Saddled with debt from college and law school, I felt compelled to seek a high paying job at a prestigious law firm. To some degree, this limited my opportunity to give back in the way that I had envisioned, which was working with people of all means, from the rich to the poor, from the not so needy, to the very needy. For the most part, except for a few pro bono projects that I volunteered for over the years, I was only able to reach the well to do that could afford the law firm’s services. Later as a lawyer at a large U.S. bank, I was able to do some community bank lending work for individuals and small businesses as well as large companies and wealthy individuals which felt good. Throughout my legal career I have provided a fair amount of pro-bono services to various organizations that help the community, but have always desired to reach more people. The goal of this blog is to reach more people such as yourself to help you:
1. develop a “miser mentality” (i.e. be frugal)
2. live comfortably while spending below your means, no matter what your income;
3. stop living paycheck to paycheck;
4. plan so that you are not (overly) concerned about losing everything if you lose your job
5. afford to retire or stay retired;
6. obtain financial security and accumulate assets and investments
In preparing to start a blog with a focus on spending less and saving more during good times and bad, I realized that much of this consumer mentality has been ingrained in me by my parents. Everyday family themes included: “Don’t waste food,” “close the door before all the heat gets out,” “money does not grow on trees,” “close the refrigerator before all the cold air gets out,” “turn off the lights, you are wasting electricity,” “turn down the heat,” “put an extra blanket on your bed, it’s going to get cold tonight,” “we are having leftovers (again) tonight,” “eat your vegetables, some kids are starving in [insert country],” “pick up your clothes, there are no maids working here.” While I grew up in a middle class family, my parents conserved and focused their limited resources on certain things they felt were the most important such as education, savings, and investments. Things such as vacations, eating out, and summer camps were not emphasized when I was growing up although my folks managed to splurge on a few things such as piano and violin lessons.
I think the strategy paid off. My father was laid off from his company in the late 1980s (he was in his late forties) and except for a few odd jobs and failed business ventures, he never worked again. Our family of four lived off of my mother’s salary even though our family had two children in college. Incredibly, our lifestyles really did not change much because fortunately at the time we lost my father’s salary (the largest bread winner in our family), we were already living like consumer misers— staying within budget, controlling spending, managing debt, saving money and living well below our means.
To this day, I enjoy being a consumer miser and it’s something I am passionate about. I have also made it a fun hobby and a lifestyle. Through ConsumerMiser.com, I want to share this passion in hopes of helping others.