Donna Freedman

Personal Finance, Frugal Living
University of Washington


Donna’s work has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, and on dozens of personal finance sites. She started contributing to The Balance in 2021.


Donna spent 17 years as a feature writer at the Anchorage Daily News, where her work won regional and national awards. After that, she spent 14 months on the city desk at the Chicago Tribune before becoming a freelancer. 

In 2004 Donna moved to Seattle and enrolled in community college. She survived on part-time jobs until a story commissioned by MSN Money, “Surviving (and Thriving) on $12,000 a Year,” went viral. As a result, MSN asked her to create the Smart Spending blog in 2007, the Frugal Nation blog after that, and a personal finance column in between.

Her writing has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and personal finance websites including NerdWallet, Experian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Policy Genius, Get Rich Slowly, Money Talks News, Vox, NewRetirement, Daily Worth, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, NextAvenue, Magnify Money, and The New York Times Review of Books.

Other work

Donna is the author of “Your Playbook for Tough Times: Living Large on Small Change, for the Short Term or the Long Haul” and “Your Playbook for Tough Times, Vol. 2: Needs And Wants Edition.”