It’s Friday, so time for Let’s meet Financial Feminists. This week I have the pleasure of introducing That Frugal Pharmacist.
What I love so much about this amazing interview is her backstory with feminism. Specifically how it’s only recently that she’s started to identify as a feminist. Not to mention how she is a kick-ass breadwinning mum and likes to live life a little alternatively.
So get a drink of your choice, and get ready to read a fascinating backstory. It’s a long read, but well worth it.
Handing over to That Frugal Pharmacist – About You & Your Blog
Please introduce yourself and your blog
I’m That Frugal Pharmacist but you can call me “Nico.” I’d love to be less anonymous, but, pharmacy is a small world and I tend to have a big mouth. Best I stay incognito.
What sort of finance blog do you write?
I’ve struggled with what topic to say my blog fits under, but at this point, I’m going to go with “Lifestyle and Finance.” I think finance has a great impact on your lifestyle and mental health. Finance is at the root of most decisions we make. I focus quite a bit on my personal
work-life balance. When sorting out why I started the blog I think it was because I was beginning to suffer from burnout and feeling pretty stagnant in my work.
I’m not sure that I should say I focus on mental health, per say, but, a big part of my focus is creating a low-stress lifestyle for myself that allows me to be more present for my family. I’m also striving to create a lifestyle, backed by good finances, that gives my family a lot of flexibility in the future.
How would you describe your current stage of life?
I’m in a bit of a unique personal life situation. I’m in my early thirties, my husband is in his early fifties. We’ve known each other… a long time. The income that I can make as a pharmacist set us up to make some great work-life choices early on. Especially if you try to live well below your means.
A couple years after graduating from pharmacy school, we decided that it was time for us to pursue our low-stress lifestyle and escape the hustle and bustle of the city we were living in, to “build a life we don’t feel the need to escape from”. With my job, we had saved enough to either make a hefty down payment on a house or buy one outright.
My husband retired and we moved to another state and bought our property. We paid it off in about a year (I’m really proud we did it, but, honestly, I just don’t think of dates that well, so I honestly can’t remember if it was less than a year or more!).
What’s your family setup?
After paying off the house and doing a wee bit of world travel, we decided we were ready to get some chickens, a dog, and start working on growing our family. We now have a toddler.
Since the time we moved, I have gone from full-time work to part-time work, to part-time work plus per diem work, to currently semi-unemployed and now looking for some more stable work! Wow! I’m glad to say that our lifestyle and finances have allowed me to remain flexible. And, at least for the time being, to weather the current storm while keeping a positive mental outlook.
What are your personal values?
We are a strongly “ethical” family. Both my husband and I have suffered in our work or personal lives on more than one occasion for our principles. We feel we are nothing without principles.
We both have histories as “punk rockers” in our teens and on, and many of those principles apply to us still. Nowadays we may not look the part anymore, but, once a punk, always a punk. If you “used to be” you never were (or so we say). We’re contrarians by nature. We shrug off what’s popular, we face adversity, we’re aware of things that affect the greater good, and we dislike hypocrisy.
We’ve also been called assholes by more than a few on more than a few occasions! That’s probably because of our big mouths, need to stand for “what’s right” and non-conformist tendencies. The small circle who really knows us knows how genuine, honest and caring we are.
My husband was vegan when I met him and I was vegetarian for 15 years. Due to health reasons, we’ve decided to go back to eating meat in the last year. That was a really hard choice for us (and, funny enough, the opposite of what you hear people talk about in regards to eating, or not, meat!), but it was what was best for my husband, so we’ve all adapted.
One of my favorite stories to describe my husband (isn’t this post about me?) from his punk rocker days was when someone started teasing him for going vegan (back when it was unpopular). He said “I might be vegan now but I’ll still punch you in the face.” I think this statement sums us up pretty well. Not that we’re for violence (I’ve never been in a physical fight in my life), but, you get the point.
We consider ourselves to be environmentally conscious. There is a bit of interesting “chicken or the egg” that comes up here regarding frugality and environmentalism. A frugal lifestyle begets a more environmentally friendly one, in many cases, and it becomes hard to tease out which reason got you started in the first place!
What are your dreams and plans for the future?
Moving forward in life I am working towards financial independence so that I can spend more time with my family. We are pretty sure we are going to homeschool our child. Given that my husband is significantly older than me, I want the flexibility and financial stability to be able to incorporate travel and homeschooling so that all of us can travel as a family, when my husband is still relatively young and can enjoy it fully, with our son.
This means, for us, both working towards financial independence, but also establishing means of income outside my traditional pharmacist jobs, both remote work, and hopefully passive income streams. Our net-worth is currently about $760,000 with about $300,000 of that in our home/property. I’ve got about another half million to go before I’ll feel anywhere near financially independent! I’m just getting going on branching out from my pharmacist job. It’s a work in progress.
Feminism & Society
Do you identify as a specific type of feminist?
I’ve only recently come around to view myself as a feminist. Growing up I had images of men hating, unshaved lesbians who felt they never got what was coming to them. This is somewhat ironic, as, I’ve given up shaving in the last couple of years.
I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever, so, early on, I often felt the hard work I was doing was paying off. Being the non-conformist that I was, I didn’t put much thought into all of the traditional female gender roles I was ignoring. I stopped wearing makeup by about 16, for example. It wasn’t worth the time, money or effort. I was always aware that I was viewed differently, but I figured I was just a badass and people were intimidated. As I have gotten older, advanced in my career and become a mother, I have really begun to see the societal effects of being a woman. I’ve come to decide that much of that “noticing that I’m different” has less to do with being a badass, and more to do with people not knowing how to handle an often untraditional female.
Do you have feminist in your twitter bio?
Being so new to coming around to the idea of a feminist, I can’t say that I feel I am any specific type. Heck, I don’t even know what the various types are! I also don’t have it in my twitter bio. I’m still a bit uncomfortable using the term because it can turn some people off (think, myself, ten years ago) and I’d rather turn people on to the ideas slowly. Plus, I only have so many characters to use.
Is the patriarchy real?
THE PATRIARCHY IS REAL. The sad part is, it’s the culture. It’s ingrained. It took me until my thirties to come around to recognizing it. And worse yet, in my experience, women uphold the patriarchy as much, if not more, than men!
There have been so many occasions when I know things would have turned out differently if I was a man. My attitude, my boldness, my bluntness, my “go getter-ness” would have been appreciated rather than been looked down upon. The women who worked under me wouldn’t have called me “emotionless” when I give far more emotional support than I have ever seen a man give them.
I’m trying to be cognizant of these things as I raise my son. Even though we continue to live a non-traditional lifestyle with me as the breadwinner and educated party, and my husband the stay at home dad, we still struggle daily subtle gender role cues or put downs that I know will have an impact on how my son sees the world. Culture is hard to change. Being aware of the need for change is the first step.
How do you feel about privilege
On the topic of privilege… it’s real. I’m privileged. It doesn’t undo all the hard work that has led me to where I am today. It also doesn’t negate the increased difficulties I have as a woman. I am privileged due to my race and due to my socioeconomic status. Even though one of my parents lives at the poverty level, one does not. There was an attitude growing up, in both households, that of course I would pursue higher education. Simply having that background, to begin with, and not cultural factors impeding plans of personal success is a privilege, for example, in my opinion. I am privileged that my family, and my father, thought that I should be successful on my own as a woman. I wonder, however, if there would have been more burden on me to be successful if I was a man.
Privilege is a lot like culture. It’s there. I’m not going to argue that it hasn’t helped me to achieve things in my life that would have been hard had I come from another background. Of course, I could argue, that for the right individual, in the right setting, you can and should capitalize on your lack of privilege, turning underdog status into a point of privilege. It’s tricky.
What is the role of men in feminism?
Males can be feminists. Men should be feminists. Men can teach women how to support other women! This last point comes from personal experience.
The biggest, obvious assaults where I have felt the need to stand up as a feminist have come from other women. I realize it’s more insidious than that. Women are both reinforcing gender roles, but they are also taking cues from the males “above” them.
How I would love to see more men, on a regular basis, pointing out to both men and women when they are treating someone differently simply on the basis of gender. How great it would be for men to recognize women as assertive, not bossy when speaking of them. Or call them “too the point” instead of mean or harsh.
I’m lucky to live with a man who feels confident in me and comfortable with my general role as leader of the family. And that he’s fully on top of pointing out to me, even when I may have missed it “they only said that because you’re a woman.” Followed by his protective, aggressive, male inclinations of “they better hope they don’t run into me (wherever).”
How do you get your news?
News. Ugh. I’m not proud to admit it, but, I kind of hide from it these days. I pick up enough of what’s going on through what I see others say on social media, but, I try to avoid it. It just makes me stressed. It makes me angry.
What are your thoughts on the mainstream media?
Mainstream media is so polarized aiming for the shock factor. All press is good press, and the more you get people angry, the more they talk. The world is so divisive these days. I blame the unique and poisonous concoction of mainstream media + social media. It brings out our worst.
I don’t know where I fit in politically. I have felt less and less comfortable with my place in things as I have grown older. Probably, because that divisiveness seems to leave little room for flexibility of thought and common sense. I enjoy a good discussion and am willing to take in what I am hearing when I form my opinions.
I also think most people have more in common than they think. But our interactions and the mainstream media have taught us to be so aggressive in our personal thoughts and claims that it makes it difficult for people to find common ground.
I didn’t exactly mention it, but I recently got fired. For legal reasons, they’re calling it a reduction in workforce, but, they fired me. To me, to save face, I guess, they said it was because I told them I couldn’t take the stress anymore without things improving and that if nothing changed I would have to explore other opportunities.
Their words to me were “we can’t afford to have someone just quit (out here, rural, where we only visit twice a year)”. But really, it was because I push back. Because I stand for what’s right. Because I ask questions. I’m not saying this jokingly, that’s really what did it. I’d been pushing for change and improvement for a year, and suddenly when I started to hint at an ultimatum, they handed me a check.
I got fired for all the right reasons. Though I kick myself sometimes because I often get myself into a bit of trouble, those are all traits I’m really glad to have. My husband gets frustrated with me, then sighs, because he’s gotten himself in trouble for the similar reasons. At least we’re on the same page.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Having lost a job for all those reasons fires me up. It makes me think more on empowering myself as a woman and empowering others. Ultimately, I’m glad I got fired. I had been struggling with when to pull the trigger and quit for a year. I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t do it sooner.
I wish there had been a job lined up, but, it’s making me be more flexible regarding what my future looks like. I thought my per diem job was going to become my new regular job, but, the timing did not line up for me. Sadly within two weeks of getting fired, my per diem job cut hours across the board, leaving me effectively unemployed! There’s plenty more relating to these topics on the blog if you’re interested.
I’m doing ok right now. This work hiatus is showing me that I can handle being off of work for a while, that I’m not getting bored and that I’ve got plenty to do. This time off of work has inspired me to try to invest more in myself and branch out to new (potentially lower paying) jobs that may allow me to do more to serve the common good.
It’s inspired me to try and find a place where I am a better fit and I am appreciated. It’s also taught me that sometimes, I just can’t change things. Though I may want to be a positive force for change, with some people and in some cultures, I may be fighting windmills.
How can people connect with you?
On that note, if you’re interested in working with me, reach out, I am open to the world of opportunity right now and know there is somewhere I will be appreciated! Seriously. I need some kind of a job yo.
Check me out on the blog: www.thatfrugalpharmacist.com
Or drop me a line anytime at ThatFrugalPharmacist@gmail.com
Ms Zi You Back here
Thanks to Nico for taking the time to share her #financialfeminist profile. I loved reading it, and learned so much about her lived experienced that have made her an awesome woman today.
If you identify as a feminist – female or male – and would like to be featured on Let’s meet Financial Feminists – please get in contact.