10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget – Book Review

I have been an occasional reader of the WiseBread blog. Their site is dedicated to personal finance tips written by a variety of contributors. In 2009, they published their top 10,001 tips in a book format, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.

The book is divided into two sections, frugal living and personal finance. The frugal living portion offers tips on maintaining your quality of life while saving money. It covers topics such as: food and drink; travel; health and beauty; fun and entertainment; shopping and bargain hunting; green living; and education and self-improvement. The personal finance section offers advice on: financial planning and budgeting; credit cards and debt; investing your money; housing and home improvement; career and money-making ideas.

I picked up the book as I am always looking for new ideas for cutting back and saving money. Upon cracking the cover, I initially felt that I might not be their target audience. Many of the tips seemed obvious to me – buy food in bulk, do your own manicures/pedicures. These were tips that made me wonder about the other readers. I mean, we all know [hopefully] that if you are trying to save money, then eating at home and not in a restaurant is an obvious way to cut back. Other tips were not applicable to my life – how to get more from my healthcare dollar or how to cheaply plan a wedding. And some seemed downright ridiculous – flirt in order to get yourself a free coffee, choose to educate yourself in a career that will forgive your student loan such as teaching or nursing, stash your cash in a tampon box because thieves will never look there.

While the book didn’t hold much advice that I could use on a daily basis, I did glean some tips that may serve me one day. For example, there was a great section on ways to travel the world for free by volunteering or participating on a working farm. There was also some sensible advice on how to evaluate your insurance in order to avoid over-insuring. I also enjoyed reading about one of their biggest money saving tips: Move far away from the Jones. This tip suggests that when you surround yourself with people who over-consume, it’s hard to resist spending more money than you can afford. And while some tips may have been obvious, they were good reminders. For example, the best way to get out of debt is to stop accumulating new debt.

I was looking for a book to give me some new ideas, and 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget did just that. As it is a compilation of tips, readers will likely only find a handful that will actually fit their lives. But that handful of tips might be just the inspiration they were looking for.

Not a book to read cover-to-cover. Easy to skim. Best as a library book.

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