Friday, July 07, 2017

Booknote: Yankee Magazine's Living Well on a Shoestring

The Editors of Yankee Magazine, Yankee Magazine's Living Well on Shoestring: 1,501 tried-and-true hints, tips, and secrets to help you reduce your spending and live well every day. Dublin, NH: Yankee Books, 2000.  ISBN: 978-0-965-18894-4.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: home economics, frugality, finance, tips and advice, self-help, Americana
Format: trade paperback
Source: Better Half bought it at Half Price Books on clearance

The Better Half enjoys reading self-help books, and she bought this one cheap. She kept it in the bathroom, so it became bathroom reading for me too. On a side note, I am seriously considering starting a book review feature for old and "vintage" type books, books that may be forgotten, or that "may be a bit past the expiration date." Stay tuned for deity of choice knows I come across plenty of those.

The book is organized  into 30 chapters. It provides tips and advice for frugal folks on topics from budgeting to decorating the house to vacations. If there is a penny to be pinched and saved, the book editors probably found it. The book does deserve credit for being, or attempting to be, very comprehensive. It does include advice and tips even for things you might not think of right away like dealing with some larger expenses and dealing with financial emergencies; it even provides some suggestions on how to hire a lawyer should you need one. There are many things here that no one teaches in home economics (or whatever they call it these days), or just plain do not teach at all. So in that regard, it is a useful book.

A disadvantage of the book is that it is falling out of date at a pretty quick pace on many topics. It was published in 2000, and it shows. For example, there are mentions of the Internet as if it is this new thing; we are way past that stage by now. So if you read this book, do keep an attentive eye. Some tips are still applicable and relevant today. Others, as I said, are out of date. Pick and choose wisely. In addition, some of the tips and ideas they suggest are not always as realistic as they make them sound. They often assume you already have certain supplies in your home, which to be honest is not as likely as they would like to think.

The book overall has its pluses and minuses. It does have a certain folksy charm to it that makes it easy to read. In addition to the tips and strategies, they include some short personal stories from Yankee Magazine readers, some of which are amusing. I liked the book; I think people can still get a some things out of it, but it could use a serious update. These days read it more for the "folksy charm" than for its practicality.

3 out of 5 stars.

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Additional reading notes:

Just some things that caught my eye enough to want to share: 

The wonders of a cordless phone (and by the way, slightly sexist since this seems to be geared a bit more to women. Overall, a lot of the book seems more for housewives. As if men do not cook). So, buy a cordless phone so you can cook hands-free in the kitchen. And you even,

". . .can take the same phone with you while you wash windows, ride your exercise bike, or wind yarn" (163).

Or you can take your cellphone with you to go walking or jogging and leave the house once in a while.

A nice piece of advice, which is making a  comeback, is their suggestion for family game nights. Bring out your board games, some simple snacks, and have a nice time.

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This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

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