The Frugalista Files

How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up The Fabulous Life
by Natalie P. McNeal

This book chronicles the year in the life Natalie P. McNeal as she pays down her debt and tries to live more fiscally responsible.  That may not sound like a big deal, but for a young journalist living and working in the social hotspot of Miami, it was difficult for a self-described “promiscuous spender”.

Each chapter corresponds to the month of that year, starting with January, showing the amounts of her current credit card, car loan, and student loan debt.  I will admit that it was pretty satisfying to see that number start to decrease as the year went on.  To help her stay honest in her quest, she started a blog now known as

Granted, I personally didn’t learn any new tips from this book as I live moderately frugally, but it was interesting just reading about McNeal’s experiences.  For someone who shopped incessantly (learned behavior from her Mom), took full advantage of Miami’s nightlife, never cooked at home, and traveled quite a bit, cutting out those things made quite a journey for her. Not everyone makes these types of changes without being pulled into it kicking and screaming (see vH-1’s series You’re Cut Off).  McNeal’s tales of cutting back on salon visits, shopping from her own closet, and getting comfortable in her kitchen aren’t anything we haven’t heard before, but her positive attitude while jumping full force into this project was refreshing.

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