Watching a book be born.

thGreetings from Phoenix, where I’ve spent a lot of time editing the manuscript for my daughter’s upcoming e-book. The working title is “Frugality for Depressives,” and it’s designed to help people who experience depression figure out which money hacks will work and which won’t.

Fact is, not all tactics work for all people even if they aren’t depressive. Some folks are never going to soak beans, do online surveys or wash Ziploc bags.

“Frugality for Depressives” looks at money-saving tips in terms of common depressive symptoms and also suggests workarounds so that these tips could be used in at least some form.

As Abby knows from painful personal experience, depression and other mental illnesses make it hard to live on a budget. These diseases can also affect a person’s ability to earn, which means frugality isn’t just a lifestyle choice – it’s a survival mechanism.

The e-book should be out within the next four to six weeks. To my knowledge no one has written anything like it before. I believe the book will be a huge asset to those who can’t frugal* the way everyone else does but who still want to save money.

It’s been great (if time-consuming fun) and of course a writer always likes to see her offspring write great stuff. This is especially true if it keeps said writer from having to work on her own book.


Yep, I’m trying to do one of these myself. I’ve been pecking away it, off and on, since late September. It’s not done because I haven’t made it a priority, for several reasons:

  • A two-month contracting gig ate up all my energy and focus.
  • After that I found it difficult to focus on the project while freelancing (but I need to make a living).
  • Thanks to a friend’s buddy passes, I’ve had the chance to travel (Phoenix, Atlanta, Phoenix again); I really want to do that while I still can.
  • The travel and the chance to spend time with friends and family has me thinking about retirement, which has made it harder to focus on either freelancing or a book.

Mostly, though, I believe I haven’t made it a priority because part of me fears that it won’t turn out the way I hope and/or that I don’t deserve the opportunity to try.


Forcing my own hand

Those last two are old, destructive thought patterns against which I continue to struggle.

But by naming the project out loud, i.e., in public, I’m forcing my own hand. Now I have to take the opportunity to try, because I’ve told you about it.

This was actually something that DF recently suggested: Announce it on your blog and then provide weekly updates. Although I’m not sure about the updates, I’ve at least announced it.

As for income, I’ve decided that it’s OK not to make a ton of money this quarter. My expenses are pretty low and I do have some savings if I need them. The idea for this project has been tugging at me for a year or more but I wasn’t capable of giving it the time it deserves.


That’s what’s new

My own working title is still, well, working, so I won’t reveal it just yet. The subject: a compilation of all the tips, tactics and frugal hackery I’ve written in the past almost-nine years. It’s aimed at three groups of people:

  • Those who are already mired in tough times, i.e., the un- or underemployed.
  • Those who are anticipating tough times (potential layoffs, recently diagnosed health issues).
  • Those interested in voluntary belt-tightening (rapid debt repayment, becoming an at-home parent, starting a business, et al.)

I have reason to believe that nothing like this has ever been written before, either. Here’s hoping that this work and Abby’s can give people the tools they need to build the best lives they can on the monies they have.

So that’s what’s been going on down here in Phoenix: a couple of books-in-the-works, a lunch meet-up with Funny About Money and a lot of Netflix-watching (“Jessica Jones,” “Daredevil”). The weather is so nice at this time of year that I’m beginning to understand why so many Alaskans become snowbirds. And I think that Jessica Jones is my spirit animal, except without the alcohol.

*Abby uses “frugal” as a verb in the book. It led me immediately to start humming an old Beach Boys tune: “Let’s all frugal now/Everybody’s learning how/Come and wash some Ziplocs with meeee….” I may challenge DF to come up with the rest of the song.

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  1. I know DF could write the rest! Both books sound worthwhile, so it will be great to be able to read them.

    I’m interested in both of them: Abby’s book might also apply to people who have medical challenges, because they also suffer similar obstacles: the fatigue, distraction, mental deficits, etc. And eventually, for those with chronic medical problems, depression frequently occurs. That population would probably find her book of value.

    Yours also sounds like something I need to read. So get to it! (An acquisitions editor used to drive by the house of one of his authors and yell out the window ‘Write, damn you!’) I’m not sure if that was motivating: maybe it was. Periodic updates would be welcome, though.

  2. Catseye

    OMG, the re-written Beach Boy lyrics are too funny! Good luck to you and Abby, my favorite PF bloggers. May both your books be successful.

  3. The book would be a blast to read! Please, please make it funny on purpose, your sense of humour slays me! Your writing is already top notch. I know, I teach English Language, and more relevant, have been a compulsive reader for most of my life. Books are my drug of choice, and your blog – I’m not kidding, I re-read your articles all the time. My favourite is “A mess of beans.” So, Donna, you’ve already got at least one potential buyer waiting in the wings. All the best!

    • Donna Freedman

      Aw, thanks….And although my subject matter is serious, my point of view will always include some bit of humor (even if it’s of the gallows variety).

  4. Carolyn Cooper

    I had to smile at “some people are never going to soak beans, do online surveys or wash Ziploc bags.” My landlady/friend in the Dominican Republic soaks the beans and washes the Ziploc bags all the time. And I, of course, am addicted to swag bucks surveys—thanks to YOU!!!

  5. So glad to hear that you are writing a book-I am sure that we will all learn a new frugal hack or two once it is hatched. And very exciting news about Abby’s book, too. I read (and enjoy) both of your blogs.
    Let us know if you come across any great senior discounts. I turned 60 in January and have been over the moon gleeful about the new senior discounts which I’ve discovered! Something to look forward to in retirement.

  6. teinegurl

    Donna ,

    Not to be a pest but remember when you asked your reader’s for questions and said you would give us the answer’s??? Well??? im patiently (not so patiently LOL no pressure) waiting!! I would also love an Ask Donna thing because im sure if I didn’t live in Hawaii I would go to your in person meet ups just to ask you questions!1 LOL

    • Donna Freedman

      Um, oops. Yeah. I’ve been feeling guilty about those questions. Will get back to them — but remember, I might not answer all of them.

  7. Make Do Mom

    Your visit to Phoenix sounds lovely albeit busy. I’m looking forward to the periodic updates as your book progresses.

  8. Your book will be excellent. Your early MSN articles are still the best, most powerful frugal articles I’ve read. I’m sure the book will be more of the same!


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