Book Giveaway – Be Thrifty: How To Live Better With Less

A few months ago, I received a copy of the book Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree to review. Because of the move and my own disorganization, I am just got around to reading through it. It’s so easy to lose things when you pack up your entire life! At first glance, I thought this was going to be yet another book about not buying a daily latte at Starbucks or washing your clothes only in cold water, but after digging a little deeper I found that it is actually a lot more than that. At 367 pages, it is a solid book packed with tips for being thrifty in your house, at the grocery store, with your family, on your body, and in your wallet. By concentrating on good old fashioned know-how, rather than just about how to be a cheap bastard, the book provides solid advice on how to make do with what you have, how to entertain yourself for little cost, how to fix broken items in your house, and how to shop wisely and avoid waste. There is a huge difference between being cheap and being frugal, as I have discussed before, and this book totally falls on the frugal/being smart side of things. In fact, right up front in the introduction, the authors ask a few questions I think that everyone should ask themselves before they buy any single product:

  1. Do I need it?
  2. Does it do what I need it to do?
  3. Can I fix it myself?
  4. Can I wash it in household machines?
  5. Does it take up a lot of space or can it be folded? Does it do double-duty?
  6. It is safe for my family and my neighbors?
  7. Does making it use up a lot of endangered materials?
  8. Does it improve with age? Or will it need to be tossed after a short life span?
  9. After its useful life, can it be repurposed or reconstituted into something else?
  10. Does it make me happy for reasons I can or can’t describe?

They also talk about the life lessons of thrifty millionaires, bartering with your friends to save money, buying clothes on Ebay, keeping yourself healthy at home rather than at the doctor’s office, and how napping can act as a free vacation. (And, truth be told, they are right. I nap all the time.) It really is a good book for those looking to be a little more thrifty while still enjoying life, and does it all without judgement or huge sacrifices. I recommend you check it out sometime if you have a chance, but I also have a copy to give away to a lucky reader!

All you have to do is leave a comment here on this post, with a working email address, with your own thrifty/frugal tip that everyone else can learn from.

Here are the rules:

  • To enter, please leave a comment (with a valid email address, so we can contact you) with your tip
  • Only one entry per person. Period. Please don’t try to use different email addresses, etc, as the IP numbers will be checked.
  • Entries must be from residents from the U.S.
  • 1 winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries received
  • Book will be shipped via Media Mail via the USPS
  • Giveaway closes on Tuesday, October 26 11:59 pm EST

Good luck everyone!

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Comments (31)

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  1. Liz says:

    My thrifty tip: Embrace weekday meal monotony. I’m living single, so one pot of homemade soup or dish of casserole lasts me through the week. I can eat sometimes for $10 for five whole days. As an added bonus, I then get to spend the rest of my weekly food budget (another $10-15) exploring fun food on the weekend.

  2. Mike says:

    Use a PDF printer to create PDFs rather than actually printing. I rarely use my inkjet printer, and have less papers around the house.

  3. Thrifty Tip: While it may require more money up front, always remember you get what you pay for. Invest a few more dollars in a solid, well-made, warrantied or guaranteed, item. It will pay off in the long run.

  4. I love books – especially free ones 😉

    One thing I learned was to check clothing labels. Even if I bought something for next to nothing at the thrift store it’s not going to stay affordable if it’s dry clean only.

  5. Scott says:

    The public library is the best value around for entertainment and info. By using interlibrary loan and downloadable audio books access to media is near unlimited. Plus, return it when done so it doesn’t take up space on the bookshelf.

  6. Marlana says:

    Let those close to you know that you like a bargain and free is even better. We are often the first call for people who are upgrading and looking for someone to give their used but useable items away. Once they know you always show up to get the item and it will be put to good use, they put you at the top of the list.

  7. Lou says:

    I try to get everything I “need” through free local resources, such as freecycle and craigslist. The next step is checking garage sales, online lists and thrift stores. For many years now, I have not had to buy more than 10% of my “needs” and have saved a great deal of money.

  8. Briana @ GBR says:

    Just in case I don’t win, I’m adding this book to my Amazon Wish List 🙂 But anywho, my tip: When you go grocery shopping, set a budget. If you fall under that budget, put the rest of the money in your savings. It’s almost like you’re not losing any money (because you planned on spending it anyways) and yet you have an extra cushion 🙂

  9. Barbara Miller says:

    My best tip is to reuse the back side of papers (school notes my kids bring home, misprints, papers coming into the home etc.)for my coupon printing. Thanks.

  10. Teresa says:

    My tip is what I do when I make biscuits and sausage gravy. After I make my biscuits, instead of just scraping the flour used to roll out my buscuit dough and throwing it away, I use it to thicken my gravy.

  11. Andrea Watts says:

    I use half the recommend amount of washing detergent.

  12. Laura K. says:

    My favorite thrifty tip is to use the internet to research, research, research! Have something you need? Look it up on multiple sites to find the best deal, check out Craigslist or Freecycle, and if buying online, make sure to find which sites gives the most cash back, such as Ebates or Mr. Rebates.

  13. Ellendra says:

    I invested in a pressure canner, and now have soups canned up and ready to just heat and eat, which is VERY handy on those nights when there isn’t time to cook. I can also pack one for lunch at work (use a foam beer-can-holder to prevent breakage). Also, whenever my parents buy a big turkey or ham, or when they find a big package of meat in their freezer getting freezer-burned, I can can the meat up, I still have ham from over a year ago, and it’s just as good as when I first canned it up!

  14. Valerie says:

    Wear clothes twice before washing unless they have a stain or are otherwise obviously dirty. It saves the cost of water, laundry detergent, electricity for the washing machine, and allows the clothes to last longer.

  15. Rather than ask the question “Do I need it?” I try to ask the question “Can I do without it?”

    You can convince yourself that you “need” just about anything if you try hard enough.

    Asking yourself the other question allows you to truly distinguish between what is a “want” and a “need”.

  16. Gerry says:

    Keeping checking out this site for frugal tips!

  17. Roz Johnson says:

    My favorite thing is to help others be frugal. I regularly go through my stuff for things I haven’t used lately. I put the word out that I have something useful available for free, and it’s usually gone that day. I free up space in my house, less space in a landfill is used, and somebody saves some money.

  18. Ian says:

    My tip would be to make full use of your local public library. It is surprising how few people take advantage of the public library…although I realize the quality of libraries varies drastically from community to community.

  19. dave baier says:

    Over the years, I have been slowly replacing plants/trees/bushes with something that produces something that is edible. I now have about 22 grape vines(wine/jelly). Any space in between goes veggies & miss(can/use). I didn’t know that we are on “est” time, must be in hardyville time. Just ordered your books. Love you works/blog. Dave

  20. Cut back on gift giving! Celebrate events with a meal, a phone call or a card instead of something you have to buy and the recipient has to find room for.

  21. Rebecca says:

    I have figured out the more that I plan (menu planning for example), the more money I save and don’t spend.

  22. Janette says:

    This sounds like a book for me. We are slowly figuring out the retirement stage of our lives.
    Two tips- we make chili once a week and reuse it for the base to several other dishes (sauce for chicken with rice and spaghetti are two of our favorites).

    We are movie addicts and are now addicted to Netflix streaming and by mail. We have cut our going to the movies to almost never. There is something special about having buttered popcorn for less than $7.00 a tub:>)

  23. Laura says:

    Friends! Friends are the best frugal tip… they can provide free entertainment, potlucks, exchange great books, exercise together, and more!

  24. Thanks for the giveaway. I am selling/donating books I haven’t read in years!

  25. Tony says:

    Take the time to take proper care of what you have. If you do proper maintenance/repairs items can last a long time. An example would be doing oil changes at proper intervals to ward off the cost of a new enginn or keeping tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage and reduce tire wear. For smaller household items it could be something as simple as using the proper cleaning cloth on your smartphone to keep it from scratching.

  26. Mindi says:

    Thrifty Tip — I refill my foaming soap bottles with a squirt of liquid soap and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake bottle well. It saves tons of money for my household and daycare.

  27. Claire says:

    I slice open my flattened toothpaste tubes and lotion bottles before throwing them away. I always find 4-5 days worth of product that simply cannot be squeezed out.

  28. AZCoyote says:

    I have not used anything but a solar clothes dryer (i.e. clothesline)for the last 16 years. living in AZ does help although the clothes did freeze once–and were soooo soft after they did dry. I also use the rinse water on my tres and nonfood plants.

  29. Nancy Revell says:

    Pay with cash whenever possible. Before spending, think of 3 other things that amount would buy. Grocery shop from a list. Wait 3 days making a major purchase. Recycle, Reuse. Renew.
    Walk. Use Skype. Share.

  30. Elaine Halford says:

    Think twice — or even three or more times — before accepting a “free” kitten or puppy or hampster that needs a good home! Food, vet trips, litter, collars, cages, etc. all take up unplanned funds. If your kids are in need of a tame animal fix, take them to the free petting park at the pumpkin patch or offer to petsit (for a short while, for a small fee).

  31. DebbyM says:

    I love books. So I use Paperback book swap. Once I’m done reading my books (usually purchased at Thrift Stores or yard sales) I list them on this site and then I can “order” new books once I receive credits. I love it! A big money saver!

    I’m also big on coupons and scanning store ads. I only buy what I would normally buy, but stock up when there are sales and I have good coupons. It also allows me to buy a little extra and donate to our local food pantry.