My brother directed me to the Mr. Money Mustache blog yesterday. He got this name somehow... perhaps by drawing mustaches on bills? I often wonder where blogs get their titles. MMM is devoted to writing about ways to live an extremely frugal livestyle such that you can retire very young. He managed to accomplish this with a net family income of 160k over 9 years which is certainly quick and so he definitely has some credibility. My brother assumed that I probably already read MMM since after all he suggests a lifestyle very much like the one I currently live and advocate but this is not the case. While I find it interesting to read someone else's take on the pennypinching lifestyle I think a lot of what he says just isn't going to be interesting since I already do it.
Its nice to read things from people who agree with you but it doesn't do much for you in the long run. I can't get a lot of benefit from an article about how to lower your electricity bill, especially because that is covered by my fixed condo fees anyhow, so although I want everybody to read MMM and do what he says I don't know that I will bother reading it myself. MMM is kind of the opposite of my project to read the bible cover to cover a few years ago in that the bible was basically entirely full of things I utterly reject and yet I read it to gain understanding (as well as talking points to use to crush religious folks in arguments). You can read to find things you agree with or you can read to find things that will expand your horizons but it is hard to find a source that will do both.
I do think that there are some lessons I could take from MMM. He lives in a small town that allows him to live in an urban setting but still be able to ride a bike to all kinds of rural activities with ease. I like living in a big centre for the public transportation but the fact that I have to pay to do many or most athletic activities is a real issue for me. Sure I can run on the street, which is fine if you want to just run, but I don't. Rock climbing, swimming, exploring, these things have much more appeal but there aren't available in uptown Toronto. (Surprise?) His writing really makes me want to move to a small town that would give me the dual benefits of being able to get around without a vehicle and access to nature. I don't know how often I would be able to drag myself away from the internet to actually go out and climb a hill but having the option to do so would be really great.
It is all a matter of priorities and planning. Just as MMM and I both prove you can live on a ridiculously tiny budget and still live very well if you set your mind to it. He has an additional level of planning though which has him set up in a location that works perfectly for his needs. Toronto is good and all but living in the centre of a huge city is not the best place to do things that require little or no cash. Finding a place a little further from the middle of everything might be a really fine idea someday pretty soon.