighbourhood. Similarly, minimize the unnecessary use of cars (don’t organize a hike 60 miles from home and then say “Everyone can just meet out there at the trailhead!”).
Besides making you and all of your friends richer, you’ll be shifting your group activities from consumption (of needless empty calories and booze), to production (of muscles, fitness, and overall mental wellbeing). They’ll also have more fun.
If you’ve never tried it before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how willing people are to follow your lead. Most people just go along with whatever is planned for them.
3: Get the separate Tabs – Without Shame
Ordering less costly stuff for yourself only works if you are the one paying your own bill. So you may have to be bold and start a tradition that yes, everyone should pay for their own stuff when you go out. “Hey Guys, I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to get my own separate bill for this. These days, I’m eating and drinking less, and saving more, and this is part of it.”
If it’s a one-off occasion and/or your friends eat the same way you do, you can skip this step, as mentioned in the “Big Picture” point above. But otherwise, shared bills are just injustice, plain and simple. Do we wuss out and put up with injustice, or do we stand up for ourselves? Exactly.
4: Blame Mr. Money Mustache
If you’d like, you can invoke Mr. Money Mustache as part of your justification. I’ll gladly take any flak your friends would like to dish out. If you have intelligent enough friends, they might even see the light on the spot, and convert to Mustachianism.
OK, I’m being silly here, but you’d be surprised at how many people I meet these days who had never thought of financial independence in their lives, and yet have now adopted the idea wholeheartedly. It really is a neat and useful concept to understand, and yet almost nobody in the general public has even heard of it… yet.
5: Embrace the DBP – Drink Booster Program
As a younger man, I was known for occasionally sporting a flask or other hidden container of party supplies, whether the venue be a bar, a restaurant, or a public park. This takes the young adult’s dilemma of “I want to get tipsy with my friends tonight, but can’t afford the $7.00 drinks”, and turns it on its head. You can whip out your flask containing the tasty beverage of your choice, and offer drink boosts not only to yourself, but to all of your friends. They can do the same. This will drastically cut the need to buy overpriced drinks, while adding an element of strategy and intrigue to the evening.
Similarly, you can turn any public park, beach, or campsite into a great meeting venue by bringing your own food and drink. Some public places attempt to post ridiculous “No Alcohol” rules, and although I don’t want to get anyone into trouble, I do heartily endorse giving a serious middle finger to conservative societal regulations like that one. Be an adult, don’t interfere with the enjoyment of others, leave the place cleaner than it was when you got there, and use incognito containers as needed… but we should all be able to eat and drink whatever the hell we want while out enjoying Nature.
6: Remember – it’s Being Together that Matters
One of the primary reasons we’re growing rich together here, is to free up more of our time for the rest of our lives. This time will in turn be spent in a mixture of family, friend, and solitary activities. So when planning events, your real goal is to trick people into spending time together. Eating has become our default one, because everybody knows how to eat. But there are so many other things that people can do together, many of which accomplish the goal of togetherness even better. Your job is to understand this, and focus on the people part, while designing out the expensive baggage that has unnecessarily attached itself to all of our social activities.” [mrmoneymustache.com. Click here to read more…]
Remember, reaching financial freedom means practicing frugality at every opportunity. Every dollar saved takes you closer to that glorious day when you can say “I no longer have to go to work”. So here’s your homework. Start practising saying ‘NO’ more often and, not only are going to reach your financial goal faster, as a side benefit think of the wonders it’s going to do for your waistline!!