Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Great Books About Thrift And Frugality

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1. In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue

What makes this book fun as well as informative is how the author shows how wasteful we have become as a society in the last forty years. She is also smart because she shares with the reader the difference between being wise and being foolish. Like not eating extreme out of date canned food, and learning the signs of food that shouldn't be saved or eaten. Like temperature sensitive foods, be it seafood that smells spoiled and probably is, which is needed info is you are into the freegan movement also called dumpster diving.

2. No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

As a long time reader of the No Impact Man Blog I was eager to read this book. It does not disappoint. The year of living low/no impact was a huge undertaking. Often when reading the blog I wondered what Michelle really thought about it all. The book answers many of those questions about the hows and whys. This book is very inspiring to the rest of us guilty liberals who really want to help and change the world or at least our own lives a little bit. It is not so much a detailed list of things to do but more a way of thinking about the whole process that is invaluable. To try this experiment in a place like NY is just amazing. Colin and Michelle are courageous role models for the rest of us. I wish everyone in the US would read this book. Want to be inspired to change your life? Read this book!

3. Whatever Happened to Thrift?: Why Americans Don't Save and What to Do about It

It's a much bemoaned fact that Americans who fail to sock money away in savings accounts and investments risk severe hardship once they hit retirement age or fall on tough times. What's far less obvious is how to turn these overspenders into savers. Wilcox draws insights from economics and psychology to tackle this challenge in his slim but sensible volume. His analysis of our prodigal ways is slight—a historian or cultural critic might have handled this question with more depth and aplomb—but his policy prescriptions are comprehensive, insightful and well argued. Wilcox explores radical measures, such as replacing the income tax with a consumption tax, as well as simple and easily implemented programs such as automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans and requiring more fee disclosure from investment firms. He observes that current incentives skew toward the wealthy and highlights ways to give lower-income Americans access to savings vehicles like mutual funds. As Wilcox wisely notes, there's no magic bullet for America's savings crisis, but a patchwork of practical solutions, small and large, could significantly increase workers' long-term financial security.

4. How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle

I thought that this book was so funny in places that I haven't laughed so hard, so much, for a long time. Charles is a skilled writer; the book is very readable, intelligent, thoughtful,and well organized. It contains a copious (even prodigious) amount of tips, for a 200-page book. Very practical, and at the same time touches on abtruse philosophical areas, especially at the end of the book.

5. Empire of Scrounge: Inside the Urban Underground of Dumpster Diving, Trash Picking, and Street Scavenging.

In December of 2001 Jeff Ferrell quit his job as tenured professor, moved back to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, and, with a place to live but no real income, began an eight-month odyssey of essentially living off of the street. Empire of Scrounge tells the story of this unusual journey into the often illicit worlds of scrounging, recycling, and second-hand living. Existing as a dumpster diver and trash picker, Ferrell adopted a way of life that was both field research and free-form survival. Riding around on his scrounged BMX bicycle, Ferrell investigated the million-dollar mansions, working-class neighborhoods, middle class suburbs, industrial and commercial strips, and the large downtown area, where he found countless discarded treasures, from unopened presents and new clothes to scrap metal and even food.

6. The Frugal Millionaires - 70 millionaires anonymously share their ideas about money to help each other and you.

Imagine yourself in a room with seventy people from all walks of life, each of whom is immensely successful at managing their money. Then imagine that you had the time and audacity to walk up to each of them, confidently introduce yourself, and ask how they became rich. That's Jeff Lehman's book, The Frugal Millionaires, in a nutshell. The advice contained within the text is well worth the price of the book, especially if you're considering paying a financial adviser to tell you what you should be doing to improve your financial acumen.

7. The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less

This book is funny, but to buy it for that reason alone misses the point. Hiding behind the humor is the wise advice of a personal finance expert who knows there's more to life than just how much debt you can pile up on a credit card. Jeff Yeager's breezy writing is full of great -- and serious -- ideas, yet you never feel that he is preaching at you. As you read you feel inspired, even empowered.

One of his thoughts is to put yourself on a money fast for one week a year. You spend nothing for seven days, which gets you thinking about all the terrific things to do that are free, and makes you realize that you can easily do without many of the items you buy just out of habit.

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