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Fruclassity: Frugality for the Not-So-Badass

Submitted by on November 1, 2014 – 7:33 am 57 Comments

Fruclassity - White Background - Darker Version (2)It’s the unveiling of “Fruclassity”, my friends!!!!  For those of you who read this little gem over at Prudence Debtfree’s blog, you know that Prudence and I have been working on this “Fruclassity” concept for several weeks now.  Well, today, the unveiling is here. 

The whole concept of Fruclassity came about when Prudence did some soul-searching to work to discover whether Mr. Money Mustache’s “Baddassity” culture would work for her.   Mr. Money Mustache, or MMM as he is called by friends and foes everywhere, is indeed a badass of personal finance.  MMM is one of the most amazing, motivating PF bloggers I’ve ever seen, and he is successful beyond success in terms of his own personal finance goals.  MMM’s post teach, motivate and encourage me often.  When we first started our getting out of debt journey, I perused the Web daily for inspiration and knowledge.  One of the first posts I came across was MMM’s Newsflash: Your Debt is an Emergency.  This highly motivating post talks about the Badassity concept of putting all unnecessary purchases on the wayside and getting out of debt ASAP.  Psyched to have found this concept, I wrote about it here, and about how it would now be our new plan for our road to debt free.  “Whoa, Nellie” a couple of commenters wrote, “be careful not to get too frugal and burn yourself out.”

Poo-pooing their advice and their “slacker attitudes” :-), we went ahead full speed with the badassity concept – and crashed and burned from debt fatigue not a month later.

We learned a tough lesson that day: a lesson that not all people are cut out for extreme early retirement methods, and that we were “them” that weren’t.  Call it laziness, self-centeredness if you want.  I call it being different.  We are all created with different psyches and grew up with different issues.  We may have fragile egos here at the Frugal Farmer house and we may not be able to handle badassity, but we are still highly committed to our goal of debt freedom.  Now: this is NOT an excuse for not paying off debt or being honest with yourself about what you’re spending – I’m a full-on proponent of getting your crap together financially and facing yourself in the mirror, not making excuses for spending what doesn’t need to be spent or whatever.  But the fact of the matter is that extreme debt reduction just doesn’t work for everyone.

Enter…….Fruclassity.  Now, lucky for you, I’ve teamed up with the much more tactful Prudence from over at Prudence Debtfree to shape and form this concept.  The original list of commandments I sent Prudence was much more…..ummm, blunt, than the list you see below.  Thanks to Prudence’s tactful and kind heart, the 10 Commandments of Fruclassity have been edited to be more encouraging and less drill-sargentish. 🙂

The 10 Commandments of Fruclassity

1.  Wake up and be honest with yourself about your money situation.  Don’t try to hide from it.  Don’t pretend it’s not there.  Recognize your financial state for what it is.

2.  Take responsibility for your personal finances.  Acknowledge the influences outside of your control that are influencing your money, but don’t focus on these things. Direct your focus on the power you DO have to improve your situation.  Before you complain about not having enough money, ask yourself if there are non-essentials on your spending sheet that you insist you can’t drop. It’s tough to be honest with yourself, but in the long run, your honesty is what will allow you to change your situation. Don’t make excuses for poor financial management. Instead, put your mind and energy on changes you CAN make in your patterns of money management.

3.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  People have different levels of income, and every household has a different set of expenses.  Renounce the idea of keeping up with the Joneses in any way. You don’t know their situation, or if they can even afford what they are buying.

4. Don’t worry about what others think.  As you change your spending habits, you might get negative feedback. Colleagues might ridicule you for packing a lunch instead of dining out like you always have. Family members might express hurt when you change your gift-giving practices. Neighbors might judge you for keeping that old van. Offer your explanations respectfully.  Don’t engage in justifications.  Stand strong!

5. Prepare a budget for value-based spending. As you manage your money toward debt freedom and/or financial freedom, spend wisely, and always track your spending. Differentiate between true needs, and true wants.  Which wants can you eliminate? How can you save on some of your needs?  What does value-based spending look like for YOU?  Remember: nobody else needs to approve of your spending values. Make a budget and track all spending so that you know where EVERY dollar is going.  Tracking your spending will keep you accountable and help you know where to tweak your budget.

6. If you are married, approach your finances as a team of two equal partners.  One person might have more money management savvy, but to have success in your financial practicies and goals, both of you have to be committed to them and to approve the amounts you’re spending in each area. The number one reason for divorce these days is conflict over finances, so take this one seriously. Find that balance between flexibility and structure – between tenacity and accommodation.   Maintain high levels of detailed communication.  Get on the same page financially and write your story together.

7. Be wary of the pressures of our consumer society.  Do you think you are immune to the tactics used in ads to get you to spend? “You deserve it!”  “You only live once!”  “A bargain you can’t miss!”.   We are each subjected to thousands of ad messages per day. We’re not even aware of most of them, but they do have an impact – subconscious as well as conscious.  Be aware of these pressures and, at the very least, say “not now”. The urge to splurge will pass.

8. Develop gratitude for what you already have.  Marketing machines aim to make us dissatisfied and to long for something we don’t have.  Consumer spending can be like a drug addiction. Recognize that you don’t need that next “hit” any more than you needed the last one.  Take on an attitude of gratitude for what you have now. If you’re satisfied with what you already have, you’ll be less susceptible to longing, and you won’t spend in your search for that mythical “something” that keeps eluding you.

9.  If you have children, give them the gift of wisdom in financial management. Their friends might have more expensive toys and go on “better” family vacations, but you can teach your children from an early age what it is to withstand peer pressure and not give in to it. Guide them in developing the habit of saving, spending and value-based giving. Avoid the pressure of spending to “show your love” and the trap of indebtedness that leaves your children with the burden of supporting you in old age.

10. Be humble enough to keep on learning. Read books on personal finance.  Follow bloggers who write about debt and personal finance. Talk to people who have and continue to manage their money well. You don’t have to have it all figured out to get started in the right direction, but your path will be richer if you keep learning along the way.

Prudence and I haven’t yet decided on when and how we’ll each talk about Fruclassity, but you’ll see ramblings and teachings about it in our blog posts from time to time, and our hope and prayer is that it encourages you to go for your financial dreams of debt freedom and financial security in a way that breeds success.

So, what do you think about the Fruclassity concept?  Are you a student of Fruclassity, or of  Badassity?


  • I love this and shared it with my Health and Wealth challenge Facebook group. I love the commandments! I’m with you regarding MMM’s ways of doing things. I think it would be too hard for me too. Glad it works for him though!

    • Laurie says:

      Yay!!! Glad you liked it. Hoping it motivates people without enabling them to make excuses for taking a slower route to financial freedom.

  • I didn’t know about your “crashed and burned from debt fatigue” experience. So glad you didn’t give up altogether! There are a lot of tough balancing acts involved in paying off debt / getting into better financial shape. Fruclassity accommodates that need for balance by striking a balance of its own – between getting real in a tough sense, and being real in terms of recognizing limits. Like you, I still tip my hat to MMM, and I’m still in pursuit of “exercising my frugality muscle.” Thanks for presenting it all so well, Laurie : )

    • Laurie says:

      We’ve crashed and burned a couple of times, mostly after we get too extreme. I love MMM – he is amazing, but I think we’re just a couple, like you said, that needs to strike a balance too. I know it may take longer for us to get to the finish line, but at least we’ll get there. 🙂

  • Nicola says:

    I love this! I’m definitely a student of fruclassity 🙂 I like MMM but find some of his ways a bit extreme.

    • Laurie says:

      I think it’s amazing when people can be as motivated and strong as MMM, I’m just not there. So glad you are joining the Fruclassity team!

  • JD says:

    We did the debt reduction painful and paid off all debt except our mortgage. It hasn’t been easy and not particularly fun but it is nice to have only one debt. We are laser focused on ridding ourselves of our mortgage within 6 years. Both of us are sick and tired of dragging debt down the road of life. I realize our approach is not everyone’s but considering how many years we paid interest on purchases this is a better alternative for us.

    • Laurie says:

      JD, that is AWESOME that you found what works for you and then got it done. I’ve written so many times about how vital it is to find and take one’s own path when it comes to debt reduction. I hope you’ll report back when you kick that mortgage to the curb – what an awesome thing!

  • A very fancy term but very practical advice. I especially like the one about being grateful for what you have because it is easy to feel let down and negative when you’re trying to tackle the huge debt monster and at moments like those, an attitude centered upon gratitude and really calm you down and get you energized enough to get back on your horse.

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly, Fehmeen!!! Gratitude is a powerful tool when used wisely. I learned my own lesson about that this week, which I may be posting on later.

  • This is fantastic Laurie (and Prudence!). I’ve always felt a bit inadequate when I read MMM, despite finding it all very inspiring. I think fruclassity is more up my alley, although I still come up a little short against these commandments – much work to do!

  • Aisha R. says:

    I could do the MMM way of getting out of debt if I was not married but my husband is the complete opposite so were doing the fruclassity way. It’s not as fast but well get there.

    • Laurie says:

      You bring up a great point, Aisha! What works for one in a couple might not work for another. The important part is that you’re DOING it. Best of luck to you, and keep us updated on your progress, my friend!

  • Kassandra says:

    I can definitely dig the Fruclassity way. I know the approach I took to get rid of debt was more in line with the MMM mode of operation and it did work but it was very hard. I prefer nowadays to be a little kinder to myself lol 🙂 Great initiative Laurie & Prudence and I’m looking forward to reading more about the topic!

  • Awesome! I am not a badass. I put 30% towards debt and 14% towards retirement, but that barely scratches the surface of “true badassicity”. I am okay with that though, because I tried the supreme austerity and I too burnt out. It’s okay to know ourselves and do what we can, rather than comparing to someone else in an entirely different situation 🙂

  • Myles Money says:

    #3 is my favourite: to hell with the Joneses! If you only want something because someone else has it, you need a serious priority re-think.

    Great initiative, Laurie. Very fruclassy!

  • You’re right that not everyone is ready for MMM’s flying, face-punching, fists of frugal fury…but it might be just the motivation some people need to actually get started (often the hardest part). Then folk like you and Prudence come along to exhort them to stick with it all the way (the other hardest part) with more tact and grace. I like that everyone’s striving for the same goal, but offers different approaches to accomplishing it.

    • Laurie says:

      Me too, Al. I love MMM’s kick in the butt motivation, but long term, it just might not work for everyone. That’s why I fell in love with Fruclassity so much. 🙂

  • I love the idea about Fruclassity! Very unique! The number one commandment is the most essential in the list. Acceptance is the key throughout the journey. When you accept your situation wholeheartedly, you can see positive change in life.

  • I love your 10 commandments! I’m a fan of fruclassity and so far, #7 is really a tough cookie to handle!

  • Love these commandments – I am definitely Team Fruclassity at the moment. I would love to be a student of badassity eventually, but I’m not quite there yet. I like to ease into things, nice and slow. And if I never make it, that’s fine too.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, slow and steady wins the race for lots of people. I’m always super impressed at those who can rock it at badassity, but I also know that that isn’t us. 🙂

  • Very cool! I read Prudence’s earlier post on fruclassity and I’m excited to read these commandments. I think you’re totally right that everyone needs to strike a balance that works for them. There’s no one right way to manage your money and I think you hit the nail on the head with #1. The first step is definitely knowing where you’re at financially and what you need to do to accomplish your goals.

    I know that I’m on the extreme end of frugality :), which is comfortable and works for me. But I know it’s not for everyone!

    • Laurie says:

      You guys are doing great with your extreme end techniques. This is what is so vital to the Fruclassity concept: that one does what works best for their situation.

  • Hey, I like it. I’m not really cut out for total badassity either. I take a balanced approach to me. Frugality is awesome but I want to live a little too.

  • Commandment number 1 is the most important to me – if you are not being honest with yourself about your money, you’re headed for disaster. “Stand in your truth” as Suze Orman says. And From this, the rest will follow.

  • LOVE this Laurie! I tend to be more of your line of thinking, so this is right up my alley! I especially love #3 and #4 on your list. Each and every person’s situation is going to be unique so comparing yourself to them is going to get you nowhere in the end but being frustrated. As for the Joneses…they can take a flying leap. 😉

  • Number 1 is the one for me. I look at our finances daily, you might think a bit much, but I do. Number 7 for sure. Society can suck you back into your old ways. Finally, number 3!! These is my biggest weakness. I tend to compare to others and that’s when I fail! Learned the hard way and have been working on this.

    Great post, my friend.

    • Laurie says:

      “Society can suck you back into your old ways”. SO true, Brit! Glad you liked the post – we hope it helps lots of people!

  • I like what you’ve put together for the “ten commandments of fruclassity.” I think one thing I don’t think about enough is the pressures of our consumer society. For the most part, I give in. I just assume “if I make more money” everything will be okay. But I need to realize that cutting back expenses can be valuable as well.

    • Laurie says:

      Great point, DC! Our consumer society and the media ads are terrible in terms of convincing people that they “need” to have this, or that, to be successful. I just read a great quote the other day that reminded me of this. It said “Success is doing what God has called you to do”.

  • I love fruclassity!!! I was never on board with badassity and I am not sure why but I guess I was one of those people who was offended by the MMM messages. Fruclassity sounds much more of my pace especially the concept of being kind to yourself, focusing on values, and humility.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Shannon!! I think the take away is that everyone has a different way that works for them. Neither Fruclassity or Badassity will work for every person, but if, together, we can each reach somebody, the chances of helping everyone manage their money better are huge!

  • I’m a big fan of MMM and his badassity. I take a lot from his blog and it really motivates me, but you’re right that some of things he recommends may not work for everyone. I absolutely love fruclassity…how creative and I think the “10 commandments” are awesome. Definitely something worth following.

    • Laurie says:

      I love MMM too. His extreme techniques really get people thinking about how they CAN do better, you know? Glad you like the concept. I have another post on it coming out tomorrow.

  • I don’t think I could do bassasity either… Fruclassity sounds more up my alley for sure!

  • Always a fan of lists. I have a few hanging around my workstation as daily reminders. printing this one to hand as well. I’d like to think I’m a bad-ass, but the balanced approach works best for our family.

  • I think you and I have very similar mindsets. I am new to the site, but I’ll let you know that this article really hits home hard.

    I want to have a smaller house and a little bit of land and start a hobby farm to reduce personal expenses, but there is a real social stigma in doing just that.

    I feel obligated to look at larger, more expensive houses even though I am constantly drawn towards the cheaper alternatives that are less accepted.

    Glad to find your site, bookmarked.

  • Amy says:

    I’m definitely a fruclassity kind of gal. I need the balance to stay motivated. I’ve made great progress on the commandments over the last six months, with the exception of number 6. My husband doesn’t really want to be involved in tracking and paying, but I need him to be. I will force a sit-down on this topic by the end of the year.

    • Laurie says:

      You go, girl. And I get it. Rick has no interest in being involved in this stuff too, so I keep him up to date on what we’re spending/where savings and debt is at, etc., and take care of the rest myself.

  • I love this, Laurie! I’m not familiar with MMM, but he sounds too hardcore for me too. Because I can completely relate to trying to do much at once and burning yourself out. #3 is the one I need to watch out for. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but I do it more frequently than I realized. Then I get stuck in a negative head space which does nothing for me. So glad you put this together because whatever we’re working towards, financial freedom, health, etc … we need to own our reality but also figure out what’s the right/best path for us too.

    • Laurie says:

      “we need to own our reality but also figure out what’s the right/best path for us too.” EXACTLY, Tanya!! That is the whole point here, I think. Fruclassity is about being honest with yourself on all fronts in order to reach your goals.

  • Kim says:

    I love reading MMM and I certainly applaud his lifestyle and all he’s been able to accomplish. That being said, I remember a post from a while back where he talked about saving gas by not turning on the air conditioning in the car and using a wet rag on his forehead to combat the heat. Right there, I knew I was not badass at all. I think as long as we are mindful of our spending and are careful with the big purchases, we’ll get there, but it will be in our 50’s because we certainly wasted all the 20’s and a good chunk of the 30’s!

  • I simply adore this, Laurie! I needed this, as I often feel so excluded/out of reach from the early retirement group. I really need to do #3 and #4 on this list. Thanks to you and Prudence for spearheading this! Yeah!

  • Jay says:

    Love it! This is the camp we are in. Although I am very motivated by MMM – that is just one family’s story. WE’d love to be that badass. But with 2 kids, multiple pets, and 2 working parents I think we’re comfortable with being consciously fruclass!

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