Editor’s Note: Hey everyone! I am really excited to have a guest post today from Mrs. Frugalwoods. I wrote about raising a financially astute child on her site last week, and she in turn decided to tackle the challenge of a Music Monday post. I loved reading her perspective and learning more about a Mushaboom. I hope you do too!!
Not Just a Town in Nova Scotia
The song “Mushaboom” by Feist resonates with me in every possible way. First off, I wish I looked and sang like Feist, but, that’s neither here nor there. More to the point, the arc of this song almost precisely follows the trajectory Mr. Frugalwoods and I have mapped out for ourselves. In “Mushaboom,” Feist artistically chronicles her aspirations for a country home in rural Mushaboom, Nova Scotia despite the fact that she’s stuck living in an apartment:
How many acres how much light Tucked in the woods and out of sight Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap On a little road barely on the map
But in the meantime I’ve got it hard Second floor living without a yard It may be years until the day My dreams will match up with my pay
Since Mr. Frugalwoods and I currently live in the middle of the city without a yard–but plan to decamp to a rural homestead in three years–I’ve decided that this is the Frugalwoods theme song. Other than the whole moving to Mushaboom, Nova Scotia thing, it’s basically about us. In fact, I’m sure she had us in mind when she wrote it. Right?! Not.
Mr. Frugalwoods and I have come to realize that, even for frugality enthusiasts, we’re on the extreme end. When we say we don’t eat out, we mean we never go to restaurants. When we say we don’t spend money on entertainment, we mean $0 goes towards entertainment. When we say we take stuff out of other people’s trash, well, that’s exactly what we do. It surprised us to learn that we’re relatively unique in these convictions, because we don’t feel like we’re sacrificing anything. And here’s why:
When you’re working towards a defined goal, frugality ceases to be about what you’re giving up and becomes about what you’re going to gain.
This is exactly what Feist espouses in “Mushaboom.” As she so aptly opines, “it may be years until the day my dreams will match up with my pay,” but, she isn’t deterred and neither are we. What I love is that Feist keeps her goal–her Mushaboom–as her central fixture and guiding principle. She accepts that her current situation isn’t where she wants to be, but she has a plan (much like Frugal Hound has a plan to shred all of our greyhound costumes…).
I often feel as though Mr. Frugalwoods and I are living a life suspended in time–we’re in the planning stages for so many different aspects of our lives. Staying focused on our objective of financial independence and a rural home is the only way for us to keep on track. We progress through life on frugal autopilot and the reason we’re able to do this, day in and day out, is the dream of our Mushaboom. Crucially, Feist touches on the importance of living in the moment and enjoying life while working towards your eventual utopia. She sings:
Helping the kids out of their coats But wait the babies haven’t been born Unpacking the bags and setting up And planting lilacs and buttercups
I got a man to stick it out And make a home from a rented house And we’ll collect the moments one by one I guess that’s how the future’s done
Mr. FW and I remind each other to consciously enjoy this phase of our lives, not merely tick off the days in our march towards financial independence. We’ve actually never been closer in our marriage, happier, or more at peace than we have been the past 7 months or so since cementing our decision to accelerate to early retirement. Being a frugal weirdo isn’t always easy, it’s not always comfortable, and it’s not sunshine and roses every day (although we do have the consummate comedian Frugal Hound every day). The dogged pursuit of our mutual desire is what makes frugality tenable and fun.
I hear from couples struggling to align their finances that if they could just get their partner to see the light, then they’d be fine. But I think it’s more than simply “seeing the light” of savings and debt-free living. It’s knowing what you want from life and concentrating your actions in pursuit of that destination. The absence of a shared hope, or a Mushaboom, in a partnership leads to conflict, because there’s no external motivator and no touchstone grounding every decision you make as a team.
Have you found your Mushaboom?
Mrs. Frugalwoods blogs at www.frugalwoods.com about her journey towards financial independence and a rural homestead, which she hopes to reach in three years at the ripe ol’ age of 33. Until then, she documents adventures in frugal city living in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Mr. Frugalwoods, and their greyhound, Frugal Hound.