Meet my new boss (same as my old boss).

thAs I hinted in “Thanks a million,” changes are afoot in the way I do business at MSN Money. Specifically: Frugal Nation is no more. Instead, I’ll be writing three times a week (not five!) at MSN Money Smart Spending. [Edited to add: In September 2013 Microsoft fired all its writers on the same day and went to a partner content setup.]

Relieved? Yes. But sad, too.

After all, Frugal Nation was my baby alone: For more than a year I posted five times a week, offering “save money today” advice and also bigger-picture articles about money and how we use it, abuse it and sometimes deify it.


The job was wearing me right out, but I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the comments from fellow thrifty types, miss hearing their tips and personal stories. Heck, I’ll almost miss the trolls. (Not really.)

But as I noted in my final post, it’s like going home again. That’s because going on six years ago, editor Karen Datko and I jointly midwifed that site. Initially I wrote every weekday for Smart Spending, too, but after a month or so the supervising editor told me to throttle back to three times a week. Smart guy.


A change of address

In that final post I described the thoughts behind the change. Here are some excerpts:

By combining the two sites, MSN Money will ensure the strongest possible mix of personal finance, frugality and news topics.

The PF blogosphere has changed a lot since Smart Spending began. Back then only a few writers focused on money. Now thousands jostle for attention. Smart Spending always has, and always will, run the best of the best — a sort of Reader’s Digest for the money-minded.

That means you. Not everyone wants to become a captain of industry, but you should certainly want to captain your own financial ship.

I’ll miss Frugal Nation, but its focus on saving money and living intentionally will continue to be heard. I’m changing my address, not my philosophy. 

Each year for the past almost-six I’ve wondered, “Is this the year that MSN Money will say, ‘This has been fun, but frugality is so 2007’?” Obviously I’d hope and pray not, since that gig is the source of most of my income. (Working on diversifying, though.)

Just as important as making a living, though, is the bully pulpit: the chance to promote thrift and intentional living to as wide an audience as possible. Most blogs that address these topics have relatively small readership. At MSN Money it’s been possible to reach readers not just all over the United States but all over the world.

Starting Monday I’ll still be talking about smart money practices. I’ll just be doing it in a different place. Hope you’ll stop by.

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  1. Glad to hear that’s all sorted and you can have some time and energy for other things. I’ll keep reading.

  2. jestjack

    Hmmmmm….DW and I were just talking about this. Don’t know if the economy is really any better, as much as folks are just tired of “being poor”. Been about 5 years since the “Great Recession” began and that’s a lot of cutting back and doing without. So maybe frugality is falling out of favor…A bit too soon in my humble opinion as I have noticed impending doom in the form of inflation. Good example would be my experience at my favorite store…Home Depot…While pricing materials for a bit of maintenance I found that the exterior grade paint that I favor is now $38 a gallon (not so long ago it was $28) and roofing shingles are now $32 for the “cheapos”…that’s over $1 per shingle….and I’ll need 90 bundles of these gems….YIKES!!! IMHO frugality will be needed more than ever as our old friend inflation pays us a visit.

    • Donna Freedman

      Agreed that people are deciding that they no longer need to be as careful. I think if you allow yourself treats now and then you won’t go as buck-wild with the shopping, i.e., the making up for what you perceive you missed due to frugality.
      Sorry about the shingles. Ouch. Remember, though, you can buy discounted gift cards for Home Depot as well as movie theaters; go to GiftCardGranny.com and look for the best discounts.

      • jestjack

        Thank you for the advice Donna….still “smarting” from my “adventure” at the movies. These roofing costs are …well….frightening. Dug up an old receipt for the shingles on my roof now from about 18-19 years ago….$4.32 a bundle OR less than 15 cents a shingle. Will be checking out Giftcardgranny…Thanks again!

  3. We will follow you wherever you go! In a non-creepy non-stalkerish fangirl sort of way.

    • Donna Freedman

      Same goes back atcha. You can run, but you cannot hide….

  4. Reta Davis

    ditto, Nicholeandmaggie. couldn’t have said it better. Continued success, Donna

  5. I’m glad you are heading back to Smart Spending, Donna! I stopped reading Smart Spending after you left because the articles ceased to be interesting to me. I’ll miss Frugal Nation, but I’m looking forward to your new posts! Keep up the good work!

  6. Ditto N&M. And I’m very glad you addressed the overwork issue. It’s great that you’re getting some breathing space and will read you wherever you are.

    • Donna Freedman

      Thanks. I appreciate all these comments. They are reminding me that more-frequent postings have the potential to initiate dialogue.

  7. I honestly believe that money saving tips/sites are here to stay. This is the new norm and we all need to be brought up to speed! Well, some people just need to brush up on their skills.

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