June
8 - 2009

10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget — Review

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to receive a review copy of the new book compilation by the writers of the Wise Bread blog. It’s called 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.

Now, 10,001 is a LOT of ways, which was promising. Part of how I prepare for this blog — and part of what led me to the compulsive, money-saving lifestyle that inspired this blog — is to devour information. I’ve read The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I clip articles from magazines and newspapers, write down tips from others, and constantly question how I can find a better deal on something. When I shop for travel, luggage, groceries, a car, my husband breaks a sweat just watching my exhaustive (or is that exhausting?) research process.

So anytime I consider a book about saving money, I’m skeptical.

But this one? Even for an information addict like me, it’s full of gems.

Several of the writers are raising families on a budget and have great tips on everything from saving on crafts for kids to getting great deals on groceries. I’d like to give a big shout out to Myscha Theriault, who writes fabulous posts — some of which are included in the book — that include the topics of travel and how to reduce and reuse. I loved to hear, in a book like this, from a fellow eco-cheap fighter.

The index is a little strange — it doesn’t include entries on school, children, or family, but it does include entries on jaw relaxation, kalamansi (it’s a tropical fruit from the Philippines), and voice eloquence. However, the book is broken into two big buckets, one covering frugal living and one looking at personal finance (with a special frugal section on green living). Within those large categories, smaller sections make it relatively easy to find what you want.

And just what will you learn? My personal favorites included:

  • Addresses for specific Web sites to find rebates and freebies.
  • “50 Ways to Get More From Your Health-Care Dollar,” including a reminder to check out the free skin cancer screenings that many areas host (usually in May … oops). Of course, don’t wait if you suspect a problem.
  • Nuggets of wisdom, including specific sites for good travel deals, in a post an article called “55 Ways I Saved Time and Money Planning My Wedding.”
  • “9 Great Ways to See the World for Free” — many also offering interesting travel opportunities by working (for a few days, a few weeks, or a longer period) in a foreign country. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?
  • Tips on regifting — I don’t actually do this, but it might be a good skill to have.
  • And the closing resource chapter with 142 money-saving Web resources.

Some of the articles are outside my comfort zone — like the one on saving money by packing up free food at work or charging all electronics at work to save power — but they are all thought-provoking.

The clincher? I was going to give my copy away … but I really want to hang on to it a while longer.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book, but no other compensation for this review.

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