Sunday, May 12, 2013

But You Can't Grow A Mustache!

This is true.  I don't always have facial hair, but when I do, it's really scruffy.  In spite of that, the wife and I are undertaking The Miner Mustache Project, a frugality and DIY blog inspired by the Meta-Mustachian, MMM himself (warning - his blog contains common sense, a bit of wit, some profanity, and a lot of frugality - it may be hazardous to your psyche if you are committed to consumerism).  I did not list "personal finance" as a topic of this blog.  Read MMM for that, or any of many other qualified persons.  That's what I do.

The MMP will track how well the Miners manage to contain their spending, learn new skills, and navigate a transition from grad school to work in a sensibly frugal manner.We'll see how it goes.

First, the initial conditions: I'm a newly-minted MechE PhD, in my late twenties, with a good job lined up.  My wife and I have been married almost six years, we have a 17-month old, a baby due in October, and an adoption in process.  We want to have lots of kids (we're straight-up Protestants, we just think kids are a lot of fun).  We currently have a 2/2 condo with a pretty affordable mortgage at 5%.  We're looking at houses to contain our growing brood, but we're looking at the ones that say "investor special" or "handyman's dream" because we're sadomasochists interested in adding to our limited repertoire of home-repair skills, and it seems only fair to experiment on yourself first (note that early chemists had short lifespans).  The acquisition of a house will put this blog into high gear, but in the meantime, we'll discuss how we got to where we are and any projects that come up along the way.

Second, the goals: we want to be mortgage-free in five years and self-employed in ten.  The aim of the next ten years will be to establish an appropriate investment base and skillset to allow me to work on stuff I like when I want to, and to spend a lot of time with my family.  The aim of the next six months is to acquire the mindset and skillsets associated with living well on just a little, so that we can save (and invest and house-fix) lots.

Third, the background:  a friend recommended MMM a few weeks ago, and I have been reading up on him since then.  Good stuff, though built on a Stoicism with which I disagree.  His practical advice, however, is easily appropriated into a be-content-and-be-a-good-steward-of-creation Christian worldview, so rock on.  He and Jacob Fisker had an interesting exchange in which it was generally concluded that we happen to live in an extremely prosperous country in an extremely prosperous time, and if we just choose to live life with a smaller footprint (of energy, in this discussion), the rewards would pile on.    This holds true whatever your outlook on peak oil, the environment, solar-powered wind turbines, or whatever (that last would just be a fan, I guess).

So here we are, working to have a big family in a small footprint, and chronicling our haps and mishaps on this blog.  Welcome, and we hope you enjoy!

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