Fuck-You Money Part II

If you ever need a refresher on the importance of fuck-you frugality, go peel off a $100 bill, and subject yourself to the silent, brooding judgment of Benjamin Franklin.

The side-eye is so doleful it traverses time and space. It’s almost as if Franklin knows his face is about to be a) rolled into a tube and stuck up some degenerate’s nostril, or b) used to purchase another superfluous piece of junk that will, in short order, be discarded upon a mountain of previously purchased superfluous junk.

Franklin’s not mad; he’s just disappointed. He wants us to be better…

Somebody wants you to do something, fuck you. Boss pisses you off, fuck you! Own your house. Have a couple bucks in the bank. Don't drink. That's all I have to say to anybody on any social level. Did your grandfather take risks? I guarantee he did it from a position of fuck you. A wise man's life is based around fuck you.

The Joy of Fuck-You Money

Humphrey Bogart used to keep a $100 bill in his dresser drawer at all times—a decent chunk of change in the 1920s. He referred to it as his ‘fuck-you money’, because it meant he’d never be forced to take a crappy part. According to Bogie, the only good reason for making money was “so you can tell any son-of-a-bitch in the world to go to hell”.

Unlike Bogart, I am not a tough guy. One time I cried in front of my boss. She gave me the rest of the day off. In fact, all my bosses have been great. I’m struggling to think of a single person I’d like to say ‘fuck you’ to.

But there are plenty of people who I’d like to politely say ‘no thanks’ to. And I say it all the time! It’s great. If I think back on the last few years, fuck-you money has changed my life.

Tabah lot, Bali on the cheap cover image

Bali on a Budget: Living on Less Than $800 a Month

Bali offers a delightfully low cost of living and high quality of life. This being my fourth trip in as many years, I figure I’ve got enough spending data to do a decent breakdown of my expenses.

I’ve tracked every last rupiah during my time here, and crunched the numbers on my spending. What follows is a full cost-of-living breakdown including all the nitty-gritty stuff (like insurance and bank fees) which most reports seem to forget or ignore.

Futurama compound interest cover image

Futurama Taught Me Everything I Know About Compound Interest

Futurama is one of the greatest cartoons of all time. If you haven’t seen this gem of the early noughties, here’s the basic premise: Pizza delivery boy Fry accidentally falls into a cryogenic freezer at the turn of the new millennium, and wakes up 1000 years in the future.

In the sixth episode, ‘A Fishful of Dollars’, Fry re-discovers his old bank account, which contained the princely sum of 93 cents at the time he was frozen. Over the 1000 years he spent as a human popsicle, he is told the balance has compounded from less than a buck to the staggering sum of $4.3 billion. Hijinks and capers ensue…

Why Im buying the iPhone X, and you should too

Why I’m Buying the iPhone X (And You Should Too)

I’m on the verge of tears by the time the Apple keynote livestream starts, because I’m sure the WiFi will lag. But it runs smoothly, and relief washes over me in an awesome wave.

Tim Cook takes the stage. “Apple has always believed that technology infused with humanity can improve people’s lives and change the world,” he says.

It’s a powerful statement, delivered with a grandeur that approaches the sublime. The universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late for us to better ourselves.

The iPhone X is the star of the show. Oh, my God! Look at that subtle golden finish. The tasteful slenderness. It’s made from an aerospace-grade 7000 series custom aluminum alloy. The glass has a seven-layer colour process, to make sure it’s a beautiful precise hue. I’m sweating…

Specialisation is for insects - Elon Musk's Roadster cruises through space

Specialization is For Insects

Elon Musk is the real-life Ironman, and exactly the sort of superhero we need – because he puts the lie to the tired old cliche; ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. In this post, I want to make the case that cultivating broad interests and skills not only dovetails perfectly with the frugal life, but acts as a sort of force multiplier – a booster rocket that can propel you towards your money goals at blistering speed…

Living On Less Than $10,000 a Year

At the start of 2017, one of my goals was to try and maintain a flâneur lifestyle while living off less than US$10,000 (or NZ$15,000).
I’ve logged every rickshaw ride, every water refill, every bowl of noodles. Nothing escaped the merciless conditional formatting of my spreadsheet, which blazed a furious red whenever I overshot my daily or monthly spending targets. Now, with an entire year’s worth of spending data in front of me, it’s crunch time. Here’s how I did…

Advanced Investing: The Barbell Strategy for Investing

Advanced Investing: The Barbell Strategy for Bastards

Marry an accountant, but have occasional flings with rock stars. Lift very heavy weights for a few repetitions, then do lots of low-impact cardio. Work a secure and boring job, while pursuing highly speculative ventures on the side.
The common thread running through all these ideas is called the ‘Barbell Strategy’, and it’s useful for all sorts of big decisions – from your career and work, to health and fitness, and of course, your investment portfolio…

A Sense of Perspective: The Time I Received Five Marriage Proposals in One Day

The Time I Received Five Marriage Proposals in One Afternoon

That fateful afternoon in the slums of Jakarta is seared into my memory forever. No ego-boost here – just people desperate to escape from grinding poverty. Travel is a uniquely powerful way of broadening your perspective, but talk is cheap. No amount of sanctimonious think-pieces and gratitude journaling will put food in hungry bellies. The good news is, we have an amazing opportunity to actually do something…

The best things in life are free essay cover image

The Best Things in Life Really Are Free

In my former life, I enjoyed a great deal of schmoozing. There were many long lunches at fine restaurants, champagne in business class served by the CEO of the airline, and corporate boxes at the sportsball. I’ve also spent weeks barely moving my carcass from a tropical island hammock except to skin up a joint or get another bottle of wine. I would be lying if I denied that all of these things are tremendous fun. On the other hand, they don’t tend to lead to much lasting satisfaction, losing their flavour as quickly as an over-chewed piece of gum. The best things in life really are free…

Reader Case Study: The 24 Year Old Millionaire

Reader Case Study: The 24 Year Old Millionaire

After I published my ‘coming out’ essay on the benefits of the frugal life, I got a message from an old school mate who’d been quietly following a similar path. While I was chuffed with hitting six figures by age 25, he totally blew me out of the water. Having successfully tapped into the property boom in our home city of Auckland, he’d managed to become a millionaire at the tender age of 24! Here’s how he did it…

The Worst Investment Ever: How I Lost $10,000 Catching a Falling Knife

The Worst Investment Ever: How I Lost $10,000 Catching a Falling Knife

It’s pretty embarrassing to air this story in public, but it’s for a good enough cause that I’ve decided to bite the bullet. Back in 2015, I was still picking individual stocks, and doing pretty well for myself. I probably thought I was hot shit. That is, before I made a series of really dumb mistakes which cost me US$10,000.

I would have reached my six figures savings goal much faster if I hadn’t screwed up, but I didn’t lose any sleep over the whole mess. In fact, I’m actually kind of glad it happened. I might be a slow learner, but hopefully you can wise up sooner than I did…

The 4 Hour Work Week Review: How Tim Ferriss Created a Monster

Living The 4 Hour Work Week (How Tim Ferriss Created a Monster)

After re-reading the 4-Hour Work Week, I finally understand the undercurrent of self-loathing in the digital nomad community. . Tim Ferriss’ seminal handbook on lifestyle design just turned 10 years old. While some ideas have stood the test of time, other parts have gone a bit rotten…

The Barbell Strategy: How Not to Be a Starving Artist

The chances of making it big as an artist, writer, or entrepreneur are vanishingly small. However, there is one way to not only give yourself the best shot possible at succeeding, but avoid a bone-crunching existential crisis if things don’t go according to plan.

Cheap Chiang Mai: Frugal living guide and spending breakdown

Chiang Mai on the Cheap: Living on Less Than $500 a Month

The first time I visited Thailand, I couldn’t get over how cheap Chiang Mai was. In my Day in the Life post, I guesstimated my monthly expenses might come in as low as ~US$500, and committed to tracking every last baht to find out the actual figure. Finally, the deed is done! After spending a cumulative six months in this city across three separate visits, I’ve crunched the numbers on all my spending. What follows is a full breakdown of costs across every category, including all the strategies I’ve used to save money.