Monday, November 8, 2010

Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half Steve Annette Economides

With great pleasure I read this book for an Amazon vine Book Review. I gave it a 5 as a rating. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides. Click on the title of this blog topic and be taken straight to the Economides website and see what else they have to say.

Over the years, I have read many books on frugal living, frugal shopping, and how to feed a family with limited financial means. Some of the books were great and some were so-so. Some were very dogmatic and made you feel like if you didn’t want to follow, or couldn’t follow, their ways of doing things that you were stupid or throwing your money away. I still remember one book on feeding your family on something like $10 a week. The woman claimed that no matter what she wouldn’t go higher with her grocery budget. Occasionally I think about that book and wonder what her family is eating for only $10. Tough going at this point. All that to say that over the last 30+ years I have read a great deal on the subject and find this book to be one of the most well balanced books on feeding your family frugally and nutritiously. If you are having trouble making ends meet in today’s economy, or any economy, get this book, read it and do what you can. Systematically train yourself to follow their guidelines to get your food budget under control

I have been hearing bits and pieces about this couple for years now but except for the occasional magazine article, hadn’t been able to read enough about their ‘system’ to know what exactly they were doing. They have already published a book called America’s Cheapest Family Gets You right on the Money. I haven’t read it yet, but will be trying to locate it at my library. In writing this new book on Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, They took the time to write a lengthy book (300+ pages) with lots of ideas and ways to feed your family without going broke. If you have been practicing frugal living prior to reading this book, you may not get as much out of it as someone who hasn’t, but you will get fired up to see what else you can do to save in this department of your finances. If you and your family are eating out every meal or most of them and you can’t get your financial ends to met, then you need this book.

One of the first things I will mention that I really liked about this book, is Annette believes in cooking, and the family apparently believes in eating, tasty well made meals. Too many frugal eating books depend too much on the “it doesn’t matter what it tastes like, it is good for you, eat it.’ If you don’t know how to cook cookbooks are recommended, preferably from the library. The Betty Crocker and/or Better Homes and Gardens large cookbooks published in the 1950-60’s are some of the best all round cookbooks, especially the picture or illustrated ones. The better you learn to cook, the more the family will be happy to stay home and eat at home where the food tastes better.

Along with pitching the thought of learning how to cook, the book has many practical suggestions for planning, shopping, storage, equipment you might need (and where to find it cheap). This is a family that believes in yard sales, second hand thrift, scratch and dent sales, saving until you can afford to buy something. They also write understanding that their audience will be coming from many different skill levels in handling their personal finances, so at the end of each chapter there are special hints for three different levels of shopper. No where are you made to feel bad that you aren’t suddenly transformed into a chef that feeds a family of 10 on $50 a week by the time you are finished reading the book. This is a learning process. Take it slow and keep working at it and eventually you will find that all the money you were wasting at restaurants is now in your pocket or being used for other things. And oh yes, if you aren’t into cutting coupons or don’t have a source for them, this book isn’t based on couponing to the max. If you have them and they will help, use them and if not, no problem.

An absolute 5 star book that will be very helpful for any family, no matter what level their income, that is struggling with their finances. The only absolutely essential thing that you will have to do is change your mind set to one of wanting to do what is necessary to trim your grocery budget. You can read all the books in the world about saving money, but until they become actions, none of it does you any good.

Whenever I write a review of a book, I never look to see what anyone else has said about the book until I have posted my review so I am not influenced by the reviewers. For this book, there were some reviews that I just didn't understand, such as one person saying this was a slim volume with not much information. A book of 300+ pages, I don't really think can be construed as a slim volume! Some mentioned that they felt the family ate too much meat, or all the ideas they wrote are already out in books and the Internet. Maybe so, but for someone desperately seeking a way to bring their grocery bill under control, this book has the information you need, presented in a simple and understandable format.

If you want more ideas on frugal living, here are some websites to visit, the first being the Economides family website:

The Dollar Stretcher
Living on a Dime  They have published a cookbook that has many of the recipes I grew up on. Cheap and filling.
Frugal Coupon Living
Saving Advice

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