Dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money. – J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Hobbit
Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides
After years of working hard to save money for their household, the Economides family were discovered by Good Morning America and billed as America’s Cheapest Family. After being highlighted on several news shows and in magazines, the family worked to create a series of books as well as a website, AmericasCheapestFamily.com, that featured their family-tested money saving techniques. This volume includes tips on cooking, shopping, organization, and even gardening.
Philosophy – By practice, persistence, and patience you can learn how to circumvent marketing and sales strategies and adjust your entire attitudes towards your cooking, eating and buying habits in order to save without having to rely on a single strategy (such as relying on coupon-cutting).
This book opens with a quiz to see where you start on the savings scale. From a 1-10, I started off at a 7 and my husband started out at a 4. Using this rating, you can easily use hints at the end of each chapter to choose the level of ideas that you could implement right away. Each chapter has three levels of hints in this “What you can do now” section that are quick and easy to look at for inspiration and a personal challenge before meal-planning, a shopping run or an afternoon of cooking.
This is a book I keep coming back to over and over again. I like the way each chapter is cut into manageable sections for quick reading. There is a wealth of ideas that make each reading new and fresh for me. I like that it offers so many different way to think about savings, and so many center on reducing waste and thinking wisely and frugally that the implementation leads to socially conscious changes, even though that isn’t always what the authors are intending. I appreciate the stories they share of the errors and disasters that they have encountered along the way, it gives me less fear of failure when I read one of their failed attempts and realize that their motto of practice, persistence, and patience is not condescension to their readers but rather the way they have chosen through hard times to live themselves.
The most valuable resource in this book is a series of tables that gives tips on packaging, freezing and storing hundreds of different types of foods. I like the sections on picky eaters (pg 34-36), and I have used tips from the saving money on organics section (pg 75-81) with good results. Although I don’t share their mostly negative views on organics, their savings ideas are helpful and practical. I also appreciate their tips of home gardening.
I think anyone with an open mind to change could find many practical ideas from this book, and I plan to keep re-reading it for new challenges. I haven’t visited their website yet, but I plan to surf over soon.