Serina Bird is not your average middle-aged woman. She is a single-mother of two young boys, recently remarried. A domestic violence survivor. A career woman, award winning writer, blogger, food reviewer, fluid chinese linguist, and lover of life.
Additionally, she is a self-made millionaire; whom has achieved her wealth through living a frugal lifestyle, investing in property, and saving a large chunk of her income.
Serina wanted to be wealthy from a young age. However, she knew that in order to become wealthy, she had to work hard, be smart and save consistently.
This book is Serina’s memoir to a frugal, but abundantly rich life. A life that focuses on happiness, rather than stuff. And a life with which environmental and social impacts are minimised in the pursuit of wealth.
Throughout the 10 chapters of the book, Serina covers topics such as how to cut living costs, how to get stuff for free and how to negotiate finances in a relationship.
If your interested in how to make your money go further, how to reduce your environmental impact, or how to approach money in a relationship, then these 3 chapters are really worth studying:
- Chapter 1: Living Large – Choosing an abundance mindset.
- Chapter 9: Attracting What You Want – How to get stuff for free.
- Chapter 10: Can’t Buy Me Love – Money and relationships.
My Favourite Parts Of The Savvy Frugalista
Little money habits are often habits you repeat tens of hundreds of thousands of times
Throughout Chapter 2, Serina outlines the importance of reigning in regular spending on small everyday expenses.
Whilst it’s not the first time we’ve heard that small, regular splurges add up (i.e. avocado toast saga), it’s the approach Serina takes to this topic throughout this chapter that really hits home.
Unconscious spending is a savings and financial independence killer! Spending $4 here, $8 there and $15 there might not seem like much… But done on a daily or weekly basis adds up to a shitload over a lifetime.
However, if you form the idea that every single dollar counts, you can not only prevent yourself from falling victim to the horrible trap of Lifestyle Creep, but you can also achieve Financial Independence.
As Serina outlines, saving money is about good habits. If you don’t develop good savings and spending habits now, even if you suddenly become a millionaire, you won’t know how to save money.
Getting Things For Free
In the book, Serina discusses a broad variety of ways to (legally and ethically!) get things for free. The Free Economy is becoming increasingly accessible and easy to tap into.
From Gumtree, to Freecycle, to the Buy Nothing Project, Serina shows that it’s quite easy to get a freebie these days for not a lot of time or effort. However, one of my favourite ways to get things for free is bartering.
The Barter Economy has really taken off in other parts of the world, and is making a resurgence here in Australia. Local community food swaps and online food swap platforms, such as 100kilos.org, are cropping up (pun intended) more and more throughout Australian cities.
Bartering not only helps reduce resource consumption, but it can also help build relationships within communities. Through bartering with your local community, such as your neighbours, you form relationships and build rapport. This in turn helps to create happy, social communities… In addition to saving you money.
Most wealth creation is done steadily over a long period of time
If there was a magic “get rich” pill… Well, we’d all be rich. However, for the most part, wealth generation doesn’t work like that. Sure, some people win the lotto, receive a large inheritance, or have great entrepreneurial success… But, for most of us, becoming wealthy these ways is simply not an option.
Consequently, if we want to build wealth, we have to value each and every dollar. As cliche as it sounds, ever dollar counts.
Through valuing each dollar and only spending where necessary, the spare dollars here and there really add up over time. If saved and invested wisely, these regular, small amounts compound into substantial wealth over time.
It is critically important to be on the same financial path as your partner
Sharing common financial values and goals with your partner is hugely important. Throughout chapter 10, Serina outlines how not sharing common financial goals with her ex-husband was a huge stress-inducing problem.
Reflecting on her marriage break down, Serina identifies that her and her ex had a huge clash of values when it came to money. He wanted to invest for the next generation, by establishing an empire of properties (and debt). Alternatively, she wanted to travel to Italy and take a caravan around Australia.
However, as the primary income earner, Serina bore the brunt of the stress from her ex’s financial goals, as she had to shoulder the majority of the mortgage costs… Which meant that her dreams seemed less and less likely to be realised. Ultimately, these issues contributed to her marriage break down.
Serina’s story demonstrates the importance of having regular money talks with your partner, and of setting financial goals and working towards them together throughout the years.
The Savvy Frugalista is a fantastic resource for those starting out on their debt reduction and/or financial Independence journey.
It provides practical and useful information to help you cut costs on items such as groceries, electricity, clothes and transport.
If you’ve already cut your costs as much as possible and are looking for a book to teach you how to budget, save and invest for the long-term, then this book is probably not for you.
However, despite this, The Savvy Frugalista contains a wealth of knowledge, learnings, and easy tips to help you get your finances in order. It is a great, easy read for anyone with an interest in personal finance.
The Flawed Consumer review: The Savvy Frugalista by Serina Bird 7.5/10.
The Savvy Frugalista is available in Australia through online retailers such as Amazon, Booktopia and at book stores such as Dymocks.