My name is Serina Bird 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. 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 a bit of a way to go (a lot really), 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. As I transitioned to being the main carer and financial provider, while paying all the crazy costs associated with separation and divorce, I delved into my inner frugality.
I’ve now remarried and arguably, I don’t need to be frugal. But now it has become a way of life that I am proud of. In fact, it enabled me to quit my job so that I could focus on writing, podcasting and being a money coach.
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. 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.
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My formal bio:
Serina Bird is a former diplomat, author of The Joyful Frugalista, host of The Joyful Frugalista podcast, and a money coach. Serina’s vision is to encourage people to become frugalistas – spending less and saving more (with joy) on the path to financial empowerment.
She is a frequent television and radio celebrity, with her appearances including on Studio 10, Today Extra, Sunrise, Your Money Live, Mums at the Table, ABC Radio National and radio programs around the country. She has been featured in The Canberra Times, The Star (Canada), Money Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald (and other Fairfax publications), Sun Herald, Woman’s Day, New Idea, That’s Life, Kidspot, The Reader’s Digest, Daily Mail and Body & Soul (Sydney Morning Herald), and is frequently quoted in news.com.au and other forums.
Serina writes on personal finance for Money Magazine, MoneySaverHQ, and Summerland Credit Union, and writes budget food recipes and articles for Australia’s Best Recipes. Oh, and she speaks fluent Mandarin and developed a deep love of southern Taiwanese snack food and high end banquets while living in Taiwan and China.