Full disclosure: I have never met author Natalie McNeal but I consider her a frugal blog friend.
When I received Natalie McNeal’s The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life I was scared. As a blog friend of hers, how would I write about her book if it was awful? And if it was awesome, how would I convince you I really, really liked it and wasn’t pandering to a friend?
Lucky me, because there are so many funny and true moments in this book that I can share them and you’ll know how much this book deserves your $8.56 (on Amazon.com, anyway). Incidentally, I read the entire 179-page book on a flight from Providence, RI to Phoenix with time to spare. The Frugalista Files is fun.
On changing her life: “Being a spending slut is ruining my life. I am not going to buy anything for 1 month. Nothing. One whole month. Starting February 1 — the first day of the shortest month and my birthday month. My credit cards will go in my desk drawer. I will pay my rent, my school loan, my car loan, and my credit cards. I will buy food only to be cooked at home and gasoline. With cash. Yes, that’s it. I am going to boycott buying crap.”
On groceries: “I am working on the cooking thing. I know that not cooking has made me less marketable in the dating scene. Men like a woman who can cook. Heck! I like women and men who can cook, so they can cook for me! My mom can cook. I love it. I wish men valued women who can edge the lawn, because then I’d be “the woman!”
On style: “I refuse to not look good. But I also refuse to pay too much to look good. Frugalista tip: Before you shell out the cash, ask yourself if this is something you really need or just something you want. You’d be surprised!”
On freebies: “Enjoy freebies, but make sure they remain as close to free as possible. If you have to pay $20 parking fees, is it really free?”
On staying focused on saving: “I just started [The Frugalista Files blog] as a 28-day adventure in trying to manage my expenses and now it’s a lifestyle. That I like! Yay! I’m feeling so good. I should check my bank balance to make myself feel better. (Imagine feeling better when you check your bank balance!)”
In 12 chapters, one for each month, Natalie chronicles her desperate attempt to escape debt while still living a fabulous life. The woman loves fashion and lives in Miami, so looking the part at celebrity-studded parties is a must.
At the beginning of each chapter, Natalie keeps herself honest by listing the balance of each of her debts. January reads:
- $9,785 credit cards
- $8,600 car loan
- $2,636 student loan
A total of $21,021.24! Each month, Natalie finds creative ways to pay down that ugly number by about $500. By December, she has paid down her debt by more than $6,500. Along the way, she learns to do her own hair and nails, shop from her own closet, and say no to fun that is out of budget. (She finds plenty of fun for free or cheap!)
To win my review copy, leave a comment on this post about why you want to read Natalie’s book. If you don’t win, you MUST MUST MUST buy it or request your local library get a copy. Amazon has The Frugalista Files for $8.56. Buying a copy supports BargainBabe.com.