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Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living
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Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,957 ratings  ·  313 reviews
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
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by HarperBusiness
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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 ( 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
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
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
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
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 ...more
Hector Ibarraran
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My husband bought me this book to get me excited about financial independence, and it worked! This book is full of good personal finance information without being dry and number-filled, and really reads like a novel. Thames is a good writer: concise, honest, thorough, and full of funny similes. My husband and I are already pretty frugal, but Thames opened up my eyes to additional opportunities to be frugal and I can’t wait to apply it to our budget! Plus, her book isn’t really about money, it’s ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lori Jackson
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Janna Dorman
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
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 ...more
Margaret Sullivan
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
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.
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I had a hard time with this book since it's obvious that this woman and I disagree on pretty much everything. I am frugal about certain things but overall, I'm gonna pay someone to do something I don't want to do so I get some time back. I can always make more money but I'm not getting that time back. Some of the book definitely came across as self-congratulatory and holier than thou, a common problem I see in minimalism and frugality works. Overall, I think it's good for people to consume fruga ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
I gave the author seven chapters - nearly half of the book - to get over her insufferably whiny tone. It didn't happen and so unfortunately I had to put the book down. When Thames isn't complaining, she is so arrogant and full of her own virtue that it's impossible to see how this book serves any purpose other than stroking her unjustifiably large ego. In the portion of the book I read, there was literally not one useful piece of information related to the book's premise. Rather it was just a su ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book but it’s not realistic and practical for everyone.
Willian Molinari
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I follow their blog for a while now and like it a lot, but I didn't have the same feeling with the book.

It was interesting to read that they felt themselves to be privileged when comparing to the rest of the population. Financial independence is not for everyone but frugality can be and that's what they tried to say, IMO.

Many of their personal experience doesn't resonate with me at all, but some others were interesting to read. They are real finance nerds and I admire that.

I found the book to
Elise (LiveLoveYarn)
I really wanted to like this more- part of me loved it and part of me hated it. The part of me that loved it is the part of me who (not so) secretly dreams about financial independence, working from home part time, and owning a homestead. That said, this book is going to be very unrelatable to most of it's audience. Not only do the "Frugalwoods" have a very real amount of privilege as upper middle class, heterosexual (married), educated, white folks- they had essentially no debt. Namely, no stud ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a dedicated reader of the author's blog 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
Melody Warnick
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Makes me want to stain my own deck instead of hiring it out for $1,300—and in all other ways get really clear on how I could best spend my money on what actually matters to me.
Erica Bryant
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
They had excellent jobs, made good money, saved every cent, and wrote a book about it. I have saved you hours of reading about the world's dullest couple.
Brie Peters
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't go as far as letting my husband cut my hair... but I'm inspired!
Neelam Babul
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Meet the Frugalwoods is the book I’ve been looking forward to reading ever since I read about it in a book blog. I have read a number of books on achieving financial independence and honestly, I ignored the advice as soon as I put the book away. Most of the books I read previously was written from the perspective of a financial guru, investor or a person well vested with knowledge of financial growth which I could not relate to as such.

However, throughout reading this book I could relate to the
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.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, memoir
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
Christopher Lawson
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
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,
Bonnie G.
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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“Joy is not a “done” to-do list; rather, it’s the ability to appreciate and savor the simplicity of each day’s routine. To not feel that you need a vacation from your life. To know that you’re living as close to your ideal as possible, every single day.” 0 likes
“But I'd missed the truism that every sale in the world won't save you as much money as simply not buying anything.” 0 likes
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