About Me

That Frugal Pharmacist Is:

Real talk from a Pharmacist and Mama.

I like to talk about how debt free life helps my work-life balance.  How I’m dealing with unemployment and a job search.  And there’s plenty of family, travel, health and personal finance with plans for early retirement/#FIRE

More about Me!


I like to go by That Frugal Pharmacist, but you can also call me Nico Perez.  My profession is a small circle and I feel more comfortable staying anonymous.

I’m a “financially secure” 30 something pharmacist, wife and a mother.   I live on the west coast on a small hobby-ish farm (if chickens and dog count you as being a farm).  My best friend and husband takes care of all the business at home (including minding our toddler) while I work the day job.   He is an early retiree who retired in his mid-40’s and is now a full time property caretaker and stay at home dad.  He has no problem keeping busy around the homestead.

We’re hoping to be financially independent someday in the neari-sh future.

I’m looking to build networks and relationships.  Find ways to express myself.  I’m interested in building a space for myself and expanding my freelance capabilities.  If you like what you see and think we might work well together, please reach out.  I am open to discussing and exploring ALL kinds of opportunities!  I love to learn and would love to be able to support myself one day in freelance efforts.

Oh, you want the long story?

I was on track for (normal) early success…

I’m what some might call an overachiever.  You know, actually that might not fit anymore- I was an early achiever.  My life is probably pretty close on track to many of my peers at this point in my life (except, I’m still a better than average money saver).  Having worked really hard to get to a successful point early in life I was pretty much on autopilot by my late twenties.  That meant, taking it a little more easy in the professional arena.

I graduated high school early, I was (at the time) one of the youngest Pharm.D. grads at my college ever.  I’d say the age, but that might give me away.

My first failure…

And then, my life didn’t exactly play out as planned… nearing pharmacy school graduation, I didn’t match for a pharmacy residency.  Even though I was involved in plenty of extracurricular activities.  Even though I sat on national committees as student.  Even though I was a member of my academic honor society.  Even though I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT.

It was really the first “failure” or “life not going to plan” moment that I had had.  I was a bit devastated.  But, not enough to seek out other opportunities and move to another part of the country, again, chasing any residency opportunity I could find.  Nope, I decided to pick up my broken heart and put my nose to the grindstone.

Others could see my heart wasn’t in it…

Ultimately, I probably didn’t match because, as one interviewer later told me, they could tell that my heart wasn’t completely in it.  And that was true.  I didn’t see myself being a “Dr. Pharmacist” working long hours at the hospital in scrubs and attending professional meetings throughout the year.  I just knew it was what I should do to give myself the most opportunities in my career.  I may have ended up being that “Dr. Pharmacist” who knows…

Pick yourself up and dust yourself off…

So I found myself a retail pharmacy job.  I had to get a second home hours from my actual home and spend my work weeks far away.  It happened to pay about $10 more than the going rate (and it was the only full time job I could find immediately).  Since I missed out on residency, I got myself a hospital job back in my hometown too.  I was working 50-60 hours a week and living mostly off my husbands income.

During this time I, unsurprisingly started watching my networth tick up each month.  Wow what a change!  I got real friendly with the Mint.Com budget tracking app and started really thinking about how much money I was saving.  I quickly found out:

I enjoy watching my savings grow more than I enjoy spending money!

Despite the costs incurred with setting up a second residence and having to purchase a good commuting car (a nicer one than I would buy now) we saved enough to plan for a real move and a hefty home down payment.  Thank goodness we didn’t actually buy that house in our hometown like I “thought” I should because I could afford it.

And then I almost made another mistake…

Finally got a license and a job in another state and we moved.  The exact how and where is a bit of a circuitous fiasco, but, we ended up right where we want to be, thank goodness.   Heading up to do our first house hunting trip, the job fell through, the person who was leaving that I would replace wouldn’t be leaving anymore! The horror!

Luckily, another job came through immediately, so, we still went house hunting, but 3 hours away from the initial area we thought we’d be going to (and closer to our vacation spot, yippee!).

The house hunt nearly spiraled out of control and the budget kept getting bigger and bigger.  We actually ended up putting an offer in on an AMAZING property that we could technically afford, though it was way above our original budget.

THANK GOODNESS when we got home some… “unusual” easement issues came up and we backed out of that agreement ASAP (at not cost to us due to due diligence period).  I felt so.much.relief.

Determined to be financially secure

When we moved and started house hunting again we determined to lower our budget and stick with it!  That let us buy a house that we put 1/2 of purchase price in down payment and paid off the rest in less than 2 years.  After the stress of the previous almost purchase, I never wanted to think I’d be stuck making house payments for 30 years.

And now? It’s just us living life!  The house is paid off.  I take an easy work schedule that I like to call “semi full time.”  I still work two jobs, because I’m paranoid and mistrusting (lol).  But also because it allows me flexibility in my routine to work more or less depending on what’s going on in my life.

My husband retired in his mid 40’s when we moved

So we have plenty of time to enjoy our family and property as a family and focus on building our life we don’t need escaping from.

And now…

These days, now that I’m in a pretty good spot financially, my goals are to become more financially savvy and learn more about actively increasing my wealth.  I’m not satisfied to just save better than everyone else I know anymore!

And of course, enjoy my life, be a great mom, decrease my stress, maintain the health of me and my family, try to learn to do yoga on my own at home, be better about mindfulness, make real friends as an adult (it’s hard, I’m telling you), try to wean myself from so much technology, spend more time on my hobbies and think less about work.  You know, all the regular stuff!

As of Fall 2018 I’m on an accidental sabbatical!  We’re getting to test out a mini retirement of sorts for me at the homestead.  Fate conspired to leave me with no job when I made efforts to get out of a bad job.  My backup job cut hours so now we’re experimenting with being even more frugal in our spending and enjoying the increased time at home.  I’m hoping to take the time to find the right job, in pharmacy or not, or maybe even develop freelance abilities to the point that I don’t need to go back to a regular pharmacy job.
Copyright 2020 | That Frugal Pharmacist