America’s Cheapest Family

Here’s my latest column.

Looking for a way to spend less money? Think there must be a way to wrangle what you need out of life without spending a king’s ransom? During this past month of not spending any money, I read a great book by Steve and Annette Economides (yes, that’s their real name) called America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money. Their book is packed with insight for living well without breaking the bank. But they don’t just give you a few tips and tricks; they give you a whole different way of thinking about money. Rather than viewing money as a drug, with all its addictive qualities, they teach you to view money more like a mechanic views his wrenches. A mechanic needs his wrenches to complete the job, but he doesn’t need an ever-increasing supply of them to keep getting ahead. They got ahead on the income they had, not the income they hoped to have tomorrow.

The Economides also publish a monthly newsletter (available at http://www.homeeconomiser.com/), that has more of the ideas spelled out in the book, but in a smaller newsletter format.

Among their great ideas are ways to build up an emergency fund, how to pay cash for cars, and creative ways to pay off your debt quickly. And they have the best solution to the age old question of whether or not to give children allowances. They don’t just hand out money for nothing, but they also don’t tie money to basic household chores that should be done by all family members anyway. You’ll have to read it if you want to know more.

You also don’t have to spend a lot of money for the book. I’m so cheap resourceful I borrowed the book from the library. In fact, that might be a column for another day. The library is a fantastic resource for all kinds of information. I don’t even own most of the money books I read; they come straight from the library.

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