“Frugality For Depressives” now available.

FrugalityforDepressives_250Those of you who follow my daughter’s blog already know this, but: Abby has been working on a book lately. You’d also know this if you read my late-March post, “Watching a book be born.”

Happy to announce that “Frugality For Depressives: Money-Saving Tips For Those Who Find Life A Little Harder” is here, and happier still to be giving away a couple of copies of the electronic version.

(Edited to add: Hannah at Unplanned Finance is also giving away a copy. Use the link to find out how to enter; the deadline is May 9.)

(Note: The above link is for the Kindle version. Anyone who wants an ePub or PDF version can check the ad on the right-hand side of this page. It’s the same price – $7.99 –  for all these editions.)

During her post-illness years of poverty and struggle, Abby looked for money advice but couldn’t find anything that worked. Personal finance blogs were popping up like mushrooms after a rain but they all said the same stuff over and over:

  • “Drink one less coffee a day and you’ll retire rich!” (Many days Abby was too sick to leave her apartment – and she doesn’t like coffee anyway.)
  • “Get a second job to help pay off debt!” (Depressives with chronic fatigue sometimes can’t even get a first job, let alone a second one.)
  • “All those toys you bought during the good times? Put them on Craigslist and watch your fortunes rise!” (It took her a year and a half to save up enough rewards points to get herself a basic MP3 player. Toys R Not her.)

She often saw a phrase I’ve come to loathe: “If I can do it, anyone can.” Gah. Basic money hacks do work for a lot of people, but they don’t work for everyone.

Abby tried – oh, how she tried. “Each failure drove the shame and despair deeper. Each new twist focused my mind on my inability to be the good frugal girl I was raised to be.”

[Sorry about that, kid.]

Since she couldn’t become a perfect frugalist, Abby decided to hack the hacks.


That is, she took the typical PF tenets and rewrote them until they worked for her. “Typical” doesn’t work for someone who’s not typical.

She also started her blog, I Pick Up Pennies, and over time has built an audience not just of fellow depressives and the chronically ill, but also of people who find help and inspiration in what she calls “imperfect frugality.”


Win the book

That hard-earned knowledge is now all in one place – and it isn’t just for depressives. Certainly the book can help those with depression or other illnesses, but it’s also for those whose lives don’t fit neatly into the do this/don’t do that binary.

Not that she’s letting anyone off the hook, including herself. Abby works to watch her spending, shop as intentionally as possible and build an emergency fund, and has even managed to create small (but earnest!) retirement accounts for herself and her husband (who is also chronically ill).

She examines the ABCs of PF with the eye of a survivor, the compassion of a therapist, and the bullshit detector of a fellow traveler who knows what it’s like to hear the siren call of, “Your life is so hard – you deserve that [whatever-it-is].”

Yet the book doesn’t scold or even goad. It leads and it encourages:

  • That didn’t work? Try it this way.
  • Overwhelmed physically and emotionally? Break down this frugal hack into these steps and do one a day if that’s what you need.
  • Be kind to yourself, but remember that includes thinking about Future You  which in turn means being smarter about money.

And those of you who come out in hives at the sight of a spreadsheet are gonna love her advice on budgeting: “Don’t.”

(But of course it’s not that simple. She provides other options for corralling those dollars.)

Right now I’m giving away two e-copies of “Frugality for Depressives.” Those of you who don’t have/don’t like e-readers will have your chances, too, though: When the book is available in physical form, I’ll give away a couple of copies of that, too.

In the meantime, here’s how to enter for an e-version:

The deadline to enter is 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 3. If I don’t hear back from the winners by 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, I’ll have the random number generator pull two new names.

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  1. I would love to read her book, it sounds like exactly like what I would need. Love to see a book from you too-someday?

  2. You must be incredibly proud of her. I would be. I would love to read this!

  3. Carnette Ball

    sounds like a good read. I like the outside of the box approach to frugality.

  4. Melissa F

    Glad to see it available and thanks for the chance to win.

  5. Jane Crouse

    Congratulations Abby! Thank you for creating something good for an under-served population. I would love to read your book and share it with others. Props to you, Donna, for raising such a thoughtful and caring daughter.

  6. Deb coy

    Following Abby for a long time. Love to read her new book. Feel like I know the author personally. Great job!

  7. Deb coy

    Also follow on Facebook and just signed up for how to write a blog.

  8. Linda G

    I would love to win a copy – I have been following her progress and she’s done great!

  9. Cathy in NJ

    I would love to read this.

    “And those of you who come out in hives at the sight of a spreadsheet are gonna love her advice on budgeting: “Don’t.” ”

    I get worn out by spreadsheets all day at work. The last thing I want to do when managing my home is more spreadsheeting.

  10. kandace

    Congratulations to Abby on the book! What a great accomplishment for her.

  11. Aunt Leesie

    I’ll be buying Abby’s book as soon as it’s available as a physical book on Amazon, so don’t need to be entered into the drawing. I just wanted to say that it’s helpfulness isn’t limited to those with chronic illness or depression… the information Abby provides will be useful to ANY reader who for any number of reasons isn’t getting enough sleep or is simply living with stressful circumstances… and especially both. SO, say, a new baby. Or a new job. Or an old job that requires 50+ hours per week with lots of pressure so that on those few hours per week you’re not at work, have too much laundry to wash, a home to clean, shopping to do, kids to taxi, etc. and you’re dead on your feet, making alert, lucid, cognitive thought streams challenging. If you’re a student juggling a full time class load as well as a full time job. I’m actually buying a copy for a friend who while not clinically depressed, has been going through some rough times with a recently reduced income. Just sayin’. 🙂

    • Aunt Leesie

      P.S. I’ll be buying my own copy, because I can always use new tips/tricks for dealing with brain fog. Something I commonly deal with when I have bouts of insomnia.

  12. I would love to read her book. I read her blog as well. Everyone is not the same, we all have struggles that we live with daily.

  13. Nancy Shrout-Wankowski

    Congrats on it being published. If I win, I would like a paper copy.

    • Donna Freedman

      Thanks for your interest. I’m not giving away a paper copy right now because it’s not available yet. But I’ll be posting an additional giveaway eventually.

  14. Very impressed by her openness and I love that this was the topic she tackled. Someone very close to me deals with depression, and often we miscommunicate when we touch on finances. I’m so glad this book exists now!

  15. I too will wait for a hard copy of the book so this is a comment only. I agree 100% with the sentiment that there is no one size fits all approach to frugality and personal finance. There are many people I respect in this field however I have noticed more and more that those who dish out the “advice” on how they retired at 30 or similar have often had a fair amount of privilege or worked in a high paying job or have had family money behind them before they get there. Not to mention they appear fit and healthy both physically and mentally. Sure people may have given things up or live a frugally healthy life style but it can be a challenge for many of us to achieve this based on personal circumstances whether it be supporting a family member with a mental illness, or kids, or working in a low paying job and on and on. I am really pleased that there is another type of message out there. Congrats Abby and to you Donna for supporting your daughter as you do.

  16. Susanne Nielsen

    I would love a copy of this book!

  17. Susanne Nielsen

    . . . and I email subscribe to your blog – and Abby’s, too. 😉

  18. I just purchased the kindle version of Abby’s book-I m looking forward to reading her advise because I enjoy reading her blog, & yours too! So this is a comment only.

  19. Would love to win a copy-you both have a great writing style!

  20. I subscribe via Feedly

  21. I follow you on Facebook and Twitter

  22. Michelle Maloney

    Sounds like a great book!

  23. I want to try this book as soon as soon as it will available for me
    it can be heplfull for people paying loan as i am also in student loan consolidation services i will suggest this book to students also. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I’d like to buy it to support Abby’s blog, not a depressive but I like reading her blog because I think she’s real. A lot of PF bloggers don’t write about their struggles so it’s a bit hard to relate to them.

  25. Cindy Brooks

    Abby deserves to be proud of all the hard work she’d put into her book. I can’t wait to read it!

  26. Cindy Brooks

    e-mail subscriber

  27. Cindy Brooks

    following on facebook

  28. Cindy Brooks

    WriteABlogPeopleWillRead.com subscriber

  29. Christine Guzorek

    I don’t fit those “categories” either! Best of luck Abby!
    (get your emails)

  30. Hope this goes well for her. Also look forward to the issuance of the hard copy. Thanks for your blog.

  31. Becky with average hair

    I’ve followed your and your daughter’s blogs for many years. Good stuff. Would love to win the book

  32. I subscribe by email.

  33. I follow you on Facebook

  34. I would love to read Abby’s book. I agree it does get discouraging when many of the frugal ideas I already do or never follow through with.

  35. I need the book!!!

  36. I subscribe

  37. I share some of Abby’s struggles and hope I can win the book as it’s not in the budget

  38. Subscribe via email

  39. Follow on Twitter

  40. Like on Facebook

  41. Receive the weekly emails on writing a blog

  42. Glenda Bossow

    I would love to win! I’m subscribed by email

  43. donna gagne

    Hi Donna,
    I would really love this e-book. I had a lady friend who could haggle a corner store person out of a half a banana because it had a black spot on the skin. Can’t do it. I they asked a dollar if I wanted it bad enough that is what they would get for it. Just don’t have it in me. Perhaps I should mention she was from Lebanon and that is how it’s done, I can’t so that is why I need all the help I can get. We are living on SS now so it has to stretch. Thanks for the help.

  44. Congratulations to Abby! This is an impressive milestone for anyone, and to come up with a new and needed area in PF is pretty noteworthy, too. I’m looking forward to the hard copy. I wouldn’t mind having a Kindle-friendly version, too.

  45. Post reply entry one!

  46. Feed follower entry two!

  47. Facebook follower entry three! If I don’t win I will be buying. 🙂

  48. Post entry too! Good work Abby!

  49. I subscribe by email and I would love a copy of Abby’s book. Huge thanks to her for writing it, because how to manage when you are chronically ill, depressed or just exhausted from the sucker punches life is throwing you is a topic that isn’t covered by most PF blogs and books and this is an audience that really needs the guidance.

    Well done!

  50. I would love to win this!

  51. I subscribe by email.

  52. I follow on facebook.

  53. Stace Hendricks

    Sounds like a great book. Good for her for going against the odds and not giving up!

  54. Melissa Allison

    I absolutely NEED this book! I suffer from chronic depression as well as generalized anxiety disorder – and have for almost 16 years. My husband and I struggle, with 5 children, from month to month. We have no savings, and barely make ends meet. I’d love to read her book – I think it would seriously help us! I love reading both of your blogs – I love hearing honest advice!

  55. Melissa Allison

    I subscribe via email – and have for years! 🙂

  56. Melissa Allison

    I follow you on Facebook 🙂

  57. Melissa Allison

    I receive your weekly newsletter, too 🙂

  58. Suzanne Carino

    I’m so pleased that Abby has written a book that will certainly empower many people. I’m sure you’re also as proud as punch.

    Looking forward to your book as well. 🙂 Been a long-time fan of your written wit.

    Oh and I just finished your Write a Blog People Will Read course. Worth every single penny.

  59. carrie

    I follow on Facebook.

  60. carrie

    I subscribe via email 🙂

  61. carrie

    And I follow on Twitter 🙂

  62. Joyous one

    I’d love to read this book, as I have currently live with someone with mental health issues

  63. Sounds like a very timely book. I’m sure a wide audience will be interested in this topic. (Me too!)

  64. Catseye

    I hope I haven’t waited too late to enter, things have been pretty crazy the past couple of weeks.

  65. Catseye

    Of course, I follow you on Facebook, Donna.

  66. Sarah Johnson

    I really want to read this book in a printed version. Abby, can you self publish? Abby, I have followed your mom’s articles about your hardships. So many with your physical health and miscarriages. You keep getting up after the blows. You are a hero to me.

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