Mr. Money Mustache is one of my favorite bloggers. He retired at 30 and lives with his wife and son in Colorado…spending about $25,000 a year! He maintains this level of spending, even after his blog exploded and now brings in about $400,000 a year. And one of the points he makes that really hit me is how he views his life as extravagant (more on that from MMM here)! It’s not about holding back – he certainly doesn’t view his lifestyle as one of self-deprivation. Even now that he’s making big money, their level of spending is not increasing. This is, at least in part, because he already views their $25,000 annual spending as extravagant (and too much luxury as a weakness).

It’s this mindset that has really stuck with me – and is something I continually think about. His framework has shown me just how extravagant my own life is – and I don’t spend a lot of money! I bet your own lifestyle is extravagant as well.

I love this quote from Mr. Money Mustache:
“Here in the MMM household, every dinner is a candlelight dinner. But I don’t stop there: every lunch is a candlelight lunch, and even every breakfast is a candlelight breakfast.

Candles as a personal finance tip. Crazy? You are correct – crazy awesome. The very fact that we can afford great food and have a peaceful place to sit down and eat it is cause for celebration. Instead of becoming accustomed to this incredible luxury, I prefer to pause life and focus on it several times every day. Quietly and deliciously, in the presence of a silent, glowing flame.

Gathered together with family and friends is always the best way, but if there’s nobody around and I’m dining alone, it is still a celebration worthy of candles.”

Let’s think about this:
He’s taking time. It is often said that being busy is easy. It’s doing less that’s hard. In that regard, I think it’s important to slow down, take time, and appreciate the little things – and the extravagant and fancy things (which we probably already have but don’t give enough thought to). Let’s change that!

Try asking yourself these questions:

Let’s start with the basics.

  • Do you have heating and air conditioning in your home?
  • Do you have running water and indoor plumbing?
  • Can you afford life’s basic necessities – food, clothing, and shelter?

Congratulations! You’ve already won.

How about these questions?

  • Do you have a car? (If not, congratulations on building a life that involves more walking and exercise and less money and pollution!)
  • Do you have a job? And if not, is it by choice? And if not, are you still able to live on some savings for now?
  • Do you have health insurance?

Alright, now let’s dive into some more extravagant things!

  • When was the last time you went out to lunch?
  • When was the last time you purchased tickets to an event – a concert, a movie, a museum, whatever?
  • When was the last time you went on vacation?
  • What about a weekend getaway?
  • When was the last time your purchased clothing, shoes, or a new gadget?
  • Do you have a cell phone? Is that phone essentially a pocket-sized high-functioning computer?

When I first started reading Mr. MM’s articles on this topic, I counted a whopping TWELVE weekend trips in one calendar year. I was shocked! Sometimes just writing things down and reflecting helps us realize just how much we do and how blessed we are.

If you keep track of things in some form of a calendar, take a few minutes to review what you’ve done every Saturday this year. I bet you’ll find a life of extravagance!

And what about all of the beautiful things we can CHOOSE to do and appreciate, if we just stop and slow down and focus on what matters? I propose a simpler life that allows us the time to appreciate a life of extravagance, without spending any more money.

  • When was the last time you took a long walk and appreciated nature?
  • How often do you share a meal with friends…without any required end time, without another obligation to rush off to?
  • How often do you watch the sunset or the stars?

I don’t know what extravagance looks like or feels like to you, but I do know that when Mr. MM phrased it this way and I started to think about it, I realized just how extravagant my own life is! And again, this is all without spending a lot of money. (I can be extravagant with the things I value without spending money on the things I don’t – and appreciating more fully the things that cost hardly any money at all.)

Extravagance doesn’t mean over-the-top luxury or waste. It doesn’t mean we spend recklessly and max out our credit cards. Instead, it means we appreciate what we have and realize how blessed we are – as we are, right now, without over-spending.

I suggest taking some time to reflect on your extravagant life. In Mr. MM fashion, could you add candles to a meal or take in the view from your balcony or backyard?

Are you living the extravagant life? What things can you now view through a new perspective to help you realize just how extravagant your life really is?

I’d love to hear about it and learn from your insights! What extravagances have you noticed?


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