My commuting college student life was a carefree time of making almost no money, but not spending much either. This quickly changed as years of inattention found my post college self with consumer debt for the first time and loans. I also married a lovely boy with not-so-lovely debt of his own.
Luckily, this was around the time I found JD Roth’s Get Rich Slowly and MSN Money’s Liz Weston (and a Frugal Babe honorable mention). With their advice and some spartan living, the husband and I paid off 3 car loans, 2 student loans, 2 credit cards, a consolidation loan, and a store card over the span of 2 1/2 years.
The past 3 1/2 years have seen our focus change from debt clearing to saving and investing. This also coincided with the emergence of Mr. Money Mustache. He was not the first to introduce the idea of early retirement or, if that term is too unpalatable, financial independence. But his earnest/brazen approach to personal finance was refreshing. He challenges the idea of why we should save by poking holes at the how.
If Mr. Money Mustache took a peek at our finances, we’d probably get an earful and a righteous punch in the face (especially since neither of us owns a bike!), but we generally try to keep his precepts in mind. We sold one of our two cars as our daily commute reduced drastically when we moved into our new home. Both of us are walking distance to public transit and the husband is able to walk to work. With no consumer or revolving debt (besides the mortgage), most of our savings goes into a Vanguard stock index fund (VTSAX), employer 401k’s or accelerated mortgage payments with some cash reserves in a dedicated online savings account.