Fruclassity is all about living “Frugally with Class”. Some people succeed wildly via extreme frugality, and that’s great! It’s for those of us who succeed better in a life of balance that Fruclassity was born. Fruclassity means doing your best to be frugal and embrace value-based spending, yet still allowing yourself small extravagances on your way to debt freedom and wealth building. In honor of the balance that Fruclassity embraces, we’ve created for your frugal pleasure The 10 Commandments of Fruclassity. The links on each commandment expand on the individual concept and share stories of how Laurie and Ruth have benefited from the individual commandments. Enjoy!
The 10 Commandments of Fruclassity
- Wake up and be honest with yourself about where you are financially. Don’t try to hide from it. Don’t pretend it’s not there. Recognize your financial state for what it is.
- Take responsibility for your personal finances. Acknowledge the influences outside of your control that are impacting your money, but don’t focus on these things. Direct your focus upon the areas where you DO have power to improve your situation. Take ownership of the mistakes you’ve made and the bad patterns of financial behavior that you’ve adopted. It can be tough to be honest with yourself, but your honesty is what will allow you to change your situation.
- Don’t compare yourself to others or worry about what they think. People have different levels of income and different sets 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’re buying. As you change your spending habits, others might give negative feedback. Let them. If packing a lunch for work brings on ridicule or a change your gift-giving practices is met with hurt feelings in your family, don’t capitulate!. Offer your explanations respectfully. Don’t engage in arguments of justification. Stand strong!
- 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 values. Make a budget so that you know where every dollar is going. Track your spending to keep yourself accountable and so that you know how to tweak your budget.
- If you are married, approach your finances as a team of two equal partners. One person might have more money savvy, but to have success in your financial practices and goals, both of you have to be committed to them. 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.
- 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 have an impact – subconscious as well as conscious. Be aware of these pressures, and when you find yourself longing to indulge in spending you haven’t thought through, say, “Not now” instead of a dubious “No”. The urge to splurge will pass.
- 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.
- Embrace the positive side-effects of simplicity and minimalism that come with frugality. When you start out trying to improve your financial situation, there will have to be a lot of fierce intention. This frugal-intensity is necessary to break old habits. But once you’re rolling along, you’ll notice that something fills the void left by an elimination of wasteful living and spending. Your frugal-intensity will make way for the frugal-lite side of your new habits. Less clutter. More time at home with friends and family. Simple, wholesome food. Board games. Long walks. Embrace it!
- 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 to give in to it. Guide them in developing the habits of saving, giving, and value-based spending. 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 your old age.
- Be humble enough to keep on learning. Read books on personal finances. Follow bloggers who write about debt reduction and financial freedom. Talk to people who have managed 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.