Book Review: Reader’s Digest Penny Pincher’s Almanac


I have read many books that are full of tips on how to live a frugal life. I thought that I had heard just about everything, especially after reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find many new tips on how to live even more frugally.

The book covers the following categories.  For each category, I will give you a flavor of the tips by picking out a few tips that stood out to me because it was new to me or interesting.

  • Good Eats for Less –
    • To help dried beans keep their shape, don’t soak them before cooking.
    • Wood cutting boards are back!  Bacteria incubate rapidly on plastic, not wood cutting boards.
  • Beauty on a Budget
    • To remove salt stains from shoes in the winter, wipe with a solution of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
    • Yogurt and table salt can be used to help dandruff!
  • Frugal Health and Fitness
    • Make your own saline nose drops to ease congestion (recipe in the book).
    • Motion sickness? Try chewing candied ginger as an alternative to expensive medicines.
  • Home Sweet Home
    • Kool-Aid cure for a dingy dishwasher: 1 or 2 packets of unsweetened, citrus Kool-Aid run for a cycle will have you dishwasher looking & smelling great!
    • There are lots of tips about natural household aids that are not only inexpensive, they are good for your health (saving you on the medical costs down the road).
  • Penny-Smart Parenting
    • How to care for your babies teeth to avoid dental problems (and expense) later on – you may be surprised by what they say!
    • Toddler beds are not necessary.
    • Several tips on picking a good crib (something that even the most experienced parents would consider a “daunting” task).
    • Children’s furniture is a waste of money – go from baby stuff to adult furniture.  Or better yet just start with adult furniture when they are a baby!
    • There are many more in this category that were interesting to me – Though I have a passion for penny-smart parenting.
  • Cent-Sational Special Occasions
    • How to prepare food for a “frugal feast”.  One big tip from this: focus on one course of the meal (usually the main course) and make it shine.  Don’t go for many expensive courses!
  • Going Out and Spending Wisely
    • There were a number of good tips on cutting entertainment costs, including scoring half price show tickets in New York City and tips on how to save money at your local restaurant!
  • Thrifty Travel
    • Be your own travel agent.  As long as your trip isn’t too complex, hunt around yourself for the best deals.
  • Thrifty Home Improvements
    • Do-it-yourself ant traps
    • How to fix doors that stick: A multi-step process to get those stubborn sticky doors
    • Keep a milk jug under the sink that you can fill up while you are waiting for hot water to make it to the faucet.  You can later use the water for plants or cleaning or anything you can imagine!
  • Cheap Car Talk
    • Use after-market parts instead of OEM parts to save big.  If you go to a mechanic, ask them to use after-market parts.
  • Money-Savvy Medicine
    • How to find the best HMO or PPO
  • Frugal Finances
    • 10 most common mistakes in personal finance planning:  Number one is that only one family member is involved in financial affairs
    • 10 Deductions for home-based business
    • Retire like royalty!

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is serious about frugal living.  There are hundreds of great tips in this book just waiting for you to put them into practice!  I would be surprised if anyone reading this book did not come away with a number of practical tips they can apply to their life.  Check it out from your local library or buy it used today!

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