I’m starting something new, people! I love helping folks with their money, so I’m going to do more of it. Starting today, you can schedule a one-on-one Private Reader Case Study with me. These consultations will bear a striking resemblance to my on-the-blog Reader Case Studies, but will be confidential, will include a phone/video call, and will cost money. If you don’t want to read any more of my blathering and just want to sign-up, go here.If you want to refer a friend to me, send them here.

Why Are You Doing This?

  1. I love helping people with their money!
  2. I receive so many applications for on-the-blog Case Studies that I’ll never be able to publish them all.
  3. I receive lots of requests for private Reader Case Studies from folks who do not want their information shared publicly on the internetz.
  4. I already do one-on-one financial consultation sessions with friends and family and I want to offer them to Frugalwoods readers too. I really enjoy getting to know people and working with them on an individual basis.

If You Love Doing This So Much, Why are you Charging for It?

Because my time is valuable and limited. 

I was so stressed to share that I’ll be charging money for this that I sweated through my dress. Takes a special kind of person to sweat through their clothing while working from home with no actual stress. Then I went for a hike, took a shower, drank three cups of tea and, even though the tea said “caffeine-free,” I am certain it contains trace amounts of caffeine because my palms are now sweating so badly that there will be typos as my fingers slosh across the keyboard. At any rate… know that I don’t take this lightly. But also know that my time is worth something–as is yours!

One of the reasons it’s so tough for me to charge money is because it’s somehow improper for women to charge money for their time because we’re supposed to do everything for free because our time isn’t valued and we’re supposed to want to help people and so… AHHHHHHH!!!!!! But if I’m honest with myself, I have something to offer and I am going to charge for it and also, the blog is free, has been free and will always be free.

Here are some of the things I offer for free:

  1. Terrible jokes.
  2. 690 Frugalwoods articles (as of this date), which are not peppered with ads, up-sells or scammy spam.
  3. The ongoing on-the-blog Reader Case Study series. There’ve been 85 Case Studies to date and there’s no end in sight.
  4. My Uber Frugal Month Challenge.
  5. My book (which is free if you check it out from your local library).

I also offer honesty. And in the interest of honesty, I will tell you that if you’re a loyal Frugalwoods reader, if you’ve taken the Uber Frugal Month Challenge, if you implement the advice I share in the Reader Case Studies, then you very, very, very likely do not need to hire me because:

  • You have a structured plan for paying down your debt.
  • You’ve set savings goals.
  • You’re maxing out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts and you’re on track for retirement given your age and projected retirement date.
  • You know what an emergency fund is and yours is fully stocked.
  • Your cash is consolidated into a high-interest savings account.
  • You have a taxable investment account, or you know when you’ll get one.
  • You know if/how you’re going to pay for your kids’ college.
  • And other things I can’t think of right now…

I’m not holding back some special secret sauce only for Private Reader Case Studies. There is no “one weird trick” that’ll only be available to people who hire me. It’s all on the blog and in my book. The difference is that with a Private Reader Case Study, I’ll tailor my advice specifically to your situation and will directly answer your questions. Plus, we’ll get to talk on the phone!

Is This Open to Non-Frugalwoods Readers?

Yes indeed! No previous Frugalwoods knowledge required. My hope is that if you are a longtime reader who doesn’t need to hire me, you might consider sharing my Private Reader Case Study opportunity with someone in your life who you think might need me.

I made this page especially for non-Frugalwoods readers. Feel free to send them there if you think they might be interested.

How Much Will This Cost?

After much deliberation, I decided to create three levels for Private Case Studies. Over my eight years of writing Frugalwoods, I’ve received countless emails from readers requesting to schedule a call with me, asking for my advice, or applying to be a Reader Case Study subject. In an effort to respond to these many and varied requests, here’s what I came up with:

$250: One-hour phone/video call

This is a not a Private Case Study; it’s a conversation. You won’t fill out any worksheets, I won’t write a financial plan for you, you won’t submit information to me ahead of time and I won’t send you anything after our call.

This is designed for folks who want to:

  • Generally discuss their finances with the knowledge that I cannot provide specific financial advice within the confines of an hourlong call.
  • Ask questions related to my other areas of expertise, including: how to start a blog, how to write a book, rural living, parenting, homesteading, what it’s like to be FIRE, etc. These are topics folks ask me about often, so I’m including this as an option.

Here’s the process:

  • Go here to schedule a call with me.

Here’s what you’ll receive:

  • One hour of my undivided attention via phone or video, whichever you prefer.

$1,500: Basic Private Reader Case Study (you do the paperwork):

In this tier you’ll receive a complete Private Reader Case Study, resulting in a written financial plan and a 90 minute phone/video call with me. You’ll be responsible for collecting your own data and filling out several worksheets detailing your full financial picture.

Here’s the process:

  • Go here to sign-up.
  • You’ll book your 90 minute call now, although it’ll be about a month in the future since you need time to…
  • …fill out the worksheets I send you (and I need time to research and write your plan!)
  • You’ll complete the worksheets and email them back to me.
  • I’ll email you your complete financial plan.
  • We’ll have a phone/video call to review and discuss your financial plan.
  • You will go forth and confidently manage your money!

Here’s what you’ll receive:

  • Full Financial Plan: You’ll receive a written financial plan similar to what you see in the “Liz Frugalwoods’ Recommendations” section of my on-the-blog Reader Case Studies
    • My analysis will include in-depth feedback and advice about your entire financial picture, your short and long term goals, where you want to be in 10 years (regarding your career, lifestyle, finances), as well as answers to your specific questions.
    • I’ll conclude with a summary of concrete next steps for you to take.
  • 90 minute Phone Consultation Session: A week or so after you receive my written analysis, we’ll have a 90 minute call via video or audio (whatever you’re most comfortable with).
    • We’ll address your questions about my recommendations and chat more generally about where you’re headed financially and what future steps you can take. It’ll be your chance to ask me any and every question you can think of!
    • We’ll work collaboratively during this call to ensure you’re comfortable with your immediate next steps as well as your future goals.

$3,000: Premium Private Reader Case Study (I do the paperwork for you):

In this tier, we’ll have four phone/video calls and I will help you gather all of your data and financial information. This is for folks who know they need to get a better handle on their money, but feel overwhelmed at the prospect of filling out spreadsheets and documents detailing every aspect of their finances.

Here’s the process:

  • Go here to sign-up.
  • You’ll schedule your first call now. We’ll schedule our other three calls based on the date of our first meeting.
  • I’ll take care of all the paperwork for you.
  • After our second call, you’ll receive your written financial plan and we’ll have a third call to review/discuss.
  • We’ll have a check-in call three months after you receive your full financial plan.
  • You will go forth and confidently manage your money!

Here’s what you’ll receive:

  • Full Financial Plan: You’ll receive a written financial plan similar to what you see in the “Liz Frugalwoods’ Recommendations” section of my on-the-blog Reader Case Studies.
    • My analysis will include in-depth feedback and advice about your entire financial picture, your short and long term goals, where you want to be in 10 years (regarding your career, lifestyle, finances), as well as answers to your specific questions.
    • I’ll conclude with a summary of concrete next steps for you to take.
  • Four Phone Consultation Sessions to guide you through the process of collecting your financial information:
    1. In our first meeting, we’ll discuss your goals, what you hope to get from our sessions, why you’re seeking advice, your lifestyle, how you like to spend your time, what you view as your financial strengths and weaknesses, and more.
    2. Our second meeting is a financial deep dive. I’ll create a workbook of everything in your life related to money.
    3. During our third meeting, we’ll review your full financial plan and address questions you have about my recommendations. We’ll discuss where you’re headed financially and what future steps you can take.
    4. Our fourth conversation, which takes place three months later, is a check-in on how you’re feeling about implementing the action items outlined in your financial plan. We’ll work collaboratively to ensure you’re comfortable with your immediate next financial steps as well as your future goals.

How To Register For A Private Case Study:

  • Go here to register and schedule with me.
  • Since I invest a great deal of time and research into every Case Study, I’ll only be able to offer a limited number of Private Reader Case Studies each month.
  • I will do my best to accommodate everyone who applies.

Private Reader Case Studies = Holistic Money Coaching

Our financial lives are not separate from any other part of our lives. How we use our money is inextricably linked to our options and ultimately, dictates the type of life we’ll lead. I don’t believe in looking solely at someone’s expenses or income or assets in order to offer financial advice. Instead, I believe in looking at the holistic picture a person paints of their life, where they want to be in the future, what stresses them out, what brings them joy and how money plays a role in all of that.

Money is terrifying for a lot of people and many of us don’t know where to start.

We have a sinking feeling that we should be doing SOMETHING about our savings, our debt, our investments and 401ks (wait, what are those again?!?), and we break into a cold sweat. In this panicked state, we shakily scroll over to our bank account–realize it’s worse than we thought–close the tab and resolve to do something (but what?!) about it tomorrow. Or maybe next week. Or… next year.

Ignorance is never the bliss we think it’ll be and ignoring your money only makes problems worse. This is where I come in and this is why I do Reader Case Studies and why I want to offer Private Case Studies. I demystify personal finance and break it down into manageable steps. I explain where to start and where to go in a straightforward way. I am anti-jargon and anti-judgment. 

I talk about money the way I talk about everything else in life because that’s all money is: one more thing in our lives that we need to manage, but that doesn’t have to be frightening, guilt-inducing, shameful or complicated.

Are Private Case Studies Open to Non-US Readers?

Absolutely! The caveat for non-US readers is that I’m unable to offer detailed advice on retirement plans and investments since my knowledge in those areas is limited to the US. Additionally, you will need to convert all of your financial information into US dollars. I’ve had numerous Case Study participants from other countries; you can check out the below to get a sense for how my advice differs for non-US readers:

Private Case Studies Are Not For Everyone

Yep, that’s right. I don’t want to waste your time, my time, or your money, so I want to be clear about who I can help. Since I’m not a financial professional, there are areas of finance I’m not well versed in and cannot help with. If you’re not familiar with my Reader Case Study series, I encourage you to read through several of those before deciding if a Private Case Study is right for you.

Private Case Studies are NOT for people with questions about:

  • Detailed business accounting practices
  • Complex tax-advantaged early retirement strategies (beyond the norm)
  • In-depth travel hacking
  • Crypto, dividend investing, or any other unusual investing avenue
  • Real estate investing (beyond the basics)

Private Case Studies ARE for people with questions about:

  • Understanding your full financial picture, your asset allocation (fancy term for “how you use your money”), and how you should structure your financial goals for the future.
  • Budgeting.
  • Debt repayment strategies and how to balance that with savings and investment goals.
  • How to save more money every month (even with pets! or kids! or pets AND kids!).
  • Career changes/going back to school/re-locating/relationship challenges/life after divorce.
  • Coping with expensive family obligations/expectations.
  • How to align your spending with your short and long-term goals.
  • Saving for retirement (both early and traditional).
  • How to balance raising a family while staying focused on your own career aspirations and retirement plans.
  • Creative solutions to managing your time.
  • Figuring out where your passions and your ability to earn an income line up.
  • Ideas for increasing your income.
  • Pursuing FIRE (financial independence, retire early).
  • Renting vs. buying a home.
  • …other stuff too!

I hope this helps illuminate the type of coaching I’m able to offer. If you’re unsure if I’ll be able to help you, feel free to email me (liz@frugalwoods.com) and I’ll let you know what I think.

“How Dare You, Mrs. Frugalwoods!”

I know some people will be mad at me for charging money for Private Case Studies because we all have emotional responses to money. And that’s ok. You can be mad. If you are mad, it probably means a Private Case Study isn’t for you. And that’s ok. We all need different levels of help with our money and for some folks, reading blog articles and books will set them on the right path. For others, hiring a financial advisor is best. Still other people find value in participating in a Reader Case Study. And for other folks, a Private Case Study will most precisely meet their needs.

Just as some of us prefer to exercise in a group while others can only imagine a solo workout, how we decide to tackle our financial life is a personal decision. You don’t need to justify your choices to anyone else and none of us needs to criticize another person’s approach. There is no one right way to manage your money and I am not in the business of judging people for the choices they make. Please don’t put yourself in that business either. There’s enough other business for all of us to do. Such as opening a gourmet doughnut shop in my town… I feel that someone should put themself in that business…

Will The Free Monthly Blog Case Study Series Continue?

Absolutely! Private Case Studies are additive and won’t replace the monthly Reader Case Study series

Why Am I Launching This Program?

When I started Frugalwoods more than eight years ago, it was an outlet to share my nascent journey to financial competence and eventually, financial independence. At the outset, I couldn’t imagine something like a Reader Case Study series because I was mired in figuring out my own financial life and longterm goals. Over time, as I achieved the goals I set for myself and became more confident about the insights I can offer, my role at Frugalwoods shifted.

While I still share deeply personal accounts of my daily life on the homestead with my husband and our two young daughters, I feel called to expand the support I offer to people looking for financial guidance. Over the years, hundreds (thousands?) of you have taken me into your confidence. You’ve shared intimate details about your debts, your fears, your failing marriages, your infertility battles, your tortured relationships with family members, your frustration with your jobs, your concerns about where you live.

You’ve also shared your triumphs: new jobs, marriages, babies, new houses, graduations, debt pay-off dates, amicable divorces, treatment for depression, the joy of adopting a new pet. Every day my inbox has photos or notes from readers highlighting one of those achievements with thanks for the help I offer through Frugalwoods. Those are my favorite moments.

The privilege of being part of your lives and helping you identify goals and financial strategies is the reason why I started Frugalwoods. There is NOTHING* I love more than helping people manage their money and figure out a way to create the life they want to live. I acknowledge this is a weird passion, but I can’t deny that it’s what I love.

*Ok, you got me, I love my children and husband more. Maybe also coffee…

Testimonials from Past Case Study Participants

Since I haven’t done any Private Case Studies yet, I don’t have any testimonials about them. What I do have are testimonials from past on-the-blog Reader Case Study participants. While Private Case Studies will be a different experience, the core idea remains the same and I hope these testimonials shed some light on the process.

From Jana of Reader Case Study: Inside A Financial Circus (No, Really, The Finances Of An Actual Circus!):

I’m deeply grateful for my experience as a reader case study subject for Mrs. Frugalwoods. With her advice, I’ve managed to up my savings, increase my income, and decrease my spending. I appreciate all the encouragement and the kick in the butt I needed to make some serious changes in my life.

I love how Liz was able to take in my situation and help me prioritize my goals. I cannot say enough how useful it is to have a big picture thinker like Mrs. Frugalwoods take a look at my financial picture and make sense of it from her perspective.

Thanks to Liz, I’m on track to ramp up my retirement savings and investments. I knew I could trust her to provide positive encouragement and honest feedback on my financial situation.

Our experience as reader case study subjects was invaluable and her encouraging words kept us motivated to make some simple changes in order to make progress towards our goals.

From Lucy of Reader Case Study: At Age 57, It’s Not Over Yet!:

When I requested doing a case study with Ms. Frugalwoods I was 57, divorced for ten years, an empty nester with questions about what to do next with my life and career and finances. I wanted to be in a long term mutually supportive and happy relationship but online dating had not proved fruitful. The process of participating in the Case Study–outlining my goals for finances, career and lifestyle, assembling the financial information and submitting it for Ms. Frugalwoods’ analysis and recommendations–was illuminating and rewarding. Honestly just sitting down and truly considering what my goals were, what I value and what needed to happen to make progress was valuable in itself.

Shortly after submitting my case study information in 2017, I met a wonderful widower online! We are engaged to be married this June. The case study gave me the confidence that I could live within my means and achieve my goals with certain changes…

I am more fiscally attentive to the everyday expenses of life (I’ve had to be) and the increased confidence I developed through the process of doing the case study has allowed me to ask for things like biweekly conversations about finances and goals (romantic eh?!).  I would not have had this confidence otherwise

For me the main benefits of the Case Study have been to clarify my life goals and to discover more options than I had imagined and finally, to give me the confidence that living frugally and within my means is something I can be proud of (in a quiet, nonjudgmental way of course!).

I regularly read Mrs. Frugalwoods and her positive approach to people and their financial dilemmas, as well as her honesty and humor, distinguish her from other bloggers. Opening up about one’s finances and dreams and goals is a vulnerable process and more than once when I was working on my case study I thought about backing out. It felt too risky. I am so happy that I didn’t.

Having Mrs. Frugalwoods’ thoughtful attention and nonjudgmental and encouraging advice gave me the courage and confidence to consider options I would not have otherwise. I felt stronger as a woman, more empowered from the process, and in a place financially and emotionally to welcome a partner and a whole new adventure in this phase of life. Turns out it wasn’t too late, in fact it’s the beginning of a whole new chapter.

From Lauren of Reader Case Study: Single Psychologist Saving In NYC:

I read Ms. Frugalwoods’ case studies each month religiously and was thrilled to be featured as one. The opportunity to get advice from someone who eschewed consumerism to create lasting financial security was very exciting, and I was not disappointed. I have many unknowns in my life, leaving me unsure how to best plan for the future.

Perhaps the most important advice I received was to not focus on buying an apartment just yet, as I do not know whether I would be in it for the next 5 years… I didn’t realize I would need to account so much for closing costs and monthly maintenance fees (huge in NY), which make buying impractical unless it is for the long-term.

Ms. Frugalwoods provided invaluable guidance, encouragement, and actionable steps to work toward the future I want. She recognizes that everyone’s situations and values are different, and is never condescending or preachy.

I wish that everyone could become a case study, it would undoubtedly improve their lives!

From Emily of Reader Case Study: The Grad School Dilemma:

My Reader Case Study happened at a pivotal time in my life, as I’m sure it feels for many case study participants! The best thing to come out of my case study was Mrs. Frugalwoods’ confidence that I was on the right track and that my money mindset would open doors for me.
Her assessment of my situation was that I was thinking about my finances and my larger life picture in the best way I could for making sure I had choice over what my future looked like. A lot of this was because I had absorbed so much of her blog and so my financial mindset matched hers in many ways. But her reassurance that I was making good choices and looking at things in a smart way is something I still carry with me.
It almost feels like Mrs. Frugalwoods is in my corner, which strengthens my ability to make the tradeoffs I need to make. I also appreciated Mrs. Frugalwoods’ advice that I don’t need to race to buy a home just for the financial benefits, if I’m not sure I want to be a home-owner. This freed me up to detach home ownership from adulthood, which is certainly healthy in a high cost of living place like DC.

From Florence of Reader Case Study: We Have A Van, Now We Need A Plan!:

Our reader case study was super helpful in opening our eyes to the possibilities to work with what we already have, and helping us see the pros and cons to packing it all up and leaving for a year to travel. Right after our case study, we were able to use tips and ideas from the study itself (such as using our van for our weekend trips and mostly camping for fun, to avoid spending money on trips!) to continue to save and even save some more than we were before.

It gave us renewed vigor for our savings plans and helped us keep the goal in sight.

…the tips and advice from the Case Study have helped us to frame questions about our financial future in a way where we can look at the bigger picture, and always keep saving and examining if we are spending money on what we truly value in the forefront.

I think the case studies go beyond just helping you figure out what you want to do at a particular juncture in life, but give you the tools you need to face financial decisions together while keeping your values in mind.

From Sam of Reader Case Study: Debt And Dreams In Queensland, Australia:

First I would just like to say how difficult it was to swallow our pride, and reach out to the Frugalwoods community for advice, especially when all of our friends live the same way we do, attempting to choose a contrary lifestyle was pretty scary.

We consolidated our debts onto a 0% interest credit card for 16 months, cut up the card, set up a direct debit plan and cut our living expenses back to the bare essentials. We recently put a tax return straight on that credit card, and I am so proud to say that we are now debt free for the first time in our adult lives!!!!!!! As an added bonus, when we spoke to friends about not wanting to go out and spend money on entertaining, they were so relieved as they too had been feeling the financial pressure.

Amazingly, our social life is better than it has ever been and costs about $10 a week on average. We are now setting up to invest the extra money we aren’t using to pay off debt, to make extra payments into our superannuation accounts for retirement, and also our new goal is to have 6 months worth of income in the bank. We have cancelled the credit card as it is too much of a temptation to use.

Thank you so much! Your fabulous and fantastic Frugalwoods group has completely changed our lives, we are so much happier, and we have so much more enjoyable quality time as a family together, without spending. The stress of being in debt is now non-existent in our lives. Just had our first debt free Christmas in forever and doing that Case Study literally changed our lives so I hope it can do the same for others.

From Payton of Reader Case Study: Should We Buy A Campground And Laundromat?:

Doing a case study was a great way to get us thinking differently about our money, in all aspects. We didn’t ask about our retirement accounts (as we thought we were doing fine) but were given advice that made us realize we should really take time to evaluate that area of our finances. We have researched this subject a ton since and took control of these accounts instead of staying on autopilot. We also made a huge increase from the bare minimum contributing percentage. We are so thankful for doing the case study and how it opened our eyes to our own life!

From Jack & Elizabeth of Reader Case Study: Can We Buy Our Dream Home?:

Working with Mrs. Frugalwoods was such a sweet and enlightening experience… The thoughtful feedback and exterior “unbiased” perspective on our unique situation was by far my favorite part of the experience and really opened our eyes to a lot of angles we had been overlooking. Our lives have certainly been streamlined and optimized through this whole experience. It feels quite wonderful, looking back over the last two years since we first reached out, to see how our outlooks and decisions continue to be influenced by all the deep thought and recommendations offered up by Mrs. F and her commenters.

Through all of this thoughtful feedback and array of wonderful recommendations, we’ve been able to completely overhaul our lives (not just finances) and become better siblings, daughters/sons, (now Aunt & Uncle!), friends, and community members because of the team environment Mrs. Frugalwoods generated.

She helped us avoid buying too much house, optimize our spending and cashflow, and ultimately save over $36,000 in various investment accounts. This money would have otherwise gone into additional mortgage payments as was our original plan when we first wrote Mrs. F. In addition to that, the added flexibility of less mortgage commitment has allowed us to continue exploring the US via road trips and taking part in other family getaways. It really has been a game changer and we are so very thankful for the help.

We would absolutely recommend this experience to others! I can’t believe we were lucky enough to be a part of her case study series. The Safe Space Mrs. F. created for us to share these very intimate thoughts, questions and numbers (with the internet of all places) was very well curated and cared for.

The amount of impact you and your FW community have had on our two lives has gone on to influence, change and otherwise benefit dozens – if not hundreds – of lives across our community as we continue to grow businesses and help local startups / nonprofits thrive in our little hometown. That is an intangible luxury we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for you helping us see things from a different angle. It’s a better place for us to be than sitting on a hill in a fancy house dreading the postman delivering bigger bills.

That’s a really longwinded thank you, but I felt like you definitely deserved it. From the bottom of our hearts, we can’t express our gratitude. Our lives will never be quite the same and that’s such a wonderful feeling!

You can sign-up for a Private Reader Case Study here, schedule an hourlong call with me here, refer a friend to me here, or email me with questions (liz@frugalwoods.com).

What questions do you have about Private Reader Case Studies?

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  1. GOOD FOR YOU, Mrs FW! Absolutely your time is worth something. I hope that it is a success for all involved – I’m sure those spots are going to be snapped up (and a great gift for the non-FW readers in my life)…

  2. You’re apologising way too much. Exchanging time for money is an age old practice and most of us wouldn’t be able to pay the bills without it. Some people are plumbers. Some are cooks. Or mechanics. Or bankers. Or whatever. It’s just the way the world works. Relax. You’re not forcing anyone to sign up! Everyone gets to use their skills to make a living. That’s how it works. 🙂

  3. Good on you. You have expertise that you have invested time in acquiring. It is fair for you to charge for it. As to your prices, you know what your time is worth. And you will either get a lot of business, some business, or no business. And all of these are okay. Good luck on this side gig.

  4. It is so great that you are doing this! I’m sure many people would love to get advice but prefer not to do it on such a public platform.

  5. Wonderful news. What a great idea for you. All the best in this new venture that you will be able to make fit around the life you have built with your family. I’ve been following since the child-free Frugalhound days in Boston and love reading the updates from your beautiful part of the world.

  6. Girl, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! And as a counselor, I get the weirdness of charging for help, particularly from talking. Especially when you know all this stuff so well it probably feels like everyone does. Spoiler alert: they don’t! You have a skill! The right people will come to you. You have put SO much helpful content into the internetverse for free and this is a perfect next step. I will keep this in mind for friends and family and will be happy to send people your waym

  7. This is a fantastic service that is very valuable to those that sign up. Your time is absolutely worth every penny, no need to apologize for it!

  8. Get. Paid. Your time and wisdom is so valuable, and I am so glad you’re offering these opportunities. I kinda want to book a one hour session just to talk about how awesome Foam and other Vermont breweries are. I agree that these sessions would make great gifts for loved ones who are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with their finances.

    1. Thank you! And absolutely feel free to book a call to discuss breweries–pretty sure I could talk about that alllll day long 😉

    2. This is a fantastic idea and the perfect gift for a graduation, engagement, new job, baby shower, etc. Also, it’d be an incredibly helpful gift someone who has lost a loved one, been laid off, etc.

      1. Good idea. You may want to double check the rules before offering advice to readers in the UK, I’m not sure if the requirement to be registered as an FA with the FCA will apply.

  9. I think this is great! I’ve often thought that there needs to be formal help for those who don’t want a “financial advisor” and this service fills that need. Go Mrs FW!

  10. Yep! Stop apologizing. It’s great you’re doing this. There is so much you provide to all of us for free, this is an awesome service for those who want some one-on-one time. You go girl!

  11. Hi Mrs. Frugalwoods! This makes so much sense for you (and for your audience)—congratulations on taking that big scary leap and putting the word out! I also commend you on setting the boundary that you will not let other people’s opinions of this change impact. When you set a boundary publicly like that, it reminds the rest of us that we have the power to set boundaries too, so thank you!
    I particularly loved the testimonials from past Case Studies, reading the updates to see how people’s lives have changed is always my favorite part 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Jenny!! I really needed to get over myself and put this out there, so I appreciate the kind words 🙂

  12. No need to apologize! Wouldn’t you give this advice to somebody else—if you have a talent, and other people want to purchase your time to use your talent, you have a win/win situation. Do not feel guilty for charging money to do something you love to do! I do it every day when I walk in my office at work😄

  13. I have followed you and your sound advise for years. You deserve some financial gain for all the times you have helped others ! You have a set of skills that are needed. I have benefited greatly from your advise.

  14. So excited for you that you’re doing this and I 100% agree with your other readers – no need to apologize but o love that you’re sharing what you’re feeling. I’m also excited for me – I’ve always wanted to do a reader case study with you – but not the rest of the world. I am in!

  15. Mrs. FW I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for many years and think this is is a wonderful idea. I am currently in the boring middle part of implementing my plan to semi-retire in a few years. I use your case studies as inspiration to keep me going.

  16. That is an amazing price for a lifetime of good habits and financial well being. I am sure all your clients will feel it is a valuable investment for their future!!

  17. Good for you. You have the knowledge and skill to help others. You love what you do and are created for it. God created you for this. Do not apologize for charging money. No man would. This culture and society conditioning us negatively. Ugh

  18. I have to echo what many have said, stop being so defensive about charging for work. Work is what people do to make money, and if you have a skill, then you would be bonkers to not charge for your time. This may sound harsh, but perhaps you should examine why you sweated through your clothing at the thought of what people might think of you for wanting to be paid for valuable work. Be proud of your skills, your experience, and set an example for all women but especially your two girls that women have every right to earn a living on par with a man. Good for you for taking this step and good luck to you! I hope you are very successful. And as a fellow KU grad, Rock Chalk Forever!

      1. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s book, “Ask for It” has been helpful for me personally as well as a therapist and academic advisor. The authors discuss the process of salary & benefits negotiation, starting with how to explore and build confidence in our worth and the value of our work.

    1. Yep, we women are so apologetic for charging for work. And we tend to charge way less than we’re worth. As someone who helps women set up their businesses, I see this all the time, and it feels like you’re questioning your worth. You ARE worth it, and I’m deliriously happy you’re doing this. Yay to you (and pass it on to your little daughters, too!)

  19. You do a fantastic job, just wanted to say that there’s no need to hedge so much as you do about charging. You have every right to charge as everyone else does, and we already know you do tonnes for free.
    Stand by it, no apologies.
    From a fan

  20. I sometimes do similar consultations for friends and family in Maine, but I’ve never taken any money for it. Not because of guilt, but because I’m afraid to run afoul of the law, since I’m not licensed or registered to give financial advice. I’m sure you’ve looked into this issue. How do you structure your advice so that you’re not violating the laws in all the different places where your clients reside? Or are you registering with the state of Vermont, and that’s enough? Thanks for any insight, because this is the thing that keeps me from doing a similar (but local, not over the net) business. I don’t have the education or incentive to go through the licensing process, so is there a way to tailor money advice so that it is not strictly “financial” according to the law?

    1. Hi Ryan, this is a great question! I hired a lawyer to structure the business for me so that I’m certain I’m not running afoul of the law. I always encourage people to hire lawyers anytime there’s a legal question involved. Best of luck! I’m sure your friends and family are very grateful for your help!

  21. Love this!!! Not only should you get paid for the tremendous value you provide, people also value what they pay for! They are more likely to implement changes and stick with it if they have skin in the game.

    Thanks for setting a great precedent for women and creators everywhere! (And your daughters, of course 😉 )

  22. Hey Liz, my two cents: this is an INCREDIBLE value for the people that need personalized and approachable guidance.

    For readers out there who want to compare, look up how much financial advisors charge. They’ll give you advice, sure, but only if you sign your accounts for them to manage first. Whether they take a flat fee or a %, its going to be a LOT more than what the humble Mrs. FW charges.

    I am a big of fan of paid financial advice over financial management, which is about 95% of what is available. Paid advice is the . . . can I say it . . . more frugal option : )

    You do you, Mrs. FW. Its a value for those who need it and a service to FI community.

  23. You go girl! I even think your under pricing yourself & expertise. Great example for your daughters that your time is valuable.

  24. I think this is a great move for you. I am sure you will be swamped with takers! Best of luck and keep those case studies coming. I love to read them and the comments.

  25. As a money coach, I think that’s a great move to migrate the popular case study from a hobby to a business. Yeah, many people need help on how to manage money. It’s not only about money, but also about taking care of themselves and loved one. Good luck!

  26. You are not only charging for your time but for your intellectual property fined over years of walking the talk. This is absolutely worth charging for. You had a similar dilemma that I did when consulting and , I agree , this dilemma always seems worse for women. Obviously it should not !! Your advice could save someone much more than it costs them.

  27. Wonderful idea, Liz! I love that this option works for those who don’t want to be as public with their financial lives, or as a way for people to gift loved ones a bit of your wisdom! And thank you for keeping your blog ad-free and aesthetically beautiful all these years! You are one of the few writers to do so and your readers appreciate it!!

  28. I’m so glad you’re doing this. You more than deserve to be paid for the expertise and clear headed insight you can bring. If I had any wish in this at all it was that you didn’t have a moment hesitation about that. Sort of like raising children right, if you fully own any decision that you bring to them their acceptance and understanding and ability to also value themselves is so much greater. This is good.

  29. While I doubt I’ll be taking advantage of your service, I’m glad that you’re doing something to bring in some income. I think your clients are going to get a lot of value (and dare I say it? Love?) from your work.

    For the rest of you, the prices are quite good, considering what you have to gain through the years.

    And I’m a dad, therefore I haven’t seen a terrible joke yet on your site. But I do take notes and I’m sure my kids appreciate it when I repeat your jokes!

  30. Hi Liz! I am a long time reader and fan of the blog, and it has helped me so much in my journey!

    I am also, in my 9-5, a Financial Planning Specialist, and I am a little concerned for you. Are you a CFP? Are you Series 7 and/or 66 licensed? (If yes, you already know this, best wishes and no need to read forward!) If not, please, please be aware that the moment you begin charging money for offering financial and/or investing advice and recommendations, there are many regulations at both the state and federal level that can get you in a lot of trouble if not followed. There is also the threat of lawsuits (much like a doctor must be ready for malpractice lawsuits) that errors & omissions insurance and intentional structuring of your business can ward against.

    I know you are the queen of research, and you’ve probably already thought of this! But I would feel remiss not to look after another woman in finance. Best wishes in this new stage of your journey!!

    1. You are spot on, Jackie! I hired a lawyer to structure the business for me to ensure I’m not running afoul of any laws.

    2. was going to say the same. I also enjoy your blog but I have a bachelor’s degree in Finance, am licensed by a FINRA firm and have a background in compliance. Glad you consulted an attorney to help you as there are so many rules to follow, Reg BI duty of care etc. Best of luck!

  31. I agree that you are apologizing way too much. Own this! This is what you do -this is your passion- this is your purpose! Why shouldn’t you be fairly compensated for your time. Let the naysayers go about their merry way. You have an amazing and unique skill set, and that has market value. Best of luck to you, because you are about to be swamped, girl! Lol

  32. Well done! You are doing exactly what you encourage the rest of us to do by finding creative ways to financially support ourselves – and doing it with a reasonable set of fees, love and kindness. You are a blessing that has turned my life into something I wanted it to be to giving the tools and encouragement to get there. Your words are life changing financially and personally. Thank you!

  33. Love this and congratulations on taking the big leap to launch something new! You absolutely deserve to get paid for this incredibly valuable service.

  34. Great I idea! I also think you are apologizing to much. You are here to provide a service if someone wants it. You are very clear about what is offered and you have obviously put a lot of time and effort into your packages. You rock and I always love reading the case studies!

  35. I think – I hope – you will get much less negative feedback than you imagine. Every statement you’ve made is true, for a long time I’ve been marveling that you have the time and the energy to do all of what you do, be deliberate and intelligent about your ideas, NOT spam us, ever, share share and share about your life and experience, and do all that for free. It’s a pleasure to read your blog and case studies, and I wish you all the best with your quiet career ambitions!

  36. You go ,girl! You are so talented and wonderfully supportive when you do a case study.
    Keep us informed about your success and failures in this endeavor. We can be be your support!

  37. Why should anybody be mad at you? You have a website with helpful advice, which is free. You do not scam anybody into a contract, whoever wants to learn is able to search and get informations how to make changes in life.

    If somebody wants to have personal advice, do not want to be chosen by luck, needs help immediately or whatever, this person should be willing to pay for your valuable service.

    Nobody is forced to sign a contract.

  38. Liz, You have given us so much for free!! If people need an in-depth dive, they should be paying for it. Women are made to feel apologetic for believing in their self-worth. You wouldn’t work for a corporation and not expect a paycheck. Please value your wonderful skills and wealth of knowledge. 🙂

  39. Don’t feel bad about charging for your expertise. It’s valuable, if people complain, ignore them. I see this often in the craft circles I’m involved with, people want a handmade garment, but want to pay less than they would for something bought at Target. Good luck with this new endeavor.

  40. You’ve given so much for free to your readers, you’re not taking anything away from them, and doing this has cost you time and money (website), though it has also allowed you to promote your book, but people can get even that for free. Mika Brzezinski would say “Know your value”. Good on you, and a benefit to those that need it.

  41. Good for you! You give sound advice, we all learn from it, and at this point you SHOULD be getting paid for your time and expertise!

    Good luck w your “new business”, and well done!

  42. I agree with all the other comments! Good for you! I wish you much success. Also wanted to let you know I listened to your book on Hoopla from my public library and I loved it! Can’t wait for a follow up! Found myself walking down the street laughing at some of the things you wrote about! People driving by must have thought I was a kook all alone laughing! Thanks for all the enjoyment you give me!

  43. Congratulations on your move forwards. If people need your valuable advice they should be willing to pay for it. You will help them to save much more than they spend on your services.

  44. Congrats on deciding to offer private case study options for people and monetizing them. You don’t need to apologize for adding value to people’s lives, and your time is worth compensation. Well done.

  45. I look at responses and I see all positive and glowing. Doesn’t that concern you? Hey, I would like to provide advice as you do, you’re entitled to make money anyway you like, but I suspect it’s not just helping people, but the money too, which again is just fine.

    However, time to drop any claim of FIRE and maybe acknowledge being “frugal” can only go so far and that retirement in ones thirties is not quite as smooth as some people claim.

    1. Dick – People are allowed to evolve. Just because she’s charging for her time doesn’t mean she needs the money. Simmer down.

    2. I totally agree with this. I do think that Liz does delete a lot of negative comments off this blog. She is not a certified financial professional and her success as a blogger has been mainly due to the fact that her husband is a very high income earner – not any special financial talent or acumen.

      1. Ouch. This is not only gratuitously mean but untrue — personally, I read this blog bc I find her writing excellent and her advice good. It’s the only personal finance blog I like for those reasons. Nothing to do with her family’s personal financial success (which I also find attributing to her husband quite sexist, when they’re both hard workers and good savers). Why are you bothering to read here if you dislike it so much?

        1. You should read some other sources about Liz and Nate, not just this blog, to get an accurate picture of who they really are.

  46. I didn’t read this in its entirety but you absolutely SHOULD charge for your time. Every woman needs to get into this habit. Congrats!

  47. This is a marvellous idea, and IMO, still a bargain. I know what we paid our financial advisor, and it was WAY more than that. Congratulations, and have at ‘er!

  48. Well done, you! This is a wonderful addition and I’m certain many people will benefit from your input. I appreciated reading all the updates of previous case study participants and agree with their comments that you offer no judgement insights and suggestions. No judgment is needed in the financial community where there is already so much shame about “not doing the right thing.” Thank you for giving of yourself to help us grow, too. All the best!

  49. Congratulations on your newest endeavor! I think this is a perfect idea! I love reading case studies and usually get something out if it for myself. I wish you all the best for success!

    Love the throwback pictures, poor frugal shed. : (

  50. Agree with the other comments. It sounds like a great idea at a great price. You should be compensated for your services whether you are financially independent or not and you provide plenty of resources for free!

  51. You should charge for your time, it is valuable and there is an opportunity cost you are assuming by choosing to help people with their finances while not doing something else. It seems like a worthy endeavor and will benefit a lot of people, I hope to be reading about it’s success in the future!

  52. I have already written above: If someone is actively interested and has read the previous Reader cases during the past years and is willing to thoroughly write down and analyze their own costs, then ANYONE can solve their own Reader Case.
    If the case is not extraordinary enough to be analyzed in this blog (for free), then honestly, it is also probably so ordinary that you can really take action yourself based on the available information.
    If you don’t want to do that, and you need a personal consultation or you want to have a personal contact with Liz for once – you just have to be ready to pay.
    Just because she doesn’t depend on the income doesn’t automatically mean that she has to give away her time (and therefore money).
    And it doesn’t matter what she does with the money – whether she uses it to fund a date weekend with her husband, feed the College Fund for the kids, or renovate Glamour Shed, or start a foundation that provides financial education to the youth where she lives.
    Her time – her value, which she can determine. It is an OFFER – and each person can decide if they want to accept the offer or do the work themselves.
    I can also consider whether to change the oil in my car myself (I could) or have it done.

  53. I totally understand the need to charge a fee high enough to limit the number of responses. You have enough followers that you would get overwhelmed with requests if they were free or inexpensive, and then they would be essentially the same as the public ones. That’s plenty of justification for the prices.

    I don’t quite get the bit about “my time is valuable.” Yeah of course it is. That’s why you only do work that you truly enjoy ( that you would do even without being paid?) Isn’t that the point of FIRE? You’re no longer motivated by money because you have no need for additional money to live the life you want.

  54. As a semi-retired consulting engineer (and occasional blogger) I commend you. Your rates are well in line with the expertise you offer. Not only that — people who pay for advice are much more likely to follow it that those who don’t.

    Finally, a piece of advice received when I was just starting out as a consultant. A more experienced businessman told me, “Don’t ever apologize for what you are or what you do. You worked hard to get here. Your advice is very valuable.”

    Best wishes! Loved your book, and love your blog. You are an inspiration to many. Keep it up!

  55. Great, good for you, amazing! You provide so much information, wisdom, hard facts, strategies… and hope… and inspiration in your blogs, and I’m so happy you FINALLY will be getting a revenue from this! Please stop sweating through your dress and enjoy at last some return from YEARS of writing and sharing and hard work… You provide such valuable expertise and real-life experience: this means you provide value – and you deserve a revenue from it. And from an entrepreneur perspective, your rates are totally justified and competitive – you can’t get something great for close-to-nothing – people who believe in what you offer can invest in what you provide them. Congratulations!

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