Review – 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of “10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget” by the Writers of Wisebread. I had hoped to get a review written before now but I had to pry the book out of my wife’s hands. That in itself means the book must be pretty good, she hasn’t picked up a book since she graduated college.

The book is more of a reference or tip list than an sit down and go through it in a day. You wouldn’t sit down on a dreary Sunday afternoon and read through the book cover to cover, you would however want to flip through it quite often for things that may apply to you and what you are currently doing. This book has tips from the absurd to the excellent. Tips are split into two sections which are subdivided into smaller categories as follows:

Frugal Living

  1. Food & Drink
  2. Travel
  3. Health & Beauty
  4. Fun & Entertainment
  5. Shopping & Bargain Hunting
  6. Green Living
  7. Education & Self Improvement

Personal Finance

  1. Financial Planning and Budgeting
  2. Credit Cards & Debt
  3. Investing Your Money
  4. Housing and Home Improvement
  5. Career & Money-Making Ideas

What I liked about it

Not surprisingly the content is well written and organized, the tips are practical while still including a little bit of humor and fun here or there.  When you need to squeeze a little more out of your budget this book could definitely help you get more bang for your buck.  There really are some good tips and tricks in the book for instance under the heading 11 Ways  to shop yourself to financial independence:

3. Know the Sale Trends

Certain things traditionally go on sale at certain times of the year such as August for camping equipment and athletic shoes… If you know something you want, can be disciplined enough to save ahead, and are able to wait for the sales, you can save major money.

The individual tips are short and easy to follow making this a great *cough* umm restroom reference. My favorite section in the book was “Investing Your Money.” There are some great tips and explanations on getting started with investing by understanding asset allocation and mutual funds.  This section was laid out succinctly enough to make it possible for almost anyone to read it and have a basic understanding of investing.

One of the best parts of the book, IMHO, is just the collection of valuable resources at the end of the book. It includes a great list of sites available to help you achieve your personal finance goals. It even gives honorable mention to some of my favorite blogs; Five Cent Nickel, Bargain Babe, Consumerism Commentary, Free Money Finance and more.

What I Didn’t Like

Because the book reads like a reference manual I really had expected there to me more a more usable indexing scheme. Each section starts with a nice section page outlining what the section is like “Investing Your Money” and a brief description of the section but not a list of what is in the section. I would have loved to see a section index here showing the five subsections with page numbers. It would make flipping through the book for specific tips a lot easier.

A lot of these tips and tricks are things you can find just as easily with a quick Google search or even just a blog search on Wisebread.com. For instance a quick search on Wisebread for “beer” netted me the article “21 great uses for beer“ see pages 28-32 of the book. Taking into consideration the target for this book would not be those people following the blogging community this will probably work out ok but $10.17 is a lot pay for stuff you can get just as easily for free.

Final Thoughts

“10,001” Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget” is a great book for anyone looking for a simple and fun reference to save them money. Having read through it I don’t know that I would personally pick it up off the shelf and buy it but it is a valuable reference that I will utilize. I think it is a great book for people who aren’t into or aware of the many great blog and internet resources that are available to them.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 The Weakonomist May 13, 2009 at 10:52 am

This was a good read. Like you said there were some disappointments. My conclusion was that it may be best for people to give as a gift. I hope Wise Bread can continue to use their branding to make more books with many contributing authors.

The Weakonomist’s last blog post..Six Lessons Star Trek Can You About Money

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