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[Let's Build] 100 Warlock Patrons based on fictional characters
What are some other patrons (perhaps based on other fictional characters) the PCs could shave off a sliver of their soul for, and what could that otherworldly being want in return?"
d100 100 Alternative Patrons for Warlocks
- The Godmother - a powerful figure from the shadowfey, she'll offer you a destiny you can't refuse. Some day, and that day may never come, she will ask you to do a service for her... [ElZoof]
- The Emperor - He feeds upon your hate. Your rage and passion feed his desire for destruction. [ElZoof]
- The Goblin King - Just fear him, love him, do as he says, and he will be your slave... [ElZoof]
- The Muse - She will help you create great wonders and terrors, and asks for naught in return but years of life. She's not picky, they don't have to be yours. [ElZoof]
- The Giver of Gifts - He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good... [ElZoof]
- The Cenobite - The ruler of a realm of pleasure and pain. Those who serve him faithfully shall reach new heights of ecstasy. Those that defy him shall know pain beyond all compare. [Moon_Dew]
- The Judge - He is The Law. Uphold the law of your realm in his name as judge, jury, and executioner. [Moon_Dew]
- The Pink Pony - A being that embodies joy, laughter, fun, and randomness. Spread joy where ever you go and she'll reward you with powers that defy reality... and cake, lots and lots of cake. [Moon_Dew]
- The Lord - obsessed with achieving Heaven, by any means necessary. Just remember the 14 key phrases... [richard_butt_99]
- The Blood God - Consciously or not, all warrior cultures pay him homage with their acts of murder and destruction. To be gifted power you must pledge - Blood for The Blood God, Skulls for the Skull throne. [Jellykid4ever]
- Vox Populi - Your patron is your followers. They grant you power by belief, as long as you follow their whims and keep abreast of the shifts of mood within the zeitgeist. They say you cannot argue with popularity - or at least you can, but you're wrong. [EarthbinderUK]
- Balance - Everything must be kept at the stasis point. Tip not toward the kind without harm, good without evil, chaos without law. Be more than neutral - correct imbalances. [EarthbinderUK]
- Void - All was nothing. All will be nothing. No act you can commit will change this; hasten it, rail against it, you cannot change it. Existence is pain. The void is an end to all suffering. [EarthbinderUK]
- The Devourer - My Herald, the Great Hunger is upon me. So speaks the Devourer! [Sobek6 & HarshMillennium]
- The Courier - Once a revenant that came back from the grave to take revenge on the one who wronged them, they are capable of changing the tides of war with their choices. Weirdly they ask for otherwise worthless small metal caps as offerings. [Smiling_anon]
- The Ex-Adventurer - An adventurer who gained enough power to become an immortal being. They see their warlocks as successors and/or apprentices and are usually willing to help them out. They don’t ask for much in return, usually just to adventure and establish a mental link between them. May or may not wear a sable fedora. [inkwell13]
- Sandman - A former titan, god, or demon, nobody remembers anymore. He draws power from the dreams of mortals and longs to escape. If only enough people would all fall asleep at the same time... [HurricaneBatman]
- Krampus - every light casts a shadow. The joy and warmth of winter holidays spawned a powerful negative force in response, and it has a name. Krampus wants to tarnish the joy of any special occasion, but can only appear on the Material Plane at select times during the year. It enlists emissaries to do its work when it cannot. [HurricaneBatman]
- Kappa - a powerful river demon who cannot stray far from its banks, the Kappa offers to share its aquatic magic with unethical adventurers in exchange for delivery of souls to feast on. Those who take the pact find themselves stronger and faster in the water and are gifted a ball which can absorb another mortal's soul, although the process is quite unpleasant. [HurricaneBatman]
- Delirium - A box full of starved weasels. Does and says lots of random, weird things which are occasionally helpful or insightful, probably by accident. Obsessed with rainbow fish. [WSHIII]
- The Continuum Entity - He's a trickster, a liar, and a mischief maker, but really he just wants to understand Enterprising humanity. [DarthMummSkeletor]
- The Logician - A mind of pure rationality, purged of emotion. He understands that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Through his patronage, infinitely diverse warlocks live long and prosper in infinite combinations. [DarthMummSkeletor]
- The Blade of Twinned Souls - A heroic champion of order and a vile being of pure chaos destroyed each other in combat, their undying souls trapped within a twisted sword. The two souls fight each other for dominance inside the blade, offering gifts of power to sway the wielder to their side. [DaOsoMan]
- Thediem - A will that transcends even the gods. It wishes to use you to craft an epic story and will reward you when you follow the breadcrumbs it lays in front of you. Beware of ignoring the path it has chosen. [tosety]
- The Worm-in-Waiting - An incomprehensibly vast, supercosmic force that loves you. It gave you its power because it loves you, and to ensure that what was will be, and what will be was. [FomorianKing]
- The Trickster - Why so serious? Spread a little fun in the world, and remember - you can't spell slaughter without laughter. [World_of_Ideas]
- The Captain - An infamous pirate who locked his heart away and now forever leads his ship through the seas, spreading terror among sailors and sea merchants. He can offer many gifts to those who love the ocean, but he’s also always looking for souls to join his crew at the bottom of his locker... [Wintre1337]
- The Royal - A long dead noble who holds on to the remains of his kingdom through 'favours' performed by his many minions. Choosing to follow him may bring you into conflict with his insane wife. [epicvoyage28]
- The Parasite - I am with you, I am in you. I am always there. Feed me, grow me, our power is mutual. The only way to stop me is to destroy my host. [BillyFresh]
- The Pyro - A being of infinite power, chaos, and curiosity, the Pyro wishes for nothing more than to see it all burn. [memebiiigforehead]
- The Lich King - The bodies of your enemies are pawns for the Lich King. [krakator_ph]
- The Narrator - Talks about all your actions in third person. Gets bitchy if you do stuff out of character. Wants “The Story” to reach its ending...whatever that means. [WSHIII]
- The Director - Very bossy, tells you what to do, how to feel, what to say, where to go. Yells “Cut!” a lot. Definitely has a foot fetish. [WSHIII]
- The Girl Scout Leader - Very, very protective for half the year; militant dictator the other. During the militant phase, she is entirely focused on you meeting goals that she’s determined for you. Absolutely, frothing-at-the-mouth insane the last month of the militant phase. [WSHIII]
- The Dude - Very laid back, doesn’t ask for much other than sacrifices of liquor, drugs, choice waves, and rugs. Honestly, not that helpful, but he abides. [WSHIII]
- The Aten't Dead - A powerful witch who knows better than you, but mostly expects you to figure it out for yourself. Everyone is an idiot, you... maybe not as much (although she’s still considering it). Tough as nails and terrifyingly focused, she knows that the real power of magic is not through using it, but convincing the people who need help to do the right thing themselves. If you show grit and work hard towards your own goals in the right way, you’ll earn her respect forever - which ain’t a small thing. [WSHIII]
- The Woe - An entity created from the manifestations of fear and misery. They hide 'neath beds and in closets, and direct you to record and spread as much fear as you can. No matter how petty. [DocIchabod]
- The Finality - A draconian entity created at the end of all time and space, holding dominion over captive subjects. It grants you teleportation, at the cost of your soul. [DocIchabod]
- The Buckler - An entity born from confused deities and drunken immortals as a joke. But in their mistake rose an entity who can withstand near any damage or attack, and now gifts its power to you. Don’t Fuckler with the Buckler. [DocIchabod]
- The Honk - A horrible animal gifted sentience without master, it got rather bored one day and decided it wanted to make other people’s lives more miserable. But it can’t do it by itself, and you’re here. It brought you a picture of you and a pen that held ink. You signed and you felt the world sifting to the edge a bit. Now it’s a lovely morning and you are a horrible warlock. [DocIchabod & Th3R3493r]
- The Fragments - Said to be a Mechanus-made supercomputer created to act as a copy of an ancient god, tortured til the point of splitting into various pieces. This god has several aspects, each of which represents a different part of his personality. Each wants something different from you, but only one aspect, or fragment, can empower you at a time, as the only warlock to take on several fragments at once quickly lost their mind. [insert_title_here]
- The Crafter of Omens - The ghost of a long-dead god, embedded eternally in the Material Plane. He manifests in dense fog, with large, sorrowful, empty eyes, and whispers to you, begging you to wake up. He watches over you, living vicariously through you and lending you his meager power in the hopes that one day you too may ascend to godhood, and awaken from the long dream of mortal life. Signs that he is near include small pyramids of sand or gravel, small, perfectly rounded tunnels bored into sheer rock, thick fog, and leafless trees in summer. All he asks is that you live your best life, and not speak of him to others, as he's ashamed of his fallen nature. [insert_title_here]
- The Candyman - An aging, eclectic, enigmatically chaotic immortal (perhaps a fey?) searching for an heir to his power. Be wary, for however splendid his realm may seem, there's tests all around, and those who fail them may find themselves irrevocably altered...for the worse. [insert_title_here]
- The Man Who Speaks In Hands - A royal artificer, responsible for creating incredible works of magitechnology, once fell into his own creation and shattered across space and time. Pieces of him, in whatever form they may appear, can be quite powerful, but be careful-- there are some truths mortals are simply not meant to know, and extended contact with these pieces may find you untethered from your reality entirely. [insert_title_here]
- The Doctor - Crafty, resourceful, intelligent, dangerous, but, the most merciful thing you ever known. He comes to you with many faces and outfits but all are him. A man lost in all of time and space with knowledge of all. Appears in his blue box, asking for nothing but your companionship. Be warned, if you accept his offer, your normal life will forevermore be dull. [PhoenixKnight777 & Th3R3493r]
- The Witcher - Tasked with hunting down strange and powerful monsters. [HarshMillennium]
- The Man in The Mirror - To most a reflection of what they see, but now it requests you change yourself or you change it. Via regret and desire, you will want to make it change its way. Sometimes, the patron only needs the warlock to change world by making better changes. [Th3R3493r]
- The Ghost of Cricket - Once a weak cricket that materializes to lead you to the right path, now a unbanishable entity who will not leave until you are on that path and he can leave. [Th3R3493r]
- The All Seeing Eye - A fallen angel once nearly destroyed, now manifests as a piercing watchful presence singularly focused on conquest, domination, and revenge. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Plague-Father - Brewer of potions, plagues, and pestilence he asks that you spread his gifts far and wide. Embodiment of death, decay, and the inevitability of entropy. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Lord of Skulls - Ever-seeking the blood and skulls of his enemies, he demands war and death. Embodiment of violence, hate, and slaughter. Abhors cowardice above all and rewards those fight honorably especially against desperate odds. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Changer of Ways (or Architect of Fate) - Master of schemes, sorcery, and evolution. Subverts its enemies with cunning and subterfuge, conspiracy, and betrayal. Hoarder of forbidden knowledge, master of the chaotic energies of the weave. To serve this patron is to become but a pawn in a greater game. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Golden King - A pact with this patron guarantees an overwhelming font of wealth. But at what price...? [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Warrior-Poet - This irreverent rogue asks that you fight for the common people and stick it to the man. Doesn't hurt to have a good time and keep a little of the pot for yourself while doing so. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Prophets - An omniscient alien intelligence that exists outside of time and space. They send their servants powerful prophetic visions through their total knowledge of existence, but such visions are fractured, disjointed, and disorienting, for they struggle to comprehend and communicate with the mortal souls in their service. Their goals are truly unknowable, but perhaps there is another presence in the great beyond that threatens even them. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Wraiths of Fire - An omniscient alien intelligence that exists outside of time and space. Similar to the prophets but more sinister and manipulative. They seek revenge on the Prophets for casting them out of their collective. Severed from the Prophets source of power they are weaker and as such more willing to lend their powers to mortal champions to further their cause. [Neuroentropic_Force]
- The Great Old Root - A tree that has gained gaining consciousness and otherworldly powers. Its seeds preserve its mind despite world-changing events, allowing it to regrow where ever they are planted. This rebirthing process had helped it survive though the ages making it almost inmortal. Bent on fixing the destructive behavior of civilization, and with the goal to let nature rule again over the land, you must receive one of its ethereal leaves to become a follower of its will. [Zaante]
- The Nemesis - Once the patron goddess of a now-fallen empire, she now seeks to utterly destroy their conquerors and save the last of her enslaved people. [Holy_Hand_Grenadier]
- The Lion - You’ll never make him proud because there is nothing and no one as proud as him. You follow him because you one day hope to be like him, shining as bright and as strong as the sun, but you know you can never be as great. He hides a secret though, during the night, he is extremely weak and meek. It is your duty to protect him from those who would seek to destroy him for his sin of pride during this time of great weakness. [LadyVaporeon]
- The Wishmaker - He can take on any form he wishes, and grant you whatever your heart desires... under some very strict limitations. He holds phenomenal cosmic power, but is trapped in an itty bitty living extraplanar space. You've never had a friend like him. [HTPark]
- The Plant - A smooth talking plant from the outer realms that can help you get anything your secret, greasy heart desires. So long as you feed him blood all night long. [Etharrworlddesroyer]
- The Runner of Roads - a feathered eldritch horror who sneaks in the dark, taunting it's victims. Any time the haunted tries to catch or even get a good look at it, it speeds away. It has never been caught, but drives people mad as they obsess over this evil creature [UkeBard]
- Howler of Wiles - originally worshipped by cultures of druids, this Patron is a great hunter. It is said that praying to this deity allows hunters to be more successful in setting snares and traps, especially for larger beasts. However, those who take power from this patron tend to go a little mad, and no longer hunt out of necessity, but for sport. Eventually they move onto larger and more intelligent prey. Like humans. [UkeBard]
- Captain Pete - There is a small island in the feywild with lush fauna, dangerous beasts, fey, and even mermaids in the nearby lagoon. The island is magically sealed from the outside world, and most notably has a peculiar magical effect that permeates the land: anyone who truly does not wish to age does not do so. Occasionally, outsiders would stumble across the borders into this land, plucked almost randomly from their homes in the material plane. A thousand years ago, a young human boy of about twelve years old ran away from home and ended up on this island. He eventually learned to hunt and gather and fend for himself. He found that by consuming the pixies he killed on the island, he could gain certain abilities such as the power of flight. He didn't realize, however, that this was also slowly twisting his mind. (I'm going to jump to the point, this is taking too long). This child's name was Pete and he liked to pretend that he was a captain. Eventually he found ways to travel back to the material plane, and he would kidnap children and force them to play pirate with him. He demanded that they play with him and also refuse to grow up, so he wouldn't be alone. To make sure they could never escape, he would use a ritual which would steal their shadows. Stealing their shadow meant their soul was marked, and instead of going to their afterlife when they die, Captain Pete would keep their soul. If any of these stolen children, or "Lost Boys" started to show signs of aging, Captain Pete would kill them. Some Lost Boys planned their escape and left past the borders of the island, which deposited them into the Astral Plane, where survivors would live to become Pirates on the Astral Sea. However, they would forever be haunted by Captain Pete, knowing that when they died they would have to play with Pete once more. [UkeBard]
- The Call- Most songs that get stuck in your head don’t try to spread. You will infect the world with glorious harmony. [CongestedConstrictor]
- Shevgero the Cannibal - He usually appears to potential warlocks, in his false form as a well kept man, in times of weakness and despair (ie. a child abused by his family, or an adventurer who fears that their friends might die because of an impending doom, and they need more power to stop it) he comes to them promising the power to take control to prevent bad things from happening anymore, and once a pact is made its not easily broken out of. At first he seems like a gracious patron, but as the warlock grows in his service, he’ll ask for more and more gruesome tasks to be done. [Metazoatim]
- The Master - driven only by his need for a certain type of sauce, made only from the finest of lambs. [Mathtermind]
- The Pickled One - He stepped out of a portal, strangely preserved, aloof and uncaring. As he looked at you, you realized that he’d never give you a name, despite being differ from the others, because to him you aren’t special. You’re special to mortals, and soon they’ll be dead. Your purpose to him is a simple definition, and nothing more. Guess it’s him you’ll have to impress. [FameLeeJules]
- The Curator - You entered the estate, following the instructions left for you; top of your class. As you approach the wrapped being in the centre of a massive atrium, rimmed in countless alcoves. You notice in those alcoves, men and women, clad in fine armour and weapons, pinned like insects on display. The being smiles, and unfurls a long scroll. “Now, my sweet, let’s nurture your growth, and see if you are worth The Harvest...” [FameLeeJules]
- Father - In your room, you decide the ways to rebel. Images of dark clad bards, who wail of the injustice and inequality of parental power, clad the walls of your space. Their songs speak of rebelling against the man who raised you, who misuses the power he has over you. But those fathers are just mortal, and the power they wield is pitiful at best. However, there might be something to be said about rebellion. [FameLeeJules]
- Your Friends on the Other Side - They'll help you but always want something in return, if you fail to hold up your end of the bargain there will be consequences. [BenedictVonGucci]
- The Neighbor - A celestial patron whose primary goal is to bring happiness to those around you, especially children. When you die your soul will join him as his neighbor in the heavens. could you be mine, would you be mine, wont you be: my neighbor [The Anthropomorphic Personification of Death- He is an inattentive patron as he is very busy. but if he where call on you, you can be sure that you will be called upon to stop a major( possibly interdimensional) disaster that he has foreseen and/or covering for him reaping souls when he is unable (or unwilling) to do so.]
- The Tentacled Scholar - An elderich entity obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge. He is willing to share this knowledge, but without his protection, such knowledge causes madness... [The Anthropomorphic Personification of Death- He is an inattentive patron as he is very busy. but if he where call on you, you can be sure that you will be called upon to stop a major( possibly interdimensional) disaster that he has foreseen and/or covering for him reaping souls when he is unable (or unwilling) to do so.]
- The Anthropomorphic Personification of Death - An inattentive patron as he is very busy. If he were call on you, you can be sure that you will be called upon to stop a major( possibly interdimensional) disaster that he has foreseen... or covering for him reaping souls when he is unable (or unwilling) to do so. [The Anthropomorphic Personification of Death- He is an inattentive patron as he is very busy. but if he where call on you, you can be sure that you will be called upon to stop a major( possibly interdimensional) disaster that he has foreseen and/or covering for him reaping souls when he is unable (or unwilling) to do so.]
- The Betrayed - Once a proud soldier from a forgotten kingdom, she was betrayed by her most trusted soldiers. Now, she has become the Spear of Vengeance, with a very simple goal. Death to all betrayers. [austinocookie]
- The Virtuoso - A demon obsessed with the number four, he sends out his servants to find the true beauty and art of death. Your weapons are your brushes, and the blood is your paint. [austinocookie]
- The Mogul - A lordly undead avian avatar of avarice. His interplanar investments are as diverse as they are profitable; as long as YOU remain likewise, you'll be swimming in coin. [Cyllaran]
- Dio. [Awestriker007]
- The World Over Heaven - A being from a reality removed from our own. It seeks to help its servants to "obtain heaven", thus granting them ultimate authority over history and reality. In truth, it is seeking to create a worthy vessel to resurrect its true master. [Moon_Dew]
- The Four Star Monk - Only available to good-aligned multiclass warlock/monk. A great warrior who had attained godhood. Wishes to pass down his knowledge of martial arts to a worthy successor. Pushes his followers to seek greater challenges and stronger foes to improve themselves, and to fight to protect the innocent from those who would abuse their strength. [Moon_Dew]
- The Prince of Pleasure (sometimes known as The Lord of Excess) - To those that follow them, they share the secrets of ecstasy, pushing their mortal followers to seek greater and greater depths of depravity. [Moon_Dew]
- Plus Ultra - The spirit of a great hero who seeks worthy champions to become symbols of justice. [Moon_Dew ]
- The Hot-Blooded Brother - A spirit whose charisma burns with the intensity of a thousand exploding galaxies! He asks of his followers to never give up who, to believe in the you that believes in yourself, and to go beyond the impossible! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!?!? [Moon_Dew]
- The Great Bear of Very Little Brain - "You're smarter when you're pink. Does that help?" [infinitum3d]
- Aziraphale - A kind celestial who doesn't want you to do anything evil, and gives the most abstract and useless directions. [DanielTheDM]
- The Timeless Hero - This patron requires an Elf or Half-Elf of any Good alignment. This hero has been made to spawn countless times in order to save his homeland from an evil that also seems to respawn over and over again. This hero has altered time and has encountered the multiple timelines he created. On his plane of existence, 3 goddesses created the world and has granted him a probationary Demi-godhood until they have need of him again. He carries with him the power of Courage. https://www.reddit.com/d100/comments/f4nkmu/lets_build_100_warlock_patrons_based_on_fictional/fhvrkl4?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x [HagPuppy89]
- The Outsider - A being located in a dimension space between time and space known as the Void. Gives his strength to those who have been scorned in order to see how they react to the power. [PolarBerr03]
- The Blacksmith - A high elf who was killed long ago by those seeking the artifacts that he created. Now his spirit is bound to another lost soul who knows his pain [PolarBerr03]
- The Trapped King - Though he is imprisoned outside the Tower that stands at the center of the multiverse, he can grant great power as long as you heed his word. [OwlbearWithMe]
- The Thin One - This faceless gentleman stalks the forest, waiting and watching. If you're the one he's waiting for, he may have a bargain for you... [OwlbearWithMe]
- The Grandmother - A spirit of the forest, appearing as an old woman's face in a willow tree. Good natured and caring, she just wants the best for you. [OwlbearWithMe]
- The Greys - A group of little grey men show you the cosmos and your place in it. No one believes you, save for a pair of men in dark suits who keep showing up. [OwlbearWithMe]
- The Senator - A wrathful being who believes in a world where the weak are ruled by the strong. It has a body that can't be harmed as it hardens in response to physical trauma and the strength to break the President in two. Warlocks of The Senator have but one goal: use war as a business to ascend the political ladder in order to end war as a business. They are taught that no matter how cruel the means, the ends are more than justified; after all they are making the mother of all omelettes, they can't fret over every egg! "Don't fuck with this Senator!" [SlayAllRebels]
- The Lady and The Gentleman - Twin beings that have removed themselves from time and now are stuck in a state of existing and not existing. Heads, or tails? [Moon_Dew]
- The Knight - The Knight will protect you, he will take your place, he is the one you can trust. All he asks in return is the promise that you will keep to the code of Chivalry. Breaking this means you break the oath, and break yourself in the process. [Beanis_]
- The Swarm - A swarm of tiny creatures that range from winged ants to small imps. The swarm grants you gifts and speed beyond imagine. These include the ability to control large swarms of ants and other bugs. [Beanis_]
- The Fire - The Fire will burn, it burns indefinitely, it is alive, but it has been dead for eternity. You feel its presence but never its flame. The world around you burns, the fire causes this. The city around you falls, the fire causes this. Your loved ones die... The fire causes this... [Beanis_]
- The Cat Of Nine - The Cat of Nine is immortal, it appears as a grey cat with markings all over its body. The only people who can communicate with it are warlocks who take this patron. The cat can knock you over, although it prefers to knock over glasses. It also appears in a group of nine. [Beanis_]
- The Killerman - A bizarre and sinister entity that encourages his followers to commit horrid serial murders, preferably ones that won't be solved. His sigil and trademark is a red upside-down five-pointed star, left painted on the forehead of a dead victim. [I_m_different]
- The Deep One - This god demands human sacrifices to his sea-dwelling worshipers that live in the reefs. If the sacrifices are made, the followers are showered with fortunes and “are blessed with the opportunity” to bear the Deep One's children who are immortal unless killed directly. If the sacrifices are not made, the Deep One will send his army against all who oppose him [InstalledTeeth]
- The Ace - Often encountered with his avian sidekick, this canine patron is locked in an eternal struggle to overcome his Arch-nemesis, the Rouge Rogue. [PutridMeatPuppet]
Financial Freedom - First Steps
Financial Freedom - First StepsOwning your shit at home covers many things and one of the most important areas for long term success are finances. Having a financial vision, understanding the trade-offs, having the frame to bring it to existence, and becoming successful has many benefits to anyone, married or not. To a degree, it is simply Adulting 101 but I see many posts all the time that betray a complete lack of understanding of how to run household finances. What follows is a summary of the path I took over the last 2 years, generalized so it is applicable to anyone.
Many concepts borrow heavily from /personalfinance/ (PF). In fact, it is crucial that you become familiar with the concepts that are explained on this subreddit and in their wiki. I try not to duplicate content but some concepts here will have a specifically MRP-oriented slant. MRP brings a unique set of options and skills to the table that can make you much more effective than the general population.
Financial FreedomWhat is Financial Freedom and why should you care? To me it is the freedom to quit my current or future job if I choose to, and to walk away from it all if that's what my path leads to. That freedom will happen when my investment income surpasses either my expenses or my current job income - depending on what metric I want to use at that time. My plan is to reach this goal in 9 to 11 years.
The key to this plan is the magic combination of saving, investing, and compound interest. I will not explain how this works here - there are many resources available for these concepts. Most people understand this as a really long term avenue to riches but it is actually much faster in its effects than one might expect. If we use the very attainable numbers of saving 30% of your income and getting a 10% return/interest, you can accomplish the following:
- In 3 years you will have saved up one annual salary and it will generate an extra 10% income.
- In 5 years you will have saved up almost 2 annual salaries for extra 19% income.
- In 10 years you will have saved up 5 annual salaries for extra 50% income.
- In 10 years you will have extra 100% income.
The StepsThe steps are very simple in principle.
- Study /personalfinance/. Learn from other people's mistakes and get to the point where you can predict the answers to most posters' questions.
- Increase your saving rate to 30% by cutting down expenses. This is the bulk of this post and how I did it with an MRP lense. It is, however, not enough to just save. You must also invest but you have a year of work before this becomes critical.
- Study investing and how you can generate 10% or higher returns. Not covered here except with a side note - many options exist that are not obvious but count: eliminating high interest rate debt, using employer or government subsidized savings plans, reducing your tax burden by using tax advantaged plans.
The VisionThe rest of the write-up is how you create a financial system for your household. You will be in complete control. You are the one who is ultimately responsible for it succeeding or failing without blaming anyone. With that in mind, you design it in such a way that you could do it all yourself if your spouse will not/cannot contribute but you make individual portions of it possible to delegate. The more responsible your spouse is the better and you can reward her contributions by giving her more control over individual items. It is, however, always your responsibility to track and enforce that the system is followed.
As a general rule, you will be moving to a save first, then spend model. In each budget category (see below) you will not spend more than allocated for each month until you saved up some money to buy it - by under spending in that category in the previous months. The only exception is existing loans and obligations until you find a way to eliminate them. This also creates a very simple method to determine when you should be spending on items like new cars, house upgrades etc. You create a category with a budget, and when you save enough - you can use it. In some cases this will guide you to do more if needed: E.g. if you are accumulating a lot of saved up money in the household repaiupdate category, you need to fix more stuff around the house.
How quickly you implement and enforce these changes is related to the strength of your frame and your ability to run this system. Do not go Rambo if you suck at this but do implement quickly if you are capable. There are a ton of areas to gradually improve so it will take time to do all of it - no need to stress everyone out with a complete overhaul instantly.
This system has had a huge positive financial impact with minimum or no negative impact on what we consume or spend on. It has had some unexpected benefits to our quality of life outside of the financials.
The DetailsThis is the order that I used. As you progress through the steps, the order becomes less important. The individual items are a list of options available.
Track your spendingDevise a system to track all of your spending and start tracking it for a month. A month is good enough to get a good idea of where your money goes and how to set up your budget categories. Estimate the rest. No need to tell your wife that you're doing this as this is just for your information. I use Excel because I like to make my own spreadsheets but there are many better options available.
You will likely find that your wife spends way more than you do and you will be spending a lot of energy in curbing that spending initially. How you do the next step takes that into account.
Make an initial budgetFollow the PF guidelines but I suggest adding the following features that I found incredibly useful for MRP purposes. This assumes you are the more responsible spender and you also make more money than your spouse. The guiding principle is not fairness but accountability. If in doubt, make it harder on your spouse than needed and later you can be more benevolent. You want to track accurately who actually spends what without making any judgments about it.
- Budget for saving early - more than you save now. Force the spending cuts immediately. Start with 5% more than you save now.
- Make common categories for joint spending like mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, household repairs etc. You will control all joint spending going forward but no need to force that issue yet. (PF) has good suggestions for categories.
- Make a discretionary spending category for yourself and a separate one for your spouse. I suggest to make them equal and way less than the sum of your current discretionary spending now. That most likely will mean that your wife will have less to spend unless you are the big spender right now. The goal is to have each adult spend this money how they wish. No need to enforce this yet.
- Make a spending category for each kid you have. This is mostly for your info. You don't let the kids control this money unlike the adults' discretionary spending.
- Put everything attributable to individuals in their categories, including the kids. You might find that you spend way more on one kid than the other. I did, unsurprisingly, on my daughter.
- Put joint loans as a separate spending category where it belongs. E.g. mortgage under house. I suggest using as few loans as possible joint, in fact, I only have mortgage under joint. Rest is individual loans.
- Put individual loans in your or her category as you see appropriate and subtract the monthly payments immediately from the discretionary budget of that person at the beginning of each month. The point is to make current loan payments a direct hit to each person's discretionary budget. It also means that if one person pays off their loans faster, they will have more money to spend without gifting that money to the other person. Do not play nice here and take over her student, car, or other loans as joint spending. Think carefully who should own each loan.
- Big expenses paid with a smaller frequency, such as car insurance should be subtracted at the beginning of each month. E.g. if you pay your car insurance once every 6 months: Figure out the proportion - if your car is the cheaper one, and your insurance is lower, go through the policy and calculate how much your car costs and how much hers costs. Then divide each individual amount by 6 and subtract that from each person's discretionary spending monthly.
Grocery StoreFigure out the cheapest grocery store option available that is acceptable in quality. If Aldi/Lidl are available in your area, those are amazing for quality and price. Do this immediately, while you're still doing your initial tracking period. If you have no idea what you should be shopping for, you will be educating yourself on this over the next few weeks. Make an initial shopping trip by yourself and buy one weeks's worth of supplies. Focus on items that you will eat/prepare yourself, relatively cheap and aligned with your diet or the diet your feel your family should follow. Don't bother buying stuff that are solely for your wife/kids, expensive, or unhealhty. If you get asked why, just say you're exploring cheaper food options and broken record/STFU the rest. Over the next few weeks make your goal is to figure out how to buy 90% of the groceries needed by your whole family in one week increments.
Grocery SystemYou are eventually moving towards a system with the following features:
- You buy groceries once a week only on a specific day.
- You buy the bulk of your groceries at the cheapest store only.
- There is always enough to eat without wasting. See more on wasting below.
- Everybody needs to get their items on the shopping list before the shopping day or it doesn't get bought until next week.
- The items you buy are skewed towards cost effective items and aligned with your diet.
- Items bought at more expensive stores are only bought because they are not available at the cheap option. No last minute emergency shopping trips for expensive items.
- When stuff is on sale, stock up. But only stock up on stuff you actually use, no impulse buying.
Household itemsSome household items like detergent, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc. very vastly in quality and price. Spend some time figuring out the most cost effective item of sufficient quality and figure out where you buy them. It might be at the cheap grocery store but it might be online. Only buy those items at those locations so make sure you have enough on hand so you avoid emergency (expensive) trips. E.g. make sure you always have at least one more extra detergent bottle in store. Once you figure that out, the time and energy spent on it is zero as you always buy from the same place.
Grocery deliveriesIf you have grocery deliveries from the cheap grocery store available, use it. It cuts down on impulse buying, saves time and gas, and makes it trivial to maintain your grocery list throughout the week. Any time you remember you need something, add it to the online list, then order everything once a week and have it delivered.
Food PrepFigure out how to prepare food in bulk in minimum time. Bake a bunch of chicken while you are frying up some other protein option. Prepare several simple protein options on the weekend and make sure they get eaten during the week. You or your wife can spend a small amount of time during the week to make a side item to go along with the protein. You will lead the way here but your wife can take over in a few weeks if she's willing/capable. Avoid lengthy daily cooking rituals that cause frustration and waste time. Figure out what you eat (all of it - breakfast, lunch, dinner) and make that yourself if needed, or delegate to your wife if possible.
This is another area where you are likely to encounter challenges. Communicate that you want to save time and money on food prep and that you like having food available at all times during the week without having to think about it. Ask her to help you with the food prep and/or with the side dish preparation during the week.
WasteYou can waste a ton of food if you just buy it but don't track that it is consumed. Use the following system to avoid waste:
- When new groceries arrive, move the old unused groceries to the front of the fridge, put the new groceries in the back.
- Check the fridge regularly and move stuff out of the back to the front that needs to be eaten. Stop buying it if it consistently does not get eaten.
- Limit the amount of fresh vegetables/fruit to what you will eat. The rest will be frozen (and cheaper). Do keep a decent amount of frozen vegetables on hand. Monitor fresh vegetables/fruit and make sure you consume them quickly or reduce how much you buy.
- If your kids/spouse put something on the list that you won't eat personally and you think it might get wasted, buy it once and monitor. Remind them to eat it. If they don't actually eat it, stop buying it.
- Clean out the pantry regularly. Stuff that has been sitting there for months is thrown away and put on the Don't Buy list.
- Do buy more canned foods such as beans, vegetables, fish etc. as they are cost effective and don't waste as readily. Follow up and consume them without piling up.
- Dig through the bottom of the freezer occasionally and consume the stuff that dropped to the bottom. Make a mental note of what does not get eaten and consider moving to the Don't Buy list.
DietFigure out a good healthy diet that is not expensive, e.g. Paleo or Keto. It should result in you and your family eating less and more healthy. If your diet is expensive, it might be crap.
CarsYou are likely spending more than you can afford on your cars. How do you know you are spending more than you can afford? You are not saving and investing 30% of your income. Cars are a huge money pit. You can get a 2 year old used car that will be just fine for 7-10k. If you already have something more expensive, consider selling it and getting something cheaper. Either way, subtract the car payment from each person's individual discretionary budget to force the decision. If you simply ask your spouse to downgrade her fancy car, she will fight you tooth and nail. If you make her choose between an expensive car and hair cuts, she will be more likely to downgrade. Same goes for you. Take some time to consider this - it is easy to lose even more money by constantly changing cars. Car loans can carry a low interest rate so once you get to the point where you are investing with a 10% return, it's not necessarily bad to carry a car loan. However, if you are a compulsive spender, you should avoid car loans and save up first. PF has good guidance here.
Carefully consider what you want to do here so start thinking about it early but make sure whatever decision you make is something you will enforce. If you're not sure yet, wait a bit more. But if you're bleeding money over a luxury car that you don't want, start making plans to fix this soon.
TrinketsAs a budget category - decorations, throw pillows, rugs, scented candles and other such nonsense goes to zero. Anything in this category goes against your wife's discretionary budget. Go for the minimalist look, and do in fact clean out the clutter. Sell your old trinkets at garage sales and stop buying them.
Appliances/devicesThis mostly goes against the household repair budget and for the most part - stop buying devices. You don't need a new TV every 2 years, nor do you need juicers, exercise machines, stereos, espresso machines etc. This should approach zero. When you save up in the household budget, you can buy something new but preferably you just repair what's needed. Individual devices, such as smart phones, go against individual discretionary budgets. Again, save up first, then buy. Switch to older models for savings.
Clothing/beautyThis goes against individual discretionary budgets. Track this carefully. Do put make up and other beauty products in your wife's discretionary budget. Let your wife make the decisions about how she uses her budget and she will make the appropriate adjustments once you start enforcing her monthly spending budget. Likely she will reduce the frequency of her hair, nail, pedicure appointments to what she actually needs whereas before it looked like impossible to eliminate. If you shop together for clothes (don't), do separate the spending to your and her budget. For kids, if they are older, and they want to decide what they buy, give them a monthly allowance to spend how they choose to start teaching them about budgeting.
If you buy these items at a store where you already buy household items, request receipts from your wife on every purchase there and separate it into her discretionary budget or household. If she does not provide a receipt, put the whole purchase into her budget. Make it her responsibility and less work for you.
TV/CableThis can likely be eliminated altogether. Watching TV is useless and there is a ton of content on streaming services for much less anyway. If you have Amazon Prime for deliveries, there is a ton of content available with that service. If you need additional streaming services, rotate them to only keep one active at a time. Watch the shows you want, then switch to something else. Use over the air HDTV for local channels. You can occasionally get premium streaming channels like HBO for $5 a month for a limited time - sign up, watch what you want, then cancel.
UtilitiesNot much you can do there. Close off unused rooms and close the HVAC vents in those rooms. Adjust temperature to save on HVAC. Get LED bulbs. If you are spending a ton on irrigation, start replacing your lawn with trees/bushes/mulch - they are much more water efficient, less work, and more environmentally friendly.
EntertainmentAs a joint category this goes to zero. Mentally replace entertainment with hobbies. All stuff like movies that you do jointly, split into individual items that go against discretionary budgets of you, your wife, your kids as appropriate. Communicate this to your wife - she needs to start being aware that spending on these types of outings cost her discretionary budget money.
Eating outSame as entertainment - track individually. But plan to cut this out altogether and only do it for special occasions. Lead in this area - do not eat out if you don't have money in the budget to do it.
Enforcement lightAfter a month of making your initial budget (two months from start) review the budget by yourself. You are likely over in many categories - this is normal. But possibly you were successful in reducing a lot with the suggestions above - in which great, you are starting to make a difference.
The biggest category over budget will likely be your wife's discretionary spending. Assess how well you are doing with making progress and leading, relative to her failure. Do inform her that she is over budget and that she needs to start prioritizing to get the spending under control. If she's making efforts, do help her with suggestions - e.g. spreading out her beauty appointments over more time, buying cheaper stuff. If she refuses to follow you have to decide if you have the tools available to enforce it. If you don't - read some past posts about taking over the treasury. You will need to get these ready before you fight over it. Do not fight if you don't have the enforcement tools ready. If you decide to postpone the fight, continue tracking the same way but stop talking about it and don't make any threats.
HouseSo many people live in a much bigger house than they need. Most families don't need more than a 3 bedroom house. Anything above that is a luxury. Seriously consider downsizing until you can afford it. If renting, this is not that hard but selling your current house is not trivial. There are some creative options you can utilize if you have a bigger house than you need and there are serious obstacles to downsizing:
- Convert some space as a separate living unit and rent it out. Get started with real estate!
- Convert some space to use as a side business - save on external lease, potentially save on taxes.
- Rent out your whole house and move to a smaller house to test it out or temporarily until you get a handle on your finances and you can afford it. I'm a fan of real estate so this could be your first step.
Mobile plan and InternetFind out what your cheapest option is for both. There are plans out there that work well together - for example, you don't need unlimited bandwidth on both mobile and home internet. If you get a cheaper plan for data, use home wifi to avoid cell data. Alternatively, if you have unlimited cell data, get a cheaper home internet plan and use the cell data. Get the minimum you actually need for both and shop around. These plans are easy to switch so don't be lazy.
GasNot much you can do here except: Don't drive that much. This saves time more than the gas money so I call it out anyway because time is important. See Grocery System. Do carpool your kids activities with other parents. Do not drive your kids to school, put them on the bus. Plan your trips efficiently. Drive jointly if possible instead of taking two cars to the same location just because of some side trip someone has to make. Find out where the cheapest gas station is that is close to something you attend regularly and make a point to fill up there if you happen to be there. Don't waste time making special trips to that gas station unless it's really close.
Household helpIf you are using various services to help around the house, make the determination whether this is something you want to keep doing. If your wife is a SAHM, do not spend on cleaning service. If she insists, put it in her discretionary budget and tell her. Enlist your kids in household chores - teenage kids can handle most of it. Pay them for it and let them take over individual jobs. My son does 100% of the dishes now. I pay him which goes against his budget (he doesn't need to know) and it's money I would have likely spent on him anyway.
Alarm monitoring, pest controlI cancelled all of these. YMMV. Maybe get a gun and some insect spray.
Kids itemsStop buying your kids a bunch of stuff they don't need. Encourage them to work around the house and if they are old enough, get a job outside the house. If they are old enough for a phone, get a cheaper option - older models have significant discounts. They can earn their own money if they want something better.
Kids clothesFor smaller kids, find parents with older kids and see if you can score some hand me downs. For older kids, reduce the spend and if they are old enough, give them a budget to decide what they buy.
Kids jobsIf they are old enough, make them get a job outside the house - babysitting, pet sitting, mowing, yard work, regular jobs. This takes some time so help them. Teach them some marketable skills and help them with advertising it. Encourage them to walk around the neighborhood (if safe) to offer their services because it is much more likely they will actually get a job. Go with them if needed but let them walk up to the door by themselves to make their pitch.
GiftsWe stopped buying numerous gifts because everybody is now on board with the long term plan. Gifts for kids go against their budget. Gifts for your wife go against yours, your wife buying you gifts goes against hers. Since the budget is tight, this will force some decisions. Each gift now matters. Flex that Benevolent Beta Bux (BBB) and if she's cooperating, and you are doing better than her, occasionally buy her stuff she sacrificed. This shows that you appreciate her contributions and that you know what she likes.
EnforcementAfter a few months, hopefully you've become a better leader overall, and you have demonstrated value by saving money, and leading your family towards a more prosperous future. This is the time to seriously enforce the budget so you can make additional cuts towards saving.
If your wife is trying and cooperating, you just need to be more attentive to her spending and vocal when she's approaching her limit. Do enforce it verbally and be calm about it. Offer suggestions and reward her with more responsibility if warranted. Start sharing your vision with her more so that she sees the benefits.
If she is not cooperating, you will need to take drastic steps. Consider taking one more benevolent appeal if you have been improving in other areas so that she's starting to follow your leadership in other areas. But it's possible you will have to force the issue - see MRP posts about taking over the treasury. Time this right and have all your tools ready before you do this because you don't need to argue if you can't enforce.