Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Mr. Maroon

January 2, 2014

Howdy and Welcome to Mixing Maroons!

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“Money Can’t Buy Happiness”

As second generation graduates of the little cow college on the Brazos in College Station, Texas, there is no shortage of maroon in our house. In fact, lately there seems to be little shortage of anything. That is, except the most sought prize of all – happiness! You see, we are the typical American middle-class family. Both professional engineers, we earn satisfactory salaries, save a little for the future, and can afford most of our habits. Earn. Buy. Repeat.

But lately, that isn’t enough. We still aren’t happy.

What is Happiness?

It’s different for everyone. It’s different for me today than it was a year ago. A year ago, and for a decade or more prior, I was in what I call the Accumulation Stage of life. I graduated college without much more than a bad credit score and about ten thousand dollars in debt; but I finally had money and I wanted stuff! And I got it! At first, the excitement of new purchases was enough to tide me over until I was able to save for the next one. But most recently, the façade of excitement only masked my spending addiction. I had a mental checklist for all of the stuff I wanted, some 100 or more insignificant items (man toys as Mrs. Maroon calls them) and I couldn’t check them off quick enough. Purchases were no longer satisfying. I went from being a frugal young man who, in 2007 for example, wasn’t willing to spend more than $125 for an iPod Mini usually priced at $140 to a crazed purchaser who bought only to add to my growing collection.

Material acquisitions were no longer satisfying. I would buy that seemingly all-important stuff, toss it in a closet, and start shopping for the next item before the last purchase had even been deducted from my bank account. In November 2013, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Mrs. Maroon and I were constantly arguing about money and spending. We were both unhappy at work. We were unhappy at home. We were consumed by a house overflowing with stuff we never use. We needed a way out. We needed to reevaluate our goals and figure out our happiness.

After individual deliberation, we both came to the same conclusion – happiness for us was freedom from the so-called rat race. We yearned for debt elimination, spending reductions, increased savings, fiscal security, and, most importantly, early retirement. We wanted our own life; not a life of slavery to our habits. We were tired of building someone else’s dream and wanted to begin building our own. We wanted something that no one could take from us. We wanted freedom!

What’s Maroon Got To Do With It?

Merriam-Webster defines maroon as ”capitalized: a fugitive black slave of the West Indies and Guiana in the 17th and 18th centuries; also: a descendant of such a slave”; “to put ashore on a desolate island or coast and leave to one’s fate”; “to place or leave in isolation or without hope of ready escape”; and “a dark red”.

The idea for Mixing Maroons hit me as I was dressing one day, quite literally as I was attempting to match a maroon Texas A&M shirt with a different colored maroon Texas A&M cap. My brain clicked as brains sometimes do; not specifically to the color, but to maroon as in “abandonment or isolation” as it is quite commonly associated with being left alone on a tropical island. Maybe what we need is to maroon ourselves from society. Heck, a tropical island doesn’t sound half bad; the thought of which provokes feelings of satisfaction, vacation, easy living, little work, and retirement.  And, while our modern American selves cannot truly comprehend the life of servitude and, often, mistreatment, that enslaved peoples, such as those Maroons in the 17th and 18th centuries, endured, we empathize with their plight to escape the bonds of slavery and experience lives full of freedom and happiness.

So, here we are. A family with a strong connection to all things maroon – from the color to the desire to abandon our old way of life and isolate ourselves from the enslaving rat race to the quest for our own tropical island. We invite you to join our family as we interweave all of our maroons and chronicle our lifestyle change in an attempt to get back to the basics and free ourselves from the typical American way of life.

~ Mr. Maroon

Introducing the Mrs.
  1. Comment by Jane Hallowell — January 3, 2014 @ 3:01 PM

    Bravo on what looks to be the beginnings of a a delightful website. I agree that MMM is right on. I can also relate to what you have written. About ten years ago, I was working in Manhattan, making four times the income I am now, and made some drastic changes in my life. It was so foolish supporting such a ridiculous lifestyle. Maybe I should write about this in my new blog. Cheers! Jane

  2. Pingback by Excel is My Friend – A Peek at My Spreadsheet « Mixing Maroons — March 26, 2015 @ 6:30 AM

    As engineers, the adults in the Maroon household were Excel nerds before we ever even heard the term financial independence.

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