My name is Serina Bird Huang and I am a proud frugalista.
A frugalista, if you are wondering, is someone who always looks fashionable even on a budget. I extend this not just to my wardrobe, but what I eat, cook and how I live as well. And a frugal lifestyle enables me to live well while saving and investing, and ultimately becoming more prosperous.
I have always been frugal. My ex Mother-in-Law told me I have frugal ears (she understands quite a bit about Chinese face reading). I gather this wasn’t exactly a compliment, but I decided it was a pretty cool and accurate description. My Dad tells me I come from a long line of frugal ancestors.
But while it is a necessity for me at the moment, I love being frugal. You see, I believe in the Buddhist concept of non-attachment. (Just to complicate things, I practice Buddhist beliefs but am also active in my church community. I see no conflict with this, and neither does my congregation.) I abhor blatant commercialism that tries to show that happiness is through things. I am truly grateful for the abundance in my life. I like to live simply, to show my children values that aren’t associated with stuff (still working on that one), and to tread more lightly on this earth. I also hope that through my frugality I can one day become fabulously wealthy. I want to be a billionaire. I will be a billionaire. I have about a bit of a way to go but so far I have made a good start.
Not too long ago I was a career woman on a high-flying posting in Asia. I was still frugal in some ways, such as shopping at my local morning wet market rather than the expensive department stores. But overall I lived the good life in a luxurious apartment that once housed the former President (before he was jailed for corruption). Behind closed doors things were less glamorous, and there were serious and violent problems in my relationship. So I am now I am (mostly) a full-time single mother of two gorgeous boys. As I transitioned to being the main carer and financial provider, while paying all the crazy costs associated with separation and divorce, I have delved into my inner frugality. It is an expensive process, but what price freedom?
Rather than complaining about the problems life has dealt me, I like to rejoice instead in my new-found freedom and make my frugal lifestyle into a fun and empowering lifestyle choice. I love to cook low-cost meals, and I participated in a challenge of living for less than $2/day. I also won an award from YWCA and The Canberra Times for the best $5 pot luck meal. I have also written about frugality for The Canberra Times, and I am a regular contributor to The Riot-ACT I love to enjoy life and experiencing wonderful events and moments, or as I like to call it, The Sweet Life (La Dolce Vita). It is all about balance. I am currently working on a book called Frugal Dare to Millionaire – stay tuned for more details.
I feel passionate to write about my frugal lifestyle and to encourage others to save more because I see so many people struggling with their financial situation. Australia is one of the wealthiest counties in the world, experiencing 26 years without an economic downturn. Yet everywhere I see people struggling with money: struggling in their relationships, struggling to buy enough things to keep their kids happy, struggling in jobs they don’t like but are too scared to leave, or struggling in relationships that are seriously bad but they can’t afford to leave. Life is abundant. And when you respect and understand money, it almost magically transforms itself into something that grows and grows and grows. In financial terms it is called compound interest, but I like to think of it as prosperity manifesting.
I post a $5 Friday meal on Ms Frugal most Fridays, and also post philosophical blog pieces about savings and investment every other week or so. I welcome quality guest post submissions for blog posts including for the $5 Friday series.
I have spent over twenty years learning about China and Chinese culture. I see myself as a bridge for spanning the two cultures. So sometimes I write about cross-cultural parenting and related stuff as well such as my Australian/Asian identity. I also write about my time in Taiwan (including doing Chinese Postpartum Confinement) on my Taiwanxifu blog.
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