[Nords note: My spouse and I are still on Mainland slow travel, and we’ll head back to Oahu in mid-July. Maybe we’ll see you at a military Space A passenger terminal!]
We spent another Memorial Day weekend at the Rainbow Lodge in the bustling megalopolis of North Bend, WA. (Snarkasm! It’s a lovely little town.) This was my second Camp Mustache, and they just keep getting better. Unlike last year’s chilly rainy mosh pit, this year’s Seattle-area weather was sunny, cloudless, and warm.
Camp Mustaches are nonprofit events which are crowdsourced by readers of the Mr. Money Mustache blog and the members of its forum. Instead of a formal licensed franchise with rules and “brands” and other guidelines, it’s an extended meetup of like-minded people with food & lodging. It’s limited to 50 attendees and this year it sold out via a lottery. It’s nearly unstructured free time: we spent the weekend with a few breakout sessions on specific topics, but most of it was random personal-finance conversations around warm fires and frosty beverages. This time, however, those conversations were about accelerating your financial independence and living your best life
You know we talked about real estate, investing, and travel hacking. (I gave a presentation on investing in the 1980s-’90s, and how a high savings rate can overcome even high expenses and mistakes.) Most of the group already knows the basics, and our questions went into even more advanced details.
This year we added a seminar about Mustachianism for couples, especially on ways to approach the lifestyle question when one of them is skeptical about their prospects. Another presentation looked at anti-Mustachianism, especially for those who enjoy their paid employment. When you’re feeling challenged and fulfilled from your work, then financial independence simply gives you more choices about that avocation.
Otherwise, the holiday weekend was filled with offline discussions— perhaps while strolling or sportsing or just reclining around the fire with adult beverages. It also included atypical conference events like: practicing mindful meditation techniques, enjoying amateur yoga, and tackling the traditional hike up Mt. Si.
Most of all, I enjoyed my second Camp Mustache because my spouse came too! She picked up tips (which I’d overlooked) on Costco memberships and their loss-leader rotisserie chickens. But most of the time we were swapping advice with people who had questions about life after financial independence. We know what we like to do all day.
At this CM, a year older and a lot wiser, I skipped the four-mile summit hike up the Mt. Si trail. (It’s a great hike for everyone but my 20% disabled knee cartilage.) My spouse and I climbed a 45-minute hike without the marathon or its aftermath, and then we enjoyed the rest of the sunny afternoon at the Lodge.
We’re goin’ back next year (if we can snag lottery tickets). Better yet, we’re setting our sights on other Camp Mustache events around the country. They’re organized by local Mustachians who have the desire to spend 2-3 days with people who share their common goals and knowledge.
Free book offer!
Which brings me to my next subject: Donna Freedman has just published her second volume in her series “Your Playbook For Tough Times“.
This is the “Needs And Wants” edition, which shows you how to live your best life while struggling with your finances. If you feel that you’re stuck in Thoreau’s “life of quiet desperation”, then this book is the troubleshooting guide. It’ll give you specific agencies to call (with their phone numbers), negotiating techniques (with scripts), and websites to consult.
“Playbook” will get you through the rest of the month with practically no money, and it’ll help you prepare for the next (unpredictable) financial catastrophe. If you’re living in deprivation (military or otherwise) then this book will help you upgrade to frugality. Believe it or not, you’ll even find the path to financial independence.
Military families will appreciate its detailed advice on how to care for a pet who eats as much as a small child. You’ll learn how to survive the gifting seasons of holidays, graduations, and weddings without going broke. You’ll browse frugal hacks for transportation and travel expenses (during your transfer to a new duty station). Best of all, the book guides you through a complete insurance review to help you figure out what to cover and what’s not worth covering.
If you’ve read Donna Freedman’s previous “Tough Times” volume then you know how the “Needs And Wants” edition can boost your efforts into a sustainable lifestyle. (If you don’t know yet, then read the review at that link.) You know that deprivation is unsustainable, and this book shows you how to turn that into sustainable frugality.
Better yet, Ms. Freedman is giving away a free copy to The Military Guide readers! Leave a comment below by 24 June on how you’ll use the book (or for whom & why!), and we’ll randomly pick a winner.
If you don’t want to wait that long then feel free to buy it now for just $5 with this special Military Guide link and use the discount code MILGUIDE at checkout. Please note that this code is only good through 4 July.
Why pay $5 for a book about surviving with little or no money? I promise you that neither Donna nor I will get rich off the royalties or any affiliate income. The reason that you’re willing to pay $5 is because that financial sacrifice forces your commitment to get through the tough times and fix your finances. You’ll earn more than $5 just from implementing your first tip (out of her hundreds of hacks) and you’ll refer to the book many times. You’ll make better decisions about the big financial choices, and that’s an outstanding return on the price of a daily latte.
Comment below (before 24 June) on how you’ll use the book, or to whom you’re giving it (and why).
Doug – I bought the original edition of Tough Times and enjoyed most of the tips – Except the purchasing of second-hand gift cards via Gift Card Granny.
Gift Card Granny includes referrals to unused cards for sale on eBay- which a frequently a scam (I’ve been had twice now). I’ve asked GC Granny to halt the re-listing/re-posting of eBay gift cards. No response yet from Granny.
Hi there: I shy away from eBay cards myself, but I’m a fervent user of the non-eBay companies found on GFG, like Cardpool and Card Cash. I’ve gotten 20% off movie tickets for years now, and routinely get 12% off at Walgreens. Since my nephews like fast food, I save 10% or more at McDonald’s with the cards. And my daughter gets as much as 20% off at PetSmart for dog and cat food and supplies.
If there’s a place you go regularly (restaurants, florists, department and drug stores, etc.) then there’s probably a card — and why NOT save another 3% to 20%?
And thanks for buying my book!
Through out my military career I, and post, have always abided by some basic behavioral economic habits that has worked well over many decades.
-I carry no credit card balance and never have.
– I have never owned a “vacation home”, time share, or other bottomless pits
– I have never owned a recreational boat
– I have never bought a new car. Always high quality used and drove them till the tires fell off.
– Since my 1st Vanguard account in 1982, I have never missed a monthly contribution
– And most importantly especially in the military community, I married right the 1st time. Mess that decision up, anything else you do financially or life style really does not matter.
It is those habits that has allowed me to work post military retirement because I want to, not had to. I do not coupon clip or shop from Amazon.
What I never scrimped on though is a high quality mattress and bedding, you spent a 1/3rd of your life on it, do it right. And cost does matter. And no, “memory” foam is not substitute for quality box/spring construction.