Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Author/Business of Week: Natalie P. McNeal
A&RBC: Tell readers a little about yourself.
Natalie: I'm Natalie P. McNeal, author of The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life. I stayed just a little more than $20,000 worth of debt and had quite a ride doing it. I also created the blog, thefrugalista.com.
Frugalista is my superpower name. Some (really most) would call me a journalist, too.
A&RBC: What is the meaning behind Frugalista Files?
Natalie: A Frugalista is a frugal and fabulous woman who loves to live well but refuses to sacrifice her finances to do so. She believes she can have it all, on sale! I detailed the year in my life when I decided to become a Frugalista. I discuss the ups and downs of trying to manage my money during that time. After reading the book, I hope readers understand that they should work hard, save money and take a risk in life.
A&RBC: What inspired you to turn your blog into a full length memoir?
Natalie: A lot of my readers said that I should. I also wanted to tell my story. Blogging is great, but you can only share so much.
A&RBC: What are 4 benefits from living a Frugalista lifestyle?
Natalie: You gain confidence from managing your money well. You learn to be self sufficient. You learn to get the best deals on everything you buy. You have fun!
A&RBC: Do you believe you have achieved creating a brand for the Frugalista Files?
Natalie: Oh yes! People think of me as the "No-Buy Month" woman. I have a book and a blog. I have a brand.
A&RBC: What do you hope to accomplish as an author, journalist, and Frugalista in the next 4 years?
Natalie: As a journalist, I would like to manage managers. As an author, I would like for The Frugalista Files to have performed so well, that publishing houses would be beating down my door! As a Frugalista, I would like to take the brand onto television.
A&RBC: What advice would you give to a person wanting to budget and save for the future?
Natalie: I would start small. If you're not used to saving money, I say go a week without spending any extra cash. Yes, pay your bills, but don't dine out. Cook at home. Don't do any shopping and don't go to any nail or hair salons. I bet you notice that your bank account looks much better at the end of the week. Use that experience to find more ways to save money and to get used to having money in your account.
A&RBC: How has creating and developing the Frugalista Files changed you?
Natalie: Frugalista changed my life. When I created the blog, I was in debt and stuck in a dead-end job. The blog was supposed to be a one-month experiment of me trying to not spend any money for the month. After it launched, I discovered the power of the Internet to connect with people like me and people who could advise me in my situation. I kept it going.
Learning to manage my money has given me so much confidence. I've created a whole new career for myself. I have online skills as well as money management skills. Most journalists have had a hard time finding work in this economy. I have been blessed to find work.
A&RBC: The main question inquiring minds want to know is if you're still living a Frugalista lifestyle?
Natalie: Oh yes, I NEVER want to be in debt again. I paid off my car note and other debts. I still use the same car and will ride it until the wheels fall off. I set saving goals now, which I couldn't do while clawing out of debt. Being frugal is empowering.
A&RBC: What new projects are you working on?
Natalie: I'm shopping around the film rights for the book, now. Wish me luck!!!
A&RBC: Where can readers find you?
Natalie: You can find me online, always. Please follow me on twitter: @frugalista or join my facebook group. Of course, thefrugalista.com is my permanent home!
A&RBC: Authors & Readers Book Corner appreciates your time. We wish you much luck in turning an amazing book into a film. We will definitely by a ticket to see it on the big screen.
Natalie: Thank you for having me and I am glad you enjoyed by book.