Back to Prudence Debtfree (& Mourning Fruclassity)

I don’t usually write about my blog. I use my blog to write about the journey out of debt that my husband and I have trekked for the last 5 years. But every once in awhile, a shift happens for the blog itself, and I think it’s a good idea to explain it.

When I started writing as Prudence Debtfree in June 2012, I had three motivations:

  1. I love to write.
  2. I believed that writing about our debt-reduction would keep me accountable.
  3. I knew that debt-stress, although not talked about by anyone, was something many people faced, so I believed it was significant to share our experiences in overcoming it.

For the first couple of months, I wrote once per week essentially as a diary. I was completely unaware of the personal finance community. A radio interview with CBC Ottawa Morning in October of 2012 (no longer accessible) meant more readers, the occasional comment, and my growing awareness that there were other people writing about debt and finances in general.

Feeling pressured to monetize the blog

As I started to read and comment on other bloggers’ posts, I learned that some people were actually making money off of their blogs. I remember once reading this about blog-writing, “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not making cents.” I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but a seed was planted, and I allowed myself to feel a pressure to monetize.

As part of an effort to grow (and eventually monetize), in 2014 I started to include guest posts once per week. I learned that I loved to interview people! And I came to realize that everyone has a financial story to tell. The subjects of my guest posts were very often people I happened to know – colleagues from work in particular. A great side-benefit of this effort was that the people in my life started to open up to me more and more about their finances – and they continue to do so. One colleague sent me a message after the New Year saying, “… we paid off $10K of debt this year, so thank you for making that socially acceptable to talk about.” Yes!

Running up against my limited bandwidth

I couldn’t keep up with the twice-weekly posting schedule. I was burning out from it.

I’m no superwoman, and as I pursued the goal to monetize, I ran into three significant roadblocks:

  1. I work as a high school teacher and I have a family. Writing once per week was what I could manage happily. When I tried to do more – more writing, more learning about monetizing – I became stressed out.
  2. My tech-phobia and lack of business sense stressed me out even more.
  3. One of the ways bloggers monetize is through advertising, but since I’m writing about debt-reduction, there’s a conflict. There are very few products that I would feel right about advertising. (The Visa Debit card and books on debt-reduction are two things I would gladly advertise, but I don’t have a big enough audience to do that.)

Fruclassity

In July of 2014, I wrote “MMM’s Subculture of ‘Badassity’: Is It For Me?”. The answer to the question was “No.” Much as I admired extreme frugality advocates, I didn’t want to be one myself.  I loved it when I could pull off a badass move, but “… ultimately,” I wrote, “I have to conclude that I’m a mere visitor in the land of Badassity.”

The post proved to be significant because of a comment left by Laurie of The Frugal Farmer:

“Ok, LOVE this!!!!!! We live the same way, and I think we should figure out our own name for it. 🙂”

To which I responded:

“Thank you, Laurie. OK, so our subculture won’t have a swear word in it. Agreed? How about Fruclassity – for frugal yet classy?”

8 months later, in March of 2015, Fruclassity launched. I can’t adequately convey the “dream-come-true” rush I felt when Laurie and I started that site. It meant SO much to me.

  • First of all, it was an honour for me to partner with someone of Laurie’s stature on this new blog site.
  • Secondly, the core values that Laurie and I hashed out before launching were EXACTLY in line with everything I had come to believe about debt-reduction, financial health, individual differences, and the need to create safe spaces for people feeling vulnerable about their finances.
  • Laurie and I often expanded upon each other’s posts. There was good synergy happening.
  • A small but steady readership visited the blog. The comments section was rich with discussion.
  • Thanks to Laurie’s business know-how, it even made a bit of money.

But only a bit. Not enough for someone actually relying upon blog-income to make ends meet and pay off debt. I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with blogging. Laurie’s job is blogging.

This past week, we sold Fruclassity. “Congratulations!” some people commented. For me, it’s not a matter of congratulations. It’s a matter of practicality. And it’s not one that I like.

Back to Prudence Debtfree

So I’m in a bit of a state of mourning right now. Although I am completely convinced that it was the right and even necessary thing to do, it’s still a real loss for me.

While I was writing for Fruclassity, I found I couldn’t keep up a weekly post at Prudence Debtfree. I tried, but that limited bandwidth issue became apparent before too long, and I scaled back to monthly updates here. As of now, I’ll be posting once per week again.

So, the numbers for July:

Quick recap. In June of 2012, we had:

  • $21,400 in consumer debt
  • $80,800 in business debt
  • $155,000 in mortgage debt
  • Emergency fund – non-existant
  • Investments (besides my pension) – not happening

In July of 2017, we were down to:

  • NO consumer debt
  • NO business debt
  • $72,000 in mortgage debt
  • Emergency fund – full
  • Investments (besides my pension) – happening

Looking ahead …

I remember reading this blog advice once:”Nobody likes a negative Nancy.” I don’t mean to sound negative here! I’m just telling it like it is. In many ways, I’m back to where I started – writing once per week about our journey out of debt – on my non-monetized blog.

But it’s not really where I started. We’ve trekked over 2/3 of the way to debt-freedom, and we’re nearing the home stretch. I hope you’ll join me to the finish line.


Your comments are welcome. (In fact, they are particularly welcome this time.)


*Image courtesy of Pexels 

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26 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’m so, so glad we ran Fruclassity together. I think it was a big leap for both of us in terms of doing something new. And it’s nice to know from readers that we helped them. I too loved the way we bounced off of each other. It all worked so well. I am confident that we will continue to impact the debt world together. And I’m so, so grateful to have you as a friend and sister in Christ. 🙂

    • I’m glad too, Laurie – just sad that it’s over. Thanks so much and all the best to you, my friend! Looking forward to finding out what the future holds for you.

  • I’m sad to see Fruclassity, go too. You and Laurie make such a great team. Easily my favorite writers. I offered a congratulation, because I understand what it takes to work full time, have a family and run multiple blogs. The fact that your great work turned into something someone was willing to pay for should be celebrated, and I know we still get to follow your debt journey here. So sounds like a win-win for everyone involved.

    • “Easily my favorite writers.” Wow, Brian! That is such a wonderful compliment! I should really take on your attitude about it being a win-win. At this point, it’s not feeling that way, but maybe with time … Thanks again : )

  • You ladies are the best. I remember when you first launched Fruclassity. It seems like yesterday. How does it work? Do the new owners keep the old posts up? This is all very new to me. Thanks for all the great articles Ladies! Peace and Love and all of God’s Blessings to you both. 🙂

    • Tonya, you have a great blog – fun, real, and popular to boot. So if you haven’t “cracked the code”, I don’t get it. And thank you so much for your kind words about the Prudence Debtfree site : )

  • I’ll miss the work you and Laurie did together on Fruclassity, but glad that you’ll still be writing here. And while your feelings now are bittersweet, know you did good work and helped a lot of folks. And can still help a lot of folks, with motivation, compassion, and a safe space to combat debt.

    • Thank you very, very much Emily. The whole “safe space” thing is really important to me – perhaps more so than anything else when it comes to my blog writing. I understand the vulnerability people have in feeling stupid (for having too much debt) and clueless (for not being financially literate or disciplined). There’s a lot of shame associated with debt, and shame keeps people from engaging. Anyway, I could go on and on … There, I just read your comment again – thank you : )

    • I know, Mackenzie! I will miss it too! I’m so glad – but in a heart-broken sort of way – that you loved our work at Fruclassity.

  • I have to admit I am SO relieved you’ll be posting here.

    The way you and Laurie played off each other’s posts is really beautiful. And it was inspiring, to see your partnership and sisterhood in a more developed way than interacting in comment threads.

    I can imagine that leaving Fruclassity is difficult not only from a labor-of-love project standpoint, but that it feels like a real loss of connection. You shared a haven of value-based common sense, and even online space is tangible space.

    Much love to you!

    • Miss Katscratch, you totally get it! Thank you so much. And it’s very nice to hear that you’re relieved I’ll be posting here. Much love right back to you : )

  • Your fearless openness I think is what inspires me most. Then there’s your warmth. I had a crazy experience recently at a math teachers’ conference where a financial keynote speaker Gail Vaz-Oxlade brought the house down. What really got me was at the start where she asked everyone to stand – hundreds of us – then asked anyone to sit who carries a credit card debt – half sat down – then asked anyone with a car loan to sit …. then more and finally onto a line of credit. There were about 3 people left standing. Then she yelled at us: You are the people about to teach the new financial literacy course in Ontario! How are you gonna do that?? It was an eye opener to me. I learned a lot that night — and I’ve learned a lot from you. Welcome back Prudence!

  • Oh, thank you for sharing that story about Gail Vaz-Oxlade! What a great lesson she gave with that simple opener! Ingrid, I’m going to call you. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to write about for my next post. Thanks for that. And thanks for your kind words : )

  • I’m glad you’re back. Fruclassity was fine, but I much prefer the authenticity and personal nature of this blog.

  • I could only congratulate you knowing that you still had your home bases to come find you at – even if we don’t know each other WELL, I do value your presence and would have missed your voice if you weren’t still here! Welcome home?

  • I must have missed the Negative Nancy advice. I’m about 50/50 on my site haha.

    I’m sorry Fruclassity is gone! I’m glad it sold and didn’t fade out, but I know how much of your heart you guys put into the site. Know this, though: we’ll always be here for you on Prudence Debt-Free! It’s you (and Laurie) that we like–no matter the URL. 🙂

    • Awww : ) Thank you for those kind words, Femme. (And maybe “Negative Nancy” isn’t quite fair. Maybe Nancy is just real – for the good and the bad.)

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