Meet the Frugalwoods
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.

Meet the Frugalwoods Details

TitleMeet the Frugalwoods
Author
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherHarperBusiness
ISBN-139780062668158
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Economics, Finance, Autobiography, Memoir, Personal Finance, Currency, Money

Meet the Frugalwoods Review

  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars! Meet the Frugalwoods is a book I’ve been looking forward to. About 2 years ago, a friend on Facebook who runs a group about finances recommend a blog in her group- The Frugalwoods (www.frugalwoods.com for anyone interested). I read a ton of their blog posts and got some fantastic finance tips. There were certain things I was never going to do, give up makeup, buying books, clothes ban etc, but I did participate in several no spend months and was able to cut my grocery bill pretty low a 4 stars! Meet the Frugalwoods is a book I’ve been looking forward to. About 2 years ago, a friend on Facebook who runs a group about finances recommend a blog in her group- The Frugalwoods (www.frugalwoods.com for anyone interested). I read a ton of their blog posts and got some fantastic finance tips. There were certain things I was never going to do, give up makeup, buying books, clothes ban etc, but I did participate in several no spend months and was able to cut my grocery bill pretty low a few times. In any case, I find what they do commendable and interesting! 

This book is their story. If you’ve followed them like me, there is still some new info and background, if you’re new to them, it’s a great place to start. I listened to the audio book and the narration was great. It was a short read, and I finished it the same day I started it. I will say, some of their ideas seem a little radical and won’t be for everyone, but I think most people can take away something through reading this book!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I have a lot of nit-picky critiques of the book. (It barely escapes my dreaded "millennial special snowflake" tag. ;-) And yet, I find the Thames' story extremely inspirational. In fact, while listening to an interview of the author on a podcast, I came up with a scheme to change our living situation drastically--hopefully for the better-- and save a ton of money.So, I rolled my eyes reading her section on parenting (children don't need things! they just need your time! . . . easy for someone wi I have a lot of nit-picky critiques of the book. (It barely escapes my dreaded "millennial special snowflake" tag. ;-) And yet, I find the Thames' story extremely inspirational. In fact, while listening to an interview of the author on a podcast, I came up with a scheme to change our living situation drastically--hopefully for the better-- and save a ton of money.So, I rolled my eyes reading her section on parenting (children don't need things! they just need your time! . . . easy for someone with one, quiet little girl to say. . . sometimes any amount of money spent to keep the kids out of your hair, just for a few minutes, is well worth it). Also her story drips with privilege. She bends over backwards to acknowledge this. But you just can't get around the fact that they couldn't achieve what they achieved without being high-earning, college-educated DINKS (double income no kids). Nevertheless, this book encourages me to ponder what kind of lifestyle I really want and to pursue it wholeheartedly, to think outside the box, and toquestion conventions on work and possessions. I enjoyed the book and recommend it.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    This book is basically rich people who play frugal and profit off of it. When you bring in 4k+ per month in rental income plus income from a 250k+ job, you are not middle class. I think the message of living within your means is important, but there's a difference between people who struggle to get by and the Frugalwoods.
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  • Hector Ibarraran
    January 1, 1970
    Before reading this book, understand that you are going to be reading a memoir, not a step by step guide to frugality. Also, this book will challenge your notions about what it means to live reasonably, and comfortably. Personally, I loved the whole thing, and will probably will start looking at my own consumeristic tendencies, because even if I never get to the author’s level, adding a bit of frugality to my life will not hurt. Some people have criticized this book for using a literary voice fo Before reading this book, understand that you are going to be reading a memoir, not a step by step guide to frugality. Also, this book will challenge your notions about what it means to live reasonably, and comfortably. Personally, I loved the whole thing, and will probably will start looking at my own consumeristic tendencies, because even if I never get to the author’s level, adding a bit of frugality to my life will not hurt. Some people have criticized this book for using a literary voice for what looks like a manual on money saving. It is not a manual. It is kinda like a Walden for the modern era, so it is okay if it sounds literary. I hope some day this will sit next to Thoreau’s masterpiece, as people learn about the great second romantic period of American literature, and compare and contrast it. Other people are mad because the author sounds smug, and a little arrogant at times. How could she not? I don’t think she does it on purpose. It’s just hard not to sound like you’re getting away with something when you managed to disengage from the traps that 99% of the world fall for. I think the whole arrogance is a projection, or jealousy. Yes I am jealous of the author’s foresight and careful planning. Although I would never want to imitate her lifestyle, exactly, I can see that frugality is desperately needed in this world and in my life. I really loved this book!
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy the author’s blog and have incorporated a lot of her ideas into my own life. So, I was excited to read her book. For some reason I thought it would be more of a lifestyle book. Maybe some frugal living ideas, recipes, etc. The book was ok at best. I felt like she came across as unintentionally preachy, without a true understanding of how the majority of our country lives. She continually said that she knows how privileged she is to be able to make these choices, and then goes on t I really enjoy the author’s blog and have incorporated a lot of her ideas into my own life. So, I was excited to read her book. For some reason I thought it would be more of a lifestyle book. Maybe some frugal living ideas, recipes, etc. The book was ok at best. I felt like she came across as unintentionally preachy, without a true understanding of how the majority of our country lives. She continually said that she knows how privileged she is to be able to make these choices, and then goes on to lecture about how those who can’t pay for a car with cash shouldn’t buy one. Tell that to someone in a community lacking public transportation, who needs to get to a job to feed the family. Her frequent return to her privilege felt like guilt for writing this book knowing that she absolutely had the deck stacked in her favor.My other “complaint” was her vocabulary. Seriously, she uses words that nobody uses in daily conversation. It is obvious she has a degree in creative writing, as she is a gifted writer. But, this book has not been marketed as literature. She comes across as arrogant, which based on her blog, I believe she is not. Having a dictionary nearby while reading this is not a bad idea. I would like to see her write a book of fiction. She has the talent to become a well respected writer, of fiction.That being said, it was nice to get the back story to a blog I followe regularly. They seem like genuinely nice people who have made a wonderful life for themselves.
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  • Janna Dorman
    January 1, 1970
    I've read the Frugalwoods blog for about a year and a half, which details the frugal lifestyle of Elizabeth Willard Thames, her husband, and her daughter. The blog mostly consists of money-saving techniques so I expected a book by Thames to be much of the same. I was pleasantly surprised that this was more memoir style and told the story behind Thames' ability to become financially independent at age 32. Thames is a talented writer and her story was really interesting! I also appreciated how ful I've read the Frugalwoods blog for about a year and a half, which details the frugal lifestyle of Elizabeth Willard Thames, her husband, and her daughter. The blog mostly consists of money-saving techniques so I expected a book by Thames to be much of the same. I was pleasantly surprised that this was more memoir style and told the story behind Thames' ability to become financially independent at age 32. Thames is a talented writer and her story was really interesting! I also appreciated how fully she acknowledged her privilege and that her journey cannot be obtained by everyone.My biggest gripe, which is the same gripe I have with her blog, is that sometimes her advice and writing comes across pretty judgmental and lecture-y. I get it because it's a personal finance blog/book about what worked for them, but at times, I want to scream 'I'm still going to buy expensive hair products because I have curly hair and it requires different care than your straight, long hair!' Otherwise, if you've read the Frugalwoods or like personal finance, you'll probably enjoy this.
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  • Lori Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    I thought the book was well written as far as the prose are concerned, with several anecdotes that had me laughing out loud. Unlike some other reviewers, I enjoyed her word choice. But, the whole premise that this couple has achieved financial independence while both still work is a contradiction in terms in my view and diminishes the book's premise. I get that the author stipulated that FI is definitional, but come on: your husband works full time and you supplement with blog/book money. I also I thought the book was well written as far as the prose are concerned, with several anecdotes that had me laughing out loud. Unlike some other reviewers, I enjoyed her word choice. But, the whole premise that this couple has achieved financial independence while both still work is a contradiction in terms in my view and diminishes the book's premise. I get that the author stipulated that FI is definitional, but come on: your husband works full time and you supplement with blog/book money. I also was under the impression I would find some juicy nuggets regarding frugal living (the author's moniker is frugalwoods after all) that I could perhaps incorporate into my lifestyle. Alas, there is a dearth of free yoga classes in my neck of the woods (no pun), as if that is a thing in the majority of towns/cities/suburbs. Bartering is a great concept, just not one the vast majority of people can utilize to circumvent paying thousands of dollars on a hobby. All in all, this was a memoir written by a thirtysomething that feels guilty for her social/economic station in life. I wish them well.
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most frustrating personal finance books I've ever read - and I generally love learning about people's approaches to money. Somehow manages to be condescending, deceptive, and self-congratulatory all at once. They're not retired; he works from their rural home and she's a part-time blogger/SAHM. His job apparently pays him over $200,000 a year, which makes any lack of haircuts and restaurant meals pretty small changes in the scheme of things. Wouldn't have bothered me so much if she di One of the most frustrating personal finance books I've ever read - and I generally love learning about people's approaches to money. Somehow manages to be condescending, deceptive, and self-congratulatory all at once. They're not retired; he works from their rural home and she's a part-time blogger/SAHM. His job apparently pays him over $200,000 a year, which makes any lack of haircuts and restaurant meals pretty small changes in the scheme of things. Wouldn't have bothered me so much if she didn't seem so assured that their completely puritanical approach made sense. And really, who'd have wanted to read the book "we moved to Vermont and I wear winter coats from the garbage even though I don't have to"? I had to quit reading because this was making me too angry.
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  • Margaret Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    This would have been a lot more useful to me thirty years ago. :) But then, thirty years ago I was living paycheck to paycheck and could barely pay my way, let alone save money. I was frugal by necessity.And as I've gotten older, I stopped caring about material things very much. I don't know if that's just a function of getting older or what.In any event, I did get some inspiration from the book. I can certainly pare back my expenses, and having a goal for saving is important.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this book but it’s not realistic and practical for everyone.
  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. I preferred the more memoir style this book had and as someone who follows the frugalwoods blog I already knew I enjoyed her writing style. I appreciated how multiple times the author acknowledges how privileged she and her husband are and how she related that as one of the reasons she was able to become financially independent so early in life. I enjoyed the portion where she talks about how her year in NYC was her almost trying on poverty. I thought it was very hone I really enjoyed this book. I preferred the more memoir style this book had and as someone who follows the frugalwoods blog I already knew I enjoyed her writing style. I appreciated how multiple times the author acknowledges how privileged she and her husband are and how she related that as one of the reasons she was able to become financially independent so early in life. I enjoyed the portion where she talks about how her year in NYC was her almost trying on poverty. I thought it was very honest. I will say if you're looking for a book full of tips, recipes, or a how to book on personal finance, this isn't it. This book does have some great ideas but they are more broad ideas on frugality as a whole, not really a step by step type of thing. I've seen some reviews saying that the vocabulary in this book was needlessly complex at times and I don't agree with that. The one thing that does bug me a little is that the author says a few times that her and her husband never made banker salaries but they did still make likely a good 6 figure amount each for them to be able to save as much as they did. I think the author kind of downplays how much they were making. My spouse and I make nothing near what they likely made (and may not for many years if ever) but I did still find the general message of this book helpful. Basically figure out what makes you happy and what you like to do and figure out a way to do that with your money in a smart way
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I am a dedicated reader of the author's blog Frugalwoods.com which I have enjoyed reading and following for the last couple of years. I really enjoyed reading this book and hearing the whole backstory and journey from the beginning of when her and her husband were young up until now. It really showed where they had been and what they had gone through to get to where they are. I really liked the fact that she clearly puts it out there in the beginning of the book that she and her husband are priv I am a dedicated reader of the author's blog Frugalwoods.com which I have enjoyed reading and following for the last couple of years. I really enjoyed reading this book and hearing the whole backstory and journey from the beginning of when her and her husband were young up until now. It really showed where they had been and what they had gone through to get to where they are. I really liked the fact that she clearly puts it out there in the beginning of the book that she and her husband are privileged in many ways and that has greatly helped them be able to get to where they are now. However, there are things that just about anyone and everyone can do to be more frugal and save money. This book was a quick and easy read for the most part. There were a couple of words in the book that I had to look up to see what exactly they meant, so it could've been written using more common words for the everyday person who probably hasn't heard or doesn't know the meaning to a few of the words in the book.Overall, this was a great read full of inspiration and wisdom and some tools and tips on how to achieve financial independence and retire early if you would like to. The Frugalwoods have definitely inspired me and made me realize that through frugality and simple living I might be able to gain financial independence and be able to retire early one day. I've already been a frugal person most of my life but I could do much more to reach my goals earlier by spending less and saving more. If nothing else frugal and simple living and saving your money allow you to have choices and the older I get the more I realize that I want to be able to choose how I spend my time. I don't have the exact same goal they had but can definitely apply the same principles to achieve my goals and I think that's the main thing the author is saying. I highly recommend this book!Favorite Quotes:"We view money as a tool to be spent on things we need and that we value highly. Money doesn't bring us happiness, but it has granted us the financial freedom to construct a life we love.""Perhaps most significant during this year of revelations was our recognition that frugality gave us options.""You could quit your job and travel the world, you could explore your passion for woodworking, you could volunteer full time at an animal shelter.""Frugality constructs a buffer between you and the unforeseen, yet entirely predictable, disasters of life.""The more you earn, the more you can save and the quicker you can reach financial independence. That's not to say that it can't be done on lower salaries or with fewer built-in privileges, merely that the road was easier for Nate and me. Despite this, I don't want you to feel discouraged if your circumstances are different from mine, because there are gains to be had anywhere along the spectrum of frugality.""It's true that Nate and I don't buy Christmas, birthday, or anniversary gifts for each other. But it's equally true that we don't need to. We've smoothed out the happiness curve of our lives. Rather than living for vacations or weekends, we've created a life that delivers ongoing happiness on a daily basis.""While I'm pretty sure the phrase "extreme frugality" sounds like a penance, it's actually the exact opposite. It's a deliverance. Nate and I consider our lives to be luxurious: we live where we want, as we want, on our own terms, and we're not beholden to anyone else. If that's not luxury, I don't know what is.""Frugality opened my mind up to what I can do with my life, as opposed to what I can buy."
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  • Ollie
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an interesting read but there were a lot of things that annoyed me. I like their blog a lot which offers a lot of good advice about being frugal. It was interesting to get the story about how the Frugalwoods changed their way of living. They seem like nice people. Elizabeth points out how privileged they were starting out and she also said that she is aware for a lot of people being frugal is the only way they can afford to live. However, then her writing comes across self congratu This book was an interesting read but there were a lot of things that annoyed me. I like their blog a lot which offers a lot of good advice about being frugal. It was interesting to get the story about how the Frugalwoods changed their way of living. They seem like nice people. Elizabeth points out how privileged they were starting out and she also said that she is aware for a lot of people being frugal is the only way they can afford to live. However, then her writing comes across self congratulatory and preachy. What annoyed and astonished me the most is how rarely the author discusses money matters in detail, meaning giving the reader some concrete Dollar amounts. How much was their first property in Cambridge? How much was their house in Vermont? What was their total income or spending at different times? I expect that from a book that wants to show the reader how to gain financial independence. She also claims that they retired early which is not true. He works for a non profit and she makes money with her blog and book. I know that there are a lot of Americans who have a great income and still spend more than they have. This book might be the cure for them. However, there are a lot more people who cannot afford to save seventy plus percent of their income. That is just not realistic. Advice like not buying make up or not buying a drink at Starbucks every day is just brilliant! ;-)
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    The title of the book does not really indicate to me that this is a memoir. It is a well written one, but I was expecting more financial information and frugal tips. None of the things that they did to become financially independent is really that radical or new, unless maybe you are a millennial. Maybe that is the desired audience? Not really someone who has been around the block before. I don’t know why I still read these kinds of books, there really is not anything new- still number one tip i The title of the book does not really indicate to me that this is a memoir. It is a well written one, but I was expecting more financial information and frugal tips. None of the things that they did to become financially independent is really that radical or new, unless maybe you are a millennial. Maybe that is the desired audience? Not really someone who has been around the block before. I don’t know why I still read these kinds of books, there really is not anything new- still number one tip in all of them is Don’t buy things.
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  • Brie Peters
    January 1, 1970
    I wouldn't go as far as letting my husband cut my hair... but I'm inspired!
  • Nathan
    January 1, 1970
    Really interesting book,kind of inspiring how they saved and saved to get what they really wanted! I live that lifestyle and yes there are areas I can cut back on like smoking lol..I am not college educated YET I am getting there and yes I agree her and her husband were give a good footing to do what they did with no college debt starting their lives together etc and some breaks here and there but overall they did it themselves.
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  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    When I picked up this book at the local library I had never heard of Liz Thames, nor her blog Frugalwoods. I took the book at face value, "achieving financial independence through simple living." That's me, the queen of simple living! So what's not like about this? Well, for me, plenty.First off, this is Liz's memoir of her (and hubby's) lifestyle. The book has little to do with achieving financial independence. Granted, Liz does provide examples of ways to save money through living a frugal lif When I picked up this book at the local library I had never heard of Liz Thames, nor her blog Frugalwoods. I took the book at face value, "achieving financial independence through simple living." That's me, the queen of simple living! So what's not like about this? Well, for me, plenty.First off, this is Liz's memoir of her (and hubby's) lifestyle. The book has little to do with achieving financial independence. Granted, Liz does provide examples of ways to save money through living a frugal lifestyle, but she and her husband have not achieved financial independence. She, like me, were children of privilege, raised by frugal parents. My parents were farm raised kids of the depression, so thrifty was their lifestyle to survive. It was not a choice. Certainly not all, yet many who lived thru the 1930s and 1940s knew how to live within their income, repair, refurbish, made due, and also saved. This is not a new idea! Perhaps a new idea for kids of privilege born in the 1980s and since who are steeped in materialism and consumerism. Liz writes they "self-insure" but does not explain this statement. I went to her website: Frugalwoods.com for an explanation, but found nothing about insurance or self - insured. For me, self-insured would mean one of two things: either they set aside a certain amount of money each month for estimated medical expenses, then hope for the best. Or they pay for their health insurance themselves. Health insurance, not to mention, casualty and liability insurance is a huge expense, and the lack there could be catastrophic. I would have appreciated Liz addressing this "self-insure." (And, perhaps she has in her blog and I was unable to find it.)I applaud Liz and Nate for achieving their simplicity lifestyle goal. I commend them for their philanthropy and community spirit. I'm sure both Frugalwoods.com and Meet the Frugalwoods (the book) could provide support for those contemplating or working toward a simpler lifestyle. But, to equate frugality with financial independence is just plain silly!
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  • Erica Bryant
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn’t full of tips for frugality but it’s a great look into one person’s journey to change their spending and their life.
  • Christopher Lawson
    January 1, 1970
    Reading MEET THE FRUGALWOODS, the very first thing I noticed, is that the author (and her spouse) are nice people! As they note, they are “just some average, middle-class kids from the Midwest who decided we wanted something more out of life than what our consumer culture sells us.”The second thing I observed is that they are really committed to living a super-frugal lifestyle. And it paid big dividends: “We wanted to have enough money saved up such that we could choose to work if we wanted to, Reading MEET THE FRUGALWOODS, the very first thing I noticed, is that the author (and her spouse) are nice people! As they note, they are “just some average, middle-class kids from the Midwest who decided we wanted something more out of life than what our consumer culture sells us.”The second thing I observed is that they are really committed to living a super-frugal lifestyle. And it paid big dividends: “We wanted to have enough money saved up such that we could choose to work if we wanted to, but wouldn’t have to work to survive.”The style of writing emphasizes storytelling, rather than a point-by-point chart of money-saving tips. The author recounts many lessons she had to learn the hard way. Most of the lessons involve rejecting the modern “consume more and more” philosophy, which drives an “unquenchable thirst for more. Having learned these lessons, the author was transformed into a “mindful, grateful giver.”Frugality inspired the author to figure out how to use her wits to solve a problem, rather than just whip out the credit card. Of course, one can just buy a solution, but it’s far more interesting to solve it yourself, and learn a new skill along the way. I like her claims that “Paying Money Is the Laziest, Least Creative Way to Solve a Problem.”So, all in all, I found MEET THE FRUGALWOODS to be a fun, well-written book, with lots of inspiring stories. The financial advice is solid, and bears repeating. I especially liked the recommendations on setting up an emergency cash fund, and the wisdom of investing in low-fee index funds. These are not novel recommendations, but they are solid ones.I think this phrase sums up the author’s philosophy: “When you do something yourself, you permanently reduce your dependency on outside sources and permanently increase your own aptitudes.”As a side note, although not really part of “frugality,” I thought the author’s account of Nate’s proposal to her a nice touch: “Nate was down on one knee, my late grandmother’s engagement ring in his trembling hands and his mouth moving. He was asking me something that I couldn’t understand because I was crying so hard.”
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  • Bonnie G.
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book in one day and I was definitely interested in what she wrote about- and it is a personal memoir and she does go into detail about how she had privilege in her assets. But she also had huge advantages when it came to debt- no student loans? No car loan? I understand she means she had no money in cash from her parents- but she totally blew over her wedding which makes me think that cost was covered by family. And while she is being frugal she is frankly mooching. And also- tak I finished this book in one day and I was definitely interested in what she wrote about- and it is a personal memoir and she does go into detail about how she had privilege in her assets. But she also had huge advantages when it came to debt- no student loans? No car loan? I understand she means she had no money in cash from her parents- but she totally blew over her wedding which makes me think that cost was covered by family. And while she is being frugal she is frankly mooching. And also- take a job most to graduate for an MA? I found that kind of sketchy- but I also knew many people who regretted moving to DC so I forgive them for that. Her and husband make a good team, but I kind of didn’t ... like them? The story is amazing and it makes you think a lot about what makes you happy and also what is TOO FAR. For some reason the hair cutting aspect was depressing to me. Also I mean I love movies! I love spectacle. I like make up. She was... boring. There I said it- frankly most of the time she and her husband seemed very boring to me. There was a lot I liked about them- but some volunteering or charity work would have been good to see. Or working another job. Or being honest about how much they made and how much reserves they had. Sure, she save 2k by living in NYC- she was also eating black beans out of a can for dinner- what the ACTUAL fuck? There is living frugal and there is depriving yourself. Also I think her roommates all found other places and she didn’t have friends in the city bc she is lame. Ok this is becoming a mean girl book review. I like her story but I found her unbearable and just basic. Tots basic. But a good quick read to scare everyone about cubicles for 40 years!
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    This is a well-written book by a young woman who achieved financial independence in her early 30s and moved with her husband and infant daughter to a homestead in Vermont by practicing frugality. Thames writes the blog Frugalwoods. This book is the story of her journey from being a yuppie in Cambridge, MA working a 9-5 cubicle job that she did not enjoy to her current life. Thames was a very driven achievement-oriented person who followed the typical conventions of going to college, getting a jo This is a well-written book by a young woman who achieved financial independence in her early 30s and moved with her husband and infant daughter to a homestead in Vermont by practicing frugality. Thames writes the blog Frugalwoods. This book is the story of her journey from being a yuppie in Cambridge, MA working a 9-5 cubicle job that she did not enjoy to her current life. Thames was a very driven achievement-oriented person who followed the typical conventions of going to college, getting a job, getting a better job, moving, getting married, pursuing a master's degree (and realizing part way through her schooling that she did not like what she was doing), moving again, etc. while finding happiness elusive. She and her husband had been fairly frugal all along, but adopted extreme frugality for a few years to help them take the non-conventional step of saving most of their income (besides their mortgage and about $1000 a month in expenses) to purchase their dream home and take charge of their own lives. They both had good salaries so this was not impossible for them to achieve. I most enjoyed her writing about how she used frugality to really hone in on what was important to her and her family, and her discussion of principles of frugality and their value. In a way this book is an updated Tightwad Gazette (written in the 1990s by Amy Dacyczyn - a woman who, with her family, bought a home and moved to rural Maine) that is more philosophical (and less tip oriented) with a Millenial's viewpoint.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    This book was well-written and gave me a lot to think about, as someone who is the opposite of frugal - I like my expensive haircuts, weekend trips, nice hotels, and dinners out. However, frugality has always interested me because the problem is, as the book points out, that you adapt to nice things and then just start wanting more. Reading the book has already led me to think what I can cut out, so that's a step in the right direction. That being said, while the book had good ideas, there was n This book was well-written and gave me a lot to think about, as someone who is the opposite of frugal - I like my expensive haircuts, weekend trips, nice hotels, and dinners out. However, frugality has always interested me because the problem is, as the book points out, that you adapt to nice things and then just start wanting more. Reading the book has already led me to think what I can cut out, so that's a step in the right direction. That being said, while the book had good ideas, there was no conflict - everything went super easily for Elizabeth and her husband, because they were extremely frugal to begin with and had no debt. She even mentions that they are both very good at delaying gratification, a key aspect of adapting frugal habits. There are also very little nuts and bolts - how much did they save during their "extreme frugality" years? What did they do about things like going out with friends? Did they ever miss spending, even on little things? Did they have unexpected medical bills? Do they have insurance now that neither of them work? What about tax bills? Maybe this is all covered in their blog, but it would have been helpful to see the actual numbers.The Frugalwoods appear super human and their story was not relatable to me, someone with student loan debt, who can not DIY their way out of a paper bag, and who enjoys beauty and fashion. Maybe I am too superficial for this lifestyle, who knows.All in all, I enjoyed this book - I even got it from the library, something I know the Thames family would applaud.
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  • Rebecca Scaglione
    January 1, 1970
    This should be renamed to show it’s THEIR story of frugality, not how you can be so frugal that you can buy a homestead. Really enjoyed this memoir, and there are a few tips here and there to help you out, but not many and not too preachy. It’s more like explaining how and why you might want to leave or lessen your dependability on the consumer lifestyle. Really good read.
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    I feel sorry for Nate for marrying a dimwitted, narcissistic, spastic, selfish, privileged prima donna. This book is so ridiculous. You can tell Thames got a creative writing degree from the overwrought and burdened writing that uses Faulkner levels of imagery for no reason. This girl is a hot mess from her obsession with marriage to relationship ultimatums not to mention her complete ignorance of personal finance. Clearly her parents failed her. After reading the book one wonders why anyone wou I feel sorry for Nate for marrying a dimwitted, narcissistic, spastic, selfish, privileged prima donna. This book is so ridiculous. You can tell Thames got a creative writing degree from the overwrought and burdened writing that uses Faulkner levels of imagery for no reason. This girl is a hot mess from her obsession with marriage to relationship ultimatums not to mention her complete ignorance of personal finance. Clearly her parents failed her. After reading the book one wonders why anyone would want anything to do with this trainwreck of a girl. Skip this book.
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  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    January 1, 1970
    Summary: This wasn't a book that included much specific advice for saving, but it was a relatable story told in an authentic and self-aware way.Blogger Elizabeth Thames and her husband Nate were following a conventional path to success in their 20's, but they weren't happy. Despite being married and succeeding at their careers, they felt worn down except for their weekly hikes. This led them to commit to a dream of achieving financial independence and purchasing a homestead in Vermont as quickly Summary: This wasn't a book that included much specific advice for saving, but it was a relatable story told in an authentic and self-aware way.Blogger Elizabeth Thames and her husband Nate were following a conventional path to success in their 20's, but they weren't happy. Despite being married and succeeding at their careers, they felt worn down except for their weekly hikes. This led them to commit to a dream of achieving financial independence and purchasing a homestead in Vermont as quickly as possible. Although they'd always lived fairly modestly, they immediately started saving in a more extreme way. Within three years, they were able to quit their jobs. This is the story of that process.Since my husband and I are also young professionals living in a city, I picked this up hoping for some specific, relevant advice for ways we could save more. This wasn't that kind of book. It did contain a great general guide for those beginning to save, but none of the advice was new to me. Instead, I ended up enjoying this as a relatable memoir. Part of that was probably that she and her husband started in a position similar to where my husband and I are now. I also found the way she had to adjust to life after the clear objectives provided by being in school relatable. I think her search for purpose and fulfillment will resonate with a lot of people as well.Even for those who are at different places in their lives, I think she does several other things to be relatable. She writes in a warm, funny way. Unlike several other recent memoirs I've read, she manages to achieve a casual tone without seeming like a novice writer. She was also willing to share the things she struggled with, from little things like eating too many cheetos, to big things like drifting apart from her husband when they were both unhappy. At the very beginning, she includes a gracious acknowledgement of the privilege that helped her get to where she is. She's always clear that her path may not be accessible to everyone. I'd definitely recommend the book, but you could start by checking out her blog. This book certainly made me more excited to spend some time on her blog, which I hope will share similar writing and more specific advice.For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.  This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey
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  • Melissa Riley
    January 1, 1970
    This book wasn't for me. The author does mention how privileged they are in the forward and also several times throughout the book but it was a bug-bear for me just how privileged it all seemed. If you are able to put away 70% of your combined income, you are clearly on good money - something that isn't the norm. I know they making frugal choices to compound these savings, but it is a bit 'rich' to assume that any Tom, Dick or Harry could follow exactly the same path in the same time frame with This book wasn't for me. The author does mention how privileged they are in the forward and also several times throughout the book but it was a bug-bear for me just how privileged it all seemed. If you are able to put away 70% of your combined income, you are clearly on good money - something that isn't the norm. I know they making frugal choices to compound these savings, but it is a bit 'rich' to assume that any Tom, Dick or Harry could follow exactly the same path in the same time frame with the same results. It felt a little pretentious, I'm not 100% sure what made me feel that way but I was not on board for a lot of the messages.One thing that annoyed me was when the couple had to buy a new car, the author says if you can't pay for it in cash 'you don't need it'. Perhaps that is your truth in your situation, but definitely not for everyone - my daily commute it about an hour in a car due to the fact there is no direct public transport (it would probably take me close to 2 hours if I tried to take the multiple buses needed) so if my car was stolen tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to pay in cash for a new one and, yes, I would NEED another. I think I understand where she is coming from, so many people get 'want' and 'need' confused, (eg. People WANT a new phone model but convince themselves they NEED it because of the new features.) but painting everyone with a broad brush is not the right way to go about communicating your message.The Thames family did have some good tips for living on less, eg. buying second hand, and how to invest your money to make the most of it. Some people may enjoy this a lot, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I've also seen in some other reviews that the Frugalwoods blog is more instructional so maybe I should have started there instead of with the book.
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  • Esha
    January 1, 1970
    To her credit the author does start with the disclaimer that this book was written by middle class white people living in a First world country. But by god I've never met a more removed from reality and preachy woman as this author. For whom frugality is a bid to purchase success (her limited way of saying happiness). From $300 hair cuts, $40 artisan cheese, $500 per month bubbly water and $300 per month hot yoga this woman and her husband have NO CONCEPT OF FRUGALITY. Its a joke - reading this To her credit the author does start with the disclaimer that this book was written by middle class white people living in a First world country. But by god I've never met a more removed from reality and preachy woman as this author. For whom frugality is a bid to purchase success (her limited way of saying happiness). From $300 hair cuts, $40 artisan cheese, $500 per month bubbly water and $300 per month hot yoga this woman and her husband have NO CONCEPT OF FRUGALITY. Its a joke - reading this book angered me. I actually would like to tell the author about my dad. A simple man born to farmers in Fiji. He studied hard enough to get a scholarship offer to study medical science in India. A feat unheard of in 1970. But he didn't make it because his parents didn't have enough money to get him a passport photo for his paperwork. Nothing could be cut they were surviving on bare minimum. So he didn't go. But his story doesn't end there. He studied and became a high school teacher. Using that degree he migrated to Australia. At the age of 40 he had less than $1000 savings and 2 teenage kids. Fast forward 10 years and he has paid off his property and looking forward to retirement. He did it with zero government handouts. The luxuries the author speaks off were never a part of our lives. Instead our extra money went to sponsor family to be educated. For us that's what success is. Helping someone help themselves. So to the author the happiness you seek isn't in retirement in wildness its your legacy to the world. And for someone who works in charities you do so little. You are not a subject expert on frugality. For you its a surface effort to make yourself happy. True frugality is those who are struggling to meet basic needs. I speak of the people who invent hours and defy feats of human ingenuity to make another day. Yet they won't make blogs or pen down stories for loaylities they use each moment to survive. I leave you with a pearl of wisdom my economics teacher said. Existential crisis is symptomatic of first world people, in other worlds people are too busy battling real problems to consider what success is. What they do each day is succeed without any accolades and the first world tries to mimic that feeling.So any contemplating readers - don't. Go speak to someone who survived the great depression, a new migrant, a single parent you'll get better bang for your buck.
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  • Brooke Showalter (Brooke Blogs)
    January 1, 1970
    Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames is part memoir/part non-fiction detailing Elizabeth and her husband's journey to financial independence. I enjoyed reading it and while I couldn't totally relate to their circumstances (the author does make note of the fact that she and her husband were born into incredibly privileged circumstances that allowed for them to work toward this dream of financial independence) I found a lot of good information. The author shares information on how they Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames is part memoir/part non-fiction detailing Elizabeth and her husband's journey to financial independence. I enjoyed reading it and while I couldn't totally relate to their circumstances (the author does make note of the fact that she and her husband were born into incredibly privileged circumstances that allowed for them to work toward this dream of financial independence) I found a lot of good information. The author shares information on how they made life changes in order to work toward their ultimate goal of owning a homestead in Vermont and being financially independent so that they can work if they want to, not because they have to. I really liked a lot of the information shared on the 'whys' behind living frugally, rejecting conventional definitions of success, and refusing to conform to consumerism. I will be employing several of these tactics as they resonate with me and feel right for our family. I checked this book out of the library after seeing a blurb for it in a magazine. I am voluntarily sharing my honest review. I've also become a blog follower after reading and enjoying this book.
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  • Torrie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsAs a long-time follower of the Frugalwoods blog, I was a little wary that this would be a rehashing of stuff that I'd already heard before on the blog. While I was familiar with the majority of their story in this book, what I DID find totally refreshing was how this portrayed a more realistic, "raw," relatable version of events. Sometimes with blogs, especially blogs that fall within a certain niche (like finance), it's easy to kind of put that person in a category by themselves and as 4.5 starsAs a long-time follower of the Frugalwoods blog, I was a little wary that this would be a rehashing of stuff that I'd already heard before on the blog. While I was familiar with the majority of their story in this book, what I DID find totally refreshing was how this portrayed a more realistic, "raw," relatable version of events. Sometimes with blogs, especially blogs that fall within a certain niche (like finance), it's easy to kind of put that person in a category by themselves and assume that they got to where they are because it comes naturally to them. While it seems the frugal lifestyle is easy for the author and her family NOW, it was nice to see that it wasn't always so, and it was interesting to see the experiences that pushed them to get to where they are today.I will love the Frugalwoods blog forever, so this book was a fabulous bonus for a long-term follower. For anyone not following the blog, the book is still a motivational title that will inspire you to be more frugal in order to meet your long-term goals (and that will make you want to dream BIG).
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  • Domic
    January 1, 1970
    Wirklich sehr angenehm zu hören! Ich stehe ja im Moment sehr auf solche "MInimalismus-Sparsamkeit-Bewusster Konsumieren"-Bücher und bin über den Frugalwoods-Blog auf dieses Buch gestoßen. Als Hardcover ist es noch recht teuer, aber es gibt bei Audible eine ungekürzte Hörbuchversion, für die ich mein Mai-Guthaben auf den Kopf gehauen habe - und ich habe es nicht bereut! Liz aka Mrs. Frugalwoods beschreibt, wie sie es durch sparsames Leben geschafft hat, finanziell unabhängig zu werden. Sie lebt j Wirklich sehr angenehm zu hören! Ich stehe ja im Moment sehr auf solche "MInimalismus-Sparsamkeit-Bewusster Konsumieren"-Bücher und bin über den Frugalwoods-Blog auf dieses Buch gestoßen. Als Hardcover ist es noch recht teuer, aber es gibt bei Audible eine ungekürzte Hörbuchversion, für die ich mein Mai-Guthaben auf den Kopf gehauen habe - und ich habe es nicht bereut! Liz aka Mrs. Frugalwoods beschreibt, wie sie es durch sparsames Leben geschafft hat, finanziell unabhängig zu werden. Sie lebt jetzt mit Herrn Frugalwoods und zwei Töchtern im ländlichen Vermont mitten im Wald, mit Obstgarten und Gemüse und so. Das Buch ist weniger ein "How to" als eher ein Erfahrungsbericht: Liz erzählt, wie sie von 10.000 Dollar in New York City lebte, wie sie dann nach Cambridge zog, zusammen mit ihrem Mann, dann nach Washington DC, zurück nach Cambridge und dann nach Vermont. Das tut sie eloquent und witzig, wie auch ihr Blog ist. Hat mir wirklich Spass gemacht zu hören!
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