A Frugal Year Of Living Changed Our Future

We started on our FIRE journey one year ago this month. Since then, we have paid off thousands of dollars in credit card and student loan debt and invested many more thousands in retirement accounts and a personal taxable account. How did we do this? We buckled down, threw our budget out the window and spent on only things that were valuable to us, ate a lot more meals at home, and adjusted our entertainment monies down to almost nothing. I even started making my own coffee at home…GASP.


…we haven’t noticed the sacrifices, but we have certainly noticed the rewards. A year of living an ultra frugal lifestyle has taught us that we don’t need everything our friends and co-workers have. The funny thing is, not only do we not need it, we actually don’t want it anymore. We much prefer no debt and plenty of money in investments over more STUFF.

Our Frugal Play Book

So how did we finish our ultra frugal year with so much success? Here’s a quick and dirty list…

-We stopped buying crap we don’t need – I’m lookin’ at you, tissues boxes and shaving cream!

-We started to analyze the purpose of each purchase

-We combined trips

-We entertained ourselves

We cut the cord…and watched a lot of Netflix!

-We cooked our meals at home and took the leftovers to work

-Whenever we got the urge to go out to eat and decided to stay in and cook, we will transferred that amount of money we would have spent on dining out into our investment account. Gimme a high-five!

We Even Did A HUGE Home Renovation

Yeah, remember the reason I started this blog in the first place? (Answer: We almost purchased a huge house we couldn’t comfortably afford). During our first year of ultra frugal living, we decided NOT to move and to love the home we already had. We made up our frugal minds to finish the square footage wasting away in our basement and put in new flooring on the main floor. WOW, what a difference! This wasn’t cheap by any means, however, we got the bigger house we felt we needed, and some high-end finishes in the Hellish 6-month long process. The best part was paying for these improvements with CASH. What a feeling! The cash we were going to fritter away on a down payment last year went to make our current home the place where we want to raise our Mini Monster. Not only did we get EVERYTHING we wanted in a home, the value significantly increased, our mortgage stayed the same, and our taxes only jumped by a couple hundred dollars each year – because we had everything permitted. Ooh Rah! Look for the dirty details on the renovation in a post later this week!

walk downtown

Mr. MMM and Mini enjoying a fall day

Here’s To Year #2 Of Frugal Living!

We cannot wait to embark on our second year of frugal living. Our focus right now is paying off our Mazda 3 – we were going to pay this off before the student loan but decided to knock out the higher interest debt first. We have a measly $7k left on the car loan, so hopefully it fades fast. After that we’ll be in the FIRE fast lane, focusing solely on our mortgage and investments. Early retirement, you can’t run forever! We will catch you!

Tell us how you plan to live a frugal lifestyle this coming year. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!


Mad Money Cat NOT loving his photo opp

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rhythminlife Feb 1, 2017, 3:50 pm

    Thumbs up!!!!!. You guys rock!. Deciding we don’t need nor want what the people around us have is quite challenging in this day in age but once you get started, you quickly realized you truly don’t care what other people think at all!!!. Thanks for the motivation. We live a debt free life and we love it!!!!…..Small house and a frugal life to match, but hey who cares??.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 1, 2017, 4:16 pm

      Thumbs up back at ya! Sounds like we aren’t the only ones who figured out the Happy Life formula! 🙂

  • Miss Mazuma Jan 13, 2017, 9:15 pm

    It just goes to show when you pay attention to your purchases you see how much is wasted on silly crap. Good for you guys and I’m sure you’ll kick ass this year!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 14, 2017, 1:40 pm

      Thanks so much! Same goes for you guys! Hope Bubba is doing well 🙂

  • Matt @ The Resume Gap Sep 27, 2016, 11:59 am

    Super awesome! I’m glad you’re re-upping for year 2 🙂

  • thejollyledger Sep 27, 2016, 10:25 am

    Congrats on all your accomplishments this year! This is really amazing and inspiring! I don’t know if I can give up tissues but we have paid our debt and cut a lot of our spending too! It is soooo great not to want wasteful things anymore, how freeing.

    • Mad Money Monster Sep 27, 2016, 10:30 am

      Thank you! We’re really excited after finishing our first successful year of frugal living. Also…you’d be amazed how easy it is to give up tissues when you buy soft toilet paper 😉

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