Fruclassity: Frugality for the Not-So-Badass
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?