Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Frugalista Files

Title: The Frugalista Files
Natalie P. McNeal
How did I learned about this book? Several book blogs.
How long did it take to read it? A week.
Was it a hard read? Not at all.
Challenges: Outdo Yourself Challenge & Colorful Chick Lit Challenge

This was one of the first books I read this year.  I was supposed to be on this “Get my credit right” mission this year and when I came across this book, I thought “Great here is a blogger turned author who can help me get right!” 

Not the case…..

WARNING!!!  First and foremost it is not your typical personal finance book. This book is in no way a “how to” book.  Written as a journal, Ms. Neal started documenting her journey out of debt on her blog.  The first thing that came to mind was that it is a version of “Broke Girl Diaries” 10 years later!  I remember reading this book in college in my dorm laughing that this would never be me and a year after graduating, it was!!!  LOL!

We start with Ms. Neal introducing herself and her profession and how she got to the amount of debt she is currently at.  Like everyone else, she had an unrealistic view on how to manage her finances and was using credit cards for all kinds of ridiculous purchases.  For example, buying furniture and other things to make an apartment she had been living in for over 8 years look nice for a long distance beau who two months later was no longer in her life!  After realizing her problem, she decided to blog about her situation and use it as a way to hold herself accountable. 

Being that I am already a conscious about my debt and digging my way out of it, some of her tips, when she provided us with some, were common sense.  However I did like the whole “being a CFO with your personal finances”.  I have currently enacted a personal policy where I designate a day each week to spend towards my finances.

What I found some refreshing about the book is that this could be me in 3-5 years.  I am currently 28 and I pray that by the time I am 30, I am preparing to graduate law school, have a better job and basically debt free except for student loans and car loan.  I really hope that because I am so knowledgeable now of my debt, that I am not in my 30s going through what Ms. McNeal did.

Best quote from the book: I remember watching The Suze Orman Show on a Saturday night and she said that if you are less than 35 years old, do whatever it takes to pursue your passion to build your career.  Well if Suze said it, that’s what I am going to do!!!

I loved how candid she was and making me feel like I was one of her friends.  I wish I was one of her friends, they all have great careers!!  She could be anyone of my friends and that may be the reason I was so engross in the book.  It felt like the many conversations I have had over the years with my friends and Sorors.  She has really provided me with the motivation and inspiration I needed to get back on the ball with eliminating my debt.

One negative I can express is that because it was written as a journal, at times hearing her complain about her job got to be a little too much.  However it is understandable because I know that I hate (that’s such a strong word, but I cannot think of another one) my job and if I was writing in a journal, it would be full of entries of how I hate it.  When I think further, this book was about being frugal and about her blog.  I think I read more about “building the brand” than I did about tips on living a frugal life.

Ms. McNeal did not preach absolute absence from spending, but rather spending in moderation and within a budget.  She provided a very easy flow with the book and made it totally entertaining.  Even if you do not a debt problem, I would still recommend this book for an easy summer read.

Basically this book is for younger women who are not that verse in personal finance.

Would I buy it? No. 
Is it library worthy? Most definitely.

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