“In Cheap We Trust”: Review and Giveaway

By Mike


in cheap we trustIf we had to separate people into 2 different clans: The Thrifts and the Spendthrifts, I would probably be closer to the latter. Unfortunately, the thing I like most about money is spending it. However, being a husband and father of two beautiful children has helped me be more responsible financially. While I never really wasted my money, I have always enjoyed earning more to spend more in order to indulge myself from time to time.

Now that we live on a single income, I have to double my efforts to become more frugal and concentrate on priorities. I guess this is what attracted me to read more about “being cheap”, which led me to “In Cheap We Trust” by Lauren Weber.

About Lauren Weber:

The author “grew up in Connecticut with a father who rationed toilet paper, set the thermostat at 50 degrees during the winter, and rarely used his car’s turn signals (to prevent them from burning out).”

Strong from her frugal background, Lauren always had a passion for writing. She has been writing for Reuters, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and American Banker just to name a few. Since 2007, she has concentrated on writing “In Cheap We Trust”, a combination of personal anecdotes intertwined with social and historical data wrapped up with a political taste for frugal living.

About the book:

Lauren captivated me during the first few pages about her cheap thrills introduction. And why the word “cheap” has become so negative over time. It’s as if the amount of money spent annually has become the measure of your social class in our modern (capitalist) society.

This book uses history to bring us back to the very definition of thrift and how frugality has been an important part of our value system for a very long time. Through a well documented (sometimes too exhaustive though) research, she depicts the history of frugality since the very first person set foot on American soil.

The last decade (apparently) has brought us wealth and comfort. Yet, recent economic events show us that we, as a spendthrift nation, simply incurred a huge credit bill over these same 10 years and it is now time to pay the interest and reimburse the capital. If we had not forgotten the efforts from our ancestors in building the foundation of a strong and frugal society, we might not have hit such a brick wall in today’s recession.

I particularly liked the Paradox of Thrift revisited by Weber. The paradox of thrift was created based on the principle of the economy declining due to the fact that everybody is saving instead of spending. Technically, if consumers stop buying and save their money, it should create an economic contraction resulting in more job losses (I guess this is why Bush was telling us to take our stimulus check to go to Disneyland!).

While the premise is accurate (spending less will result in a longer and deeper recession), spending more will simply postpone the problem for a few years. It’s akin to not going to the doctor because you have the flu, instead wait until you get pneumonia. I feel that a balance between savings and spending would be most appropriate.

I also found it quite interesting to actually understand the roots of frugality and Weber’s personal stories included in her book got me thinking about how far from being thrifty I actually was. It was nice way to get into the mood to save money!

Now the Giveaway!

I actually have 10 copies to distribute amongst Gather Little By Little and The Financial Blogger readers. Each blog will giveaway 5 copies of “In Cheap We Trust”.

Participation rules:

- Comment below with a frugal tip or spending philosophy (1 entry per comment).

- Follow me on twitter (1 entry)

- Register to my free mailing list (on top right of the site)

You can actually participate on both sites by commenting.

The giveaway winners will be announced on Friday, November 6th.

Last week’s Carnivals:

Carnival of Personal Finance


33 Responses (including trackbacks) to ““In Cheap We Trust”: Review and Giveaway”

  1. Traciatim Says:

    Want to save on cash and help reduce farming’s impact on the environment? Eat half the meat you normally would and replace it with with some great veggies. Establish one meatless night a week, and when you eat meat make sure it’s only about 6 oz.

    Realistically I’m never going to give up my BBQ burgers on a Saturday evening. Even just writing about it makes me salivate. However, do you really need to eat a 40 oz steak? Instead take some potatoes and other veggies, wrap them in foil and throw them on the BBQ too. Potatoes are fantastic for you, are incredibly affordable, and fill you up quite nicely.

  2. Kate Says:

    Host a clothes swap – have a bunch of people come over with some gently used clothes that they no longer wear. You might have bought a sweater because it was on sale only to bring it home and find out the color or fit isn’t right for you…but it may be perfect for someone else! Reduce waste, save money, hang out with friends and get some new (to you) clothes all at the same time!

  3. carolyn Says:

    I use coupons and stock pile. I don’t have to go to the store everytime I need something. When t.p. is on sale, I buy extra and usually don’t have to buy any until the next sale.

    Love this sight! Thanks

  4. Chris Says:

    I set a limit (budget) for weekly spending, both personal and household. Once the money is gone, it is gone. Also, I always take this money out in cash. I never spend change. Always break a dollar and keep the change. All that is left over is deposited into my ing account each week.

  5. Financial Samurai Says:

    Whoo hoo! I love giveaways. We’re doing a $1,000 giveaway ourselves for those who want to apply to business school. It’s fun hearing people’s stories.

    My tip is to implement a spending moratorium for the public to see at least one MONTH a year. I wrote about how I wasn’t going to spend any money in September, and because I did, I returned the $1,450 splurge on a new Macbook b/c I wanted to honor my promise and be held accountable.

    It’s been 60 days since I last spent ANY money on things other than food and well, gas I guess. As a result, I’ve saved over $16,000 in disposable income that is just going towards my “Freedom Fund.”

    Oh yeah, I’m following you on twitter now. Hope to see you at Financial Samurai one day!

    FS

  6. Jermaine Mintuck Says:

    At one time I would just pay a little part of bills, until they sent “threat” type notices to cut me off of phone and such.

    Then, one month, I just put my foot down on myself and said,”I won’t pay just a part of bills any more, I will pay it ALL!” Ever since that month that I clamped down, I have paid the bills off EVERY TIME.

    I found that by doing that, I actually saved some money and had more for food.

    And, this month, I thought a lot about buying a game that I had wanted. I didn’t. I got groceries instead. I will worry about those games another day. So, I got a NEED, instead of a WANT.

    devonm @ sasktel dot NET

  7. Jermaine Mintuck Says:

    I followed you on Twitter @devonmintuck

    devonm @ sasktel dot NET

  8. Jermaine Mintuck Says:

    I subscribed to your letter by email.

    devonm @ sasktel dot NET

  9. De-ette Coonse Says:

    Get your crock pot out, dust it off and start using it!!! Cooking in the crock pot is healthy, nutritious, and cheaper than eating out. If you are a working mother….the time saved by using your crock pot is priceless, you won’t have to run out for fast food because you did not plan ahead.

  10. Carolyn Doolittle Says:

    I use Groupon @ http://www.groupon.com/Austin to get some really good deals of the day. Yesterday I got a 1/2 price gourmet bundt cake offer which will work out great since my Mom’s 83rd b-day is next week and I don’t really have time to bake a cake for her. ($17 vs $34 and will serve 16 people). I also use the Entertainment Passbook which I buy from my nephew’s school fundraiser each year and always save more that the $25 purchase price. I will be following you on twitter too. Life’s best to you!! – Carolyn D.

  11. Fortune Seeker Says:

    Great deals can be found a rummage sales. Narrow down your list to ads that seem interesting to you or ones that fail to give any details. You never know what you can find at those and because of the poor advertising, there won’t be as much competition.

  12. Ron Says:

    I buy a 5 pack of movie tickets for $ 35.00. That’s 7.00 each vs. 9.50 if I go to a regular movie show. That’s 2.50 a show or $ 12.50 total. That’s enough to cover gas & popcorn. (I know I could rent a video cheaper, but I like the movies!)

  13. Tony Says:

    One of my favorites is to barter for what you need or want. If you’ve got a few things that you don’t need anymore, put them on craigslist with a description of what you’re looking for. You get what you want/need, you clean out your garage or house and the other person does the same. And the best part is that no money or very little ever exchanges hands.

    Tony

  14. Libby's Library Says:

    Always take a calculator with you when you shop!
    Compare prices and sizes to find the best deals.
    If possible, match up coupons and sales.

  15. Wendy Says:

    I shop sales, with coupons, and stockpile, too- it’s nice knowing I have 10 bottles of shampoo in my store room that I’ve only paid $.25 for when I need it. I also keep a weekly menu, and stick to it- planning ahead helps me save money!

  16. cm Says:

    frugal tip: in households with more than one breadwinner, for purchases over $50, you have to explain your plan to purchase to your significant other; result is you normally forget, change your mind or drop the idea, thereby reducing impulse spending!

    actually works very well, especially for me who like to indulge myself

  17. EarnGiveSave Says:

    We definitely have a set budget, and we don’t go out to a store or restaurant without looking online for a coupon!

  18. Nate Says:

    I would love to win!

  19. Denise Says:

    Measure your food portions. A serving of starch is only 1/2 cup! Measure that protein portion and get used to the smaller servings sizes and save money. Substitute tofu for one meat portion a week. A tub of tofu is 4 adult protein servings. Also, stockpile that pantry with sale items and try to make a meal with it one day a week.

  20. Lissa Says:

    I try to buy clothes when the season’s almost over to take advantage of the sales and clearance.

  21. Credit Card Chaser Says:

    Haha the author’s dad sounds like an interesting character… :)

  22. Gina Says:

    I subscribed to Restaurant.com.

    I recently got $75 worth of gift certificates for $5:
    5 $10 gift certificates {paid 60 cents for each of them}
    1 $25 gift certificate {paid $2 for it}

    The $10 gc are to restaurants I like to eat at for lunch (eat out once a week) and the $25 is to our favorite dinner spot.

  23. Gina Says:

    I also signed up on the email list of a local high-end steak house (typical meal is $25+ per person). They send me a $20 coupon once a qtr and more often during the holidays. If I don’t use them I pass them along to a co-worker or friends.

  24. Heather S Says:

    Buy only what you truly need, save the rest!

  25. Heather S Says:

    Twitter follower!

  26. susan Says:

    I use the plastic wrappers from the newspaper to wrap dirty diapers in and also as poopie scoopers for our dogs. I also reuse plastic grocery bags as trash can liners. Susan

  27. susan Says:

    Blog follower Susan

  28. Susan Says:

    I use the baby bathtub for the 2 year old, too. Just place it inside the big tub, and you use MUCH less water to bathe the little ones. He can’t lie down in it, but it doesn’t matter!
    Susan

  29. Gary Says:

    I had somebody offer me the opportunity to go to their websight and send someone I love a FREE greeting card. I loved what happened so much that I became a distributor of that company. Now I hope to replace my income with my new business by offering people the opportunity to send someone they love a FREE greeting card on me. Please click on my name to go to my websight. Being cheap can also be very profitable!

  30. Bianca Says:

    We make everything from scratch (Yes even the pizza and the ketchup)
    go out only once a month and hang our laundry outside to dry (to name only a few)
    for entertainment we watch tv shows over the internet (we have no satellite or cable) hulu.com is an excellent source of network programms, they will stream the shows a few days after airingdate..
    we get books to read from the library (you can not order over the internet and they will email you when the book is there!!)
    this is all i can think of now that we do frugally (if i think about is i would probably come up with a gazillion things lol)
    b

  31. Michael Says:

    Our philosophy is to plan on paper the month before how we will spend our money the next month. Income minus outgo always equals zero on our budget and every penny is tracked that is spent or saved.

  32. Cindy Brick Says:

    I’m hoping I’m still on time to get in this drawing! (Would love to read this book.)

    When you buy groceries, figure food by the pound or ounce — don’t let the package prices fool you. (Those boxes look bigger, and the food inside smaller, every day.)

    Also, when milk is all at the same price, I’ll buy the full milk, then water it down with at least 4 cups of water. Stretches the milk further, it’s better for you, and it still tastes better than 1% or skim.

  33. puddinhead Says:

    I research the heck out of any significant purchase, and then wait for it to go on sale.

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