We Are Often Frugal, But Rarely Cheap

Beer Lacing

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a frugal physician. Frugality has served me well, and I wouldn’t be financially independent without that quality. Yes, I refer to frugality as a quality, and as far as qualities go, it’s a quality quality to have. While not everyone thinks of frugality as a decidedly positive quality to possess, it just might be that others confuse frugality with its ugly distant cousin who is just plain cheap. You see, frugality and cheapness may have a little bit of overlap, but they are hardly alike.   The Difference Between Frugal and […]

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When the Hedonic Treadmill hits Ludicrous Speed

Disney Castaway Cay

If you are a reader of personal finance blogs, you have probably been introduced to the idea of the hedonic treadmill. The concept, which I referred to in posts about having enough and financial freedom, essentially means that the benefits of lifestyle inflation tend to be short-lived as you rapidly reset your baseline to the new normal. The shine of the new and improved object or experience tarnishes and the only way to get it back is to upgrade again. It can become a vicious cycle. Continuing to upgrade to more, bigger, and better things essentially has you on a […]

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Drive a Beater… Get Rich

WCI minivan

Today’s Saturday Selection from The White Coat Investor is a classic post that plays nicely off a recent guest post from Dr. Cory S. Fawcett — When the New Car Bug Bites. Although this post was originally published at WCI just over five years ago, the message still holds true. Dr. Dahle drove beaters, got rich, and guess what… he bought a new vehicle when he could easily afford to do so. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’ll be due for a vehicle upgrade soon. I’m not saying it will be new, but it will have to ready […]

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When the New Car Bug Bites

Acura NSX Black

[PoF: Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of Dr. Cory S. Fawcett, a general surgeon who quite recently retired early from clinical medicine in his mid-fifties. Notice I didn’t simply say he retired. The good Dr. Fawcett remains busy, having published The Doctors Guide to Eliminating Debt, The Doctors Guide to Starting Your Practice Right, with a third book in the series due out soon. He also writes at his own site, provides one-on-one financial counseling, and is a public speaker. Let’s see what Dr. Fawcett has to say today.]   When the New Car Bug Bites   These […]

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Minimalism versus Frugality: Can They Coexist?

ikea billy bookshelves

For centuries, most people were both minimalist and frugal. Not necessarily by choice, but out of necessity. Go back a century or more and you’ll find smaller homes, goods that were more expensive to produce and transport, and a whole lot of people that couldn’t afford to be anything but frugal and minimalist. Today, many American families have the luxury of choosing to be frugal, minimalist, or neither. Minimalists are a small but growing subset of the population, and many families in the middle class and above would not be considered frugal, at least not to the extent previous generations […]

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That Time I Was Broke and Spent $1,000 on Beer

Recently, a post celebrating a homeless woman buying a $7 candy bar was featured on Rockstar Finance. I shook my head, read the post, shook my head again, and left a comment to the effect that such wasteful spending was nothing to celebrate. My comment was deleted. While I don’t agree with the censorship (perhaps it was unintentional / spam box) — dissenting opinions lead to compelling conversation. I will admit that my snap judgment was rather harsh. At first, I thought this woman was out-of-her-mind irresponsible. I mean, I could afford to buy $7 candy bars by the pallet […]

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Splurging on My First Love

Iceland Geysir

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day in which schoolchildren exchange slips of paper and candy, grown-ups exchange flowers and fluids, and a whole lot of money is spent. I’m not exactly a big spender. In fact, it’s fair to say I pride myself on being relatively frugal. I try not to be smug about it, but I have to admit it’s freeing to know that our family gets along very well and lives quite happily on a five-figure annual spend. Still, there are times when frugal habits need to be set aside. When you enjoy the salary of a high-income professional, there’s […]

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Stealth Wealth: I’m Just an Ordinary Average Guy

I’ve been publishing a Sunday Best series for better than six months now. While I’m certainly not the first to compile and present a weekly collection of posts I’ve enjoyed, the concept has proven to be quite popular. The post is usually well read, and many featured posts get at least a hundred clicks the first day. It’s not Rockstar Finance popular, but it does direct some traffic. One fringe benefit that I receive is a look at what sort of articles are popular with my readers. In recent weeks, I featured several articles on something called Stealth Wealth from bloggers […]

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I Tried to Cut the Cord. I Really Did.

Minnesota Colorado State

A number of my new online friends have asked whether I’ll be heading to Fincón in a few days. Heck, yeah… I was really excited when I heard about it. Right by the ocean, great surfing, abundant opportunities to practice my Español (dos mas cervezas, por favor). I booked my tickets right away. Rincón here we come!       What’s that? Come again? Fin with an F? Not Rincón? I’ve made a huge mistake.   No, I won’t be attending FinCon, the Financial Blogger’s Conference this year, but I will put it on the calendar as soon as its announced for […]

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Multimillionaire Family Tracks Spending for a Year: They Spent How Much?!?

Second Home

Do you know how much money you spend annually? How much would you spend if you were worth millions? Perhaps you are worth millions, and you’re just here to compare notes. Either way, be prepared for an inside look at the lifestyle of the rich and not famous. I’ve been granted exclusive access to a detailed account of a full years’ spending by a multimillionaire family of four. Using free online software by Mint,  every outgoing dollar was tracked from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016. This was no ordinary year for this multimillionaire family. Of course, when you have millions, […]

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No. Budgets are Not Sexy.

Budgets are Sexy?   You may or may not be aware of a little website called Budgets are $exy. It started in 2008 when an anonymous twenty-something started budgeting and began his march to financial independence. Eight years and two boys later, this thirty-something’s website is still going strong. By strong, I mean much, much stronger than this fledgling site. Like Magnús Ver Magnússon versus Jack McBrayer stronger. He also has this other page called Rockstar Finance. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Rockstar Finance is also way stronger than Physician on FIRE. In fact, the three busiest days on this site are not […]

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Saving Money in and Around San Francisco Part II

In the first installment of Saving Money in and Around San Francisco, I discussed the first four days of our six-day northern California adventure. I think my wife and I did a good job experiencing the greater San Francisco area and its goats without breaking the bank. Of course, there is more to northern California than bridges, museums, and goats. There’s also wine, ocean, redwoods, and beer. And if you’re lucky like me, there might even be friends! In San Francisco, we used public transportation to get around. The BART train will take you from the airport to downtown San Francisco and […]

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Saving Money in and Around San Francisco Part I

Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco, while Q-Tip left his wallet in El Segundo. My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the lovely peninsula that is San Francisco last week. With so much to do, see, and eat, it would be easy to leave town with an empty wallet and a hefty credit card balance. This frugal physician wasn’t going to let that happen. How did we save money in San Francisco? As an employed physician, I receive a generous CME allowance, which covers travel, meals, lodging, and registration for conference attendance. We planned this trip around […]

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Frugal Without a Cause

founders tap room

I made a grocery run on Saturday. Not because the pantry or refrigerator were empty. They were quite full, actually. I went to the neighborhood regional grocer on Saturday because the weekly advertised specials ended on that day, and there were a lot of good values in the ad that couldn’t be missed! Armed with the Sharpied-up ad with circled products and prices, I meandered through the aisles picking up the essentials like 36 taco shells, 8 pounds each of both sugar and flour, a couple jars of peanut butter, and some dog treats that were marked down to a dollar, […]

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How Much is Enough?

Enough. It’s a word that factors heavily in so many calculations and decisions we make every day. How much propofol do I push on induction? Enough. How much dinner do my boys need to finish and still get a treat? Enough. How much money should you set aside each month? Enough. How much do you need to retire? Enough. How many shirts do you have in your closet and drawers? More than enough. How much time do you have to do all the things you want to do? Not nearly enough.   Enough is an amount or number that is […]

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Make it a Treat

Ecuador Galapagos Beach

“Make it a treat.” These four simple, yet powerful words, just might be the key to both financial success and continual happiness. The phrase was introduced to me by the smart, sexy, and sassy comedian, Sarah Silverman. How’s that for alliteration? She discusses the concept in her autobiography as applicable to a particular act that may or may not occur between consenting adults, and to using a “medication” that is only legal in a few states. She goes on to explain that “make it a treat” should be applied to all sorts of things we might find enjoyable, like dressing […]

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The Frugal Physician: Self-Serving or Self-Denying?

Frugal. Frugality. Frugaling? These words, which rarely appear anywhere near the word “physician”, are interpreted different ways by different people. I think we all have the same understanding of the definition, although we may use different synonyms to describe what frugal means to us. Do you see frugality as a good thing? If so, similar words that may come to mind are thrifty, prudent, penny-wise, or smart with money. Do you see frugality as a bad thing? Your synonyms might be stingy, cheap, penny-pinching, or tight with money.   Frugality as a Good Thing   When I first started my […]

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Live like an NFL player, and… retire… early?

What images come to mind when you imagine living the life of an NFL athlete?  Mansions, Bentleys, cocktails in the grotto?  Maybe Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash? Stories of bankrupt professional athletes make frequent headlines.   Players who have earned tens of millions often have nothing to show for it.  Star players like Dan Marino, Terrell Owens, Warren Sapp, and Clinton Portis are among the many headliners.  The stories of the bankrupt “rich” aren’t limited to the NFL, or just to professional athletes.  There are the lottery winners, the internet millionaires, heirs and heiresses, etc…   So… how exactly does […]

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