tips from Miserly Moms

I’ve been reading Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy this month. It’s one of the better practical finance books that I have read, and although it’s not my very favorite, I do recommend it.

One key point of this book is that being a stay-at-home mom (rather than working outside the home) may save more money than you would ever guess. I agree with this. It’s not the first time we’ve heard it or crunched the numbers, of course, but I would just add my voice to the testimonies of this book: In our experience, there is a tremendous amount of money saved by me being able to be home. Beyond the most important benefit of being able to raise our children how we want to, having extra time saves a tremendous amount on food, vehicle expenses, clothing, and all kinds of other variable costs. Even little things like having time to return unnecessary purchases or call a credit card company to question a fee can add up to quite a lot of extra money.

Here are three other principles from Miserly Moms that I found particularly helpful:

1. Chart Grocery Prices. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but hadn’t figured out a good system. Jonni uses a chart with sections for each food item, and then next to that has columns for Average Price, A Good Sale, and Once in A Blue Moon. I haven’t done it yet… ugh, the work involved to do it the first time!… but I know it’s going to be really useful. For example, I know that 99 cents a pound is a great price for organic apples, but does Costco really have the best price per ounce for extra virgin olive oil, or would that be cheaper to buy through Amazon when they have a sale combined with Subscribe & Save on a certain brand? That kind of thing. Knowing for sure what the best price is in every situation would be a tremendous help to saving money.

2. Take Good Care of Your Teeth. As the author noted, this might be kind of an odd thing to put in a finance book. But it was a good reminder for me. I haven’t been taking the best care of my teeth since having children… it’s kind of easy to forget about things like showers and flossing when you reach a certain level of exhaustion… and the reminder of the costs of root canals (not to mention the long-term effect of bad teeth on a person’s health) really sobered me and gave me a renewed vigor for careful brushing and flossing.

3. Have Good Medical Insurance. I know that some people view this as a no-brainer, but we have never had medical insurance unless it was covered by work (so, for like six months out of almost seven years of marriage). Keith has been unemployed for the last three months, so now is not exactly the best time to add on a new expense, but I think that we will join up with Samaritan Ministries healthshare program in the next year or so. In general we are careful to seek out healthy food, avoid chemicals, take supplements, and use alternative remedies, but we are beginning to feel that it’s time for us to have a better safety net in case of big unexpected medical needs.

One last thing that I appreciated about this book… I can’t find the quote now, unfortunately, because I just returned the book to the library… was that Jonni clearly differentiated between frugality and being miserly. The point of being frugal is to live a better life. We still spend money on things that matter. It’s just that once you start being more careful in your spending, you realize quickly how very many things don’t matter.

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm  Comments (1)  

free Christian audiobooks

Did you know that christianaudio.com has a different free Christian audiobook each month? This month’s is called Adopted for Life. You have to sign up with a new account, but there is no credit card information required, and you can download each book multiple times if need be (which is handy for us, since all of our iTunes stuff mysteriously vanished this month).

I have been downloading these free audiobooks for Keith for a year or more and have yet to actually listen to one myself. But hey, it might happen one of these days.

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 1:43 am  Comments (1)  

finance blogs

Normally, the only two finance blogs I read are The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly. But today I stumbled upon another one that I think is worth sharing. Here it is: http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer.

The article which has me hooked is titled “Living Cheaply for the Long Haul.” The list of strategies for doing this include buying stuff that lasts, buying stuff that reduces future expenses, stocking up when things are cheap, and taking care of your stuff. These seem obvious, but I have been frustrated by the lack of attention among frugality sites given to these kinds of choices. Buy an okay-looking $35 lamp that lasts a year, or buy a great-looking $50 lamp that lasts ten years… the choice is obvious, right? (Or better yet, buy it off Craigslist, but really I’ve never been able to find a decent lamp on Craigslist, so our preferred method is actually to wait until the $50 lamp goes on sale for $20.)

Somehow I just find it really satisfying to find a blog that thinks beyond a monthly budget to take the bigger picture into consideration.

Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment