Mar 092018

Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperBusiness (March 6, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062668137
ISBN-13: 978-0062668134

The deeply personal story of how award-winning personal finance blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced frugality to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life, and retire to a homestead in the Vermont woods at age thirty-two with her husband and daughter.

In 2014, Elizabeth and Nate Thames were conventional 9-5 young urban professionals. But the couple had a dream to become modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont. Determined to retire as early as possible in order to start living each day—as opposed to wishing time away working for the weekends—they enacted a plan to save an enormous amount of money: well over seventy percent of their joint take home pay. Dubbing themselves the Frugalwoods, Elizabeth began documenting their unconventional frugality and the resulting wholesale lifestyle transformation on their eponymous blog.

In less than three years, Elizabeth and Nate reached their goal. Today, they are financially independent and living out their dream on a sixty-six-acre homestead in the woods of rural Vermont with their young daughter. While frugality makes their lifestyle possible, it’s also what brings them peace and genuine happiness. They don’t stress out about impressing people with their material possessions, buying the latest gadgets, or keeping up with any Joneses. In the process, Elizabeth discovered the self-confidence and liberation that stems from disavowing our culture’s promise that we can buy our way to “the good life.” Elizabeth unlocked the freedom of a life no longer beholden to the clarion call to consume ever-more products at ever-higher sums.

Meet the Frugalwoods is the intriguing story of how Elizabeth and Nate realized that the mainstream path wasn’t for them, crafted a lifestyle of sustainable frugality, and reached financial independence at age thirty-two. While not everyone wants to live in the woods, or quit their jobs, many of us want to have more control over our time and money and lead more meaningful, simplified lives. Following their advice, you too can live your best life.

This a great book for anyone wanting financial independence or anyone who is interested in the subject. Told with a bit of humor, you learn how Elizabeth and Nate reached financial independence in three years. She gives some pretty good ideas of how to achieve that goal, and they all sound really doable.

For me, I’d like to be financially independent, but I really want to live a life of less. Less stuff, only have what I need and a few things that make me happy. I really only want a bookcase or two of my favorite can’t get rid of books, a few lighthouse pictures on the walls, and of course my favorite kitchen gadgets. I’m done with having stuff that I really don’t need. I want to down size. I need to down size. I think that will make me so much more content.

Then, because I’m not buying everything that catches my eye, I won’t be spending money on things I don’t really need. You know what I’m talking about. Those things you see in a store and think you just have to have. You take it home and ooh and aah over it for a few days and  then it loses it’s thrill and just sits there, abandoned.

I’ve often thought of how rich we’d be if we’d just not bought so much. We’d have a whole lot more in our savings account for sure.

This book should be a must read for high schools or college. There’s an old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness”. But I think money can buy you more happiness than stuff you paid money for that is sitting forgotten around your house. I’d much rather take more vacations than I would like to have “stuff”.

Counts toward the following challenges:


 Posted by at 1:03 AM

  23 Responses to “Book Review:
Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames”

  1. I’ve seen their blog and was curious about their book. There’s a lot to be said for their level of frugality. I’m not sure I want my husband cutting my hair, but I could certainly do with a lot less (albeit cool) stuff.

    • I agree with you about cutting your hair. I can’t seem to find a professional who can cut my hair the exact way I ask them to, so a family member or friend with no training would be a definite no.

  2. My mom is very frugal and we are to some extent. I’m not sure I want to be that frugal, though. Still, the book sounds interesting.

  3. I add this to my hold list the other day. Or maybe I recommended that the library buy it. I can’t recall but it looks very interesting. I love the idea of living simply but my teen kids complicate that desire. They have the “wants” big time and all of their activities are expensive, it seems.

  4. I sure agree with you about not buying things on a whim. If I can make myself wait a week and then revisit the idea of purchasing something I find I don’t need it or don’t want it anymore. My savings would be much fatter if I had that advice decades ago.

  5. Excellent review, Vicki! This book sound interesting and informative. I like the idea of simple living, and of using the things that I have. But, I also like to decorate, and to enjoy my surroundings.

  6. I’ve recently started to try to live a more minimalist life, particularly in the way I decorate and the things I keep. It’s a challenge but it feels great! This book sounds like it would be a great way to inspire me to keep going!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  7. I heard about them on a radio interview a few years back. They were talking about their goals. Looks like writing a book about it was one of them. It could be interesting reading about their chosen lifestyle.

  8. Looks great.
    Even I wanna downsize. But, it’s really tough…

    • It is tough to get rid of things that you’ve loved for a long time, but for me it’s worth it in the end because I really want to minimize what I have in my home once we move.

  9. It’s very hard to have simple life these days…

  10. Definitely sounds like an interesting story! I try as hard as I can to not make frivolous purchases, but it can be hard. We have so much stuff that doesn’t get used, or hardly ever, and that’s so much money we could have saved (although, my in-laws buy my husband lots of stuff he doesn’t need, which also causes clutter).

    I can’t imagine saving enough in three years to be able to retire, and especially to be able to retire at 32. I’m interested to see how they did it.

    • Saving enough to retire in three years at age 32 does sound hard. I wish I hadn’t bought whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I could have done without many of the things I bought. I’m at the point now where I would rather go on trips and do fun things with family and not buy things that just hang on a wall/table or sit on a shelf or in a cabinet.

  11. I really enjoyed this too! I’d also like to have less stuff and I have to say, living in an apartment in California has helped. There’s so little extra storage space, I’m much more motivated to get rid of stuff!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.