The Good Life For Less, Book Review

Having first met Amy Clark all the way back in 2008 at Johnson and Johnson's Camp Baby blogger junket, I feel like we are old friends. When I met her, she was friendly, smart and unassuming- that's how she also comes off on her blog, MomAdvice, as well as in first book, The Good Life for Less.

In the Good Life for Less, Amy shares frugal tips and creative, low-cost family traditions, actions that helped her family of four climb out from under a mountain of debt.

She has a lot of advice on cutting back by doing thing from buying day-old bread at the bakery,to  making your own household cleaners, to shopping at thrift shops (with tips on how to maximize that, too) to taking a no-spend challenge.

When it comes to money, although I'm generally pound-wise, I do tend to be penny-foolish and get carried away at a store clearance event, garage sale or other fabulous deal dangling in front of me. Amy passes on sage advice from Wiliam Morris, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful."

Still, when I dropped off two bags on good to donate at a local charity resale shop last week, I *might* have come home with a small bag of colorful feathers, but they're for my makerspace, really.
(Note to self: search Pinterest for a feather project and be sure to document on my blog.)

In addition to money-saving tips, Amy shares favorite recipes and her trademark spice blends and homemade sauces. I'm savvy enough to know spice blends are a waste of money, yet I do often buy them. I'm looking forward to making a few of my own starting with barbeque

One of my biggest takeways from her book is meal-planning as a money-saver. I go to the grocery store 4-5 times a week. Outrageous, I know. And I'm bad about sticking to my list if I see a good sale. Amy points out that for someone like me, each extra shopping trip might cost and extra $15 or so each time. This means I'm likely spending an extra $60 a week and, gulp, more than $3,000 a year on impulse purchases.

Prior to reading Amy's book I told my husband I wanted to cut back on our grocery bill. That's no small feat with two teenage boys in the house, but with Amy's advice and careful planning, I think I can shave 10 -20% off of our monthly bill.

Seriously, everything you've read about the voracious appetites of teen boys is true. When I say leftovers are for a second dinner, you should know the second dinner takes place about 3 hours after the first one. (This from a family that never had a habit of late night snacking. They're just growing.)

Amy's tips are general enough to apply to most families, clearly I have a few takeaways as a veteran mom, but I think her book is especially well-suited for young families who are just getting in the swing of family life.
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