Wisdom of frugality

About a decade ago, Kate Moss stirred some controversy when she shared a mantra she used for herself to help rationalize her presumably spartan diet: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” My skill with language is not nearly nimble enough to construct as pithy a claim about the relation between the act of spending money and financial independence. But I suspect the intended parallel is clear.

When considering the wisdom of frugality, I think often about Moss’s little slogan, but also the many aspects of the ensuing public response and discussion. I don’t think the comparison is made often enough. Imagine the outrage if someone publicly defended anorexia the way some FIER community members defend frugality.

My plan for this site is to share some stories and discuss some philosophy relating to personal finance, broadly construed. I hope to be more entertaining than informative. I realize people probably come for the latter. But I do think that wisdom lies in being able to share how one does it, without eliciting the associated prescription that this is how it should be done.

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They carried things

I saw Up in the Air in undergrad, during a free screening at the local Garden Theatre. The film tells the story of a man whose career keeps him travelling, literally “up in the air,” for a substantial fraction of his life. Over the years before the events of the film, the man has pruned his material and social burden, and grown to take great pride in his individualism. The film very briefly has you believe that the man’s unconventional perspective might survive to the end, but ultimately traces a series of events that unravels his convictions. My English teacher once said, the best essays take the reader from believing that the best walks are taken alone, to realizing that the best walks are taken with others.

Unfortunately, in the case of this film, I was mostly unconvinced by the execution. I was young and admit that a second viewing may change my mind. But the film was memorable to me mostly due to my amusement at the prospect of fitting one’s entire life into a pint-sized carry on suitcase. For now this blog (cringe) will maintain the status of a poorly written essay, or at least a very convincing front preceding a dramatic change of heart (and thus a very fantastic essay).

Topics I imagine I may cover:

  • Personal finance with a slant toward FIER. For those uninitiated, this stands for “Financial Independence and Early Retirement.” (I never understood why they went with FIRE; aren’t slightly misspelled acryonyms fashionable? And the parallel structure!)
  • Travelling light.
  • More as time goes on.

Stories about personal finance, broadly construed

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