Badassity: Re-Branding Frugality
I’m writing this post because I wanted to use that word. A word, I am not genius enough to take credit for. I should probably be paying the venerable Mr. Money Mustache five cents every time I use it. And I would gladly hand over a fist full of nickels for the pleasure. Badassity. Badassity. Badassity. Not just fun to say, but a call to arms.
Am I really going to dedicate a whole post to another blog? Potentially. But, no. Hang on. It could be worth it.
I’m new to the ways of the Money Mustache. Mustachian. Mustachisms. More fun. But his content is hardly groundbreaking. In fact, some of the articles are a little longish for my ‘bored now’ attention span. What it does do, with its excessive references to facial hair and use of profanity, is make this whole lifestyle, from giving Corporate America the finger to cutting your cash-leaking umbilical cord a kind of celebration. Of a life different. A rebel life.
That gospel is important, ever so, when the world tells you otherwise. Against the pressure to buy more, to eat out, to see this movie or that, to buck up and be a good little consumer, the message of the mustache is comforting. Why yes, I am different! I am smart! Now that you mention it, I am a freaking bad-ass! That’s why I choose to live this way. It’s not actually because I am a miserly, extreme cheap skate, 2-ply unrolling, penny-wise pound foolish, follower of Ebenezer. Even if I can’t grow a handlebar, I can curse with the best of them. And I can save money in a big, big way. Without living a life of deprivation.
Frugality needs a good PR campaign. A makeover. To steer us away from visions of living huddled in cold, lonely houses, eating processed food purchased for pennies on the dollar by extreme couponing, quietly counting our gold and calculating compound interest. To physical fitness, bike riding, world traveling, destiny controlling, risk taking, and more than few f-bombs. Sexy, no? No one is a big fan of the latter. The world has a hard time subscribing, and maybe that’s ok because if everyone were doing it our club of awesome wouldn’t be so exclusive. Still, its hard to maintain your vision, that awesome you know is inherent in the process, that could get you to the life you want, the life you choose, not just the one wiggling at your feet, when you are plagued by societal pressures, imposed visions. Hard to always keep step with that different drummer. Sometimes you just want a little takeout.
Its the big picture vs. the small. And there are many connotations to this. I see a breakdown in the blogosphere. Dividing lines, if you will. For whatever reason, in my mind it often comes down to girls vs. boys.
Girls just wanna have fun. There are a whole bunch of frugality blogs (run by perfectly nice women, I’m sure) that don’t appeal to me. Coupons and big box and disposable consumer goods. Crafts you don’t need. Crap you don’t need. They are still about consumerism. Arguably unhealthy consumerism. As much as I appreciate the occasional good deal on iTunes gift cards to keep me in Season 2 of Game of Thrones, these are not a means to an end. They are about living the same kind of life as your neighbors, with a cheaper price tag. And that’s great. If that’s what you want, go forth. Conquer. Coupon it up. I’ll use some of your tricks when they suit my purposes.
Let’s hear it for the boy. The dudes though, Mustache and his buddies (See Early Retirement Extreme), they actually quit their jobs. They saved 50% of their income once upon a time. Now, they ride their bikes in the winter. They focus on the cost benefits of physical fitness. They start lucrative side gigs on their very own terms (like not taking jobs that are inconvenient to get to). They go on 5 week vacations to tropical islands, minus the resort, the rental car, the trappings of tourism. Yeah, they are a little long winded. The equations get dry. Undeniably though, they are doing it. Leaps and bounds. Screw the baby steps.
I am hardly a misogynist, and I’m just a guilty as the next gal of getting caught up in the fingerling potatoes because the big russets are just too unwieldy. Saving money by buying used maternity jeans? Easy. Diversifying your income streams? Less so. Yet, I am sure there are exceptions to my gross generalization. Women out there embracing the re-brand. Making the giant leaps for all of tightwad kind. Just because its hard, doesn’t mean the girls aren’t doing it. Quite the opposite actually. So where are you? Who am I missing?
Are you a bad ass? Do you know a bad ass? How do you stay focused on the big picture? Without getting caught up in the small? How do you spread the gospel of badassity?