Hey, Hello, Hi!


My name is Lily. I am 26 years old and my husband is 29 years old. We have been homeowners since 2015. Just 1 year later, we paid off over 60% of our first house before purchasing a second rental property. Hubby works in one of those tall buildings in downtown Seattle. I am a full-time AirBnB hostess as well as a blogger and major side hustler.

We amass a savings of anywhere from at least $100,000 to $150,000+ a year. This does not include any growth from our investment portfolios or real estate properties. We pour almost $60,000 a year into tax deferred retirement accounts alone. Thanks to some self-discipline (and luck!), our net worth ballooned to what is well within the scope of the top 1% given our age group.

Related: Our glossary of family income reports

First lesson here is ‘it’s not how much one makes; it’s how much one saves.’

It is also what you do with the money and we can help you with all that here.

My doctrine for extreme savings rests in a childhood plagued with poverty and a sobering refusal to repeat that mistake. We both strive to save as much as we can without giving up the things that makes us happy (which in no particular order goes: family, food and friends!)

Second lesson is that no one saves 70% of their income on their first go.

It took us over two years to learn how to save like pros. There are plenty of tips and hacks online but simply having the right mindset to want to change (by being here with us) is already amazing!

Our Story

Want to know all about characters behind The Frugal Gene? I deliver!

We are both millennials. When the country was reeling from the financial crisis, we were slowly ‘adulting’ in a world much unlike the ones of our parents. We both struggled to find deeper meaning & purpose in our adulthood alone until we found each other.

Related: 3 Profound Things I Wish I Knew Before Adulthood

The cutie you see is my hubby.


I graduated early with Magna Cum Laude in 2012. My 3.5 years of undergrad left me with $20,000 in student loan debt. Fueled by determination, I was able to repay all of my student loan debt within 8 months of graduating. I can very well reason that we are truly millennials. We live under a multi-generation household. We run AirBnBs full-time and the rest of the time is spent on random entrepreneurial pursuits.

Related: How Any Millennial Can Become A Millionaire

Our Philosophy

Much of the personal finance blogosphere focuses on early retirement (FIRE) as the ultimate goal. In truth, early retirement is not a strict goal for us. We both enjoy the Art of Work. The ultimate goal here is just have financial freedom available so we can choose to retire. We want the freedom to not escape work but to have the full opportunity to work for a passion without the concern for money.

Writing has always been a passion of mine and for every reader I can reach, I am thankful.

Related: Our glossary of blog traffic reports

Quick Facts About Lily

blogger, the frugal gene, budgeting, saving, frugal family, selfie

My real name is . It means the ‘sound of beating wind and rain.’ Humorously we live in Seattle, Washington!

My parents were very poor so for the first couple years of my life I was given to my aunt to raise.

I came to San Francisco from China at age 9.

My parents worked as vegetable preps in the back of a Chinese supermarket for $5.50 per hour for 10+ years.

My family had no proper health insurance. I have been to “backdoor” dentists 3x times in the past 15 years. I did not find out I was severely near sighted until I was 16. Moreover, I was not able to get glasses until I was 19. My grades in high school slipped because I was too ashamed to tell anyone I could not see.

I am allergic to chapsticks / lip balms.

My husband has saved my life, more than once.

My husband & I attend metal concerts from time to time to teach our yuppie side a lesson in conforming 😉

Once I took an IQ test and scored around 119. Another time, I mistakenly ate dog food…(no, it was not good.)