Real Life Minimalists: Me

mm-photo[Earlier this year, I ran a series called Real Life Minimalists, in which I invited readers to submit their own stories. I’d love to revive it, and thought I’d start by jumping into the ring myself. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.]

When I started this blog, I had no idea what kind of response I’d receive (to be honest, I never expected more than a handful of people to read it!). I didn’t know if people would find my minimalism a little weird, somewhat wacky, or way off the deep end. Most of all, I didn’t know if there were any other kindred souls out there.

Therefore, I chose to remain anonymous. That way, I could write about how many shoes, towels, or paperclips I owned without having to answer for my “eccentricities” in real life. I could wax poetic about white walls, empty rooms, and naked windows without putting my name on these musings.

Along the way, however, I discovered that this is who I am. I’m the woman who sold all her possessions and moved to a foreign country. I’m the woman who owns four pieces of furniture, and eloped with her wedding dress in a ziplock. I’m the woman who travels the world with a tiny bag, loves living without a TV, and would like to eat every meal out of a single bowl.

And I’m proud to be her!

Therefore, I’ve decided to come out of anonymity: I’m Francine Jay, and I’m a minimalist.

I’m an American writer currently living in England. I published my first book, Frugillionaire: 500 Fabulous Ways to Live Richly and Save a Fortune, last summer.

mm-cover-frugillionaireSo what’s a minimalist doing writing about frugality? Actually, I’ve found that the two pursuits often go hand in hand.

The book isn’t about clipping coupons, or finding the lowest credit card rates; it’s about saving money by simplifying your life. My goal was to make saving easy and enjoyable, and explain how one could live a rich life by consuming less.

(Click here if you’d like a peek at the Table of Contents and Introduction.)

If you’re interested in reading it, you can pick it up on; for those of you downsizing your books, it’s also available on Kindle.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy traveling, doing yoga, reading philosophy, and rambling the English countryside. Although I’m a city girl at heart, I’ve recently become enamored with strolling through pastures of sheep and meadows of wildflowers.

My short term goals are to publish a second book, and make more of my own food from scratch (like bread, yogurt, and tofu). I’d also love to learn to snowboard, speak Japanese, and play pedal steel guitar.

My long term goals are to see as much of the world as possible, and make some kind of positive contribution to society (I’m not sure exactly how yet, but I’m working on it!).

By writing about minimalism, I hope to promote it as a lifestyle alternative. I want others who are dissatisfied with consumer culture to know they’re not alone. I think it would be wonderful—for ourselves, for the Earth, and its other inhabitants—if we all learned to live with a little bit less.

Well, I hope that takes a little of the mystery out of “Miss Minimalist.” You can still call me “Miss M” if you like, or Francine if you prefer. And now that you know who I am, stop and say “hi” if you see me on the streets of London… :-)

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed, or signing up to receive new articles by email.}

Related posts:

  1. Real Life Minimalists: Jan
  2. Real Life Minimalists: simple in france
  3. Real Life Minimalists: Janet

91 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Me

  • Heather

    Well a BIG Howdy from Texas Ms. Francine. Nice to “see” you. Thanks for being so forthright and honest and out there. Love your blog!!! : )

  • Rachael

    Hey Francine! You’re already making a positive contribution to society with this blog. You’ve certainly inspired me! :D

  • Wow, it feels good to be able a face to a name! I think part of the reason why I love your blog is because of your eccentricity, it means we have a lot in common ;) I’m living in England too (studying Japanese coincidentally!). I’ll be sure to check out your book, thanks for a great blog, I can’t wait for future posts!

    • miss minimalist

      Jessica, how cool that you’re studying Japanese! I think I’ll have to find some classes, as I’m not doing too well with it on my own…

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kurio's resource. kurio's resource said: Real Life Minimalists: Me [...]

  • ami

    Funny thing – by ‘coming out’ – you’ve further simplified your life :) No more hiding, no more double life, just the wonderful minimalist Francine.

    That was a very minimalist move.

  • Hola Francine. Nice to see a picture of you too. I must say, if you had a bloated face and appeared to weigh 300 pounds, I’d have to question your sincerity.

    Minimalism also has to do with one’s eating habits, does it not?

    Very much enjoy your blog. Original thought backed up by real life experience. Thank you.

  • Hi Francine! I look forward to reading your book. Are you going to give an ‘interview’ about it? Willow (yeah, it’s my sorta pseudonym)

  • Francine – It’s wonderful to put a face to your writing, thank you for opening yourself up to us. I love reading about your 4 pieces of furniture, your limited number of shoes, and your one bowl philosophy. You inspire me with each post and encourage me to pursue my own crazy-lunatic-minimalist life.

    Best of luck with reaching your goals. I can’t wait to read your book! I concur with Rachael, your blog is an awesome contribution to society.

  • Deb J

    Nice to see your picture and know your real name. Sure enjoy your blog.

  • Ana

    I think its great that you are proud to be seen and known… many of us have probably always secretly known we wanted to be like you, but were allways too afraid because of social identities and norms….(I was!!)

    Hurrah for owning 4 pieces of furniture and living out of a handbag….. and still looking great! :) Your blogs have clearly shown that!!

    Keep up the good work

    Ana London

    • miss minimalist

      Hi Ana! Thanks so much for the support. My family and friends are already well aware of my “eccentricities” —- so why not the rest of the world, right? ;-)

  • Julia

    Nice to meet you, Francine! Thanks for writing such an inspiring blog!

  • I’m so enjoying this blog! It’s nice to read about the person behind the blog. I’m working towards minimalism as a goal, but I do have the yogurt and bread making down pat. I’m thinking minimalism is harder. :)

  • annalinen

    Hello Francine! I thought I was doing well but I really would love to reach your level of minimalism. And I will!

  • hey, nice to meet you. you are very pretty! thanks for opening up & telling about your book, i’d love to read it. will send my husband to the library pronto!


  • Good to meet you!

    I would really like to read your book. It looks right up my alley.

    I just subscribed. I look forward to reading your next posts!


  • Good to see you come out of hiding!

  • I love that you came out :)

    I’d do it with all 3 of my blogs, but I reveal way too much about myself beyond just minimalism to do that.

    Maybe one day, I’ll start my own personal blog under my own name & let no one know about it

    • miss minimalist

      Thanks, FB! I totally understand your concern. I was pretty hesitant, too — but am touched to receive such a warm “welcome.”

  • It’s great to “meet” you, Francine! And now I’m picking up a copy of your book ASAP!

  • It’s great to finally “meet” you!

    I really enjoy reading your posts, and I hope to check out your book as soon as I am done my “to read” pile!

  • Adrienne

    Hi Francine nice to meet you.
    I agree with Racehel – you are already contributing to society.
    Even to the other end of the planet I’m in NZ !!!!
    I love your site and get lots of inspiration from it. Keep up the good work!!

  • Adrienne

    Oops!! Typo
    Sorry Rachel!!!!

  • Way to come out of your (very empty) closet! I think owning our minimalism is the best way to help spread the movement. By spreading the love of less, you’re already contributing great things to the world!

  • Meg

    Hullo, Francine! It’s a lovely step you’ve taken–certainly nothing to be ashamed of and there’s plenty of support for your p.o.v. Enjoy that English countryside for me–I miss it, but don’t know when I will be able to get back.

    • miss minimalist

      Hi Meg! I just can’t get over how beautiful this country is –- if you make it back someday, we’ll have to go on a walk. :-)

  • Anne

    Hello Francine! But you will always be Miss M to me ;)

    But in either of your identities, you remain one of my favorite blog reads. Always interesting, entertaining and very frequently informative.

  • HK

    Nice to finally “see” you, Francine! You are a true inspiration to minimalists everywhere. I plan on purchasing the Kindle edition of your book, and can’t wait to start reading it. Best of luck with your future writing projects, I will look for them.

    A devoted fan,


    • miss minimalist

      Thank you HK, you are so sweet! I love having your support. :-)

      • HK

        You’re very welcome. I downloaded the Kindle edition of you book last night and I love it so far! It is full of wonderful tips, thank you. Oh, and a double thank you for making your book available for Kindles :D I’m proud to say I’ve done away with all my physical books, and purchased them in electronic format. I can’t imagine reading any other way these days (well, except for my legal textbooks, but that can’t be helped really…).

        • miss minimalist

          HK, I’m so glad you like it! And I’m so impressed that you’ve been able to eliminate all your physical books — I’m still working on that. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

  • Wendy

    So you’ve written a book! No wonder your blog is so well written. You’ve got skilz! (Napolean Dynomite reference). It’s so nice to put a face to a name. I look forward to reading your book.

  • Nice to meet you. Learning the pedal steel would be awesome!!

  • Kim

    Hello Francine. I love having a name and face to put on Miss M.

  • Hey, Francine! I love your inspirational blog and I am glad you have stepped from behind the curtain of anonymity :)

    Also, your book looks terrific. I’m so pleased you made it available for the Kindle. I’ve just downloaded it and look forward to a very good read!

  • Jess Que

    Hey Francine,

    Yet to read your book.
    But I did read the book called The Happy Minimalist
    If you are Miss Minimalist – he is Mr Minimalist. :)
    His website is

  • Jenifer


    A friend of mine (also a minimalist) put me onto your blog and i really enjoy it!

    I, too, sold everything and moved to a different country (New Zealand). Well, most everything. :) my husband and i bought a business (a holistic health center), and we live with our son in a simple, one-bedroom apartment with only our bedroom furnished so far. it’s quite nice actually.

    people do think we are nuts. but we’re happy.

    • miss minimalist

      Jenifer, that sounds like a wonderful lifestyle — and in such a beautiful country! We’re both lucky we were able to get “fresh starts” by moving overseas. :-)

  • Tradd

    You look like I imagined! :) Long, dark hair, lol! I got a copy of your book for my Kindle last night. Read some – very good! I should probably do the Real Life Minimalist thing, since I am a RL Minimalist! Have to write it up…

    • miss minimalist

      LOL, Tradd — I hope those who were expecting a cute blond weren’t too disappointed. ;-)

      Thanks so much for buying my book, I really appreciate it. :-) And I’d love to feature you as a Real Life Minimalist!

  • Jean

    You do indeed appear as I also imagined you would! So nice to “meet’ you, Francine. Thanks for offering a little haven here for those of us who choose to live a rich life with less stuff. Thirty years ago, we were considered strange! I’ve fielded many questions from visitors to my home, akin to “where do you keep your stuff?” :-)

    I found I lose interest in blogs where the author is “anonymous.” Their choice, yet I find it challenging to relate. Even one photo provides a certain integrity. So glad you’ve decided to reveal your beautiful self.

    • miss minimalist

      LOL, Jean, we get the same questions from visitors! (New ones, that is — friends and family are well aware of our minimalist lifestyle!)

      Thanks for sticking with me while I was still anonymous, and being so supportive of my “coming out.”

  • Michelle

    Miss M! You’re gorgeous as well as talented. I can’t call you Francine, you’ll always be Miss M to me. Thanks so much for allowing us to see into your personal life.

  • “My short term goals are to publish a second book, and make more of my own food from scratch (like bread, yogurt, and tofu). I’d also love to learn to snowboard, speak Japanese, and play pedal steel guitar.”

    What a well-rounded list of goals. I wish you the best of luck in obtaining them all.

    Although i have just discovered your blog and now ‘who you are’ i think from what i have read so far that you are living a dream and i hope you to continue to do what you are doing as you can see you have quite a few fans out here. Thanks!

    • miss minimalist

      Thanks, finallygettingtoeven! I’ve made more progress on some goals (the book) than others (the Japanese). :-) I appreciate your encouraging words!

  • Jan

    Hi Francine, nice to meet you! I’m an aspiring minimalist in Belgium who likes the way you write. Keep following your dreams!

  • Hi Francine,
    Wonderful article. I’ve been living pretty much this way for years, not entirely as a minimalist, but as an inspiration for building community. I created a blog and wrote a book to share my ideas. You or anyone reading this, can look at it and my upcoming book on my Saving Money Tips blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences, I think it’s great.

    Hal Merrill

  • [...] course, in line with his idea of making progress by doing less. In an interview about the book with Francine Jay, he says, “Be more conscious of what urges you have, what distracts you, why you’re doing it. [...]

  • Thanks for sharing your life. You can find a lot of kindred souls out there.

  • Kevin

    This is amazing… My friends think I’m a complete nutjob for getting rid of everything that I don’t need to survive and clean myself with. It is such a revelation to hear others expressing beliefs and experiences that you thought you were alone with. Thank you all

  • You have a great site. Congratulations on your success! I started blogging anonymously too (, just this year, but I have already outed myself. =)

  • Miss M:

    You’re the best. I have been interested in living small for a long time. My research brought me to you and I can say truly; Today my life begins to change. Thanx


  • Hey francine! Great that you’re in England… do you live in London, or out in the country? By the way, can you please help me? I’m a child but want to start minimalism – it looks really great! But I need help in how to go about it… lovely blog by the way. ;)

  • Jill

    Have u made tofu yet? I would love to learn how!

  • Sean-Thomas

    i just have to say, THANK YOU! i have been thinking that i am weird or somehow i am really related to the founders of IKEA or Scan Design. i have been purging the last year or so and what a feeling!

    it all started with a few boxes of christmas decorations. it dawned on me i never put out half of what i owned and i began to question why i had items that i brought out for 2 weeks of the year, only to store them for 50! they had to go. i ended up giving away ALL my holiday decorations. what a burden to have them all!

    after the decorations, i started on the book and nick-nacks. it prorgressed to furniture and clothes. the love of purging has taken over! and not just purging but the idea of the new items i have bought have been to ask “is it necessarily?” “do i REALLY need it?” and finally, the biggest question, “will it last a long, long time?” because part of minimizing my home and life is to minimize my money as well.

    am i where you are, or even where most of your readers are? no. will i be? i hope so. i have a roommate that does NOT share the same idea, so it’s been hard but when he moves out and my house is my mine again, i will be ready for the brand new way of living!

    thank you again – i am not alone!

  • tammy

    I Love all the replies. I am wondering if there is anything that you write about, having only QUALITY OVER QUANTITY? I have lived my life with the GOOD ENOUGH Mentality, having alot of items that are just Good Enough. I want to get rid of all those Good enough’s to have only what I LOVE and ENJOY and that is ENOUGH.

  • Shade Spectre

    Minimalism has been my way since childhood. All of my so called “possessions” are literally carried in a small school backpack. I miss nothing from the idea of ownership and would willingly let go of my backpack at anytime. Funny enough that the woman I am married to is very much so the opposite! She rarely understands but always is supportive. Though I would never suggest this life to others I have much love and respect for those who live this reality. To you, miss minimalist, I say bravo and congratulations on a job well done! May the rest of our family see the errors of possession and find peace in living life not owning it.

  • Heather

    Your books and blog have really changed my life! thank you so much for helping me live with less.

  • I greatly appreciate Minimalism – I’ve always felt the more gadgets and stuff clutter our houses the less we have quality time to spend on ourselves. Came to know about you & your blog. Good to know!! Cheers

  • Doug Moring

    I bought your .99 cent book on Amazon and loved it. I’ve read several books on minimalism and I think yours is the best. We made a move 7 years ago. Our stuff was worth less than the cost to move it so we gave everything but our books (we mailed them) and some clothes and a few personal possessions away, got in the car with our dog and drove to our new home. Was difficult parting with a few things like my dad’s tool box, but have not really missed anything. In fact it was kind of freeing. When we got here we went to Target bought some dishes, a futon and silverware. Amazing how few things you really required to live.

    The other side of the coin is that over the last 7 years we have acquired as much stuff or more as we had before. Strange how that happens.

    We plan to make another move in a few years so I’ve started getting rid of things again. Funny how in past moves I realized the last time I touched a lot of the stuff I was moving was during the last move. Not touched the entire time we lived in that house. Just warehoused. Something wrong with that.

    My worst accumulation is books. Love books and hard for me to get rid of them.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble on.

    Take care,

    doug moring

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