Hard Choices, Through Different Financial Perspectives

Everyone has different answers to spending priorities. I thought it would be interesting to re-visit my own family’s wants and needs list through the eyes of three different financial “camps”: 1) Frugal At All Cost, 2) Early Retirement Financial Independence (FIRE), or 3) Make More Money

First, some definitions are in order:

couponFrugal At All Cost are personal finance bloggers who espouse the benefits of saving money as the means to financial security. Methods include deal-hunting, coupon clipping, DIY, and other means of saving money. Some bloggers who I consider in this camp are: Surviving and Thriving, Frugalwoods, and The Simple Dollar.

MMM_bikeEarly Retirement bloggers focus on saving as much as possible in order to retire as early/young as possible. They are willing to make bigger sacrifices and be more flexible in order to save a lot of their income toward early retirement. One of the earliest blogs for this movement was Early Retirement Extreme. That torch is being carried by Mad Fientist, Mr. Money Mustache, Retire By 40, and many more.

RichMake More Money bloggers are the ones who tend to push side-hustles, second jobs and increasing your earning potential in order to reach millionaire status. I consider I Will Teach You To Be Rich and Financial Samurai to be in this group.

I know that my definitions are over-simplifications and may contain errors since I’m new to the FIRE world. If you read most personal finance blogs long enough, you’ll realize that there’s a gray area, or wiggle room, within those core principles. As an example, FIRE-blogger Mad Fientist had a great post cautioning about Financial Independence tunnel vision. Many bloggers acknowledge that there isn’t one path to financial security.

For this exercise, however, I was hard-core about following the financial principle of choice. 


This ended up being an interesting exercise for me.  Once I prioritize my spending list, it’s hard to re-think those decisions and realize that there are other ways to prioritize needs and wants.  

This is one of a series of tips/ideas to help you stay middle-class (HTSMC).  Whether you consider yourself on the lower- or higher-end of the spectrum, you can probably find some useful tips to help you stay there and find save more for retirement even as wages stay stagnant.