Tag Archives For: money

22 Mar, 2018

Meet the Frugalwoods

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Meet the Frugalwoods Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames
on March 6th 2018
Pages: 256
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by HarperBusiness
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

The deeply personal story of how award-winning personal finance blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced frugality to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life, and retire to a homestead in the Vermont woods at age thirty-two with her husband and daughter.
In 2014, Elizabeth and Nate Thames were conventional 9-5 young urban professionals. But the couple had a dream to become modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont. Determined to retire as early as possible in order to start living each day—as opposed to wishing time away working for the weekends—they enacted a plan to save an enormous amount of money: well over seventy percent of their joint take home pay. Dubbing themselves the Frugalwoods, Elizabeth began documenting their unconventional frugality and the resulting wholesale lifestyle transformation on their eponymous blog.
In less than three years, Elizabeth and Nate reached their goal. Today, they are financially independent and living out their dream on a sixty-six-acre homestead in the woods of rural Vermont with their young daughter. While frugality makes their lifestyle possible, it’s also what brings them peace and genuine happiness. They don’t stress out about impressing people with their material possessions, buying the latest gadgets, or keeping up with any Joneses. In the process, Elizabeth discovered the self-confidence and liberation that stems from disavowing our culture’s promise that we can buy our way to "the good life." Elizabeth unlocked the freedom of a life no longer beholden to the clarion call to consume ever-more products at ever-higher sums.
Meet the Frugalwoods is the intriguing story of how Elizabeth and Nate realized that the mainstream path wasn’t for them, crafted a lifestyle of sustainable frugality, and reached financial independence at age thirty-two. While not everyone wants to live in the woods, or quit their jobs, many of us want to have more control over our time and money and lead more meaningful, simplified lives. Following their advice, you too can live your best life.


Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Author Links: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Debt-free living is a topic that is very important to me so I jumped at the chance to review this book from TLC Book Tours.  (Free book – Look at me being frugal!)

This is a memoir of a couple who used frugality to save enough to retire to the country in their 30s. They have a blog called frugalwoods.com.  I hadn’t ever heard of this before so I went into this book with no preconceived notions about what their story was.

I appreciated the fact that the book starts with a discussion of privilege versus systemic causes of poverty in the United States.  She realizes that just by being born to married, educated white parents in the suburbs of the Midwest that she got a leg up towards being able to be debt-free in her 30s.  She points out that her frugality is elective instead of a requirement to be able to afford her rent. 

I wish this was more of a how-to book. It doesn’t really explain how they became debt-free.  She says things like she saved $2000 of the $10,000 she was given as an AmeriCorp stipend.  She was living in Brooklyn with roommates but how did she manage to do that?  I want charts and spreadsheets.  She talks later about merging living expenses by moving in with her fiance and living below their means by not trying to keep up with the standard of living of their peers.  She says that even before they really committed to saving a lot of money in order to retire early, they were saving 40-50% of their take home pay not including 401K and mortgage principal.  This is where I started to feel pretty inadequate reading this book.  We’re debt-free but we are not even close to that kind of savings.  (I know the problem.  I eat out too much.  If I cooked every meal at home, I’d be golden. I need to make myself a challenge or something.)

I feel like reader’s reactions to this book will be influenced by where they are on their financial journey.  I can see her story of giving up $120 hair cuts seeming flippant to someone who is struggling to buy groceries.  At the same time, I can see it being inspirational to people who have the ability to start saving money.  I could also see it being frustrating and making people feel like they haven’t been doing enough to secure their financial future.  I’d be interested to see how people respond to the message.


Tuesday, March 6th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, March 7th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, March 8th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, March 9th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Monday, March 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 15th: Man of La Book
Monday, March 19th: What Is That Book About
Tuesday, March 20th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 21st: Doing Dewey
Thursday, March 22nd: Based on a True Story
12 Jan, 2010

I Am Resolute

/ posted in: Pets

I came up with a resolution!

I never do resolutions at New Year’s time. It is too much work to think up things that I’m just going to forget about anyway. This plan only came into my head coincidentally around this time of year. I wasn’t sitting around thinking up resolutions.

I am going to save 10% of my money.

Since I’m self employed I don’t have a 401K or anything like that where money is automatically deducted. So far I’ve been putting money into my IRA when I think of it or when I have a bit extra. It has been haphazard. I’m behind on my savings anyway since when I was married to a financial mess I had to use all money to keep our utility bills paid and food on the table.

I got paid for the first time this year yesterday. Today I set up my IRA to automatically deduct 5% of my paycheck every two weeks. The other 5% is going into my savings account. There is a possibility that we may move and I will be out of a job until I find another so I want to make sure that I have money set aside for bill paying at that point. My bank website doesn’t let you do transfers automatically every two weeks. So I set up my calendar function on my BlackBerry to make an appointment for me on the day after each paycheck. It says Pay Yourself.

When I look at the amounts being taken out it seems very small. Because I have been contributing less often I have been putting in larger amounts. Doing it this way though will automatically put the same amount in my IRA that I have been contributing without me having to think about it. Then if I have a bit extra I can add it to boost my savings more.

This morning I had a plan. I was going to go to the combined Tim Horton/Cold Stone Creamery and get ice cream cupcakes for sewing day. That was a good plan until I was reading blogs this morning. I got to the running and weight loss blogs on my RSS feeder and I just couldn’t do it. That was the purpose of adding those blogs – to keep me motivated to eat healthy and exercise. But, if you have one of those blogs and you felt something strange this morning, that was me cussing you out heartily!

I had oatmeal with raisins, honey, soymilk, and peanut butter. I’m feeling all self righteous now even though I’m being a bad hostess by not having treats.

Then in my fit of self improvement I took the dog for a walk instead of just to the dog park. I told her that it was good for her brain to get out and see the sights. That is until she was suddenly holding up her right hind leg. We headed back home and she got distracted by another dog and was no longer lame. So we headed off in another direction again and after a bit she was holding up her left hind leg. Both times we were on sidewalks that had been scraped clean and she was shivering. I think the bare cement was too cold for her feet! What a wimp! We were very close to home so I picked her up and carried her home while muttering about how the 17 year old infirm 5 lb Pomeranian never needed carried on a walk around the block and planning on telling anyone who saw us that I was working on my weight lifting instead of carrying my wimpy dog.