Hyper-Frugality is NOT Official YNAB Doctrine (It just happens to be fun.)

“Can’t imagine what it must be like to live at Mark’s house. Scrutinizing every financial detail must be exhausting. On the other hand, it is for a good cause. (eliminating debt, and material for writing a blog)
Keep up the good work and thanks for presenting new perspectives.”

A week or so ago we agreed that choosing to finance anything is choosing to finance everything. After reading the post, our old friend Bill (remember Bill?) left the comment I shared above.

I read it to my wife and she cracked up. Probably because she’s the one who has to deal with my current ban on the use of recessed can lights, not to mention my insistence that we line dry all our clothes in the basement (gotta love that dry Utah climate).

You might wonder why my wife laughed off Bill’s comment, rather than having it stir up some kind of argument between us.

A couple reasons:

First, she and I share the same goals: freedom from debt followed by financial independence. I may be a little more aggressive about cost-cutting, but she’s thrilled with the positive momentum we’re building.

Second, she sees I’m the happiest I’ve been, maybe ever. When I was making more, spending (a lot) more, and borrowing, I was irritable, tired, stressed out. In my pursuit of a higher savings rate, I’m happier, relaxed, and energized.

So, I’m feeling great, but I want to speak to the last part of Bill’s comment:

“…thanks for presenting new perspectives.”

I appreciate Bill’s gratitude, and I want to make sure we’re clear on one thing:

Hyper-frugality isn’t official YNAB doctrine.

YNAB is just a tool to increase awareness while reducing money-related stress and conflict. My blog posts only serve, as Bill put it, to offer a different perspective than what most people are used to.

I may come across as hyper-frugal or anti-consumption. I’m really neither of those. (I’m all for consumption. It’s 1 degree outside, and my bike ride to work would have been much less comfortable without the ski goggles I bought ten years ago.) I’m just putting every outflow under the microscope to try to understand its cost and benefit.

That’s why nothing I say on the blog should make you feel judged, criticized, or unsuccessful.

Ideally, what I write would intrigue, maybe occasionally inspire, and hopefully not bore you. But you’re pursuing your own goals in your own way, just as you should.

So, keep my posts in their proper place. Your job is to spend mindfully, with an eye on your most important goals. If I say anything that helps, great. Use those nuggets and discard the rest.