Save. Spend. Splurge.

Why would I want to be a millionaire, if my lifestyle is crap?

Normally, I LOVE ordinary millionaire/rags-to-riches, stories on Dr. Stanley’s blog, but this entitled “Big House only after Big Wealth” made absolutely no sense to me.

….We paid off our first home ($165,000) within the first three years of our marriage…. Our goal? To be financially secure, have the home of our dreams and never have to worry about money again. 


Each week our grocery shopping began at the 50% off rack and we basically learned to eat and appreciate what was on sale.

Should we even admit that one of us even keeps a teabag on a trivet to be used for exactly one week?

….[We[ live in a 1.8 million dollar home which we paid cash for. We have no credit card debt and have enviable cars also paid for in cash.

I think you get the idea of how frugal they are.

These people basically ate food that was almost rotten, and drank weak tea for 6 days to be able to save to buy a fancy mansion in a fancy neighbourhood, and to have the pleasure of driving a fancy car.

Sorry (okay I’m not really THAT sorry), but this doesn’t really make any sense to me.

Look, I applaud the whole saving bit — I think it’s fantastic that they’ve ‘made it’ and paid it all off in cash.

But why would you want to live like a pauper by cutting back on something as essential as food, or the simple pleasures of having a good strong cup of tea daily (it’s not even that expensive!!), just so you can live in some fancy million-dollar mansion and drive fancy cars?

Yes, I know. I love eating, and I especially have an affinity for delectable teas (loose leaf only, none of this teabag Red Rose junk), but STILL!

How is this life any different from someone doing it on credit? They too, eat junk and crap food, but look like they’re a million bucks.

Nice home, nice cars. What’s the point of all that? It’s just stuff.

I’d rather eat good (real) fresh food, have a real cup of tea that isn’t diluted 6 times over, and live in a modest home, driving a modest car, than to be that kind of millionaire who is showing off in the most conventional way possible, only having achieved it at the sacrifice of eating and drinking cheap crap for 20 years (or for 7300 days, if anyone is counting).

To me, they’ve lived a poor life, not a rich one.

(Although even poor people in countries like Portugal eat better than they do.)


BF pointed out last night that the taxes must kill them too.

2% (estimate) of $1.8M = $36,000 a YEAR in property taxes.

Not to mention the higher cost of utilities, maintenance to keep it looking pristine… it’s just a money suck that they may not be able to reasonably afford considering their jobs, and the fact that they really don’t have millions sitting around in the bank — it’s all in the house and cars.

Normally those ordinary millionaires on Dr. Stanley’s blog, are reasonable folk to me.

This one threw me for a loop.


  • Tania

    Yeah, that’s bizarre. I’d rather have a small home but a proper cup of tea each day (in fact, tea really helps minimize the symptoms of a medical condition I have so I’d argue it’s a necessity). But to each his own. I’m thinking their reasoning could possibly have to do with long term value? They may see real estate assets as worth spending on and daily consumable items as not worth it.
    I think as long as they aren’t taking from others and just being frugal on their own, it’s their choice even though it’s not the way I would choose to live.
    Did you ever see the show Extreme Cheapskates? That show really bothered me because their frugality included taking advantage of others. One woman would haggle for basic services like dry cleaning by dressing like a bum and saying I only have this much money in my wallet, will you do it for that (some crazy supersmall amount too). Another man took his family to an already reasonably priced Chinese eaterie and tried to get his family members to share all you can eat buffet plates. I have too much respect for small business people to behave in that way just to save myself a few bucks. I do bargain sometimes but I’m not dishonest about my own financial situation and I don’t try to lowball to the point the owner would be losing money.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Oooo.. GOOD points.

    I hadn’t considered that angle, to be honest. You’ve laid it out quite nicely… I can see that being something plausible in that case.

    They act like freegans. I could buy that 🙂

    Health-wise, I guess I personally put a much higher premium on good food. I can see that by changing my diet, I don’t get sick as often (plus I wash my hands a bit obsessively), and I feel better.

    I can’t imagine wanting to eat junk food now, and feeling sick or tired, even though my body may crave it — I know what comes after and it sucks.
    I am also currently recording my mom’s history of what she ate and how she grew up as a kid.

    I can see how that kind of state of mind as a child affected her so much that it allows her (and you) to basically not throw anything away and to not waste food, even if it’s bad.

    (Although please please try not to eat anything if there is mold on it. Especially if you can afford to toss it. The mold spores on mold on any food item already affects the other areas, so the other nice looking areas are really not that safe to eat.)

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Oh dear. It can be hard to convince people to do otherwise, when they’re used to a certain way of life already.

    But these people chose it without really being able to afford it in the long-term.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Well they didn’t write the post per se 🙂

    It was one of those ‘normal, ordinary millionaire’ stories I love to read on Dr. Stanley’s blog, as he profiles normal Americans… but this one threw me for such a loop.

    I would agree with that irony however. I guess it’s the inconsistency in their actions. They are so frugal and cheap in their daily lives, but then the house is one big splurge beyond what a fairly luxurious home would be ($500K – $800K gets you a nice home, I’m sure, although perhaps not in NYC or L.A.).

  • SWR

    I know some people who grocery shop the way that this family does, but mostly because they take issue with the way that grocery stores waste so much food with their sell-by dates and rotation requirements for produce. Something tells me that these people don’t do it out of the same value system as my friends.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I appreciate freegans and people who stand for what they believe in, even if I don’t want to eat the way they do.
      Doing it out of necessity or for moral reasons is admirable. To do it and spend it on a huge house to show off is not.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    No pretending! 🙂 You ARE in poverty. You’d be eating poorly to afford that house.

    BF pointed out last night that the taxes must kill them too.

    2% (estimate) of $1.8M = $36K a YEAR in property taxes.

    Not to mention utilities, maintenance… it’s just a money suck.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    That’s a good idea. Maybe use the excess money to buy a commercial/residential property and rent it.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    All I could think was: WHAT? You can’t eat a house!!!!!!

  • Mochi & Macarons

    I do rather like spicy tomato ketchup.

    All kidding aside, I’ve thought about this some more, and they obviously DO want to show off, but it makes no sense to me that they would do that, when behind closed doors, they’re eating 50% off food.

    Other commenters have mentioned ‘priorities’ which I understand, but I guess I don’t get it.

    I just don’t understand those kinds of priorities especially when it comes to food.

    It’s one thing to grow your own vegetables, go to cheap grocery stores (like me) and save in that way, but it’s another to deliberately only eat 50% off close-to-rotten, or only eat on-sale items.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Hmm. Good point, but food is something for me that affects everything on your life including health. There would be no point in being rich of you were sick.

  • Vanessa

    Argh! I do the teabag thing all the time and whenever I make myself a weak cup of tea I think “Vanessa, teabags are like, $0.02 each, get a new one”. One of my worst habits and everyone thinks I’m crazy

  • Bridget

    Gross. I definitely don’t want to be eating poorly to live in a $1.8 million dollar home… but housing isn’t as much of a priority to me. But seriously: think about if they had settled for a $1.3 million dollar home and used the other $500,000 to eat the best food in the entire world for every meal and snack for the rest of their lives.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      Agreed. Even being a bit more reasonable to NOT eat that level of low-poverty/Food Bank style food, I’d wait a few more years or not have a fancy car in addition to the home.

  • Cassie

    I use a tea bags anywhere from 2-4 times, but not over the course of a week! Once the tea bag is dry, that sucker is toast. If a nice house and cars was what they wanted, and they didn’t care as much about their food, then good for them for prioritizing. I wouldn’t prioritize it that way myself, but at least they recognized they’d have to make sacrifices to get what they wanted.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I suppose. But I still don’t get that kind of attitude seeing as you really are what you eat. Physically, you either feel better or worse with what you consume.
      It affects your health and mood.

      I also can’t understand people who prioritize having an iPhone over eating good food either.
      To me, these millionaires are just as silly as those people are.

      It is just a house. Just a car. Just a phone. Just money.

      Everyone cuts on food first because they find it the easiest to chop, no matter their income.

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