How to Live a “Save Money” Lifestyle and Enjoy It | Joel & Matt from How to Money

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On today’s episode, Cody and Justin are joined by the dynamic duo of Joel & Matt from and the How to Money Podcast.

The guys met the How to Money crew at FinCon and the rest is history. This fantastic conversation unwraps their backstory and tons of tangible tips. From groceries to real estate, to building a community for their young families, this episode is great for all audiences.

Go give it a listen and let us know what you think!

Episode Summary

  • Joel discussion starts out describing growing up around financial stress in the household and how that led to a desire to be financially stable
  • Matt had a better education of finances growing up and had the seed of financial independence placed in his mind
  • We then discuss the dynamics of teaching our own parents about money which can be touchy and awkward
  • Even when discussions are natural you have to respect and understand that your views and beliefs may just be too different to agree on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support each other
  • The online communities are so powerful because they give us a venue to find  people who view finances the same way and help spur on growth and knowledge
  • The guys discuss the danger of getting hyper-focused on the numbers of financial independence and not enough on the lifestyle you want to have
  • They also discuss a shift in prioritizing time vs prioritizing money the further they get into their journey
  • Matt and Joel also call out several things that just simply won’t show up on a spreadsheet such as proximity to friends, stress, and convenience
  • Matt’s financial journey really took off after finding Dave Ramsey and while he doesn’t agree with everything, it gave him a lot of fundamentals
  • Matt also credits budgeting which gives you a lot of clarity on where your money is going and highlighting where you can improve your spending
  • Joel was always cheap and willing to do things for less
  • His financial journey really took off when he got heavier into real estate where he would live in a house for 2 years, do renovations and move onto the next one.
  • We then shift gears and unwrap Matt’s grocery budget for a family of 5 which they keep to $450 per month
  • His main three tips are avoiding processed or prepackaged foods, cheaper cuts of meat such as bone-in chicken thighs that also have more flavor, and watching the overall quantity of food you’re eating since most Americans overeat
  • Joel mentions another tip which is splitting entrees when eating out since the portions tend to be way bigger than you’d eat at home by yourself
  • The next tangible money saving we get into is biking
  • Biking gives you a workout, takes care of your commute, and saves you a ton of money
  • Joel recommends looking into an electric bicycle for people who maybe have a commute that’s over 10 miles. While they’re more expensive you still can get a workout with the pedal assist and still save money
  • Joel recommends for helping you pick the perfect electric bike
  • Matt is down to a one car family and Joel is getting close as well
  • Joel and Matt discuss how they keep the costs of raising children low through creating a community which allows the parents and children to get together and have activities without the costs like registration fees
  • We then jump deeper into Matt and Joel’s real estate investing
  • They talk about renting out an extension on one of their houses and Air BnB in the other
  • Even beyond real estate investing, they both agree that it’s crucial to avoid the urge to keep looking for a bigger house for yourself as your family grows
  • We finish off the episode with Matt urging people to focus on the big areas of your life like rent or mortgage before worrying about things like cutting coupons
  • Joel explains how frugality gives us options

Key Takeaways

  1. Look beyond the numbers: We loved the takes both guys had on all of the aspects that are so important to financial independence that simply isn’t listed in your spreadsheet. Being able to have dinner with friends without the stress of a long commute or being able to drop your kids off via bike. Numbers are very important but make sure you’re saving for a life you actually want to live.
  2. Grocery guidance: Love hearing grocery tips from someone with a full household. It can be easy to dismiss someone’s advice who is single but when Matt talks about living on $1 per meal / per person and that including young kids, well that gives credibility. So shop the edges of the store, watch your serving sizes, and maybe lower your meat footprint for a lower grocery bill.
  3. Ease your way in: They both gave tips about things that help you transition to a more financially responsible and healthier life. The first was bicycles. Maybe biking long distances is too much right now but an electric bike could help jump-start that transition away from cars. The second was with Air BnB or renting out an extension of a home. This is a much easier pill to swallow than finding and remodeling a second home for renters.

Call to Action

Make a list of things that are important to you now and that you envision being a priority in retirement that don’t have a number associated with it. Proximity to family, time with children, etc. Print that out and put it in a place you’ll have to look at at least once a day!

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Links from the Episode

Find your electric bike!


Contact Matt and Joel:

Their Blog:

Their Podcast: How To Money


Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)