Hi, I’m Liz and I’m glad you’re here!
I’m a financial consultant who helps people figure out their money
My philosophy is that managing your money wisely enables you to pursue unusual aspirations and opens up a world of options for how to live your life. I’m also the writer behind Frugalwoods and the book, Meet the Frugalwoods.
My Journey Through the Years
Embracing Financial Freedom and Crafting a Purposeful Life
Join me as I take you on an incredible journey through the defining moments and decisions that have shaped my life and led me to embrace a life of financial freedom and purpose.
Learn about the pivotal choices we made to break free from the cycle of consumerism and materialism, leading us towards a homesteading lifestyle in a rural setting.
My Journey So Far
How I got here
Mr. Frugalwoods and I both went to college at the University of Kansas (where we met our freshman year), did relatively well, graduated in 2006 without any debt, and got good jobs. We avoided incurring debt from undergrad through a combination of attending an inexpensive state school, working while in college, scholarships, and–most crucially–financial help from our parents.
While neither Mr. FW or I inherited any money (or has a trust fund), we both come from families who were able to help us out with our undergrad tuition, which we’re deeply grateful for and which we consider a privilege (more about my thoughts on privilege here and here). I never want to lose sight of how fortunate I am to have a family who could support me through college and launch me into the world without debt.
After college, Mr. FW and I worked hard to advance in our careers. We figured this was what our lives would be for the next 30-40 years. We got married in 2008, I completed my master’s degree in 2011 debt-free (I worked full-time at the university while I attended grad school full-time, which entitled me to free tuition), we bought our first home in 2012 (with money we saved entirely ourselves–no gifts from family or friends), and adopted our sweet Frugal Hound the same year. That’s where our normal, standard timeline stops.
In 2012 we both landed what we considered our dream jobs–professional positions as managers in offices at desks under artificial lights. We thought we’d made it. But a strange thing happened. Here we’d achieved everything we’d set out to and yet, we weren’t fulfilled. We found ourselves working for the weekend and counting down the hours to 5pm every single day. Neither of us felt true passion for what we did on a daily basis. We spend so much of our lives at work and we started questioning why we were doing it. We started to feel like we were working to earn money that we weren’t spending (thanks to a combination of high incomes and frugality) and coming home exhausted and stressed. And so, we made the decision to navigate our way out of the cycle of consumerism and materialism that our society seemed trapped by.
We now live a simpler, more creative life closer to nature, where we work together towards our future and our shared goals.
Our Quarter-Life Crisis
Mr. FW and I had a shared quarter-life crisis in March 2014 at age 30. We realized that all of our creative energy and our best ideas were funneled into doing work for our employers—not into endeavors that we find personally rewarding. And we had a sneaking suspicion that, if we didn’t change something, we’d wake up in 40 years still in those same cubicles. We felt trapped.
We began discussing what we’d do if we didn’t have to work traditional office jobs for a living and we simultaneously agreed we’d live a simpler life in the woods. We love hiking and spending time together in nature and so, moving ourselves from the city to a more rural setting sounded ideal.
At first we thought, ok, we’ll move to the woods when we retire at 65. But the more we talked, the more apparent it became that we wanted to make this move sooner—much, much sooner. Our desire to live in ways that we find personally meaningful was powerful.
This was made financially possible by the fact that we’d always lived well below our means and that we’d continuously increased our salaries over the years, while saving ever higher percentages. In 2014, we’d been saving our money together for almost 8 years. We took a look at our finances and realized that if we embraced extreme frugality–and maintained our decent salaries–we’d be able to make this dream a reality much sooner.
A major component of our decision to go rural is that we’ve done the city thing. We’ve lived in the three big East Coast haunts: New York City, Washington, DC and Boston, MA. There’s a lot that we love about dense, urban environs, but it was time for a change. Also, city livin’ is expensive and didn’t provide the time or the space we craved to explore our myriad interests.
An additional factor spurring us on is that we don’t know how long we’ll be around–life is short and unexpected. We don’t want to work for the next 30 years and then finally move to the country in an effort to find solace. We decided to take this risk now so that we can build a meaningful life to enjoy.
We want to wake up inspired to try new things and create a life of variety. We crave adventure and part of what we disliked so much about working in offices is the lack of diversity and discovery. We’re victims of wanderlust. We’re committed to creating a life of purpose and intention. We’re striving for a life where we work hard, but on projects that are rewarding.
Through Frugalwoods, I share our journey and stories of intentional living. My writing is a narration of our successes, foibles, and lessons learned along this path to a wholly unconventional, whimsical, and purpose-filled life.
Please join us and chime in!
Frugalwoods online community
One of my goals in writing Frugalwoods is to build an online community of like-minded folks who value living life above spending money. We love the community that has grown here and we thank you all for sharing your personal stories with us and with each other.
I’m so glad you’re joining us on this journey. Every month, I feature two series that directly engage readers: