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Here’s the Wild Idea

Liz’s Wild Idea: To live frugally so she and her husband could achieve financial independence and spend more time hiking, homesteading, and doing what they love.

Part of living wildly is having the means to pull it off. Traveling and buying gear can add up. On the show, we’ve interviewed dumpster divers, minimalists, and people with side hustles galore. But today we present a new financial take on living wildly.

Author Elizabeth Thames, aka Liz Frugalwoods, is the voice behind the blog and new book, Meet the Frugalwoods. Liz and her husband did everything they were supposed to as young adults: they attended a good state college, graduated, and got good jobs. But as millennials working 9-to-5 jobs for non-profits, they knew there was something beyond the daily grind. Instead of just working harder and harder, they instead used extreme frugality so they could retire in their early thirties.

Today, Liz and her husband have two daughters and live on a sixty-acre homestead in Vermont. They still spend money on things like farming equipment (which doesn’t come cheap), and she works on her blog only by choice, not because she has to.

Instead of making more money so they could have more, they just spent less – a lot less – in order to achieve financial independence. This mindfulness about money led them to a unique, amazing outlook on life, and one that I found motivating. In our conversation, Liz shares some great tips for living frugally (like hacking her SodaStream) and also talks about the psychology of what going with less has done for her own self-esteem. We also get deep into the power of gratitude and privilege, and how having less materially has helped her get more out of life.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You want to retire early and achieve financial independence.
  • You’ve ever dreamt of living on a lot of land.
  • Getting outside and going hiking gives you peace of mind.
  • You want to quit your job.
  • You have a five year or more goal.
  • You want to have kids but think they are too expensive.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:15 – Hear an excerpt from Liz’s book.
  • 3:30 – How Liz and her husband stayed on track with their goals.
  • 4:40 – When she started her blog,
  • 7:45 – How they set aside so much of their income.
  • 9:15 – Why you have to know what you want and what you want to save for.
  • 10:20 – The connection between what you’re earning and what you’re saving.
  • 12:35 – How her husband changed her outlook with one hike.
  • 14:00 – What it means to be homesteaders.
  • 16:55 – How to raise kids frugally.
  • 20:40 – What is the Buy Nothing Group.
  • 22:10 – How to grocery shop on the cheap.
  • 24:30 – Yes, Liz still drinks nice coffee and how/what she does.
  • 25:50 – Liz’s amazing frugal sparkling water hack.
  • 27:10 – Why health insurance is worth paying for.
  • 28:30 – The challenges of being a freelancer.
  • 30:00 – Why cutting some things can also make you feel more free psychologically.
  • 32:05 – How cutting makeup helped Liz gain confidence.
  • 33:30 – What Liz actually spends money on.
  • 34:40 – What tools her family uses to track expenses.
  • 36:45 – Liz’s tips for work life balance.
  • 38:35 – What routines help Liz be productive and efficient.
  • 39:45 – The privilege of Liz’s frugality.
  • 42:35 – Other money bloggers to follow.
  • 45:30 – Why good shoes are crucial!
  • 46:30 – Be specific about where you want to be in life, then go after that.


Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Thames

Awesome book Liz recommends gifting

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry
The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins


Listen to my interview with Hike It Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
Another great Interview with Minimalist Rob Greenfield who is living entirely off the land this year
Liz’s SodaStream hack
Personal Capital
Our Next Life
Cait Flanders

Connect with Liz




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