B.C. Kowalski, the frugal writer

Hi, I’m B.C. Kowalski — a frugal writer in central Wisconsin. By day, I am a journalist; by night, a fiction writer, a photographer, and… a journalist. At my day job, I dig into local issues, but outside of that I like digging into issues that matter to me, which I might not be able to write about in my local weekly paper.

So, what do I write about? Mostly issues related to writing, frugal living and FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). While this isn’t a frugality blog per se (ah, branding suicide!), frugality is my mode of living and informs everything I do: I’ve found ways to write and publish on the cheap without sacrificing quality; I use my fitness to get around on my bike when I can; I’ve managed to become a well-respected photographer without spending a small fortune on gear (no easy task, mind you); and even with fitness itself, I’ve managed to find ways to get fit while keeping spending low.

Below, I talk more about my various work. I hope you check them out!


Robot Awareness

Robot Awareness: Special Edition

This is my first published work, collecting the first four “Parts” into one collection! The second book, The Inner Circle, is also available and I’m in the middle of writing book three, the final in the series. Then I can work on a new series!

So what’s it about? Well, it’s the story of a girl who races spaceships and wants to be great at it like her father was – unfortunately she’s always crashing! So she teams up with a band of space smugglers, including a default captain and a boy and his robot, all who are trying to stay under the radar of the monopolistic Company C. They pick up some passengers who seem to be able to help in Isellia’s mission to be a great racer, but at the cost of bringing Company C’s full attention on them!

the sand runner, ebook, indie publishing, scifi, ultrarunning, running fiction, running, rock climbing,The Sand Runner

This is a series of short stories I am working. This might be a cool place to get started with my work too. It’s pretty cool! The first story is self-contained, but of course, includes a cliff hanger for future entries. There’s a second one I have, that still needs to be edited. Tim better get on that one!

So this is the story of Gina, part of an elite Sand Runner unit fighting the Veraqui on the planet Baando. Technology is blocked on most of Baando and Gina as a sand runner is essentially a military scout. When she discovers a device that would allow Veraqui to use energy weapons, she’ll need to rely on all of her training to steal the device and bring it back to her unit, all while avoiding capture, a fate far worse than death where the Veraqui are concerned…

There are other projects I’m working on too, and plenty of other series mulling around in the back of my mind. Every once in a while the characters yell at me to get some screen time (page time?) but I can’t write everything at once. Settle down guys! The voices in my head, I swear.

Read away, good readers, and let me know what you think! As always, feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and check out my Goodreads page!


I am a staff photographer at the newspaper I work at, but I also do more artsy stuff on the side. I started a business, Define Photography. The initial plan was to do photoshoots for adult athletes – providing great photos for the weekend warrior types. They typically only get photos from the middle of races, which often are horrendous – mainly because the athlete is in the middle of a race. Instead, this would provide the opportunity to give them a great set of photos they would have some control over. But I’ve since expanded to pinup and whatever else comes my way.


I work full time for a newspaper called City Pages. It’s an alternative weekly in Wausau, Wis. I write news and take photos. My newspaper is pretty well liked, which was a big change from working at a corporate newspaper. One of the earliest advocates for City Pages was also one of my favorite journalists, the late David Carr, who finished his career at the New York Times. I have a love/hate relationship with journalism: to me, telling the stories of the community, especially shedding light on situations others aren’t, is why I do this. But the need to always be objective and the carefulness with which you have to approach life is frustrating some times. I recently turned down a really good paying photo job because of a potential conflict of interest. But this is the life I chose, so it’s the life I will live.


I am the guy in the family everyone jokes about being a cheapskate. But frugality to me mostly means being careful with your money — I prefer Mr. Money Mustache’s concept of maximizing happiness while minimizing expense. It’s not about not spending money – it’s about getting the most bang for your buck and not wasting. My grandfather once saved and dried tissues so he could reuse them, and when he died we found he had a brand new pair of leather gloves among his possessions; he had been using old gardening gloves in the winter instead. While I admire my grandfather’s resolve, to me that’s not what it’s about. I would just rather save money so one day I can be financially independent instead of wasting that money on stuff that won’t bring me happiness.

Health and Fitness

This is also something I care deeply about. I work out a fair amount – mostly yoga and weights, with the occasional run or bike ride thrown in. I was and still am a keto advocate (a diet focusing on low carbs and high proteins and fat) but I’ve recently scaled back to something closer to what’s called a clean diet. Honestly, they’re pretty close. I’ve added a few healthy carbs at breakfast and lunch, but otherwise my diet could be classified as keto. Following a specific eating style has helped me keep fairly trim, but it’s about more than that. On both diets, I’ve also had much better gut health, no stomach pains, and feel more energetic overall. That’s important, in my opinion, whether you care about your weight or not.