Achieving Financial Independence with Liz Thames


Achieving Financial Independence with Liz Thames

In honor of women’s history month in March, I’m focusing all of my podcasts this month on women and their accomplishments, and today’s guest is someone near and dear to this show. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you know her as Mrs. Frugalwoods on our monthly happy hours, and I know her as my friend Liz, who has just fulfilled a life-long dream to write a book, Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence through Simple Living. She joins me today to talk about the book-writing process, why this was an important step for her, and more about life on the homestead.

What are we drinking?

Liz — Homemade Seltzer

Shannon — Black Cherry Schweppes

Podcast Notes

  • Liz makes her own seltzer water at home. You are in control of the amount of fizz when you make it yourself. The higher end seltzers don’t have as much fizz.
  • Liz thinks “I should just make this at home” about most things.
  • The path to financial health makes people think (1) can I live without this, and, if not, (2) can I make this myself.
  • The Great Homemade Seltzer Discovery of 2015.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to make your own seltzer water.
  • Liz is known as Mrs. Frugalwoods, because of her blog, which she started four years ago. The blog tracks the journey Liz and her husband, Nate, took from living very conventional lives outside of Boston. They made a decision in 2014 to pursue financial independence. This means their assets cover all of their expenses. They do not have to work, but they both choose to work.
  • Liz quit her day job about two years ago and about a year and a half ago moved to a 66 acre homestead in the middle of the woods in Vermont. They have a two year-old daughter and a newborn baby girl.
  • Shannon and Liz met through blogging. Liz was an anonymous blogger at first. Liz and Nate were on Martinis and Your Money as Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods.
  • To get to where they are now, Liz and Nate were saving over 70 percent of their income. They were only spending on the bare necessities of life and found a way to only spend in service of their goals.
  • It isn’t a question of never spending any money, it is a question of what do we want out of our life and how is our spending helping us or hindering us in getting there.
  • They apply optimization and efficiency to how they manage their finances, their relationships, and their home.
  • It is all about letting go of shopping, wearing makeup, and feeling like she needs to be a certain person. She is a happier and more confident person.
  • Setting goals, being intentional, and being decisive, strategic, and quick is important. There is no bad month to start your goals. Just begin.
  • Clients who start at the Gym with $0 are further ahead than those who say they will join when they have more money. Just make the change now. The only thing holding us back is usually ourselves.
  • Liz did everything she was supposed to do, but was still unhappy. Liz and Nate realized they were escalating their spending and increasing their lifestyle and it wasn’t bringing lasting happiness. They made a decision to make a change. You have a lot more options when you are not living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Even if you don’t want to quit your job and want to work forever, you may lose your job unexpectedly. It is a huge difference if you have a emergency fund. It gives you flexibility and options.
  • Everyone should have the goal to do whatever you want whenever you want. It is so different to go to work when you know you don’t have to go to work.
  • Too often, we put the choice of material goods over the choice of circumstances. It is not about choosing between a Mercedes and a BMW, it is choosing not to buy either and instead choosing to buy your way to financial freedom.
  • How do you want to spend your time? The less you spend on a thing, the less time you need to work. The lower your expenses, the less you need to earn and the less you need to save overall.
  • Liz invests in low-fee index funds through Fidelity and constantly buys into the market. They automate it to contribute every month. It is all about simplifying and creating efficiency and about being content with less.
  • Liz and her husband have tried to smooth out the happiness curve, so there aren’t highs of spending followed by lows.
  • Liz has always wanted to be a writer. One of her degrees is in creative writing. Nate created the blog for her, because she was always talking about writing. Working with a publisher really pushed her into a new level of writing. Some of the chapters in the book were rewritten 18 or 20 times. The book is all new material.
  • Harper Collins reached out to her and asked if she wanted to write a book. It is really important to have an agent and to find an editor and publisher who understand your vision. Liz had to do a formal proposal. The whole process to write Meet the Frugalwoods took about two years from start to finish.
  • Having choice in your finances should be a universal goal for everybody. Don’t just move along the life track without questioning what you actually want to do.
  • Setting the goal is half the battle. Liz recommends to (1) write out your dream bio and your current bio, and (2) imagine yourself as a 95 year-old or that you are writing your obituary.

TAKEAWAY: The power of having clearly defined goals. Nate and Liz had clearly defined goals of financial independence, living on the homestead, and for Liz writing a book. If you haven’t set any goals for yourself, I hope you’ll stop what you are doing and really give some serious definition to life goals you want to achieve and set to making them a reality.

Random Three Questions 

  1. What is a book that has changed your life?
  2. What is an area where you are not frugal?
  3. What do you do to relax?

Connect with Liz


Twitter: @Frugalwoods

Instagram: @Frugalwoods

Facebook: Frugalwoods

If you need someone to help you set out life goals and achieve them, I hope you’ll reach out to my team at the Financial Gym. We have clients achieving their dreams every day that they never could have realized on their own. You can schedule a free call here to find out more. No matter where you are in your financial journey, my financial trainers can help you get where you want to go. So head over to or send friends to to sign up today!

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Hi, just listening to this podcast, can’t believe that you haven’t heard of soda stream or other ways to make your own seltzer are at home!!! I agree Frugalwoods set up is the most frugal, but anybody can buy a soda stream set up and it’s much much much less than buying seltzer in the cans or bottles!!!

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