Friday, April 1, 2011

The Frugalista Files, by Natalie McNeal

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous LifeThis was a fun look at how Natalie McNeal- an underemployed journalist with $20,000 in debt- took control of every aspect of her life, and turned it around.

While this reminded me very much of Karyn Bosnak's hilarious Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back, Natalie's story is much more recent, and while the events of 9/11 were something of a factor in Bosnak's story, Natalie accrued her debt and career issues in the recent recession.

A relaxed, conversational tone kept the slim book feeling very friendly and informative, and even bits of rather obvious advice, such as changing to credit cards with lower interest rates seemed much more do-able with Natalie's chatty urgings.

While the book starts with a bang, and Natalie's first February of spending only on bills and food was a great beginning, the book lacked the drama of yet another shopping-withdrawal memoir, Judith Levine's Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, which took on that challenge for a year. However, that made Natalie's stuggles and achievements seem that much more relatable, and she never annoyed me as a reader, unlike Levine.

A sassy city girl's story of getting herself out of a rut and into the life she wants, this was a quick (one sitting!) and enjoyable if not life-changing read.

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