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The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life Paperback – December 21, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
McNeal, a journalist and founder of www.thefrugalista.com, chronicles her journey from debt-slave to empowered financier in this delightful account. A self-described promiscuous spender, McNeal finds herself buried in car and school loans and credit card debt despite a steady salary. After a frank examination of her finances, she embarks on a credit-card free month where she only pays her bills, buys food she will cook at home, and purchases gas for her car. Monitoring the cost of "insignificant" expenses, she discovers that minor, sometimes surprising, changes make a big difference and allow her to maintain her standard of living, for example, choosing to buy supermarket ready-made meals instead of eating out or cooking from scratch. She chronicles her successes (reducing utility and cellphone expenses) as well as her failures (staying within her weekly food budget), showing that making fiscally responsible trade-offs such as working overtime can easily cover the little luxuries she wants to retain. Even if McNeal is still in debt by book's end, she is well on her way to wriggling her way out, and her example shows that gaining control of one's expenses is within almost anyone's grasp. (Feb.)
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About the Author
Natalie P. McNeal is an award-winning journalist who launched her blog and brand, Frugalista, in February 2008. Her blog has been featured in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Ebony and Newsday, among others. Visit her at thefrugalista.com.
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Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately, this book never quite clicked for me, even though others such as .Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back did. The diary form did lend an appealing immediacy but I still had the déjà vu sense of having traveled down this familiar path far too many times before.
Part of my difficulty may have been with the choices made by the author - or perhaps I'm just not the target audience. Yes, she started going to salons less often but some of her expenses still seemed like luxuries rather than small discretionary choices or absolute necessities.
I realize that the author's blog struck a chord and became quite popular so I am willing to admit I may be missing something here. I just ddn't learn anything new and could take only so much info about going to snazzy social events while trying to cut expenses. I was looking for both a new perspective and unique tips on saving money without feeling too deprived. This book fell short of my expectations.
However, if you are in a position similar to the author's, you won't really find a way out here. Some good ideas, living a more thoughtful and thrifty life, but not enough real information. Another reviewer stated too much fluff, which was pretty much on target. I would have liked to see the book take a more serious look at how she got to that point, and more real world work at solving the problem. If you have a problem with finances, read Suze Orman or the book "Your Money or Your Life". For an entertaining read, pick up this book.
Natalie McNeal allows her readers to glimpse into her personal journal for 2008, which chronicles her road to eliminating her debt. Along the way, Natalie reveals aspects of her personal life which include how her spending habits started, the effects of reckless spending on her parent's marriage and also her own love life and friendships.
In addition, Natalie introduces her readers to her No-Buy month, which was ambitious and definitely rewarding at the end of the month. During her No-Buy month, Natalie only spent money on things that were necessitates such as groceries, gas and household bills. She did not allow herself to spend money frivolously on her wants, mani-pedis, hair appointments and dining out. However, Natalie still managed to go out with friends, find free events to attend and shop in her own closet for stylish clothing to wear out. By doing this, Natalie was able to save several hundred dollars that month.
Natalie's honesty about her financial situation and her thought process about the situation help readers to relate to her as a person and plants the possibility of financial freedom in the minds of readers. Also, sprinkled throughout the book are valuable tidbits of advice to help put readers in the right frame of mind for planning to become debt free without giving up the fabulous lifestyle.
This is definitely an enjoyable read that is guaranteed to make readers question their own spending habits just as Natalie did in her book. Fortunately, Natalie was brave enough to answer the questions out loud for us.
Most recent customer reviews
While the diary format could be fun at times, the use of LOLs and words like...Read more