Debt-Reduction with “Fruclassity”

Fruclassity - White Background - Darker Version

DH = Dear husband

My reflections upon “badassity”

This past July, I wrote a post about Mr. Money Mustache and his subculture of “badassity”, trying to figure out if it was for me. If you’re not familiar with the use of the term in this context, “badassity” refers to extreme frugality motivated by a stick-it-to-the-man resolve to disengage from the norms of consumerism and waste. It features the maintenance of an intentionally humble lifestyle, even with increasing income, and of hand-over-fist investing. It results in remarkably early financial freedom (age 30 for MMM and his wife) and all the power to develop talents, pursue passions, work for causes, and enjoy leisure that comes with it. In my post I concluded that, much as I respect MMM and admire the tenets of badassity, I choose to adopt a modified version of it.

Laurie from The Frugal Farmer

“Ok, LOVE this!!!!!!” commented Laurie from The Frugal Farmer, “We live the same way, and I think we should figure out our own name for it.”

“How about Fruclassity,” I suggested, ” for frugal yet classy?”

Over a month later, I was surprised to find an e-mail message from Laurie.  “I’ve been thinking seriously about the term you coined: fruclassity … How would you like to work together and take that term and run with it?” she asked. Wow! Just like that, I was teamed up with an award-winning blogger with an extensive reach, who inspires so many people with her stories of striving against financial hardship, her transparency about her own vulnerabilities, and her radical vision of homesteading and financial self-sufficiency. She’s a combination of friendly, tough, warm, fiercely honest, encouraging, and funny. And I know I’m very fortunate.

“The 10 Commandments of Fruclassity”: #4

Together, we started by working on “The 10 Commandments of Fruclassity” to give definition to this concept. Laurie will share the whole list in a post at The Frugal Farmer at the beginning of November, but I’ll give a sneak peak of #4 today: “Prepare a budget for value-based spending. As you manage your money towards debt-freedom and/or financial freedom, spend wisely. Differentiate between “wants” and “needs”. 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 …”

Value-based spending & our anniversary

DH and I celebrated our anniversary last week-end. As the time approached, we wondered what we would do. Would we stay home for the week-end, as we had the last two years? Ask our daughters to make arrangements to stay overnight at their friends’ places, and treat ourselves to restaurant meals for supper and brunch? Or would we go away to the resort where we’d spent the two anniversaries before our journey out of debt began? Complete with massages, hot tub, pool, tennis courts, supper, and breakfast? DH was leaning towards the resort idea. “We didn’t really have a vacation this summer,” he said. “We need to get away.” I was reluctant. I liked the idea of a get-away, but that resort stay would cost about $800.

Spending money to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays is not a need. “We celebrate our relationship every day,” say some people who choose not to spend in marking their anniversaries. That might be true for them, but it’s not true for us. Most days, the demands of work, family, and household make it difficult for us to spend much time together. We don’t “celebrate our relationship every day.” So we make an effort to do so on our anniversary. And we spend money on it. For us, it’s value-based spending.

After weeks of a cold, rainy September, the forecast was suddenly very encouraging. Several days in a row of sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures. “We should go camping,” DH said. Great idea! A get-away, but at about 5% the cost of the resort. We had only rarely camped in September – and never at the end of the month. We fancied ourselves rather badass. There was plenty of toughing it out – hoisting the canoe off the van and carrying it down to the water; setting up the tent; cooking over a Coleman stove; preparing a fire for the cool of the evening. And there was a lot of wholesome going on – we star-gazed on the beach at night; tossed a frisbee in the sunshine; swam in cold water; and paddled in the stunning light of a late September afternoon, taking in the surreal beauty of  early-autumn leaves reflected perfectly in the glass-calm lake.

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DH paddles while I read

Putting the “class” in fruclassity

If you’re an outdoorsy type, you know that food tastes SO good when you’re camping. Hot dogs and canned beans are mouth-watering. A fried egg is exquisite. Now just imagine how filet mignon and fresh salmon taste. DH and I did not skimp on our food for the week-end. We went all out. We prepared our respective filets with mushrooms and onions sautéed in butter. We packed a baguette, Parisian potatoes, ready-made salad. We brought along wine glasses for a toast of sparkling wine. For breakfast, the apple crêpes you see in the photo below. It was LOVELY!

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Apple crêpes, complete with raspberries, ham, and maple syrup. Our anniversary camping week-end: Fruclassity in action.

“Well, that’s how you got into debt in the first place!’ you might say. No, it’s not. This was thought-out and planned, with eyes wide-open. Paid for with money we had in hand. And with no restaurant dining – just great food bought at a store – it even turned out to be less expensive than our at-home anniversary last year. This was value-based spending. It was the “class” in fruclassity. And it was worth it.

How do you navigate frugality and value-based spending? What does value-based spending  look like for you?


Comments are welcome!


 

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Sounds like a lovely time and happy anniversary! I commented to Laurie that I’ll be right there with you in this “fruclassity” (man spellcheck really hates me typing that) experiment. For me that value based spending has a lot to do with buying quality food. Although my issue is more revolved around income and not debt, I still in invest more in my health than anything else. I try to be frugal with that when I can (like bartering a gym membership), but I will spend more on other things to stay healthy.

    • I’d say you have your values lined up well. Investing in our health is something more of us need to do. Your recent video production gives me some concerns about not-so-healthy choices though : ) I’m glad that you’re interested in the whole “fruclassity” thing. Thanks, Tonya!

  • Your camping trip sounds like so much fun! I’m intrigued by “fruclassity” and looking forward to reading more about it. Mr. FW and I are definitely all about value-based spending–we’re very conscious of every dollar we spend and we make sure it’s always for things we truly need or want. I think you’re right that bringing that presence of mind to spending is absolutely vital. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. Frugalwoods. You and your husband attain a very high level of frugality, so I’m not surprised by the fact that you’re very conscious of every dollar you spend. Presence of mind is something I’ve had to work on as I’m very comfortable in La-La-Land – but I’m getting there!

  • Just found your blog c/o Laurie. I really like your concept. While I think that MMM is “da man” – I also think *some* of his teachings are a little tough for some people to swallow. Therefore I think you might get lots of attention from people who want financial freedom but aren’t willing to/can’t fully commit to a MMM lifestyle (even for a few years).

    Best of luck :-)

    • Thank you for commenting, Richard. Like you, I have a huge respect for MMM. I appreciate being challenged by a standard that is beyond me, and he certainly sets it. While I have been happy to notice an increase in my frugality tolerance level, I’ve also experienced frustration and doubt in knowing where to draw the line. This “fruclassity” concept helps me to sort it all out. I appreciate your encouragement : )

  • I’d never heard of badassity,, and now here comes fruclassity! I guess I’ll have to learn about badassity so that I can compare the two. Having said that, I’m sure I’m way too wimpy for anything that sounds so intense. So far, I do love the fruclassity concept! :)

    • I think it’s a good idea for anyone who is trying to live more frugally to visit Mr. Money Mustache’s blog to get a sense of his subculture of “badassity”. I recommend reading the early posts and then jumping around to other posts of interest. I wouldn’t call you “wimpy” just because your tolerance for frugality has limits. It’s a question of being mindful of where those limits are, and of having an understanding that they move over time. I’m glad you love the fruclassity concept : ) Thanks for stopping by, Kay!

    • I’m the one who is lucky to be working with you, Laurie! Every journey to debt-freedom looks different, but there is always a tension between going to the next level of frugality and avoiding burn-out. Hopefully, the concept of fruclassity will help us all to navigate it.

  • I love the concepts of fruclassity, and value-based spending!! Can’t wait to read the commandments!

    I’m not familiar with the badassity approach, but it doesn’t sound like something that would work for my family. We’re working to pay down debt, too, but we’ve found that blending that with “normal” life is important for us.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Amy. I find the bit about blending in with “normal” life is tricky. “Normal” these days is debt-ridden. I have found that in order to reduce our debt, we’ve had to be “abnormal” : )
      The concept of badassity has great value in showing how radically different things can be. It challenges us out of what we consider to be normal – even though it’s too extreme for us at this point. Fruclassity allows us to find a level of frugality that is sustainable for us. Sorry for going on so much!

  • I love the concept! It does remind me a lot of many PF bloggers like yourself. I’m probably more leaning towards the badassity and hubster is the fruclassity but we’re both in the same arena. Your camping trip sounds like it was awesome! We did something similar years ago. It’s so true that food tastes even better when you are camping!! Hope the weather is good next year too. Maybe you will repeat the experience? Happy Anniversary!!

    • DH and I find that our frugality muscles are growing stronger with time, so maybe we’ll move to the badassity camp some day – then again, maybe not : ) We actually did say that if we had the choice between the resort and the camping week-end we had, we’d camp. Very weather dependent though. Thanks for stopping by, Debs!

  • I like the sound of fruclassity! I have read MMM’s blog, and like everyone else, I admire everything he does, as well as the mindset behind it. I don’t think we’ll get there, though, mostly because my boyfriend would rather take the fruclassity route. Nothing wrong with that, though, and I love the fifth commandment! Value-based spending is something I try to practice with every purchase.

    • MMM has even written about the importance of accommodating the less frugal significant other. He says it’s more important than insisting upon our principles to-the-letter. For such an uber-frugal guy, that’s a surprisingly flexible outlook. I’m glad you’re accepting your boyfriend’s less radical frugality. And here’s the thing: He might change over time. Frugality muscles develop. Either way, it’s great that you’re both starting out on the right foot. Thanks for commenting, Erin!

    • Thanks for taking an interest, May. When you say you’re not “there” yet, remember that nobody else can tell you what value-based spending is. If you are spending according to your values, you’re there : ) If you’re still defining your values as they relate to spending, you’ll be there soon!

    • I don’t know about you, Travis, but I sometimes find that what I initially consider to be “value-based”, upon further reflection, ends up being “false-value-based”. This whole outlook takes brutal honesty – something that isn’t always easy or pleasant. Thank you for commenting so soon after your marathon run!

  • Like you, I find ‘badassity’ a little too extreme. My experience has been that too much of anything – too much sugar, too many carbs, too much time in the gym, too much focus on one thing – is usually not healthy. Most things require some measure of balance.

    • And yet, don’t you find that “balance” is a moving target? Reading MMM certainly moves me along in the direction of frugality – though not to his extreme. Dave Ramsey says that good financial management is simple – it’s just not easy. This whole navigation of becoming more frugal, yet not burning out, and trying to find balance . . . – it’s just not easy. Thanks for your comment, Savvy James. (Love that avatar!)

  • Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you made the right decision for you and your DH. You were still frugal and yet you decided when and why it was worth it to you guys to spend money that you had in hand to celebrate the occasion. Great job!

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