Natalie McNeal opened her bills in January 2008 to find that she was a staggering five figures—$20,000!—in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbert-ly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily takeout and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give. And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her blog, Natalie confessed her spending habits to the world—and it turns out she wasn't the only one having trouble balancing the budget! From the drastic "no-buy" month that kicked it all off to the career gamble that threatened to put her deeper in the hole, The Frugalista Files shares Natalie's personal and professional transformation from cubicle rat to take-charge career girl. It is possible to get ahead without giving up on the fabulous life. This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps—the empowering true story of one woman's personal and professional transformation and your ultimate guide to living the Frugalista lifestyle, too.
I received a copy of The Frugalista Files back in January however it’s taken me this long to read the entire book. This isn’t because the book is written badly nor is it because I didn’t enjoy it. Truthfully it’s because The Frugalista Files isn’t written how I expected it to be written and when I first started reading I just couldn’t connect with the way it was written because it’s been a while since I read a book like The Frugalista Files. The Frugalista Files is written in short journal like snippets with Natalie’s finances at the start of every month so you can see how much she has reduced her debt by. However my second time reading it I read the entire book in one sitting and really enjoyed it. The Frugalista Files is not a how to nor is it a solid guide how you can personally reduce your debt. It is one woman’s struggles to reduce her spending and look at the way she spends her money and how she can get rid of her bad debt. Natalie is working for a newspaper and ends up making a blog about her debt and ends up creating frugal February for the month of February she isn’t going to spend any money other than paying her bills and this is what really kicks off The Frugalista Files in my opinion (as I heard a lot about Frugal February around the blogosphere this year myself!) Natalie see’s how much money she’s actually saved not spending that she really decides to change her lifestyle, which I really admire. However, no matter how much I liked The Frugalista Files I had several problems with it, the main one being how my lifestyle was so different to hers I couldn’t totally understand her relationship with money and how she had gotten into so much debt. I know it’s written down about the way her family was with money and then what had gotten her into debt but some of the things just boggled my mind that I had to wonder if this was an American way of living?! Partly because several years ago I had bought and read Save Karen which I greatly enjoyed and found interesting and found The Frugalista Files to be rather similar.
“Someone always wants my money.”
Overall I really enjoyed The Frugalista Files and reading how Natalie managed to reduce her debt and still be happy and do the things she wanted to do. It is a very awe-inspiring book. For any reader who wants to know how to slowly manage their debt.