We have been giving a lot of thought to the name of our brand and why we so thoughtfully chose it years ago. We have spent countless hours of time pondering how to explain to anyone who asked simply, and with purpose, what ‘frugal forward’ means and why the heck people would care. How is this blog and our advice fulfilling a need not being met in the world today? Personal Financial advice is everywhere. You have everything from very big public figures selling out auditorium crowds to give advice and sell their products to small bloggers who are quickly rocketing to success in the domain. Very Famous, Public Personalities like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey cover it all right? Or, what about the advice bloggers like Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents, Bobby at Millennial Money Man or Rosemarie over at The Busy Budgeter? They, too, have the whole topic covered right? Or you name it, someone has their own brand of personal finance advice to share. We strongly felt like the answer was no- it was’t saturated at all. There is still a need. And we wanted to help bridge that gap.
Two main reasons stand out:
1- 30-something Families need our own brand of personal financial guidance.
We are in our early- OK mid- thirties. We are one millennial-ish momma and One Gen X-er Daddy. (though I hear lately we both may be “Xenialls”- the sandwich generation) We both work full time and have no intentions of quitting our day jobs any time soon. The advice and ideas we have seen and heard in the main stream media seem to give advice in a way that sometimes makes us feel overwhelmed. We find it hard to feel inspired, or motivated as two working parents running hard and fast every day raising two little ones. We listen to Dave Ramsey at least 3 times a week (minus Holiday season when it’s 24/7 Christmas music.) We are constantly yelling at him on the car radio (like he can hear us) when he calculates how fast two working parents with 2 or more kids can pay down debt. Dave’s mind math on two salaries always leaves out the enormous burden of childcare these days. No, this family of four you just talked to Mister with two working parents making $70k combined can’t ‘just’ pay down $100k over three years if they stop eating out and get on a realistic sensible budget. Daycare costs our family about $20,000 a year alone right now for two kids man. Your math truly is impossible and it’s not because we don’t believe in most of Dave’s brand of advice. (though we have some KEY disagreements) We can totally picture his face getting a little red as we say that. Yikes. Scary. We also have also noticed tons of bloggers on the true personal finance side don’t have any kids at all at home. Rosemarie is the only blogger mentioned above who knows the chaos, expense, and hectic lifestyle is truly like working to raise little ones. But, many of the folks giving personal financial advice, give great advice, truly. Most of their blogs have inspired us to start our own. But, many of them do not have young kids at home and are continuing to work full time. Many other so called “mommy” bloggers cover coupons and budgeting but Google “personal financial advice for young families” and see what comes up. The personal financial space- contrary to what people will tell you or might think- is not completely full and we fully believe in our brand of advice because it has worked so well for us for the last 16 years. We have really been paying attention together. We have made it work financially and relationship wise with kids, before kids, and (gasp) living together before we got married, and married now almost 12 years. The ‘personal’ part and ‘relationship’ part will get covered too because, also a Dave-ism- personal finance is 90% behavior and relationships matter because they can help or hinder your behavior.
Honestly, it feels impossible to even fathom the amount of money it costs to be parents of young kids in 2018. Last year, the department of Agriculture (who knew they did this?) totaled the cost to raise a child raised who was born in 2015.
Check it out here:
Spoiler Alter- The number is $233,610 to age 17 and that doesn’t count college funding. Multiply it by our modest sized # of kids right now at home- x2- and we are at half a million dollars not counting college. When that much of your expendable cash is going to pay for needed items (even with the killer diaper deals), and you work, and you are trying to build a life, pay down a mortgage, save for retirement, and in some cases (we are done luckily) pay down debt- never seeing the inside of a restaurant or never going on another vacation sounds like absolute horrific torture to me. Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans can only cut it for so long. What do you do daily in the years you are in Dave’s so called ‘Baby Step’ 6? Bringing me to point # 2
2. Moderation. – Personal Financial advice seems right now like it’s all about coupon crazy, gazelle intensity, paying off your debt to quit your job or live in an RV full time, or getting rid of every single thing in your home and minimizing to pauper status. To us, and a lot of people out there we have talked to over the years, it all sounds intense and extreme and honestly intimidating. Our intention, our thoughts as a family, and our way of living our life- it’s who we are- not what we do- reads more like “powerful thoughts” vs “streams in the desert.” We aren’t pushing a boulder up a hill, we are riding our bike on a perfect country road as the wind blows in our hair and we smile. That’s why my current profile picture on a Personal Finance Blog reads “Happiness is not a Destination. It’s a way of Life.” This worldly time is too short and these little ones grow up too fast to not take the Disney cruise and only pay a little more or a little faster on the mortgage. While we are both competitive by nature, we are also OK being just ‘above average’ on mortgage pay-down schedule but in the tops on numbers of cruises our 6 and 3 year old kids have taken. For the record, it’s 5 and 2 respectively! They have no idea how blessed they are but one day we will be sure they get it!
In the end, if you stick with us, our personal financial advice, stores, shares, and ideas are;
Not about being coupon nutso,
Though we can make a mean deal in coupons let us tell you.
Not about deciding to be gazelle intense every single day on your budget,
Though we could go toe to toe with any Dave ‘Nerd’ with our budget and net worth spreadsheet.
Not about paying off your debt to quit your job or live in an RV full time,
Though we have paid off or sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt in the last ten years alone and got a killer deal on our used- new to us – RV we have been using quite a bit lately with the two kids and we love it.
Not about getting rid of everything in your home that doesn’t bring you joy – Sorry Marie Kondo,
Though Christmas is two big gifts for each kids and we never do much in the way of gifts for each other because “stuff” really doesn’t bring us a whole heart full of joy- we really prefer experiences.
Finally, we will always be Real. Our stories and advice will always be authentic.
And, we promise to not become to extreme in the process. We will share ways to be “frugal’ not cheap and still live an immensely fulfilled and joyful life. We aren’t paupers, we make a good living with our full time gigs. Yet, purposely, and intentionally we pay substantially less for our ‘things’ and our experiences. And most times those ‘things’ or ‘experiences’ are way nicer than we could just go out and buy off on a shelf for full price or rack rate. More times than not people are flabbergasted at how we do it and have asked may times for us to share our story.
What sums up our brand, our content, our ideas for FRUGAL-FORWARD is this:
We move “forward” in a way that’s more frugal than most and people notice.
We Dream Big. We Budget Often. We Smile Daily.
Two Cent Tip:
Don’t be discouraged by an idea or the time it takes. It took me over two years to really mind map my full idea for this brand. You might just find out that idea will soar. We are still in TBD stage and that’s OK. If you hold back, you will only hurt yourself in the end. Success starts step by step, and sometimes very slowly. Be the tortoise and ignore the ridiculous hare. He’s lame.