40% Off is the New Black

Written by Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman and Patricia Marx, 40% Off is the New Black is a small format, quote-per-page inspirational book to help you enjoy the fun of frugal living. This isn't meant to be a "cheap living for dummies" book. It is more like those pocket-sized "why friends are great" books you give to someone as a birthday present. I'm not saying the book is unhelpful! There are a lot of valuable tips mixed in here with the fun.

Many of the tips in here are great. "Turning down the heat and turning off the lights help save the planet too. Ditto for using fewer paper towels." That's something ALL of us can do easily and it really does save money and the environment! Maybe this little, friendly reminder will be the push someone needs to go towards their thermometer and turn that dial. "Taking off your shoes when you come into the house really does save wear and tear on your floors and rugs." I remember growing up that my friends did this, and it was unusual to me. Now as an adult most of my friends do this and it really does help make your living space more clean!

Yes, some of the tips are silly. "We were going to charge $30 for this book but times are tough so we've dropped the price. If the economy improves, please send us the difference." That's the point, though, to get you to laugh even though life isn't easy. You appreciate the good things, and plow through the hard times.

That being said, there are a few items in here that I think might have been left out. "You don't have to go to the doctor for every little thing, you know." Any time you start telling people "risk your health to save some pennies" I get sensitive. I know they meant it as a joke, but it might sway someone to stay home when they should go in. Women - who seem to be the target for this book - are especially prone to just shrug off symptoms and figure they'll save money by ignoring them. They then spend MORE money when the illness gets more serious and needs more heavy duty treatment. In general you save money by taking good care of yourself and treating problems promptly. Maybe this tip should have read "Eat healthy and exercise, and see your doctor regularly, to cut down on doctor's bills." That I could have gone with.

In general I enjoyed the book a lot and thought it had a number of great tips mixed in with the fun ones. If they'd just remove a few of these questionable suggestions which I feel veer into the 'harmful' category, I'd give it an unconditional recommendation.

Buy 40% Off is the New Black from Amazon.com

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