The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life

Natalie P McNeal, Author
Natalie P. McNeal, Harlequin, $14.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-373-89229-7
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4268-7911-1
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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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