I just finished reading America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Steve & Annette Economides. For some this book may be incredibly eye opening, and I did find their budgeting style quite interesting, as well as the concept of meal planning. But many of the other tips in the book are things that I did for years.
I have generally always considered myself a bargain hunter but after we first moved to Germany, it was much harder. For starters, the concept of a sale was completely foreign here. There were many restrictions about when sales could be and how much discount could be given. There’s no double or triple coupon days…there aren’t even coupons for the most part! When people are getting rid of something, it is often because it’s completely been used up. Garage sales don’t exist although flea markets can be quite big…but we have yet to find any that weren’t just local vendors peddling new items instead of boxes of junk from someone’s attic. But we’ll not be deterred. With a new baby on the way, we need tons of stuff. And I know there are tons of baby & kid flea markets during the year so we’re just going to have to try some of them out and see how it goes.
And thankfully it is getting easier to find bargains. There are still many places that think taking a few cents off an item that costs a few bucks makes it a steal…I have to disagree. But shopping fliers warrant a glance through them for specials…and end of season clearance sales generally have very big discounts tied to them, if you can manage to find something you like.
But all this has very little to do with the book itself. Overall it was very easy to read and is broken down so that you can read what is relevant for you now, or go in order to see the full package. I think their meal planning concept is fantastic because it not only makes things easier when you start wondering what you should cook every day, but you also don’t need to constantly run out to the store. Generally that causes a lot of additional costs to be added on to your monthly grocery bills because you pick something up spur of the moment, get it home and then realize you don’t have anything to prepare with it. So, if you’re us, it stays in the fridge for a week or so, starts looking really gross and gets tossed out. Not wise spending at all. Plus, because we’re buying large quantities of meat at one time, we can buy a huge package of chicken breasts, for example, repack them for 2 portions, freeze and just need to thaw them out in the morning before cooking.
If you’re considering doing some cost cutting, this book isn’t something that will rock your world because many of the tips are things you might be doing already…but it will put them all neatly together so you can get an idea of where you can continue to save, what you’re already saving on and where you need to get better focused. They also outline emergency funds for your home, family, car, etc which are absolutely essential for those unexpected things that come up. And they really manage to put things in perspective when you consider they feed a family of 8 on only $350 a month! They don’t even have a garden so just think how much more they could be saving!!
So in keeping with the saver spirit, don’t go buy the book but borrow it from your local library or a friend…or find yourself a used copy if you prefer to have your own! 🙂 Try looking on Amazon.com or Amazon.de