One of my resolutions this year was to read at least one book a month. It isn’t unique resolution, but it is a helpful one. I read a lot online, but wanted to get back into the habit of reading more books cover to cover. I had checked out “Living Well, Spending Less” (by Ruth Soukup) from the library back in October, I think. We had started to do her “Live Well, Spend Zero” challenge in October, but weren’t able to follow along because of the living situation we were in, and the fact that we moved at the end of the month. It was the one book I had checked out while we moved from my sister-in-law’s extra bedroom that we were staying in to our current rental house. I had started reading it, but lost it in the shuffle. I renewed it as many times as I could, but thought I was actually going to have to pay for the book because I could not find it anywhere. It was actually due a few days ago and I was planning to go in and pay for it when I grabbed an old computer bag to put my laptop in for the trip to the library and the book was in there! And, the library system actually let me renew it once more even though I should have been maxed out. I’m so glad I did not have to pay for the book (it would have been a bit ironic, too, as I would have paid for it during our “no spend” challenge month, inspired by Ruth’s blog challenge). I was also glad to have the opportunity to finish reading the book. I took the afternoon of our cold, slightly snowy day here to finish it up so I can get it back to the library.
I appreciate Ruth’s Christian viewpoint in the book, and her emphasis on giving, particularly in the last chapter. She also urges goal setting, which is something I could definitely work on. There were some useful tips here and there, but overall I didn’t find a lot of things that would be helpful to my family in saving money, which is really why I got the book. A family that is used to shopping often, eating out frequently, making car payments, and in debt, might find the money saving information more useful. Ruth mentioned that when her family first did a “no spend” month, they saved $1000, which might be achievable for many families. However, we are not going to be anywhere close to that, not because we aren’t saving, but because that is generally our way of life. My husband and I have always chosen to live with less when needed, so as to not be in debt. For instance, we have not had a refrigerator since we moved into our rental in November. We had a deep freezer for about a month and a half, but we sold it for various reasons, and just have had other things we needed to spend our money on, and haven’t had enough extra to get a fridge. We’ve been making do with a cooler and some occasional ice when the temperature has been warm. We are thankful it is winter!
If you generally live a frugal lifestyle, then don’t expect to find anything that will help you save “big” money. Most of the tips will probably be familiar to you- making homemade cleaning products, making food at home, shopping sales, only buy necessities, etc. However, her thoughts on hospitality, goal setting, and learning to be content still make it a worthwhile read.