I’m always on the lookout for books to help me out in this whole parenting/budgeting thing. Kids are expensive! No sooner do you buy them clothes, than they outgrow them. They need school supplies every year, and when they reach a certain age they want an allowance**. On top of the routine things that we buy our kids, once they reach the preteen years, they start to eat us out of house and home, leave the lights on and nudge our electric bills up, and ask for progressively more expensive clothing… plus we need to save for college!
Well, there is an alternative to an expensive lifestyle, even with kids, say Steve and Annette Economides, authors of America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money**, and the parents of five kids, whose ages at the time of the book’s publication ranged from 12 to 23. They advocate avoiding debt, living below your means, and living a thrifty lifestyle. In the book, the Economides family walks you through how to implement different strategies for creating a budget and saving money on food, utilities, cars, housing, clothing, and so much more. While every family needs to decide for themselves what is reasonable and desirable in terms of spending money, I found most of the tips to be quite realistic and not too extreme.
Aside from giving concrete tips and hints on saving money, the authors talk a bit about how money affects our emotions, and how our emotions can affect our spending. They talk about making small and large lifestyle changes that can positively impact our emotional and physical health, as well as our financial well-being. There are suggestions on taking charge of your physical health when it comes to choosing doctors and making decisions about your medical care… because the healthier you are, the less you will have to pay for insurance premiums and healthcare!
Throughout the book, tips are offered to those in every stage of frugality. For example, for those just starting out, the Economideses suggest planning a weekly menu to reduce grocery bills. For those who have been embracing a frugal lifestyle for some time, they suggest matching coupons with store sales for more savings, and for those who call themselves true tightwads, they advocate investing in a freezer to hold large quantities of purchased-on-sale meat and produce.
I’m pretty sure that most families will find enough good advice in the book to pay for the $12.95 sticker price. Better yet, buy it on sale or used, or look for it in your local library! Have you read America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money? What did you think?
How you do keep your family budget on track?