I remember sitting there, head in hands, in disbelief that my bosses could be giving me such hell over a such a small mistake. It cost the company a few hundred dollars but my solid late working and relentless work ethic was saving them much more than my very occasional mistakes. After a few minutes of doing my best Klingon impression with my forehead I relaxed a little and knew where I was going.

I composed myself and took time out of my busy schedule to write my the bosses a letter to inform them I would no longer be working for them and that from that point my notice was officially in.

That was nearly 4 years ago now and shortly after I hit the road as a freelance artworker / graphic designer in London, my home town. This unleashed a new feeling of freedom inside of me and it soon led to me knowing I no longer wanted to sit in the same pit of despair as many young people do. Sticking to the same industry, the same job and the same town just getting by month to month. My flat, my debts, my life was just a facade, don’t get me wrong I was not unhappy as such but I was living a pre-fab life designed by the society I grew up in. I decided to sell my flat and get out.

The Move

I started by applying for a visa to go and live in Canada for a year. I had been to Canada once before and loved the friendly people, the rolling landscape and general feel of the country so it was a great place to start my new uprooted life. During the 8 month period of application and acceptance I arranged a trip to Canada, Montreal to be precise, to visit a friend who was there. Incidentally I met a young lady there who eventually ended up being my current partner. We have been together for 3 years now.

I loved Montreal and decided to make that my first stop when I finally got my acceptance for the Canadian Visa. So around 3 years ago I arrived in Montreal, ditched graphic design and started working in a pub kitchen for minimum wage. That didn’t last long and I decided (I had been dabbling) that I would give blogging for money and graphic design for online clients a try. After a few long hard months I was earning enough to survive and the rest is history! I ended up living happily in Montreal for 2 years and was fortunate after watching CBS one fine morning to start a frugal living blog that is now my pride and joy.

I now live in Egypt and have been here in Cairo for about 1 year. The blogging and online work gig gave me the freedom to simply say “Ok, that will be cool” when my partner asked if I would be interested in coming to Egypt with her if she got into grad school here. Egypt is nuts but amazing and I am in awe of the fact that I live here everyday! The pyramids are a $6 taxi ride away, crazy!


Throughout this whole awesome life changing period my finances were a complete mess. Earlier than this whole story I had loaned money to some close relatives by using loans that I applied for under my name. Suffice to say they did not pay me back and I was left making monthly payments and covering costs in the hope that their payments would start coming in soon…. That hope was never realised.

I moved to Canada with this horrible debt bearing over me and then Egypt. I always made payments but was getting lost in a web of credit cards paying credit cards and things were going downhill. In November (2009) I finally admitted to myself that I had been stupid to let this go on so long and sought help from the UK National Debt Helpline Charity. They were fantastic and my debt is now being paid off with all interest frozen in a debt management program.

My online business is also going well and with the debt being managed I am making healthy progress. I would say that since March (2010) I have been very stable and in control for the first time in many many years. With the help and advice of my fellow Yakezie members I am absolutely certain I can pay the debt off early.


I never used to be frugal. In fact I wasted more cash than I like to admit on DVD’s, Gadgets and Drinking. I left school and home at 16/17 and started full time work. Give a 16 year old money and freedom and bad things happen with money! In a weird way I am thankful for the debt situation my relatives thrust me into. I became frugal and clever with cash, learning to live on next to nothing and not hating it. This skill has enabled me to start my online business with little risk and I have no fear moving to a new country (may happen next year).

Frugal Zeitgeist and Yakezie

Frugal Zeitgeist was actually created for a competition to see who could build up the best blog in 30 days and then sell it. Whilst brainstorming for an idea I was watching CBS to see what was popular. Frugality was the order of the day and it hit me that it was an excellent topic for the competition. I could write all about it no problem and it would be fun. I wanted a quirky name and chose Frugal Zeitgeist (zeitgeist is a German word that approximately means “for the present time”), I snapped up the domain and got going. By the end of the competition the site was doing great, I was loving it and I could not face selling it. Luckily the competition had no clause that you HAD to sell the blog so I also won the prizes.

For a period of about 6 months I let Frugal Zeitgeist go to crap but gladly I picked the project back up and somewhere a few months after that time I discovered a post over at Deliver Away Debt about this Yakezie challenge. I ummed and arred about the time I had for a group and the pressure of writing content when people would be watching. I finally gave in and the rest is history. Before the challenge Alexa was around 348k and yesterday it just dipped below 100k for the first time. Full credit goes to the Yakezie and to Sam (Financial Samurai).

When Yakezie.com was announced and Sam was looking for leaders on verticals I didn’t see where I would fit it but wanted somehow to be involved. When the forums got going I was there reading and commenting every post where possible and Sam approached me about being the first moderator, of course I accepted. You guys are all well behaved (so far) so my job has been easy.

The Yakezie has been responsible for more than improving my Alexa ranking. It has improved my content because I am now accountable. I have met and found a ton of awesome bloggers and I look forward to seeing where we can help each other go in the coming days, months and years.

You can read more of my thoughts, tips and opinions on frugality, simple living and finance at Frugal Zeitgeist.

Thanks a million,


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