Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Frugalist Files by Natalie P. McNeal

Rating: 2.5 Stars
Pages: Ebook Edition
Genre: Self Help
Series: No
Publication Year: 2010
Source: Review Copy from NetGallery

Synopsis :

Fru·gal·is·ta [froo-guh-lee-stuh] - noun
1. A person who lives within her means and saves, but still looks good, eats well and lives fabulously.

Natalie P. McNeal opened her credit card statements in January 2008 and tallied up her loans to find that
she was a staggering five figures—$20,000!—in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbertly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily take-out, shopping sprees and nights on the town. But clearly, something had to give.

And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her Miami Herald blog, Natalie confessed her spending
habits to the world—and it turns out she wasn’t the only girl out there having trouble balancing the budget! The Frugalista Files will share the good, the bad and the ugly—how Natalie started the blog, stuck to her “no-buy month” despite a breakup that could have used some retail therapy, and ultimately discovered how to maintain her lifestyle while digging herself out of debt.

This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps—at once the inspiring story of how one woman went where no broke fashionista had gone before and your ultimate guide to living a fabulous, yet still frugal, life.


This seemed like the prefect book to start off a New Year, a book to describe how to live a fabulous life without going book. Unfortunately The Frugalista Files fulls short. This is not actually a personal finance guide, it is a look into one woman's struggle to live within her means and pay off the debt that she owes. If you a looking for a book to help you with your personal finances than look somewhere else.

The Frugalista Files is step in like blog or journal entries in month date format. I think the purpose of the format was to let readers see how McNeal struggled in her path to live frugally but most of the time it was just an overview of her day and had nothing to do with living frugally. The format made this a boring read for me. I think the book would have been better if it was done in normal chapter format. With each chapter dealing with some of the obstacles McNeal encountered in the first year of being a Frugalista.

There are a few interesting stories like her relationship with Mr. X and her co-workers. There is also a heart breaking story of her friend dying of brain cancer. These stories are few, mostly it is about her day to day life. Fear of losing her job, having people like she is broke. All done in a rather bland matter.

I didn't learn anything new from this The Frugalista Files, which is what I expect to do when I read a self help book. The only thing that might be new for some people is that bring lunch to work is cheaper than take out. Walking short distances saves gas. Ross, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx are cheaper than department stores. That's it and I already knew all those things.

Pros: A few good stories and interesting moments
Cons: No New or Insightful information, Annoying word usage (example: Heehee and LOL), Boring

Overall Recommendation:

If you are looking for a book to help you plan your finances and still live a comfortable, enjoyable life look elsewhere.