Frugal Isn’t Cheap Book Review – Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better!

Frugal Isn't CheapI was given the opportunity to read a book about being frugal.  Now, I am not one that is always frugal, but I do like a book that will keep me entertained.  That is truly the only way I like to read.  Luckily for me, the book that I received was called Frugal Isn’t Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live BETTER, from Clare Levison.  She is a CPA with a sense of humor and I like her style of writing.  Since Debt Roundup is dedicated to helping people fight debt and grow wealth, this book should be put on your reading list.

I wrote before about how I was called frugal and got offended.  Now, the reason why this happened was because my friend was using cheap and frugal interchangeably.  I am glad I was able to read Clare’s book.  Hell, it is in the title.  Frugal ISN’T Cheap!

In her book, Clare breaks down her life experiences and how they relate back to finances.  She includes 11 chapters talking about everything financial from living well on less, your mindset, getting out of debt, saving money, investing, earning income, and achieving financial success.  I am a fan of all of these topics, but Clare provides more.

Within each chapter, she opens each with a personal story.  I love personal stories because they provide the best lessons.  Whether you learn from those lessons is up to you, but they important none-the-less.  One of my favorite lessons that Clare shared in the book was about creating income.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

You will get the title in a minute.  In the chapter dedicated to earning income, Clare shared a story about her chicken farming days.  Clare and her family purchased an old farmhouse and once they moved in, she started dreaming of owning chickens.  What is better than getting your own fresh eggs?  Well, after  Clare bought some chicks, they started growing and laying eggs, a lot of them.  Being a CPA, she thought of all of the eggs as an opportunity to make some extra money.  She sold her eggs to the local supermarket and to her neighbors.  What an awesome way to earn cash.  Well, that dream faded once she realized that chickens are a lot of work.  They eat, poop, scratch, and lay eggs.  It is not glamorous.

She quickly learned that chickens were no longer for her.  Earning income should not be so hard.  She earned very little and did a lot of work, or least her husband did!  The point of the story was to show that you need to have a way to earn a livable income.  You can then work on earning more, by side hustling.  If you are in a career where you can’t earn enough money, you need to change your situation.  There are not always opportunities to turn your hobbies into actual income.  You need to understand the difference between a hobby and a job.

Who Is This For?

Who would benefit the most from Frugal Isn’t Cheap?  Well, I can say that really anyone looking to better themselves and their financial lives.  There are so many personal experiences in this book that you get a glimpse into Clare’s life.  She is honest and tells it like it is.  I know someone that does just that!  Those that are really good with their finances might not benefit from this book, but anyone in debt or wanting to learn more about how to achieve financial success, then this book could be very beneficial.

Though I think I have my finances in order (now), I never want to get complacent.  Just getting a nice refresher is a good thing and I am glad I got to read this book.  I want to thank Clare for putting all of her thoughts together in a clear and concise way.  I also want to thank her for allowing us to learn more about her via her personal stories.  It can be hard for some to relate to book authors, but by the end, you feel like you know her.

If you are interested in the book, you can buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Have you read this book?  If so, what did you think of it?  If not, would you read it?

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. February 10, 2014 at 7:30 am — Reply

    I love the title! I always enjoy people’s personal stories too. They have the best lessons.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:30 am — Reply

      It was a good book and the personal stories are what made it for me.

  2. February 10, 2014 at 8:14 am — Reply

    Sounds like an interesting book and love the title! It drives me nuts when many thing being frugal means you’re being cheap. They’re pretty different in my opinion and think the personal stories are a great way to communicate how different they are.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:32 am — Reply

      It also drives me nuts. I don’t mind being frugal, but don’t call me cheap. There is a difference.

  3. February 10, 2014 at 8:49 am — Reply

    I haven’t read the book, but I don’t know if this book is for me. I’m a big advocate of side income and I think it can oftentimes it can feel like a burden or something that isn’t worth it…that is, until you actually start making consistent side income and even more so when you start hiring on help and outsourcing some of the work. With that being said, yes, for the majority of people making money at your full-time job will end up being your only income and you need to be able to live off of it.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:32 am — Reply

      That makes sense DC. You have your financial house in order over there. I am also a big fan of side income and I think everyone should incorporate it into their finances.

  4. February 10, 2014 at 9:28 am — Reply

    Sounds like a great book, Grayson. I love what you said about not wanting to get complacent even though you are debt free now. I think that is so important if you want to have continued financial success.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:33 am — Reply

      Thanks Laurie. If you become complacent, then you will never grow anymore. You always have to learn and expand your knowledge.

  5. February 10, 2014 at 10:23 am — Reply

    Nice book title. I haven’t read it yet, but I think I’ll be including that one to my must-read books for the next few months.

    • February 10, 2014 at 10:33 am — Reply

      Glad to hear you might pick it up. I hope you enjoy it!

  6. February 10, 2014 at 11:03 am — Reply

    Thanks for the review Grayson! I have not read this book, but it sounds like a good read. And I absolutely agree that frugal and cheap are not the same thing. Frugal gets a bad rap because people assume it’s cheapness when I like to think of it as smartness.

    • February 10, 2014 at 11:06 am — Reply

      You are most welcome Shannon. It was a good and easy read. I am with you there about Frugal and cheap.

  7. February 10, 2014 at 11:15 am — Reply

    I haven’t read this book but I do enjoy personal stories. Sounds like a good read.

    • February 10, 2014 at 11:26 am — Reply

      I think you will enjoy the way that Clare adds her personal stories in there as a segway into the chapter.

  8. February 10, 2014 at 11:23 am — Reply

    Looks like a very good book. Going to read this. It’s easier to remember lessons when you are learning it from the experience of other person.

    • February 10, 2014 at 11:27 am — Reply

      You are correct there Melanie. I hope you enjoy it!

  9. February 10, 2014 at 11:39 am — Reply

    I like the focus on generating more income. Cutting expenses is a powerful tool but it can only take you so far. Sometimes we just need to make more money to get where we want to be!

    • February 10, 2014 at 11:55 am — Reply

      I am with you there Matt. You should focus on both, but only one is finite.

  10. February 10, 2014 at 11:59 am — Reply

    Thanks for the review, Grayson. I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

    • February 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm — Reply

      You are most welcome Clare. It was a great read and I really enjoyed your personal stories. It really connected all of the finance lessons. Great job on it.

  11. February 10, 2014 at 2:19 pm — Reply

    Sounds like a great read and I love the title too. Frugal and cheap are not interchangeable, although they are sadly lumped in the same category. Too me frugal is knowing what you want to do with your money and make smart choices to help you achieve your goals.

    • February 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm — Reply

      It is a good read Shannon. I liked the title as well and wish the two terms didn’t get lumped in like they do.

  12. February 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm — Reply

    Even though I’ve read tons of PF books, I still love reading new ones because it always keeps me motivated. Thanks for the review!

    • February 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm — Reply

      I am with you there Tonya. Reading new material and seeing how others are doing it is a good thing.

  13. Marvin
    February 10, 2014 at 9:41 pm — Reply

    I’m am always open to expanding my mind so I would definitely read this book.

    • February 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm — Reply

      That is good to hear. You should always keep an open mind.

  14. February 11, 2014 at 12:07 am — Reply

    Sounds like a good one!!! I def don’t want to be considered cheap. Actually being generous is really important to me. But, still frugal. 🙂 Guess it’s a fine line.

    • February 11, 2014 at 10:52 am — Reply

      I don’t know too many people that want to be considered cheap, except for those extreme people. I like to be generous as well, but there is definitely a fine line.

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