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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.

Not my baby. Not my mustache. Yet, uncannily appropriate, given the circumstances.

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?

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A Gai Shan Life. Leigh PF. Miser-mom. Club Thrifty. The Non-Consumer Advocate. And many more. Feral Homemaking and Femmefrugality have a lot more links on their blogs.

And note: SAHM have *quit* their jobs. They just don’t call it a fancy name like Financial Independence or Early Retirement. It’s branding, not a true gender difference.


Funny. Thats a pretty comprehensive list of the ‘women blogs’ I do read. And a thankya for the additions. Although, I wouldn’t always equate SAHM with FI. Many still have a working spouse, who may still be a slave to the man. They’ve just learned to live on one income. No small feat that, but not exactly the same as living off your investments or only choosing to work.


Until recently, MMM got his health insurance through his wife’s work (and technically, he still works! He’s just a carpenter now instead of a tech person, and yes, doesn’t need the money, but I feel a lot more comfortable doing extreme stuff knowing that more money will be coming in, even if I don’t use it). Retire by 40 also has a working spouse. Man v Debt’s wife is a teacher and taught while they traveled.

Really, the only financially independent blogger (under the age of say, 55) I can think of who didn’t have working spouse and didn’t just have a downshifted job (not counting the blog income) was Early Retirement Extreme, and he went back to work (also, he got married). I guess there’s also that musician who lives in a van; he’s still single without a working spouse.

No, I honestly think it’s a marketing problem. When women do it, they’re SAHW and SAHM. When men do it, they’re Financially Independent. Even when both have working spouses. Hell, my husband will be Financially Independent next year by the definitions or many early retirement bloggers. (As is lifewithpeanut’s spouse, currently.) They say, “My wife still works, but she loves her job and doesn’t want to quit,” and that is true with me as well. But he’s really no more financially independent than any SAHM whose husband has a healthy salary and strong savings.

Also singlemomrichmom (who genuinely is financially independent– does occasional contract work in accounting) and firstgenamerican (who is super frugal though she and her spouse both work).


You don’t seem to undestand the meaning of words ‘financially independent’. The power word being the independent. When one is financially independent, one has enough own savings to last the rest of life. One doesn’t depend on anyone elses salary to live. Where in the common SAHM concept the stay-at-home doesn’t have savings and depends on the spouses salary to live.

And what comes to the MMM and ERE, they don’t work, they get paid to do their hobbies. :)


😉 Keep fighting the good fight.


I guess I’m in the man camp, too, haha. I’m not big on couponing, or buying toilet paper by the ton just to save a couple bucks. I don’t have the storage nor the trunk space for that. And what if halfway through your 250 rolls you decide your tooshie prefers a different brand of toilet paper? Does Goodwill take toilet paper? And really, is it socially conscionable to wipe out a whole store’s stock of mustard because you have a coupon? What about the next guy who also needs mustard? And how do you use so much mustard in the first place? (I have literally seen this in person).

I prefer to focus on lasting solutions that make life easier and cheaper. What, CFL’s last 7x longer than a traditional light bulb AND cost significantly less to run? Count me in. Buy the $100 pan that will last a lifetime over the $20 pan that will be replaced next year? Absolutely. I’m still working on the bigger picture stuff… the investments, retirement portfolios, etc. But we need to get out of debt first. And I’m finding that’s a much longer road than I had anticipated.


Oh Jenny, we are kindred spirits. Big Picture stuff is currently kicking my ass. You mean I have to DO something with my money? Other than just hoard it?


As the saying goes when the student is ready the teacher appears. It doesn’t get any better than Mr Money Mustache (and his wife) providing motivation for those seeking true financial independence! He makes Badassity fun. There are some great women bloggers out there as well with a similar approach that isn’t focused on shopping. Afford Anything is fantastic and written by a woman in her late 20’s who is working towards financial independence and wise beyond her years. Keep up the great writing at Dogs or Dollars!


Just recently discovered Afford Anything and enjoying it much as you said. And yes, lets not forget the value of Mrs MM.

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