Monday, August 8, 2016

A Book Review: Penny Pinching Mama

I've been watching Living on a Dime's YouTube channel lately and really like Tawra's Mom, Jill Cooper. 

Jill comes across to me as someone who has been where I have been. She has been there and knows what it is like to live on a small income.  

Because of that I decided I wanted to read her book titled, Penny Pinching Mama ~ 500 Ways I Lived on $500 a Month

I enjoyed reading the book although I found it more like a list of tips rather than a book like the Tightwad Gazette where there is so much information to be gleaned.  

Some things I made note of are the following...

One statement she makes in her book is that they drank nothing but water. She says they did have juice sometimes, but she limited them to one serving per day. 

While my main beverage most days is water we also have other drinks. In my opinion limiting ourselves to water only would be too extreme and there would be some complaints.

We serve not only water here, but also milk, chocolate milk, juice (usually, but not always), koolaid, lemonade, iced tea, herbal tea, and sometimes when I find it one sale or a good deal we even have pop or Powerade.  

While I applaud Jill for being so disciplined, I want my family members to be happy and denying them any drinks other than water would make for some unhappy people here, so we compromise on this issue.  :)

One of Jill's really good tips is about wasting a little as possible. She rarely bought garbage bags or paper towels and when she did they lasted a very long time. 

I'm glad I read this book, but it was not a keeper for me like the Tightwad Gazette was. I will never get rid of my copies of the Tightwad Gazette, including the newsletters. 

If you want to read Jill's book, I would check and see if your local library has it to borrow.  

~ Living within our Means ~


  1. Thanks for the review, Belinda.
    I think that part of the value of all of these frugal living books/blogs/sites is in realizing that we're not alone in our way of life. I won't be able to use all of the tips, but I can appreciate other's choices. I couldn't forgo some of the beverages we enjoy, (like my morning coffee), and I want my kids to continue with milk and some juice, but I can appreciate her attitude that non-water beverages were an "extra" item for their household, and could be eliminated under extreme circumstances. She took a hard look at what is and is not really necessary. And I can appreciate that.

    I'll check out their youtube channel, too. Thanks!
    Have a great week! Back to school, right? Hope you get lots of teaching slots!

    1. Thanks so mucy, Lili. I alrady have a job lined up for Wednesday, so I'm happy about that.

      And you are so right about appreciating her efforts and circumstances. After all she only had $500 per month to make ends meet. That is a great point you've made.

      I hope you have a great week too!

  2. When a nephrologist ordered 3 quarts of water daily and no other drink or flavoring, my budget and health improved. Oh, no artificial "anything" in my diet, either. No condiments. No dried beans may still be the worst part of the order. Yearn for dried beans. Jill's advice may be better for health reasons than thrifty needs.

    As for Jill's tips, I felt that way when I read her daughter's blog years ago. Different from Tightwad Gazette, but nevertheless one tip might push someone up a thrifty mountain. I read a portion of TG every day, and that is the truth. Many times I laugh at outdated foolishness, but Amy won my heart from Day One.

    I will also check out YouTube.

    Your flea marketing this summer was a smart move to manage. May your subbing days increase and Bailey be a star college student. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Anna. I appreciate your good wishes. Excellent point on Jill's daughter's blog. What may be a light bulb moment for some can come from one source where it might not for another.

      No dried beans would be hard to take! Wonder what his reasoning was?

  3. Chronic Kidney Disease demands a limited diet and no dried beans, but it is easy compared to a diet for an enlarged and inflamed hiatal hernia caused by 19 years of prednisone. CKD was also caused by prednisone.

    1. Awwww...that is understandable. My nephew needs a kidney transplant. He has been on dialysis for several years. He is 21 years old now, but does not take his health very seriously unfortunately. :(

    2. So sorry your nephew is on dialysis. Does he go to a clinic 3 times weekly?

    3. He does, Anna. When he fails to go he ends up at the hospital. I don't know if he will ever be at the point where he can get a new kidney. We would do it for him if we could, but he has to be the one.

  4. We also drink quite a bit of water in this house although there are times we add flavoring. I do not drink soda at all, dh loves cream soda but only indulges at dinner. I always feel you do for your household what works best. I don't believe it's easy to lay down those type of rules, i.e. water is the only drink we can have. But if that's all your budget allows then more power to you to be able to take that stand. Of course, we always have coffee and tea available here. I am also one of those people that doesn't believe in drinking their calories so it's easy for me to avoid juices, soda and other high caloric beverages. But when my dd was younger we always had more choices available.

    Hope you have a very productive year subbing Belinda and Bailey enjoys her college experience!

    1. Thank you so much, Mary Lou.

      I, like you, drink water mostly. It works for me, and like your dd, my dd has more choices too. I hope you have a great week!

  5. We keep a variety on hand here, too. I don't drink sodas at all and do very limited juice. However, I love coffee, hot teas, and soy milk. I try to buy them as frugally as I can. I'm sure we could live without them, but unless it becomes a necessity we probably won't.

    Thanks for the review. I agree with Lili -- sometimes it is nice to know other people are frugal, too. I don't feel so odd when I pull out my saved flour tortilla bags to use for food storage or when I start a soup bowl in the fridge. I like that these things are frugal, but I also like that they are good stewardship of the planet's resources. I have reached the point I feel guilty about the things I have to throw my new mantra is even if something has to go, whenever possible I try to reuse it at least once.

    1. Those flour tortilla bags are really nice. I have one in my fridge right now that I will save once we are done with the tortillas.

      That's great that you are being a good steward of the earth's resources. We do what we can here, we recycle aluminum cans.

      We used to recycle plastic bottles, but it has gotten harder to find a place to take them. The place we took them to is locked now and only open certain hours and in another town. sigh...

      It's great that you are reusing things before tossing them. I like to save all of our glass jars. They are great for so many things. Even if I am just using it to put something in that I will have to throw away, I have at least used it once like you said. :)


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