Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames is one that you either love or hate.

The haters write it off as “rich people telling you how to save money.” The idea that this couple with several thousand dollars a month in rental income and substantial savings from great upper-class jobs preaching to you how to scrimp and save is a bit ludicrous. What do they know about being financially challenged? They did not achieve their financial independence through simple living as the subtitle suggest. They achieved financial independence through hard word and THEN decided simple living was for them. (No, they weren’t a typical household even while building their nest egg – but to say simple living was the only key was a bit of a stretch.)

In fact, I think the whole reason people take issue with the book is that subtitle. It feels a bit misleading. They did so much more than simplified their lifestyle. They worked hard – they saved – they invested. Those important steps were glossed over or not even mentioned.

The good in this book however, is not that sermon, but the thinking about consuming less and saving more. Yes, if you have a huge plot of land on which you can farm, grow vegetables, raise chickens, compost etc., it makes it a TON easier. But, that doesn’t detract from the value of the things they have modified in their lifestyle to be more frugal and less impactful.

The book was short and entertaining. As I mentioned, it has some good info. I just couldn’t help thinking… and now, by sharing their common sense wisdom, albeit already holding a Golden Ticket, they are actually making more money selling the book. Good for them.

The most important lesson here is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what your circumstance. You have a book (or two) in you.

by Chris Doelle