About the Book | The Frugalista

About the Book

Fru·gal·is·ta [froo-guh-lee-stuh]


1. A person who lives within her means and saves, but still looks good, eats well and lives fabulous.

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 take out, and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give.

cover 194x300 About the BookAnd 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 off it all 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.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

mary mac brookins January 8, 2011 at 12:33 am

I swannie, if you wanted to find me all you’d have to do is look up my bank card and you could follow me around town. I have been feeling convicted about spending lately (and rightly so). I made my way to the personal finance section at Barnes and Noble to pick out books to help me regain control of my out of control finances and habits. When I saw a pink book I knew it must have been misplaced. I picked it up and started reading it and stayed for an hour and a half longer than I intended. Frugalista is a great book that brings humility and humor and real life together. I am thankful for this inspiring story and recommend that everyone read this book and be the frugalistas that we need to be!


Zenobia January 27, 2011 at 3:05 am

I am loving this. At sixty three, I want to become a frugalista!


naomi554 July 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm

You can …check out the book The Tightwad Gazette. If you follow the ideas presented in the book you will never be in debt, always have a savings and learn lots about living below your merans.


Campfiregirl November 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Me too, I’m 65.


jdobson February 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Read the book and LOVED IT! My whole mantra is ‘never pay full price for fabulous’!! There is no need to overspend to look and feel good! Thanks for sharing your real life experiences!


jdobson February 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Read the book and LOVED IT!! My mantra is ‘Never pay full price for fabulous!’ There is no need to overspend to look and feel good. Thank you for sharing your experiences and wise words of advice!


Baking N Books March 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

So, I read the book in a matter of a few nights – staying up until 3 and getting up again at 7. And I LOVED IT.

Gosh – where to even begin…it’s not even about the money – it’s about you taking chances (but smart chances) and risks and going after what YOU want.


I’m about 6 times in debt from what you are – about 2 degrees, car loan payments, credit card, student line of credit (that one is KILLING me) – about $130,000. Yep. It’s insane.

The worst part though?? Is that I hate my career. It sucks out of my soul. I *think* I want to write, blog – that’s stuff I actually enjoy…but there’s no way I can pay $2000 loan payments (alone!) every month in addition to rent, bills, etc. on a Freelancing salary. So I’m stuck.

It’s beyond painful. I have so many things highlighted in your book. Thank you so much. For being YOU. (P.S – Have you been on The Today Show? Because that’s where I recognize you…).

Uh…sorry to hijack this comment thread…eek!


iwritebooks March 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Gotta get the book for me and as a gift for someone else. Sounds like how I’m trying to live my life – to the utmost, but within my means!! I hate DEBT!


BJ Louden April 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I read your book in a day and a half. Only took me that long cause I have 3 children a husband and work a full time job! It was very inspiring. Thank you for your honesty and for putting this out there for everyone!!!


Petrina June 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Afriware books and gifts in oakpark.. interested in doing booksigning.. possible to get review copy.. ? please email me at petrina@afriware.net.. looking foward to meeting and working with you..congrats!!
Best Regards


cab July 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Loved your book! I’m recommending that my daughter read it…she can’t stop shopping! She’s getting ready to move away to college and needs some guidance in her spending habits.


tiffany October 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

That was a wonderful book. It really has me thinking about my own situation with both my job and the invisible book I have yet to start on. But great job. I still can’t go two days without spending, so I don’t think I have made it that far yet.


loudlibrarian01 December 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I just loved your book! I read it because I too am a frugalista and was inspired. What a surprise to get all the wonderful background about social journalism. I am a high school journalism teacher and your book just validated so much of what I teach in my class. Thanks again!!


La'Kesha August 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I know I am late, but I just finished reading the book. I got it from the library in true frugalista style b/c I am on a tight budget. I first heard about Natalie and this book last year on Wealthy Lifestyle Radio with Deborah Owens on Morgan State University’s WEAA (shameless alumni pride!). I even called in to make a comment about how a cut in my pay & a garnishment thanks to co-signing for a relative (no good deed…); had left me strapped and drastically altering my lifestyle. The best take away from the book is that being a frugalista is a lifestyle. Even when I am earning more there is no reason to be promiscuous with my hard earned money. I am still recovering, but my garnishment is done, I got a sizable raise & I am starting a part time in September to earn an extra $1,200/month. This book and movement (I hope that’s not too dramatic) is just what the young, fly and broke need. I am going to start my no buy month in September. Thanks Natalie.


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