Fruclassity: Badass-Inclusive

DH = Dear Husband

Fruclassity is badass-inclusive

“Fruclassity means that your unique characteristics have permission to express themselves. They aren’t stifled by an unbending frugality.” That comes right out of Fruclassity‘s Mission Statement, and it’s a concept we support wholeheartedly. There is flexibility and room for a range of approaches to debt-freedom and financial independence around here. That said, and although our tagline is “Frugality for the not-so-badass”, we are entitled to some seriously badass moments. (If you’re not familiar with the concept of “badassity”, read the “‘Fruclassity’ & MMM” subsection of our Mission Statement.)

Our dysfunctional dishwasher & 3 options

Just as we were getting ready for a road trip last Thursday, we discovered our dishwasher wasn’t working. There was no quick fix, and we needed to leave, so DH, our 3 daughters, and I took out all of the dirty dishes to wash them by hand. A pool of water that would not drain was left to stagnate at the bottom of the dysfunctional appliance, and we left for 4 days.

When we came back late Sunday night, DH again took a quick look at the dishwasher. That stagnant pool of water now reeked. We had to come up with a game plan, and we talked about our options:

  1. We could get a new dishwasher. We’ve now paid off all non-mortgage debt, and we’ve started to save an emergency fund. We would be able to buy a dishwasher with cash in hand – but that just seemed extravagant for a Plan A.
  2. DH could first see if he would be able to fix it. He is handy and good at problem solving, but he runs a home business, and time is money for him.
  3. We could call in a repairman. Risky, and not necessarily worthwhile since our dishwasher is about 7 years old – only destined to survive another couple of years anyway. A repair might cost too much.

Option 4

We didn’t have a clear agenda, but Monday morning saw DH taking our dishwasher apart. “I think it’s the control module,” he said before too long. And he had an idea. His friend Ken is in the midst of moving. The house he is leaving is going to be torn down to make room for a condo development, and his old dishwasher, exactly the same make as ours – and dysfunctional because of a leak – is going to be discarded along with everything else that is left inside. “I could go to Ken’s and get the control module out of his dishwasher and see if it works in ours.” Brilliant!

Monday afternoon, DH went to Ken’s controller, and Monday evening, he installed it in our machine (which, fortunately, had spontaneously drained itself of the stinky water as DH had dismantled it). It still didn’t work. Ugh! DH had taken hours out of his day to get this thing working – going back and forth between the dissected appliance and his business and Ken’s place – but the problem remained unsolved. “I have to stop wasting my time trying to fix things,” he said in frustration. “It makes a lot more money sense for me to focus on my business.”


DH decided to get the advice of an expert, and we were told to expect a visit between 3:00 and 6:00 Tuesday afternoon. “It’s your touch panel,” he diagnosed – at a cost of $80. Would we like him to order a new one for $180? DH said “Yes.”

Problem identified, frustration relieved, DH said, “You know, I could get the touch panel from Ken’s dishwasher and see if it works. But it would look funny.” I asked why it would look funny. “Because his machine is white.” A black dishwasher with a white touch panel? Or $180 for a new black panel that would likely only serve us for two years?

“Perfection Is The Enemy of Frugality”

Perfection Is The Enemy of Frugality,” wrote Mrs. Frugalwoods last month. “Frugality never yields perfection,” she asserted. “It is a humorous and imperfect pursuit of creativity, ingenuity, hacks, self-taught skills, and counter-culture modes of existence.” Wasn’t there humour in a mismatching dishwasher? Wouldn’t this solution be creative? DH was being decidedly ingenious, and it was certainly counter-cultural to have a black dishwasher with a white touch panel. I encouraged DH to go for it, and Tuesday evening, he went off to Ken’s again.

“Here it is,” he said upon his return. “I’ll try to install it tomorrow.” But he couldn’t help himself, and he gave it a go then and there. It worked! We canceled our order for the $180 new panel.

As I write this post past midnight, the dishwasher is humming downstairs (cheap hydro hours in these parts), and I feel a reverse pride that is becoming familiar to me. I don’t mind if our mismatched appliance ends up turning a few heads. I know that our almost-17-year-old van does. Our 20-year-old bikes do too I bet. And that pride is only heightened by my inside knowledge of the back story involved. The temptation to buy new that we resisted. Painstaking work and discouragement endured by DH. Our decision to try again. And mission accomplished!

I’m an advocate for Fruclassity. Each one of us has a unique way of playing out the frugality that moves us towards our financial goals. There is room for value-based spending. There is room for exceptions and even mistakes. There is also room for occasions of full-on badassity – and DH and I have claimed our right to it. Our black and white dishwasher proves it.

Have you had any DIY triumphs that you’re particularly proud of? Do you pull the occasional badass move? Your comments are welcome.



12 comments on “Fruclassity: Badass-Inclusive

    1. Painting is such a slog! But I’m sure you’re doing a fine job, and when it’s all done, you’ll feel that pride of toughing it out. On to the next half of your home’s exterior, my badass friend!

  1. Nice job DH! We’ve most definitely had such moments. One in mind is a house we had about 15 years ago. There was a front missing off one of the wooden drawers in the kitchen. My DH is not a carpenter, and I had been watching a lot of Trading Spaces. So I got the idea from one of those designers to just put a new piece of wood on the drawer, paint it a bright, happy color, put on a mismatching drawer pull, and it would give it an almost artistic flair. And it did. And people loved it! There was also a few broken tiles on the bathroom walls. We couldn’t find matching ones, so we bought tropical fish ones. They were in random spots, and it looked like it was done on purpose. That house sold so much faster than this last one. I have to say, your dishwasher actually looks classy. Like it’s wearing a tuxedo or something! 🙂

  2. I love it! I honestly looked at the photo three times before noticing anything unusual about it.

    I’ll admit: my husband is the DIY’er in our house. He’s impressively good at figuring out how to use something we already have to fix something else. He created a stone front walk out of paving stones he found left under our deck by the previous owner. Unfortunately, some of the stones started disintegrating after all of the salt we had to throw on the walk this past winter, so I’m frantically side-hustling (taking surveys, etc.) to earn enough Home Depot gift cards to pay for new pavers this fall!

    1. Thanks Amy! The consensus seems to be that our dishwasher looks just fine in its “tuxedo” state (that’s Kay’s word for it). I say you and your husband are both frugal rockstars. He for his DIY prowess, and you for working extra to save up for the new paving you want to do – so you won’t finance it through debt. People who don’t live in cold winter cities just don’t understand the whole salt thing. I feel your pain!

  3. That is so AWESOME! Yay, I love hearing stories like that 🙂 My husband did something similar a few years ago when my trunk door wouldn’t stay open when you went to open it. If you weren’t careful, it would slam down on your head when you were putting groceries in the car 🙁 But my husband found a video on youtube on how to fix the problem and purchased the part to fix it himself, and saved us a ton of money! And no more trunk door trying to give us a concussion 🙂

    1. That’s a great story, Mackenzie! In the FW post I linked to, Mrs. FW says that just about any DIY project can be supported by Youtube. I wouldn’t have thought that would be true of a trunk door problem – but good thing it is! Good news on both money and head-safety fronts : )

    1. Your phrase – “Perfection is the enemy of frugality.” – has really taken root for me. It’s spurring me on to choosing the frugal option – not just despite its inherent imperfection, but even because of it : )

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