Shannyn FrugalBeautiful.com

In 2010, I was a new grad student who had just transplanted to Chicago after a lifetime growing up in southern California.  I was living on the north side, with two roomies- no air conditioning, no elevator on a fourth floor walkup, and best of all, no door to my bedroom- just a navy blue curtain for privacy (who needs privacy?).  Plus, I had  whatever I could fit into a hatchback Toyota-  nothing glamorous, or heck, familiar, whatsoever.  To top it off, I was living off of a part time job which had me working odd hours and making a meager $800 or so a month while I went to school.  Needless to say, I was grappling with adulthood in every sense of the word.

I came to Chicago because I thought getting a Ph.D. would be a responsible excuse to run away from California and distract myself elsewhere.  I was still reeling from the loss of four loved ones in two years.  I had hoped that going off to a new city and throwing myself into a career in academia would transform my life, and my pain into something unrecognizable so the past would be irrelevant.

A few months into my first semester as a graduate student in Chicago, my surefire plan began to unravel.  I’m not sure if it was the chill in the air of the impending first winter I’d ever experienced, or the culture shock of going from a casual southern California lifestyle to a bustling city, but I finally had the long overdue and completely jarring realization that I’d made a heart wrenching and humiliating mistake of my chosen career.  I ended up at the (aptly named) Rock Bottom Brewery off the Red Line questioning everything in life,  including how I’d ever find happiness.

That night, I was literally crying into my beer.

It was then, the idea to blog about my quest for happiness was born.  At the time, I didn’t realize it would be as profound as a “quest for happiness,” but Frugal Beautiful was created to discover a beautiful life when your greatest asset, both financially and otherwise, was simply: spare change.  

I wanted to learn how to be live on $800 a month in Chicago (spoiler: you can’t unless you get crafty..read more here), but also, how to be happy doing it.  At times, it seemed easy to assuage my anxieties and discomforts by leaning on credit card debt, but I knew that consumerism was an addition and debt is a bad drug of choice-  I wanted to learn how to live happily on whatever budget I could muster.

Years later, I’m thankfully no longer limited to $800 a month, but the idea is the same- each of us must learn how to live a frugal, beautiful life, no matter what our budget.

No amount of “stuff” will create beauty in our lives, we must forge it for ourselves.

That is my hope, for this humble blog- to learn how to create beauty and feel happy no matter where life lands us.  To find the internal beauty and bring it forth, not just chasing the next gadget, fashion, pill or glossy magazine that promises us a superficial fix.  Authenticity, simplicity, generosity, awareness and of course, the virtual of frugality: to have what you love, but to love what you have.


About Shannyn Allan

About The Author:

I’m Shannyn…27 years old, living in Chicago with my pugs and planning a wedding with my fiancé.  I’m half Canadian, but born & raised in California.

I’m a Social Media Manager… In addition to blogging, I am passionate about social media management, influencer marketing & am app-obsessed to the point I made it my career!

I blog…like…a lot… I started FrugalBeautiful.com in January of 2011 as a broke graduate student trying to make it on $800 a month.  Since then, the blog has grown, so has my income- but frugality is still a cornerstone of my life.  I love LouBous and Tiffany, but you gotta pay for it in cash! I also run a giveaway blog with my fab team at BeautifulGiveaways.com 

I have a soft spot for pugs… We have pugs in our family, but two special rescue pugs- Ralph and Max have been adopted in Chicago as our official fur-babies.

I love to run…I’ve become obsessed with racing against myself and using fitness as a way to both help myself and others. After being a lifelong couch potato, I now run for good and race several times a month.

By far though, my running universe revolves around runDisney- I’ve done the Tinker Bell Half, Princess Half, Disneyland Half Marathon …and more!




My inspirations include… Kate Middleton, America’s First Ladies, Blake Mycoskie (creator of TOMS shoes) and Terry Fox (a young man and amputee who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research in the 80′s)

I adore classy fashion…attire that leaves something to the imagination.  Sexy hosiery, vintage finds, high heels, the right shade of lipstick.

I’m the biggest girly girl…Tiffany & Co., a slight makeup obsession & an affinity for bath time.

I’m a self professed ginormous geek…Doctor Who, Star Trek,  tons and tons of books, a documentary nerd,  fondness for Mickey Mouse, Kawaii & Hello Kitty.

I stay well hydrated…coffee in the morning, green or oolong tea in the afternoon, and maybe on a good day I indulge in a good craft beer {read: beer snob!} or a glass of pinot noir.



FrugalBeautiful Isn’t Just Chatter, But A Blog That Gives Back.

-The Rescuing Ralph Fundraiser (Spring 2011)  $740.71

-The Makeup That Matters Fundraiser in memory of Kassie (Summer 2011)  $554.82 raised

-Donated $300 in Mary Kay products to Love Drop

-Gave Up My 26th Birthday for charity: water (Summer 2012)  $2,601.00 donated.

-$500 raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Fall 2012)



My Favorite Blog Posts:

Build A Wardrobe On A Budget: Fashion Essentials Every Frugal Girl Must Have

The Craziest Week Of My Life…A Death, Job Change and a Marriage Proposal

Frugal Confession: I Bought A Pair of $600 Louboutins & I’m Still Frugal

Confession: I Watch Hoarders…and I Was One.

My First Half Marathon:  The Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2013 Race Recap

Why You Should Start Saving For Your Wedding On The First Date


Our Wedding Story (Which Is Still In Progress for a June 2015 Wedding Date!):

The Week That Changed My Life:  My Mom Died, I Quit My Job & He Proposed

The Story Behind My Engagement Ring

Wedding Inspiration Mood Board

Our Plans For A Debt Free Wedding

How I Surprised My Bridesmaids By Popping The Question



….or say hello at frugalbeautiful {at}gmail.com

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