Friday, November 14, 2008

Teach Yourself Thrifty Living

Teach Yourself Thrifty Living
Author: Barty Phillips
Bookpoint (McGraw-Hill), 2007
213 pages

I'm lucky to live in a city that has a very good public library system and my neighborhood has an an awesome library. I like the feature on IMCPL's web site that lets you search and reserve books online.  An email tells me when my books are in, and I just stop by my branch and pick 'em up. But sometimes, I like to take my time and browse the shelves. This is how I found Thrifty Living a few weeks ago.

This is not normally my kind of book, but in these uncertain economic times, hey, anything helps. Thrifty Living has plenty of useful tips. It's written by an author from the United Kingdom and is thus peppered with unusual (to this North American reader) words and phrases. Here are some examples:

Example 1
Don't get hooked on lotteries. If you fancy the odd flutter, decide how much you are willing to spend . . . and don't go over that amount

Example 2
Life insurance only benefits those who come after you but may be mandatory if you have a mortgage. 

Thrifty Living has sections on shopping rights, saving money on food and home energy costs, and the fine art of haggling -- just to name a few. Each section has tips and a test. The test questions are actually quite useful. Samples: (1) How can you prevent moth damage to clothes and household linen?; (2) Name five things you should not put on a compost heap;  (3) Name five items you should avoid buying in supermarkets. And my favorite: (4) What should you do with a bottle of undrunk wine? [My response: Why, drink it, of course!]

I laughed out loud a lot - which is probably what the author intended, since this can be a difficult topic - but I actually did learn several tips. One thing I'm going to do as a result of reading Thrifty Living is buy a wrap for our hot water heater. According to Thrifty Living, if you dress your hot water heater in an insulated jacket you can save quite a bit on your heating bill.

My favorite tip? Borrow books from the library instead of buying them. Sounds good to me . . . that is, until I get the urge to roam Borders or B&N.

Rating: 3.75 stars for the useful information plus laughs and smiles.