Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames | Audiobook ReviewMeet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames
Narrator: Ann Marie Gideon
Length: 5 Hours 41 Minutes
Published by HarperCollins on March 6, 2018
Genres: Business & Economics, Personal Finance, Budgeting, Retirement Planning, Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 256
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon

The deeply personal story of why award-winning personal finance blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced extreme frugality in order to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life and retire to a homestead in the 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.

Why Did I Listen To Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames?

I have read the Frugalwoods blog for years. You see, I like reading about personal finance and about being frugal. Do I believe that skipping a latte will make me set for retirement? No. However, I do think that cutting back in certain areas has provided me with a much better financial cushion. Anyways, I had been interested in Meet The Frugalwoods because I do really enjoy the blog. And well, the audiobook was my choice because I quite enjoy memoirs in audiobook format.

What’s It About?

So, Meet The Frugalwoods is all about when Elizabeth Willard Thames and her husband decide they want to leave their urban city lives, become financially independent, and move to the woods. Afterall, the woods are where Thames finds peace and refreshes her soul — at least based upon this book that was my impression. The book covers life in NYC living on an Americorps stipend, to moving in with her husband in Cambridge to them making the decision to move to Vermont. And well, the book is all about how frugal they were and the percentage of income they put away to achieve this life dream.

How Did I Like Meet The Frugalwoods?

I think I walked into Meet The Frugalwoods with my expectations managed. I did review quite a few reviews where people had felt duped because prior to moving to Vermont, Thames’s husband made an extremely high salary and then combined with the authors salary, the two were doing well financially. As I had already had this information going in, I didn’t feel lied to.

I also felt like this didn’t read as a “we did this, you should be able to do it too” type of personal finance book. What appealed to me was that Thames was very upfront about her different privileges in the book. She didn’t come off as giving that pull yourself up by your bootstraps advice. Instead, this was very, here’s what worked for us and why we wanted to be frugal and our goals. Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won’t. And well, I genuinely respect that.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook is narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. It is wicked short at 5 hours and 41 minutes. Gideon has a really likable and easy to listen to voice. I found myself listening to this audiobook in almost a single sitting. This is perfect for an audiobook read because it is easy to follow. I walked away feeling like I learned something. And well, I enjoyed reading Thames’s story of how she ended up moving from Cambridge, MA to Vermont.

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Hi April, so glad I came across your review and your site. I’ve known of and read the Frugalwoods blog but hadn’t realized there was a book.

    The privilege challenge comes up often around the FI “movement”.. It’s a fact that some have a head start. But the concepts and guidelines are helpful regardless of where we start. It’s when words like “independence” or “retire” come up that most folks tune out.

    Thanks, again, and keep up the great work!