Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Zero Waste Home by Bea JohnsonI love Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.

It is exactly the kind of smart, stylish, practical, frugal, minimalist, conservation home guide that I’ve been looking for.

But I didn’t know I was looking for it until I happened to run across a little blurb in Sunset magazine that said that Bea’s family of four only produces one quart of garbage per year.

That’s right.

One quart.

Can you believe it?

I had to find out more. Which led me to this slide show article on Sunset’s web site called “The zero-waste home.”

After looking at the inspiring slides and reading the article, I put Bea’s book on hold at the library. I checked out her blog and her top tips. When the book came through after a few weeks, I devoured it in a day. Then I read it again.

Zero Waste Home is chock-full of great tips and examples of how Bea and her family have been able to reduce waste, reduce consumption, save money and still live a fabulous and fun life. It is a book after my own heart.

I’m so inspired by this book that my next blog posts will detail how I’ve put Bea’s tips to work in my home and in my life. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out the book!

NOTE: The book links on this page are affiliate links, so if you end up using any of them for your own online shopping, Super Frug will benefit (thank you!).

The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen

Man-Who-Quit-MoneyI like thinking about money.

I enjoy creating spreadsheets and budgets. When the Sunday Seattle Times arrives, I almost always read the Business section first.

Thinking and talking about money doesn’t bother me or cause me anxiety like lots of other people. Quite the contrary. The more I research, assess and understand my own personal finances, the more comfortable, safe and content I feel.

So, when I heard there was a man living in the U.S. who quit money–just gave it up one day by putting his life savings of thirty dollars in a phone booth–I was very intrigued.

When I started reading The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen, I thought, how can anyone live without money? What kind of crazy person would do that?

But the more I read, the more I could see why Daniel Suelo chose to quit money. Even though I could never imagine living the way Suelo does–not earning, receiving or paying a single cent–I could understand why he chose, and still chooses, to live this way.

Reading this book made me wonder why I felt such a great need to save more and more money. Why was my sense of self and security so wrapped in how much savings I had? I started to question what is real security, separate from monetary means.

Could I feel secure in myself no matter how much money I had?

It’s a hard question for me to answer. I’m still grappling with it.

This book is beautifully written and very thought-provoking. Sundeen did an excellent job profiling this most interesting and fascinating man. I suspect I will be thinking about Suelo’s story for many, many years to come.

If you read it, please post what you thought of it. I’d love to hear your opinion.

NOTE: The book link on this page is an affiliate link, so if you end up using it for your own online shopping, Super Frug will benefit (thank you!).

Super Frug Hero: Macklemore

A rapper promoting frugality?

Telling people to buy used instead of new?


Yes, this is Macklemore, aka. Ben Haggerty, a homegrown, self-made rapper from my beloved city of Seattle, who sings about shopping at the Goodwill in his chart-busting single, “Thrift Shop.” Not only that but he and his producer Ryan Lewis made it big without a record label, a contract or an agent.

As the song goes, “This is f**cking awesome.”

Macklemore, I hope you’re able to hold onto your frugal, down-to-earth ways as you ride the waves of stardom.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you at the next Goodwill Glitter Sale.

NOTE: If you’re offended by swearing, do not watch this video.

JAN 2014 UPDATE: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win 4 Grammys including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song (with Michael “Wanz” Wansley) and Best Rap Performance for “Thrift Shop.” Congrats to two of Seattle’s best!

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel

YouCanBuyHappinessbookCan you imagine giving away most of your possessions and then moving into a custom-made 128 square foot house on wheels?

Does this sound crazy?

Does it sound enticing?

Either way, you should read You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel.

I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down.

I found Strobel’s journey to simplify, reduce her consumption, and create a life that she loves absolutely fascinating.

Her writing is friendly, straightforward, and honest – she shares her triumphs and accomplishments along with her mistakes, misfortunes, and faulty ways of thinking. I really appreciate that.

Chapters include:

  • Buying Things Will Not Make You Happy
  • The Stuff You Own Owns You
  • Changing Your Relationship with Stuff
  • The Power of Debt
  • Sell What You Can, Give the Rest Away
  • The Joy of the Small House
  • Reclaiming Work
  • Time is the Only Real Wealth
  • Money vs. Experiences
  • Relationships Matter, Not Things
  • The Art of Community Building
  • The Power of Tiny Pleasures

Strobel doesn’t just share her story, she also peppers the book with stories from other happy, interesting, and independent people who have also simplified their lives. Also, she’s done her research. Throughout the book are enlightening and often shocking factoids on happiness, consumption, debt, personal finances and more.

This not only an inspiring book, but one with tons of resources for anyone who wants to live a more frugal and intentional life. Whether you would ever live in tiny house is beside the point. This book is worth reading just for all the simplifying, life-altering, happiness-inducing ideas and strategies.

Check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think of it!

NOTE: The book link on this page is an affiliate link, so if you end up using it for your own online shopping, Super Frug will benefit (thanks so much!).

Super Frug Hero: Bill Cunningham

If Bill Cunningham ever saw this post, he’d probably laugh and say, “Child, I’m no hero!” But that would be typical of Bill to downplay his accomplishments and his incredible career capturing and documenting decades of fashion and beauty for The New York Times.

I saw the documentary Bill Cunningham New York this summer (at the Crest Cinema no less). Immediately, within the first few minutes, I was mesmerized by this 80+-year-old modern day monk in a French working man’s bright blue coat, riding a Schwinn bicycle through the pandemonium that is Manhattan, snapping photos at every turn.

Here’s what the film is about, quoted directly from their web site.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.

The “Bill” in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.” Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller—who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.

Bill lives in a modest apartment filled to the hilt with file cabinets full of photo archives. He has no need for a kitchen because he doesn’t cook. He eats out for all of his meals and likes “simple things” like an egg toast sandwich and coffee. Even though he photographs beautiful clothes all over New York, he has just a few utilitarian pieces for himself. Every day, he photographs people, often working from morning until late at night. He loves his work and at 80+ years old, he’s still going strong.

I love the quote Bill says while receiving a momentous honor in France: “He who seeks beauty will find it.” His life is a manifestation of the Super Frug philosophy of knowing what is important to you. Bill is a shining example of how you don’t have to be rich to have a remarkable life.

Hats off to you, Bill!