Reviewed by Vera (Luxury Reading)

Miami Herald reporter Natalie McNeal was enjoying the lifestyle of the young and hip when she realized that she was $20,000 in debt. To make matters worse, she had no idea how she got there. Her mani/pedis, regular take outs and shopping sprees ballooned her credit card balance, and Natalie had nothing tangible to show for it.

Desperate to make a change, Natalie confessed to be a “spending slut” and began a blog titled The Frugalista Files to chronicle her journey out of debt. Initially, she committed to a month of no spending. Before long, she had a following and a month-long experiment evolved into a new lifestyle and an occupation.

The Frugalista Files is written in a diary format, with Natalie’s shrinking debt balance preceding each chapter, or month. Natalie does not preach complete abstinence from spending, but rather a fashionable lifestyle on a budget. For example, she took to styling her own hair, while still visiting a salon for more complicated treatments. She attended social events, but often limited herself to one drink to save money and to prevent alcohol-induced food binges.

Living frugally is all the rage these days, and new books on the topic are popping up all the time. While I appreciated Natalie’s message, her book lacked in substance and offered little guidance to someone wanting to follow her example.

Although I expected informal writing due to the diary format, the abundance of exclamation marks, LOLs and other cutesy remarks was distracting. In addition, while The Frugalista Files is touted as “your ultimate guide to living the Frugalista lifestlye”, it should not be mistaken for a how-to book. In reality, the frugal tips that Natalie does provide are few and far between, and will be common sense for most readers.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Harlequin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.