Frugal Living

This post is Frugal PhD’s first-ever guest post, brought to us by fellow blogger and conquerer of consumption—Mystery Money Man. Here, the Mystery Money Man outlines three valuable lessons he has learned about money—to avoid lifestyle inflation, choose like-minded friends, and just say “no”. By sharing some of the financial wisdom he has accumulated, Mystery Money Man equips younger readers with the knowledge they need to avoid pitfalls and to stay strong on the path to financial success. 


Recently, I’ve given a lot of thought to the concept of hindsight. Hindsight is something we all possess, but it’s one of those things where the older we get, the more we have. Think of it like a savings account that accumulates over time. I’m not sure if it’s interest bearing, but I know mine’s got an impressive balance!

You see, I recently turned 40…er, make that 41. I’ve never been one to give much thought to getting older, but since I hit the big FOUR-OH, I seem to be slightly less accepting of the fact. I do realize that it’s all relative, that to my parent’s I’m still their kid, and to my sixteen year old son, well…I’m slightly older :). Regardless, my age has become a source of increasing, wary reflection.

Now, where were we? Let’s look at a definition for hindsight:

“The ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused an event.” 


I love this definition, of hindsight because it frames it as an ability. It’s a kind of wisdom that only comes from life experience.

With that in mind, allow me to share 3 money-related lessons that I’ve learned over the years. This is the stuff I would share with my younger self, if given the opportunity…

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In this post, I explain how making a daily list of things I’m thankful for has given me a welcome infusion of patience about my financial goals. I encourage everyone to try it.

The winter holidays are coming! You guys, I get so excited about the cooking, the baking, and most of all, the time I’ll get to spend with my family. I can’t wait! Except this is a post about patience, so I guess I’ll have to. Ugh! Come now, holidays!

Tis the Season for Gratitude

In November, many personal finance bloggers will offer great advice about how to cut out some of the costs of hosting parties and entertaining families. There will also be many blog posts about how to stop sabotaging your finances with your hyper-consumerist holiday spending.

Today I want to talk about a different holiday theme: being thankful. This post is about how purposefully practicing daily gratitude has given me the ability to be more patient about my financial goals. And if you’ve spent much time on this blog, you know that patience isn’t really a personal virtue for me.

Gratitude as a Practice

So let’s stop dallying and get to the story of how I started practicing gratitude. Because yes, it’s something I’ve started practicing. I spend time on it. On purpose. The majority of us are not natural wellsprings of gratitude. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be grateful. We just need to be deliberate and purposeful about it. Here’s how I got started.

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The Frugal Foodie

Fun fact about me: I am a foodie. I love food. If I could I’d try, all the restaurants in the city. I would also learn to make all of the delicious things. One of my favorite things to do on the Internet is to browse food blogs. These days, you can find food blogs around pretty much any food theme you can think of. And many of us also live in places where we have access to ingredients to make recipes from almost anywhere around the world. It’s wonderful…..It’s also a little bit terrible. For me anyway. Let me explain.

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This post is an impatient person’s guide to setting and achieving big financial goals without losing heart. Settle in, friends. We’re in this for the long haul.

We’ve all heard it—patience is a virtue. And if it were your only measure of virtue, you might conclude that I’m not a very virtuous person. When I was little, my nickname was “Demanda”. While I think I can safely say that I’m not nearly as much of a brat as my little kid self was, it’s also a fair assessment to say I am not the world’s most patient person.

When I set goals, I want to go for them. Like now. Why not now?! I like now.

This is not to say I’m rash. I’m actually a pretty adept planner. I always weigh my options carefully. But once I’ve decided on a course of action, I usually choose to act deliberately. There’s no reason to wait. Let’s get things going!

Despite my eager attitude, here’s a truth about money—money is slow. Financial goals—especially big financial goals—don’t happen overnight.

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In this post, I talk about why investing in experiences is better than buying stuff. I also share some of the rules I practice to avoid overloading my home with clothes and gadgets I don’t use.

Experiences Make Us Happy.  Stuff Doesn’t.

Research has consistently shown that we’re happier when we put our dollars toward having amazing life experiences as opposed to using them to accumulate more stuff. For some people, this can seem counter-intuitive. Why spend your money on an experience that doesn’t leave you with a tangible thing you can keep? It turns out that we’re fueled by happy memories. Rarely does someone get to the end of their life with regrets about the time they spent with their family and friends, or the incredible adventures had as they traveled and explored the world. You will, however, find people with regrets about the big boat they bought for their cabin, which they only made time to drive to twice last summer.

It has often been the tendency of American families to buy a bigger home once they start to have children. Those larger houses have more rooms, which many people then fill with toys, gadgets, and other things that bring temporary joy, but soon get demoted to the basement storage room. Many people even pay for extra space in storage units over a period of years, just to store things that they are likely never to use again.

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