Meet the Frugalwoods


Elizabeth and Nate Thames of Meet the Frugalwoods blogged their experiences living frugally in Cambridge, MA, but desired more out of life than conventional 9-5 jobs could provide. So they set about cutting expenses so they could eventually leave Cambridge behind and move to Vermont – an adventure awaited!

They saved an incredible 71 percent of their income, cut unnecessary spending, and learned skills such as painting cabinets themselves.


Liz and Nate lived comfortably in Boston then – working corporate jobs while purchasing plenty of stuff. But one day, they made a drastic shift: shifting towards frugal living with over 70% savings of their income now being saved – now living on 66 acres in Vermont where they now enjoy greater freedom than ever.

Frugalwoods is part of an emerging community of millennials practicing extreme frugality to achieve financial independence and lead a simpler lifestyle. Still, their story is unique: They are a white heterosexual couple with two college degrees who enjoy successful careers with high payoffs.

They cut out unnecessary spending like restaurant meals and expensive cheese, invested in low-fee index funds, relied on rental income from the Cambridge home they still owned, and managed to save an astounding 71% of their income! Their savings account is so substantial they no longer have any debt and could potentially retire early if desired.


Frugal living is nothing new to Vermont, which has long been home to back-to-the-landers and hippies alike. But The Frugalwoods — a young couple in Vermont known for living frugally — is taking it a step further by inspiring others with financial plans that help them pursue their goals.

Elizabeth and Nate Thames were conventional 9-5 urban professionals with dreams of becoming modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont. To reach that goal early and begin enjoying each day without looking forward to weekends, they devised a plan to save an impressive sum – well over seventy percent of their combined take-home pay! Documenting this unconventional form of frugality as they transformed their lifestyles on their eponymous blog.

While Meet the Frugalwoods is an enjoyable addition to personal finance literature, it fails to address an essential element necessary for financial independence: income. While the Frugalwoods spend minimally, they still require substantial income generation.

New York City

Elizabeth Willard Thames’s life demonstrates that living independently doesn’t need to be unattainable in our modern world of 9-5 jobs and ever-mounting bills – thanks to extreme frugality!

Thames and her husband put into place a plan in their 20s to save more than 70% of their combined income, and within years were able to escape from hectic urban lives and start over on a 66-acre homestead in Vermont. Along the way, they gained popularity through the Frugalwoods blog and secured an audiobook deal with HarperCollins.

Today, Liz is back to provide us with an update on the family’s progress since our last meeting two years ago. She discusses a new service she offers: private financial consultations. These consultations involve video calls with clients and worksheets designed to help them create their frugal path. I’m thrilled to report that she and her husband have recently become entirely debt-free — something rare among Millennials!


Frugality is a fascinating aspect of many cultures and has long been revered. It drives PowerBall jackpots skyward, fuels Florida swampland salesmen 100 years ago, and precipitates Holland’s 17th-century tulip mania.

Elizabeth and Nate Thames’ slim tome, Meet the Frugalwoods, has earned them widespread media coverage and generated a growing fan base. Their story fits into a widespread belief among Millennials that earning above subsistence levels only requires curbing spending impulses, mastering budgeting strategies, and adopting frugal lifestyle choices.

They remain tight-lipped about their income, yet it’s clear they make a healthy living from writing, consulting, and social media work. Unlike most personal finance bloggers, they highlight that financial independence doesn’t only refer to expenses but also includes time. Unfortunately, it is unclear how they balance all this; nevertheless, it adds a welcome new angle to discussing “financial independence.”