Frugality: when your friends and family just don’t get it

My wife and myself are full steam on our frugal goals this year. We pay a lot more attention to what we spend than we ever did.

As predicted by the infamous Mr. Money mustache, this is fairly easy to get used to, and quickly turns into a game. I’m amazed at how much some of my goals align together: I decided to not get a car, and instead to walk to the office. This saves me money, makes me feel better about not being part of the “problem”, reduces my daily stress (I don’t have to worry about an accident, or repair costs, or finding a parking spot everyday, etc…), and walking every day is pretty healthy.

Not everything’s perfect, and we’ve been having a hard time agreeing on where to send our kid to preschool. What we find is either outrageously expensive, or just not interesting. And, interestingly, that kind of argument got me into a debate with one of my good friends.

“$1500 a month for 4 days a week of preschool? I’m not gonna pay that, it’s almost more expensive than college” I said.

“But dude, you can totally afford it”, he replied. “So what’s the big deal?”

It’s interesting to note that I felt slightly guilty with his answer. This is especially true because we’re talking of my kid here, not something that directly impacts me, but my son. The point though is, no, I cannot afford to pay $1500 per month for preschool, AND keep the life goals I envision for my family in the years to come. This additional $18’000 a year for 3 years would put me several years back in my early retirement plans, which at this point I do not want to see coming.

In absolute, $1500 a month for 4 days of preschool a week is too expensive. It does not matter how much you make or how much you plan to save.

This is just one example of the stuff I’ve had to deal with since we started preparing for early retirement. When discussing the plan with my father, his answer was “be careful! General Motors employees although thought they could retire early, then their money vanished when the stock dropped”. Hmm, yeah, that’s the whole point of going with indexed funds rather than just one single stock. I am not “playing” the stock market, I’m investing.

Are you on your path to early retirement, saving as much as you can? What type of reaction do you get from friends and family?

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