Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Frugalista Files Review

The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal

Jacket Blurb:
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.

In The Frugalista Files Natalie McNeal tells us the story behind her successful "Frugalista" blog (and brand). McNeal has a very casual, friendly voice, and her story is delivered with an air of confidentiality, as from one girlfriend to another.

And, yes, McNeal's story isn't all that common. She begins as a "spending slut" with expensive tastes and a tendency towards retail therapy. Some of her problems may not seem all that troubling to a lot of readers, but part of the Harlequin brand is an aura of glamour and prestige, and McNeal is certainly all about cultivating that.

What could have been a very fluffy book about a woman growing up and learning to be responsible actual turns out to be quite inspiring. She has a real talent for making frugal living look good, and she delivers her story alongside some really solid saving tips.

All in all, while her bubbly voice and tendency for hyperbole may not be for everyone, McNeal means what she says, and what she says carries with it a surprising message of hope for these dark economic times. A cheerful, helpful read for those who feel overwhelmed by debt, and want a bit of friendly advice.

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