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With gas and food prices soaring, there's more need than ever before for Jonni McCoy's Miserly Moms. Jonni shares the money-saving strategies that allowed her family to transition from two incomes to one. These practical, proven strategies, tips, and recipes will help anyone live frugally without feeling deprived. Real-life examples show how anyone can learn to live more carefully and reach their financial goals. Now in its fourth edition, Miserly Moms is packed with even more ways to reduce a family's expenses ...
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With gas and food prices soaring, there's more need than ever before for Jonni McCoy's Miserly Moms. Jonni shares the money-saving strategies that allowed her family to transition from two incomes to one. These practical, proven strategies, tips, and recipes will help anyone live frugally without feeling deprived. Real-life examples show how anyone can learn to live more carefully and reach their financial goals. Now in its fourth edition, Miserly Moms is packed with even more ways to reduce a family's expenses and expose hidden living costs.
When I first wrote this book, our family lived in one of the most expensive parts of America-the San Francisco Bay Area. Most families were spending half their income to pay the high rent or mortgage. Consequently, most families needed both parents to work just to get by. We were one of those families. According to statistics, my husband and I were a middle-income family, with my job providing half of our joint income. I was a career woman who received much joy from her work.
After our first child was born, I began to feel God tugging at my heart to stay home to raise our family. At first I thought I hadn't heard correctly. We couldn't live in the Bay Area on half of our joint income. At least that's what we believed. Trying to interpret what God was saying to me, I arranged a job-sharing program where I worked part time. We continued in that lifestyle for several years. Once it became clear that the part-time arrangement was not God's plan, and that I was supposed to stay home full time, we were back to square one.
We thought we would have to move to a less expensive community in order to live on my husband's salary alone. So that's what we decided to do, but things changed at the last minute. We made an offer on a house, and someone made an offer on our home. One night I realized that I didn't want my husband commuting several hours each day, and I didn't like the idea of being so far away from our church and our friends. We were able to get out of both house offers with no penalties. But I had already quit my job. So there we were, living on half of our income in an expensive area.
Our choices were either for me to go back to work or to somehow reduce our expenses. But I knew I was supposed to stay at home with my family, so instead of bringing in a salary, I began to research how we could make our money go further. This opened my eyes to the hidden costs in the way we lived, and I questioned whether some people could even afford to be working!
When we calculated what our loss of income would do to our budget, we didn't realize how many hidden costs would disappear once I stopped working. Given the cost of child care, taxes, gasoline, parking, convenience foods (we were often too tired to cook after work), lunches out, office clothes, and all the other amenities associated with working, not much of our salaries were even used at home. I wasn't alone in this realization. I read that some financial experts had calculated the cost of working as nine to twenty-five dollars per hour. I was stunned! This meant that many of us who worked were actually paying for the privilege of working. I was inspired by the challenge of reducing our budget instead of increasing our salary.
This book is not about how to make money at home. Many other books have done a fine job of that. I've listed a few of these books in "Additional Resources," appendix B, for those interested in pursuing this option.
Many books have been written on how to be thrifty. Some are theoretical in their approach, filled with interviews with other frugal people and impersonal statistics. Some are focused on a specific way to save, such as reducing credit-card debt or using grocery coupons. Others try to be broad but are too extreme, cutting back in every aspect of life, whether it is cost-effective or not.
There is nothing theoretical in this book. It is a testimony of our journey. We were a two-income yuppie family that chose to make a lifestyle change. We have lived out all of the advice I suggest here.
I look at saving money as a means to an end. It is a job I perform in order to afford my staying at home. I don't do the things that I share in this book just for fun. I enjoy my luxuries if and when I can afford them. Some people take pleasure in being frugal as a hobby. I, however, must be convinced of the savings return before I do something frugal. For example, I find little profit in reusing envelopes or dryer lint. Those activities may save a penny or two, but that would not be a good use of my time. If you only have a little time to invest in saving, it might as well be put to use in the most effective places. Frugal people are looking for the best overall value. That value may not be money. Cheap people always put money first.
I believe in putting your efforts to work where they will save you the most. That is why the book is organized as it is-from the greatest savings opportunities to the least. Groceries are the first and largest topic that I discuss because it is where most families can save the most. We were able to save hundreds of dollars per month in this category alone.
I discuss other areas where we also achieved significant savings. When added together with the elimination of working expenses (the cost of working), we made a large dent in what we spent-the savings adding up to what some people might earn at a job.
Some people already have thought of the ideas in this book, especially those with parents or grandparents who lived through the Depression. Those people knew how to make what was necessary and live without the unnecessary. Their wisdom has been lost, and many think we shouldn't have to live without the things we desire. But others have asked for help with creative ideas to cut costs in their lives. It is for these people that I wrote this book. My desire is to get their creative juices in motion so they can start thinking of ways to save and meet their goals.
Your spouse doesn't have to earn a high wage in order for you to live on one income. I know several families including my own) who have willingly lived on less than half of what the average family in their area earns.
We have added another member to our family. We have pets. We go on vacations. We even buy nice things for our kids and for ourselves.
These money-saving principles really can make a difference.
What do you have to lose?
Excerpted from Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy Copyright © 2009 by Jonni McCoy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted July 3, 2009
I Also Recommend:
I don't think there is anyone who can't benefit from making their money work harder for them. We'd be surprised to learn the areas in our expenses where we are needlessly throwing money away. I've been on the lookout for a practical tool for stretching my dollars, and I found it in Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy by Jonni McCoy.
I was one of those people who thought they needed more money to make ends meet. But McCoy showed me, through strategies she used in her own household, to budget the money we have now to cover more of our expenses.
McCoy shares ways she cut her household budget that turned out to be more profitable than getting a part-time job! The author notes, "I was inspired by the challenge of reducing our budget instead of increasing our salary" (p. 14).
McCoy first offers eleven miserly guidelines and tips that will immediately help you save money like, "Don't buy everything from one store," and my personal favorite, "Make your own whenever possible". A lot of time is spent on money-saving tips for groceries, because the author maintains this is where money can be saved the most. Then there are chapters dedicated to other places to save money like on baby care, the eye-opening real cost of working, medical expenses, utilities, etc., all organized from the most cost-saving to the least.
Every time I opened the book, I found a useful strategy to use in my own household. I did not read the book from front to back rather chose topics for which I immediately needed advice. Chapter 31: "An Easy $10,000: Various Ways to Pocket Some Money" is worth the price of the book alone.
If you've wondered how to make more money without increasing your salary, and to make cut backs without cutting out all luxuries, invest in yourself by reading Miserly Moms. Even if you're not a mom, singles and empty nesters can benefit from the cost-saving tips found in this book.
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Posted August 15, 2013
Posted July 3, 2012
Posted May 8, 2010
My husband bought this book for me after hearing Jonni McCoy on the radio. I am always looking for ways to be thrifty and he thought this book would give me some good tips. Although I already knew a lot of things that the book covered, I did get some great new ideas that I am going to implement. The book suggests tracking the prices of frequently purchased items to find out the lowest price so that you will know when to stock up. I also enjoyed the recipes for making basic mixes. There was a great deal of research done in preparation for writing this book and if you get nothing else out of the book it would be worth it for all of the other references she provides. I would recommend it to anyone looking to save money.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 30, 2009
Jonni McCoy has turned stretching the money made by her husband to cover the family's needs . into her job. And she's not just saying that. She has detailed eleven miserly guidelines that those who live in recession-stricken households will find VERY useful.
For the most part, the book is about saving money and it does focus on this from the perspective of a mom. However, many of the tips in this book would be useful to know for anyone, male or female, who has been laid off and is living on severance pay or unemployment - to stretch their newly limited income to pay the bills.
Jonni covers cutting out the money wasters in your life and provides her detailed method for saving money on groceries by shopping at multiple stores and planning menus by what is on sale for the week (among other things).
Some of her favorite recipes for meals you can cook ahead and freeze are also included in this book. Instead of buying that expensive Bertolli meal for two, she encourages you to make an extra large batch of your own favorite Italian dish and divvy it up in plastic bags in your freezer for quick and easy self-made meals that are a fraction of the cost. (OK, so she didn't mention Bertolli by name, but those are the meals my husband and I were addicted to when I worked full-time. So yummy!)
The proof is in the numbers . and Jonni has done the math. She cites in her book that even those with special diets can save up to 50% off their normal bill and not take up a lot of extra time.
She also gives great tips on giving creative gifts and cheap entertainment ideas for children. She outlines the costs you save by not working and not just ways to shop smarter, but a way to live better . without missing the extra money.
I highly recommend this book. If you follow even a fraction of Jonni's advice you will make back any money you spend in very little time. Of course, . you could get Miserly Moms at the library. (But you won't want to return it!)
Posted May 23, 2009
AS a wife and working mother of five kids, it's getting harder and harder to live a comfortable life in our current economy, even on a dual income. So when I had the chance to review a copy of Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy by Bethany House Publishing , I took advantage of it.
Jonni McCoy began to feel God speaking to her heart urging her to stay home to raise her new child. So she learned how to reduce her expenses and still have a comfortable life.
Miserly Moms offers some great ideas to save money. She offers tips to save money on groceries, ways to celebrate holidays on a budget and even some great recipes that are affordable yet tasty. The section with recipes even gives a breakdown on how much money you'll save making your own recipes.
Because my family is large, we tend to do a lot of "warehouse" or "club" whopping. Jonnie devotes a whole chapter on good deals you can find in these stores, like Sam's Club or Costco.
More than anything, Ms. McCoys book, Miserly Moms, proved to me that a family can exist on one income. I've already bookmarked her recipes pages and have started cooking several meals at once to freeze for later (just on great tip of many in her book.)
This book is a must read for any family looking to save money in our rapidly declining economy.
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