Those Who Like Money, and Those Who Like Things

What up what up! You frugal gangstas are gonna like this one today…

Got a note yesterday from my boy PT that our old wealth poem friend Randy Vining is at it again. Spittin’ some good rhymes on money and life, and one of the stars of a new documentary that just dropped on mobile living. (ie. living out of cars, RVS, trailers, etc).

Of course, he’s not really my friend as much as I wish he was (if you see this Randy – beers on me when we cross paths!), but over the Summer I officially knighted him so after hearing how soulful and passionate he was about financial freedom.

Here’s a snippet of his poem we featured here a while back (And if you really want to be blown away, click here to hear him perform it!):

With patience I waited for bargains, didn’t count on Lady Luck.
Lived well below my means, getting bang for every buck.

And when the water rising in my bucket reached that calculated mark,
I left behind all drudgery and flew off like a lark…

So I think my wealth is great because my needs are small,
and I won’t have to work again with any luck at all.

As soon as I heard he was being showcased again, I rushed over to check it out and was immediately sucked into the whole lifestyle of “mobile living” staying up until 2 am saying to myself “Yes, yes YES!!!” every 30 seconds… Haha… And then shortly after, “Damn, damn damn! I could never do that with all my kids!” “And my wife would divorce me!”

Now, in reality I couldn’t even pretend to be hardcore enough to live on the road regardless of how bad ass it is, but I do whole-heartedly agree with the sentiment:

Live your life on your own terms no matter what it looks like to others

And when it costs you only $600-$700/mo to do so, even better! I couldn’t believe how little some of these people live on. It costs me more than that just to have one kid in day care! Ugh… (and, not that it distracts from the main takeaway of the documentary, but most of those featured were definitely single. I want to see one with kids, please! Let me dream realistically! ;))

The documentary is called “Without Bound – Perspectives on Mobile Living,” and it can be found on Youtube if you have the time to check it out this morning or over the weekend. It’s 50 mins long, but I swear it’s worth it to get a good slap of reality.

I’ll imbed it here too for you lazy budgeters:

Scroll to at least Min 29 and 42 seconds right now and hear Randy pontificating about life – it’s awesome. And really if you just watch it for a few minutes after that you get the gist of the whole film. It was much more powerful watching the last 20 mins first than it was starting from the beginning to catch what I missed for what it’s worth. Though Randy’s sections were always spot on (yes, I have a man crush – leave me alone!).

My second favorite part of the video was when the lady came on after Randy’s poem and hit us with the following quote (a little paraphrased):

“I find there’s two sorts of people – people who like money, and people who like things. The ones who have the things don’t have any money, and the people who like the money don’t have a lot of things.”

BAM! Talk about a powerful way to sum up EVERY PERSON in America, haha… And then:

“I’d rather have the money than the stuff. Because money buys me freedom. freedom of choices, freedom of movement, freedom to do what I want to do.”

I want to bottle her up and unleash her on every last person who says money is the devil. It isn’t! The one who uses it as such is!  ;) We say it all the time here, but money really does buy you freedom – whatever that looks like to you specifically. Money can be used for lots of nasty stuff too, but everyone reading this are perfect angles and I’m sure has no need to worry (hah).

The film goes into all kinds of other things too, half of which either went over my head or bored me, but one thing I liked was their mention of the “fear factor” in our country. And how the media’s always spouting doom and gloom making us think the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It very well may be, but keen people will know it’s important to tune out the people on TV and concentrate on what’s not only within your control, but what doesn’t make you want to jump off a bridge every 5 seconds too. The media is not our friends – they’re in it for the ratings.

Here were the biggest traits these guys had for thriving in this lifestyle:

  • They’re incredibly efficient. You don’t have much to work with in confined spaces!
  • They love travel and adventure. You’re not required to move around if you don’t want to, but of course you get more from it if you do.
  • They had an epiphany! Randy was working a job he hated when he read “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau that completely changed his life. He figured out what he needed to live on forever if he hit the road in an RV ($100,000), and then hustled hard until he hit it. Others had more unfortunate events occur which caused the change (lost wives, businesses, homes, health, death, etc.)
  • They’re great at sacrificing. They don’t feel like they’re sacrificing anything right now, but it took them a while to get to that point. The takeaway here is that the human race is incredibly good at adapting to change over time. It might sting hard at first, but you eventually get used to things.

It isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, but it’s helpful to see how other people live and to at least question your own lifestyle for a few minutes… I might have ended with “Damn, damn damn!” in the end, but it was a fun mental journey to take while it lasted ;)

It goes right on up there with the other “dreams” I’ve contemplated over the years:

I put quotes around “dreams” for now because I’m rarely serious about them, but I tell you this much: those who are embracing these extreme lifestyles sure do seem happy! I know there are just as many – if not more – cons to these paths than our more normal ones, but it’s definitely proof of the many alternatives out there. We just gotta figure out the one we *truly* want ourselves, and then act on it.

I’ll leave you with one last goody from Randy. The man speaks the truth!

“I personally think that the Big News – the news that can revolutionize the world – that can save humanity! – Is that frugality is possible. The good life can be had for peanuts.”

Do check out the documentary if you can… And then come back and share your thoughts with us.

Here are the blogs from some of the people featured if you want to poke around:

Bob Wells @
Randy Vining @
Josh and Meisha Manwaring @
Steven Ballee’ @
Laurie Theodorou @

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  1. Kirsten December 12, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Ha! Even when I look at the Frugalwoods I think “I can’t do THAT! The kids!” I think I sometimes use them as an excuse, but yep. Kids sure do complicate life. And make it more expensive.

    And money is not the devil. Money is not even “the root of all evil” – which some say is a quote from the Bible. It’s the love of money that is the root of all sorts of evil (there’s the real Biblical quote). And when you ponder the meaning of that quote, it’s talking about putting money first in your life. And that generally means so you buy things are increase status – things most of the personal finance community has no interest in. And these guys certainly don’t, either. They use money to allow them to be who they are. I love that.

    1. Mrs. Frugalwoods December 12, 2014 at 7:06 AM

      Hahah! I know it’ll be a major adjustment for us once we have kids. I’ll be emailing you in the middle of the night saying Help! ;)

  2. Mrs. Frugalwoods December 12, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    YES! These sound like my people! Mr. Frugalwoods and I have really gotten into documentaries on tiny houses, so we’ll have to check this out. I admire the lifestyle and I sometimes envy it, but I do realize it’s not for me. For one, our relatively gigantic Frugal Hound wouldn’t fit, for two there’d be nowhere to put our future frugal kids, and for three (perhaps most importantly) where would our 7′ Christmas tree go??? But seriously, I really do appreciate the philosophy behind living small and efficiently. And every one of those quotes is spot ON!
    P.S. Mr. FW also wanted to live on a house boat for a period of time… I’m really glad we’ve transitioned that plan to a homestead in the woods.

  3. Mark @ BareBudgetGuy December 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    Wow. Very though provoking. How much do we really need? I’d like to take the fam to South America for a few years, and this reminds me that I could totally do it.

  4. kay ~ December 12, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    OMG, I love documentaries, especially this kind! My hubby and I have been dreaming of RV-ing since we got together 30 years ago. I’m only on Minute 6 and I can’t wait to watch this now AND again later with him! I think it will get the wanderlust juices flowing like crazy and convince him that yes, we can do this in 2015. What are we waiting for? Thanks! :D

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Glad you’re excited about it!!! My wife keeps rolling her eyes at me when I mention it, haha…. so she will *not* be watching it unfortunately ;)

      1. kay December 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        I watched it. Later, my husband watched it with me. The next day, my son watched it with me. I am SO ready for this! I can see why you were man-crushing on Randy! He is awesome! :D

  5. Dee @ Color Me Frugal December 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    I started watching the documentary at the 29 minute mark via your link above, and I got sucked in and watched it to the end! Great stuff. These folks have some profound insight. As they talked about getting rid of all their “stuff,” my mind wandered and I thought of some “stuff” that I could get rid of. I’m nowhere close to them at this point… But maybe one day :-)

  6. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life December 12, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    I am totally OBSESSED with documentaries. It’s officially on my watchlist. For another interesting related yet different perspective, check out Burt’s Buzz. Saw it on netflix a few weeks ago.

  7. Cecilia@thesingledollar December 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Thanks for the documentary link. I’d like to watch it.

    I have a favorite book about this — Blue Highways, by William Least Heat-Moon, who hit the road in the late 70s/early 80s when a relationship dissolved and he lost his job. It’s a spectacular account of America in that time period, and he did it in a cargo van (he fitted out the back with a bed and so on.) The especially frugal can buy it for $.35 used on amazon:

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Sweet, thanks for sharing it :)

  8. Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 12, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Ha! I am with you on the kids thing. Every time I think I could live in a mobile home or a small outpost somewhere, I think of my son and how he faired when we lost power for 10 days. It was not pretty for any of us. This sort of thing, though, is something hubby and I have discussed when our kid goes to college. We have really embraced the money over stuff mentality so it’s easy to see a future like this when your mindset has shifted.

  9. Gretchen December 12, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I’ll definitely have to watch this! I have this idealistic view of living on the road, but my husband loves entertaining, so I’m not sure if it’s in the cards for us. Still, really interesting!

  10. Will December 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    One time after work, I biked past a late 90’s Subaru wagon for sale. I’ve always liked those cars. Part of me wanted to buy it, strap my bike to the back, and drive away in my new home. The scary (cool) part is that I didn’t just have a fleeting thought, I actually stood in the owners driveway for a few minutes, contemplating how exactly living out of a car could be done..

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Haha… I so wish the seller came out and caught you.

  11. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom December 12, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    I know what I’ll be doing tonight! Thanks a lot. I get sucked into this kind of stuff way too often. I’m pretty confident we could make it work, even with our kid, but Simple Cheap Dad is always the voice of reason. So I usually go down the rabbit hole after he’s gone to bed so that I won’t have to hear it for a while. Dreams.

  12. Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Looking forward to watching that this weekend! I have a love/hate relationship with the news. I turn the TV version off, but man headlines are everywhere. I like HuffPo just for their lifestyle section, but their headlines are always doom and gloom. I think focusing more on what is right in our lives versus what is wrong is a key to living a happy life, and being resilient in the face of challenges. I have to say without watching it though although I love road trips I love having a home base and close friends. I think being on the road constantly would be very tough for me.

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Some of these guys seem to stay put and then meet up with each other in little camps – it’s kinda cool :) I’d imagine I’d do the same if we ever go that route.. Have one main “base” but travel around and come back here and there. Imagine how many blogger friends we could see going around the country??? Man… I’d be in heaven.

  13. Mary December 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Absolutely fascinating – loved it!!! Thanks for posting – and keep up the great work, love your blog.

  14. Mom @ Three is Plenty December 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    You *can* live mobile with kids and a wife – of course the wife has to be up for it as well :) A colleague of mine has lived in an RV for the last 5+ years – all while *having* 3 kids. There were no kids when they started. They are relatively stationary though – they stay in one place for 6mths to a year before moving on. They also homeschool, so there’s no concern about teaching their kids while on the road.

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Interesting! I bet it was easier to adapt to slowly over the years as the kids popped out too, having already been “free” beforehand. Not as shell shocking – I like it.

  15. Kayla @ Everything Finance December 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    I’d like to think I could survive in a tiny house, but the truth is I don’t think that’s for me. I don’t know where I’d keep all my shoes and fashion accessories, haha. It’s a neat idea but I couldn’t do it.

  16. superbien December 12, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Living in an RV or boat is a dream of mine too. I’m not sure if I can get my partner onboard – he finds my 100 sq-foot 1 BR apartment to be too cramped. Well, he would be fine with the same space with 2 bedrooms.

    For families with kids in the RV life, check out the Rialto Coffee Tour blog (I think links get hung up so Google it) and NewSchoolNomads (such cute RV makeover pix!!).

    1. J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Cool – thanks for the recs!

  17. Barry @ Moneywehave December 12, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    I consider myself a minimalists but damn son, these guys put to me to shame. Too bad even a small house in Toronto costs at least half a million dollars.

    I do love money, and my wife loves things (shoes).

  18. Aimee December 12, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Yay Randy!! I’m so glad you love this guy as much as I do. I owe you the link to my travel blog from me and my boyfriend’s month long vanning trip. I also saw the article on Rockstar Finance about the power of asking and thought about how everyone asks me how I got a month off from work. I JUST ASKED!

    If you or anyone is interested I can give a breakdown of the total cost of the trip.

    1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      So cool!!! Thanks for dropping the link – what an experience :) And just because you asked – love it.

  19. Dividend Mantra December 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM


    “I find there’s two sorts of people – people who like money, and people who like things. The ones who have the things don’t have any money, and the people who like the money don’t have a lot of things.”

    “I’d rather have the money than the stuff. Because money buys me freedom. freedom of choices, freedom of movement, freedom to do what I want to do.”

    That needs to be a bumper sticker. I’d proudly put it on the back end of my trusty Corolla. How simple, insightful, and true. The second part especially is my motto on money, time, and life. Awesome and powerful!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Best regards.

    1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Agreed, haha.. Though it would cover the *entire* bumper!

  20. Kim December 12, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    This is a huge dream of mine, and I am totally determined to become a nomad for at least a year when our daughter leaves home. i don’t think I’d be very good at homeschooling, and we still have a few more years we need to work before that plan can become reality.

  21. Green Girls Don't Get Fat December 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Great documentary and holiday message… especially for the Joneses… i.e. typical American, typical income . Have you seen “I AM” by Tom Shadyac? This is a documentary about a very successful Hollywood producer who sells his mansions… yes plural…. to live in a mobile home and ride his bike to work. I highly recommend it. The movie is very inspiring!

    1. Green Girls Don't Get Fat December 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Actually, I would LOVE to see an interview with you and Tom Shadyac…. just saying.

      1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Me too! I’ve never heard of him before but I’ll go and find out very soon here – thanks for the heads up :)

  22. Mrs. WW December 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    You could TOTALLY do it with kids! I had to look up this story I ran into before. This family not only does it with FOUR kids but they also travel the entire world. The thing is, to find this family I had to wade through a web search that yielded lots of similar stories. It CAN be done! Do it in the Frankencaddy! : )

    What comes to mind for me from my own life was taking our nine year old to Laos last year. So many people were terrified for him (they were already thinking we were nuts and then we were taking a kid!) We landed in Bangkok and took an overnight train to the border where we would meet up with friends who would help up over the border. Instead of getting our own private train car to sleep in (super cheap, coulda afforded it easily) we opted for second class which was a bunk style train car shared with probably 3 dozen people. Our son was totally taken with two young guys (early 20s) who were racing to solve their Rubik’s cubes. I encouraged him to go over and talk with them. Those guys! Wow. They took the time to stop and show the kid how to actually solve a cube (even dropping the race they were in.) One was from the Midwest US and the other was from Germany. Both had decided to live frugally and just worked from their laptops traveling the world. They had met somewhere and, although from totally different backgrounds, were traveling together. We know this because after the kid was asleep we left him alone in the shared car and went to the restaurant car with them and shared stories and talked politics late into the night. THAT’s the way to live. Just like the video said, the fear dissipates and real things come into focus. Isn’t that one of the best things you can do for a kid?

    All that to say, YES, I feel this video. I would do any of that in a heartbeat- just adjust it a bit to be worldwide instead of bound to the US.

      1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Yes yes yes – thanks guys!!

        And what a wonderful story, Mrs. WW! So cool!

  23. Scott December 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Yes! We sold our house and quit our jobs in 2008. We spent 6 months in our trailer exploring most of the National Parks in the West. We loved it. Awesome to go to all these amazing places and sleep in your own comfy bed every night.

    We’ve been back at work since 2011. I am ready to get rid of everything again- where did all this stuff come from?- and hit the road. Baja is calling for the Winter!

    1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      HAH! You’re going in phases over there, that’s kinda interesting to see :)

  24. Jenna December 13, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    That was an awesome documentary! I love that they’ve create a community together.

    Man, ~$1,000 a month + start up costs for RV/van/whatever. I’m close to making the $1k a month from online stuff, so all I’d really have to do would be to fund the place to sleep!

    This isn’t what I want for myself, but it’s cool to see how possible it is.

  25. Derek December 13, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Carrie and I just watched the doc.


    1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      I’m glad, friend :) Really opens up the mind doesn’t it?

  26. EL December 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I give people who can live like that much props, it is not easy to get away from the traditional house living. I’m still trying to figure out how he is retiring with only 100 grand, and no future income. (That’s only 4 grand a year of income)

    1. J. Money December 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      He can probably make $$ off his blog now that he’s getting famous over the years!

  27. Steve Kobrin December 15, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    The frugal life helps you appreciate everything you have. Each day becomes full of blessings.

  28. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank December 17, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    I do agree and I’d rather have money than things. I can buy anything I want if got money. But, having money puts me in a challenging position how I can be still be frugal despite it.

  29. Sundeep December 22, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    So awesome, thanks for the post/recommendation. I can see why you’re man crushing on Randy, just listening to him talk puts a smile on your face. Kind of a modern day renaissance man.

    Thanks also to the other commenters for posting further reading/recommendations.

    1. J. Money December 29, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      Renaissance man indeed! Glad you really enjoyed it :)

  30. Glenn H. December 26, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    I came here via Jason at Dividend Manta (, and thank you so much for sharing! What an excellent documentary that reinforces what I really want to be doing in life. I’ll be adding your blog to my RSS reader, too. Cheers!

    1. J. Money December 29, 2014 at 8:21 PM

      Glad to hear it man, thx for stopping by :) Jason’s a beast at blogging too – big fan of his.


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