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Turning 33: frugal to the max

When I turned 30, my birthday motto was “Higher highs and lower lows.”

When I turned 31, my birthday motto was “Double down.”

When I turned 32, my birthday motto was “No problem.”

Each year, the motto has helped me frame the upcoming year and give it some kind of direction. Those three mottos are pretty much a table of contents of my 30s so far.

Today I turn 33, and I the motto for this year is going to be “Frugal to the max.” I’m starting a new company, we’re planning to start a new family, and I think it’s time for the essentials of life to come into sharp focus.

Last night I woke up around 5am and did my usual iPhone surfing from bed, but nothing was happening (other than Dita Von Teese returning from Paris). So I sat there and had this strange realization of the shortness of life. To be able to sit in bed, with an exciting day ahead, with the love of my life right next to me, while we’re young, full of energy and ideas, hopeful, excited, and the world seems to be in sync with our goals and hopes… it’s a snapshot of time that I truly appreciate. I laid awake and savored everything that I have right now, and promised not to let it slip by without being fully appreciated.

Turning frugal is how I’m going to appreciate. And from what I can tell from people who I’ve talked with this about, it seems like we’re all interested in getting back to basics and truly savoring the essentials of life: love, friendship, health, quality time, creativity, sustainability, balance, and sense of self.

Tonight I celebrate with friends, tomorrow I start something new.

8 Responses to “Turning 33: frugal to the max”

  1. Happy birthday, man, and congrats on a great series of posts lately. I’m very much in the frugal zone these days myself and am trying to do very much what you’re trying to do (i.e. boostrapping), so it’s been really heartening to read about someone else in the same situation. You continue to be a source of inspiration :-) .

  2. Happy birthday and best of luck with everything – I’m sure it’ll all come up roses and you’ll find lots of awesome ways to make frugal both fun and rewarding.

  3. Frugality is on the forefront of my mind as well. I read an article today on Yahoo: How to Spend Like a Frugal Millionaire. It was surprisingly good. Wikipedia has some good info too- here’s a an excerpt you may find interesting. Excited about the possibility of seeing little Buster(s)/Busterette(s) running about!


    Frugality is the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and
    resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.

    1 Strategies for frugality
    2 Philosophy

    1 Common strategies of frugality include the reduction of waste, curbing costly habits, suppressing instant gratification by means of fiscal self-restraint, seeking efficiency, avoiding traps, defying expensive social norms, embracing free (as in gratis) options, using barter, and staying well-informed about local circumstances and both market and product/service realities.

    2 Frugality in the context of certain belief systems, is a philosophy in which one does not trust, or is deeply wary of “expert” knowledge, often from commercial markets or corporate cultures, claiming to know what is in the best economic, material, or spiritual interests of the individual.[2]
    Different spiritual communities consider frugality to be a virtue or a spiritual discipline.[3] The Religious Society of Friends and the Puritans are examples of such groups.[4] The basic philosophy behind this is the idea that people ought to save money in order to allocate it to more charitable purposes, such as helping others in need.[5]
    There are also environmentalists who consider frugality to be a virtue[6] through which humans can make use of their ancestral skills as hunter-gatherers, carrying little and needing little, and finding meaning in nature instead of man-made conventions or religion. Henry David Thoreau expressed a similar philosophy in Walden, with his zest for self-reliance and minimal possessions while simply living in the woods.

  4. I’m glad that you appreciate what you have. It’s a lot.

  5. [...] because you can: living frugally, JavaScript pixel art and hand-built microprocessors. Also, C as a functional language is nicer to [...]

  6. [...] last day at the Robot Co-op and the beginning of Enjoymentland. ┬áMy motto for the year was “Frugal to the max.” I just did a little calculation and it looks like our spending over the last 12 months [...]

  7. I’m turning 33 this weekend…. I enjoyed reading your perspective!

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