Last week, Kelly Sangree, the author of the new book, Hard Core Poor, contacted me about reading and reviewing her book for Amazon. When people ask me this, my policy is to inquire whether they expect an honest review, or simply a recommendation. Generally folks prefer a recommendation over an honest review. This sort of tips me off that they really aren’t interested in my opinion, they’d just like my help hawking their book. Kelly’s answer, however, was a delightful surprise. She was interested in an honest review, so I decided I was willing to give her one.
I’m still working on that review, actually I’m still reading the book. I’m about half way through and I can honestly say that Kelly has really poured her heart and soul into it.
A lot of books about the frugal lifestyle aren’t written for people who are really trying to save every single penny they can. I call this class of thrift books “Jones Books.” They are written for people who have a decent enough income and simply need help spending it more responsibly. There are often lots of tips on how to save on international airfare, which credit cards provide the most airline points or cash-back, and how to get designer label clothing and furniture for less than full price at warehouse stores. One I read explained how discount superstores should not be overlooked for necessities that no one would see, such as children’s underwear and socks. The implication was that mom and dad could still afford their own designer undies if they saved money getting the kids undies from Walmart. I literally laughed until I almost choked on my own tongue.
These types of thrift books are designed to help people keep up with the Joneses, hence my nickname for them: Jones Books. Jones books don’t really fit my lifestyle. If I had enough money to consider international travel then I wouldn’t need a book on how to spend less on my heating and cooling bills. If I could afford to buy brand new furniture then I wouldn’t need tips on restoring or repairing trash-picked furniture, free on the side of the road. If I could afford designer unmentionables for myself, then you can bet my whole family would be running around in brand new Fruit of the Looms, and feeling pretty wealthy because of it. Jones books are a boon to people who are new to the frugal lifestyle. They’re great for people who are still trying to “keep up appearances.” I am not that person. I don’t really have appearances that need keeping up.
Hard Core Poor is not a Jones book. It’s an honest to goodness look at practical, sensible, and realistic methods of saving money everywhere you possibly can. She talks about comfort zones, dignity, and pride with gentle tact and matter-of-fact realism. I’ve found it encouraging in my own endeavors. It made me question some of my own purchases just in the past few days, and whether I was shopping for genuine needs, or simply spending for the fun of it.
Just yesterday I was at the Goodwill with a friend and realized I was browsing coats for myself when I really needed to concentrate on finding a denim skirt in my size. I already have, not 1, but 2 winter coats that fit me. I don’t need another one. Since I’ve lost weight though, I tend to run colder than I did last year, and those $8 coats sing their siren song to me of warmth, so I keep looking at them, even if I don’t need them. Riding high on the responsible spending pep talk that I get from reading Kelly’s book, I steered myself clear of the coats and found a couple of practical, blessedly warm long skirts instead. I made a responsible decision. I stayed within my budget. I did not come home with another coat that I don’t need and would probably regret diverting resources to afford. I was able to examine my own behavior and change it before I made the mistake, instead of afterwards, like I usually do. Altogether it left me feeling upbeat and pleased with myself.
That’s a pretty significant bonus gift for simply agreeing to read a book and give my honest opinion on it.
If this sounds like the kind of book that you might be interested in, then have I got a deal for you! This Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the Kindle version of Hard Core Poor will be available for FREE! at Amazon. That’s right, zero money down, and zero money on delivery. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still download the PC kindle app from Amazon and read it on your computer. And if you enjoy the book then share a review on Amazon, as a thank you to Kelly for sharing her hard earned wisdom with the rest of us.