The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

Overview

Are You Brave Enough for the $1,000 Challenge?  

Middle-class incomes are stretched more than ever. Feeling the strain himself, personal finance columnist Brian O’Connor decided to put his own family’s spending to the test. He began a ten-week experiment to see if his family could cut its monthly living expenses by $1,000—without sacrificing anything truly important. From groceries and transportation to entertainment and insurance, O’Connor ...

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The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

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Overview

Are You Brave Enough for the $1,000 Challenge?  

Middle-class incomes are stretched more than ever. Feeling the strain himself, personal finance columnist Brian O’Connor decided to put his own family’s spending to the test. He began a ten-week experiment to see if his family could cut its monthly living expenses by $1,000—without sacrificing anything truly important. From groceries and transportation to entertainment and insurance, O’Connor ruthlessly tackled his family’s Top 10 spending categories with an eye on rooting out big savings.

As he shares his family’s cost-cutting adventures, O’Connor offers helpful strategies for getting your own finances back on track. Whether he’s sharing secrets to shrinking your grocery tab or helping you scour bills for unnecessary fees, O’Connor tackles the frustrations and fears of controlling your own financial fate.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
O'Connor, a personal finance editor and syndicated "Funny Money" columnist at the Detroit News, bases this guide on a series he wrote for the paper on coping with the Great Recession, and here conducts a 10-week experiment to cut his family's monthly living expenses by $1,000. Each category (transportation, child care) is addressed in a chapter that offers budget-trimming suggestions. The author's agile wit elevates the book above similar titles. Though O'Connor may hope to join the likes of Suze Orman, the fact that he is struggling to support his family via his newspaper writing makes him more relatable. Suggestions range from the obvious (refinancing the mortgage), to the ingenious (finding a variety of sources of affordable child care for a special-needs child). O'Connor also writes, hilariously, of cost-cutting strategies gone awry—such as roasting four on-sale whole chickens at once using budget beer. The fact that O'Connor actually succeeded in his experiment lends credibility to this funny, pragmatic guide, which will have you laughing all the way to the bank. Agent: Sam Fleishman, Literary Artists Representatives. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
A nuts-and-bolts guide to cutting expenses. In 2005, personal finance columnist O'Connor found himself with changing circumstances: accepting a job as a newspaper writer in a suburb outside Detroit; realizing that house purchases/sales left things financially tighter than he, like much of the country, had anticipated; acknowledging the eye-popping expenses involved in child-rearing, day care, insurance and the rising costs of just about everything. In one sense, the challenge he set for himself was part of the solution: breaking down his costs into 10 categories and writing a series of "Grand Experiment" columns in which he worked to find ways to cut his family's spending by $1,000 each month. A staple of the column, before and during the experiment, has been humor, which O'Connor uses to great effect. Though not all of the author's jokes hit the mark, the overall effect will resound with readers seeking not only cost savings, but a reduction of the stress around financial changes. The author presents these changes with the right mix of detailed money discussion and frank acknowledgement, both through multiple explanations of how "your mileage may vary" and through his own struggles to make it to his monthly goal. The categories will fit well with most households: transportation needs, housing costs, medical and insurance costs, separate categories for personal spending and entertainment, and a catchall miscellaneous category. O'Connor breaks down each category into a general discussion, followed by approaches to saving, organized from easiest to hardest to implement. Combined with an easygoing reassurance to readers that not every month can be a challenge-busting month, the author provides useful information and savings tips that can be applied to most readers' personal situations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846437
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 232,400
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian J. O’Connor is a syndicated columnist for the Detroit News. For the “Grand Experiment” series he was honored with a 2010 Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the Christopher J. Welles Memorial Prize awarded by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He lives outside of Detroit.
 
Visit www.funnymoneyblog.com

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