I have been reading thrifty and frugal tips for months now. The books all beat the same drum: reduce the amount of stuff you need to be happy, reuse and fix what you have, recycle worn out things into new, useful things. Wring the last bit of usefulness out of a thing before you let it go. Make what you can yourself. Use recycled materials wherever possible,
The money management books say the same things, too: buy less stuff, you don’t need it all; spend less than you earn; get out of debt and stay that way; once you’re out of debt, save your money and invest it in some safe manner that will give you decent returns. The suggestions on that last bit vary from book to book but they all suggest something other than just a savings account.
Homestead books are getting similar as well: garden big, sell your excess if possible; keep chickens for eggs and meat, possibly a pig, bees, and a goat too; you don’t need 400 acres to do it, even half an acre will provide for your family; preserve your food by freezing and canning; make bread and other foods from scratch; compost.
None of this is bad advice. I’m just the type of person who likes to read as many books as possible to get a good overview of a subject. These are the ones I’ve been reading on for the last few months. Here’s my reading list:
Green Washed – Pierre-Lewis
The Backyard Homestead – Madigan
The Dirty life – Kimball
Your Money or Your Life – Dominguez and Robin (a classic that is still quite relevant that really gets you thinking about your relationship with money)
Fast Food Nation – Schlosser (holy cow. This book, read along with The Onmivore’s Dilemma, has completely changed the way I look at food)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Sufficient Living – Belanger
The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Pollan (this and Fast Food Nation are game changers. They may be a few years out of date at this point, but few things have changed)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simple Living – Lockwood
Thrifty Tips from the War Years – Anderson (wonderfully fascinating book about the WWII years in England – shows you what can be done if need be)
You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) – Strobel
21 Days to a Thrifty Lifestyle – Yorkey
Get Your Pitchfork On – Athens (the nuts and bolts of buying land and running a farm – very good reference book)
Be Thrifty (…not cheap) – Catton and Suntree
Living on a Shoestring – Chodakowski and Wood
Green Living for Dummies – Grosvenor
The Green Book – Rogers and Kostigen (great)
Povery Prepping – Gregersten (interesting look at how disaster preppers live)
Green Is Good – Keane
The Cheapskate Next Door – Yeager (along the same lines as The Tightwad gazette, just more concerned with price than anything else)
Frugal living for Dummies – Taylor-Hough
The Quarter-Acre Farm – Warren (funny and inspirational)
The Tightwad Gazette – Dacyczyn (SERIES) (my introduction to thrift and an amazing collection of tips, tricks, and advice. A perennial favorite)
Mrs. Dunwoody’s Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping – Lukken (made me want to actually keep house when I hadn’t before)
The Zero Waste Lifestyle – Korst (loved this, it made me start composting and paying closer attention to what’s recyclable – I aspire to this level of eco-friendliness)
Money secrets of the Amish – Craker
These are most of the books that I’ve read over the past few months. I would recommend any of them that look interesting, they are all good. I have about a dozen more to read but I wanted to give you a peek at what I’ve been reading and why my attention keeps shifting between environmentalism, homesteading, and thrift. It all depends on the book I’m reading that day. 🙂 I have put comments in some but not others and, as you can see, I’m a fan of Idiot’s Guides and the For Dummies books. They give a nice overview of a subject and give you an idea of which bits interest you most. Comments are just little tidbits, I liked all the books on this list for one reason or another.
Right now I’m reading a book called Cheap by Shell. She’s looking at the consequences of our society’s quest for cheap goods. Interesting so far. I’ll be updating or reviewing books as I go, so keep an eye out. Tread lightly and be thrifty!