In pursuit of financial independence and personal fulfillment

10 punk rock songs for the frugal badass

Kanye West and Jay-Z can sing about living the expensive life, and 50 Cent can be broke as hell and still pretend to be rich. But punk rockers don’t play that game. They get by on minimalism, DIY and not caring what other people think. Here are 10 punk songs to help you get your frugal on.

Green Day – Welcome to Paradise

Pay attention to the cracked streets
And the broken homes
Some call it slums
Some call it nice
I want to take you through
A wasteland I like to call my home
Welcome to paradise

(Full lyrics)

Clearly, Billy Joe Armstrong found himself a diamond-in-the-rough property and is well on his way to forcing some appreciation. If some call it the slums and some call it nice, that’s the time to get in the market. Turn that sucker around as a rental property in a couple years and reap the rewards.

The Suicide Machines – Vans Song

You think Doc Martens are the coolest invention
Since someone sliced a loaf of bread in someone else’s kitchen
The plain truth is that you just plain suck
So why should I tell you not to waste a hundred bucks

(Full lyrics)

Detroit ska punk legends The Suicide Machines ain’t got no love for high-priced footwear. All you need is “a crummy old pair of chuka boots and a smelly old pair of socks.” Get some Vans on your feet, son.

Social Distortion – Story of My Life

I went downtown to look for a job
I had no training, no experience to speak of.
I looked at the holes in my jeans
And turned and headed back.

(Full lyrics)

Listen, Mike Ness isn’t buying high-priced, pre-ripped jeans. Those holes got there through a lot of experience. And they were probably thrift store jeans to begin with, so that’s like a two-fer.

NOFX – Shower Days

It doesn’t make a difference to me
Everyday I do the same old thing
So why should I have to be clean?
Those dreaded Wednesdays and Saturdays
Also known as shower days
I hate them

(Full lyrics)

I’m sure it pains Fat Mike to use the Earth’s precious natural resources for something as trivial as personal hygiene. And while he’s taking a stand against wasted resources, he’s saving a few bucks. The man’s a Californian, after all.


Bowling for Soup – Girl all the bad guys want

Now I am watchin’ wrestling
Tryin’ to be a tough guy
Listenin’ to rap metal
Turntables in my eyes
I can’t grow a mustache
And I ain’t got no season pass
All I got’s a moped, moped, moped

(Full lyrics)

Sure, he really, really, really wants to be with the girl. But he’s not going to go in debt buying a Trans-Am and a racetrack season pass. Are you kidding?! Brother’s riding a moped. They get better gas mileage and the insurance is way cheaper.

Misfits – This Magic Moment (cover)

Sweeter than wine
Softer than the summer night
Everything I want I have
Whenever I hold you tight

(Full lyrics)

When you’re with the one you love, what else could you possibly need? Aside from a 55-gallon drum of hair gel.

Millencolin – Material Boy

I bought an iMac and mouse, a phone to go with my new spirit
Next step might be a house, six bedrooms and a pool just for me
I will live like a Tsar, the beggars chant won’t hear it
I’ll have a boat, new TV and car
And in my mouth a fat Cuban cigar

(Full lyrics)

You’ve heard the tales of lifestyle inflation before. Millencolin cranks it into overdrive to point out the absurdity. But it’s not good, people, it’s not good at all.

Pennywise – Same Old Story

I’m not cut from the same mold,
I don’t read from the same old story
I’m not cut from the same mold,
Done with yours,
I’m living my life for me

(Full lyrics)

People on the financial independence path don’t follow the same old story the rest of society does. They find what makes them happy and decide “I’m living my life for me.”

MXPX – Your Problem, My Emergency

Get a clue, I’m not here for you
And I’m not like you

I’m not gonna do what you say is right
‘Cause then I’ll end up just like you
I’m gonna rebel, I’m gonna fight
This organized manipulation

(Full lyrics)

There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses and live the consumerist, mass media lifestyle. Just do your thing, man. You do you.

NoFX – Linoleum

Possessions never meant anything to me
I’m not crazy
Well that’s not true, I’ve got a bed, and a guitar
And a dog named Bob who pisses on my floor
That’s right, I’ve got a floor
So what, so what, so what?
I’ve got pockets full of kleenex and lint and holes
Where everything important to me
Just seems to fall right down my leg
And on to the floor
My closest friend linoleum
Supports my head, gives me something to believe
That’s me on the beachside combing the sand
Metal meter in my hand
Sporting a pocket full of change
That’s me on the street with a violin under my chin
Playing with a grin, singing gibberish
That’s me on the back of the bus
That’s me in the cell
That’s me inside your head

(Full lyrics)

I mean c’mon, you’ve got anti-consumerism, minimalism, thrift, a lucrative hobby and a side hustle all packed into like two minutes. Plus he rides public transportation!

OK, punk fans, what other songs belong on this list? List them in the comments and tell me why they’re applicable!


  1. Retire Before Dad

    I’m a sucker for music and money posts! The first that comes to my mind is 21st Century (Digital Boy) by Bad Religion. It’s got an anti-consumerism message. “See I’m a 21st century digital boy, I don’t know how to read but I’ve got a lot of toys”. I’m sure BR has more that would fit in the list.

    I was a big Social D and Greenday fan back in the days. Saw Greenday live in 1994 at a 400-person venue, not to date myself too much. Kerplunk and 1039/ smoothed out… are both great albums, pre-Dookie.

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Ooh, that’s a good addition! Christie Road and Who Wrote Holden Caulfield are two of my favorite Green Day songs. Kerplunk is definitely a classic.

      I looked through a bunch of old school punk trying to find something I could make work in this post, but so much of it is more political than I felt like I could shoehorn into a “fun” finance post 🙂

  2. CashflowKat

    Daaaaang, you do some funny and creative stuff. What the heck is your day job while you’re dreaming of FIRE? You just made me look at your “My Story” tab and then I’m all like…Utah?? Anyway, great stuff, thanks!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Thanks 🙂 My day job is pretty dull cubicle work. It’s nice to break out my goofy humor and Photoshop chops every now and again. All serious contemplation and budgeting tricks makes Jack a dull boy.

  3. Jax

    Ahhhh, I love this so much.

    My contribution would be Conviction Notice by Less Than Jake (though they have plenty of other applicable songs)

    Fingers bent your fist starts to clench,
    As the pen signs the check today for the rent.
    Dollars and cents, are not making sense.
    We can tell em’ all to go to hell. (tell them all go to hell)
    Give em’ our conviction notice.
    Welcome to a place where rent meets debt,
    It feels like a price on your head.
    Money can’t buy happiness,
    But it sure can pay the rent.
    We always try to buy a better life,
    I think we may have over spent.
    Mixing pride and dollar signs,
    Is easier said than done.

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Nice! I like that addition a lot. Always knew of LTJ on the periphery. My brother listened to them more.

  4. [HCF]

    I am a little bit ashamed that it is almost midnight and my brain cannot recall all the good ones which could fit into this list, but Tony Sly’s “Discomfort Inn” has the simple best advice for any FIREseeker: “A poor man with a rich man’s habit is a dead man”. Also, the “Why don’t you get a job?” from The Offspring would fit in. Awesome list, it seems we share a lot of favorites ?

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Those are good ones! There are so many bands I wanted to get in the list that I just couldn’t make work.

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