About

Welcome! I’m Hillary Swetz, your resident frugal fanatic. I’m a wife, mom, and former economics & English teacher. And I really, really like saving money.

Hillary Swetz, financial writer

You might have seen me giving money advice on sites like Yahoo Finance, Refinery29, Parents, and The Ways to Wealth. But Homegrown Hillary is the only place I dish about everything frugal living.

You’ll find that Homegrown Hillary is for two types of people:

  1. Financial Disasters. These are people who feel like there’s never enough money. There are big bills to pay, not enough cash coming in, and every unexpected expense feels like an emergency. 
  1. Financial Masters. These are people who’ve learned to save money without feeling deprived. They’ve turned frugal living into a game, a hobby, and a way of life. They don’t just live on a budget, they thrive on a budget. And they’re always looking for new ideas.

Financial Disaster…

When I was fresh out of school, I had no idea how to manage my money. I remember how my stomach would drop when I got my monthly bank statement in the mail. “How did I overdraft four times this month?” I’d wonder, scrambling to think back and then vowing to do better. Even though I had a rough idea how much came in, I hadn’t a clue where it went out. I knew I should save, but I didn’t know how or how much. Every month, I just crossed my fingers and hoped everything would work out.  

To Financial Master

A few years ago, I learned how to talk about money, save smarter, and make a plan for my money every month. One of the biggest catalysts was Amy Dacyczyn’s brilliant newsletter turned into a 1000+ page book, The Tightwad Gazette. My dog-eared, highlighted, and occasionally sticky copy is one of my most beloved books. 

Thanks to Dave Ramsey and budgeting, we paid off all our debt – nearly $40,000 – in about 2 years with very modest incomes. We also got married and had two babies in that same time period, and we paid for the wedding and both births in cash. It wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t learned how to live really, really frugally.

My homemade wedding bouquet, arranged with flowers I picked in my neighborhood.

However, The Tightwad Gazette was written before I was even born, and a lot has changed. We no longer need to worry about how to save money on stamps, long-distance phone calls, or whether a home computer is a good investment. 

Amy– or St. Amy, as I fondly think of her– is enjoying her retirement, leaving frugal living to the next generation. And while there are plenty of tips online about saving money, my favorite parts of The Tightwad Gazette were her deep dives, research, and honestly excellent journalism. 

As a professional writer, I’ve decided to use my skills to take up where she left off and do some deep dives of my own. (With plenty of more light-hearted frugal finds mixed in.)

Here’s what you can expect from Homegrown Hillary: 

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Stay thrifty!