At some point on your journey towards frugality, you probably read the same books I did, the highlights of which were The Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life. (If you haven’t read these two, I strongly recommend doing so!) But there are other books that have shaped my journey towards frugality, unlikely choices all. I thought I would share them with you, and how they influenced my way of thinking about money, consumerism, frugality and spending.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point talks about social change, and the moment at which the momentum of the change becomes such that the change is unstoppable. Gladwell analyzes how ideas and behaviors are spread through a society, with the idea first being adopted by a trendsetter, then gradually spreading to various groups of people until even those who are the very slowest to embrace new ideas have adopted the new behavior. We can see this happening right now, with the ever increasing popularity of frugal ideas. Amy Dacyczyn was one of the earlier modern promoters of the frugal lifestyle- now everyone is talking about it 20 years later.
This book influenced my frugality by showing me how little changes or the right person acting at the right time can make all the difference. I started looking at my attitudes towards money and saw that if I wanted to really learn as much as possible about personal finance, I had to start learning from the right people. It was then that I started to read more personal finance books and blogs, and more faithfully too, really paying attention to what I was reading.
Confessions of an Organized Homemaker by Deniece Schofield
Confessions of an Organized Homemaker is my favorite organizing books, hands down. I like how Schofield lays out her system of organization, but never forces anything on you. And this book has influenced my frugality in a big way, mostly through her insistence that not only does being organized not need to be a complicated matter, but that you can and should find the system that’s right for you. The same reasoning goes equally well for adopting a frugal lifestyle!
Following some ideas from this book I simplified my organizing system, which in turn meant that things were easier to put away and tha I needed fewer fancy (and expensive) organizing systems than I had previously thought. For more on Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, you can read my review here.
The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman
The Walmart Effect is a balanced look at one of the world’s giants, Walmart, and its effect on consumers and prices. I’ve never really been a fan of Walmart, mostly I think because I didn’t grow up in a family that shopped there. But this book really made me think about the effect the relentless drive for low prices has on consumer mentality and what in turn those low prices mean to the economy.
Although I was already pretty determinedly frugal at the point when I read this book, The Walmart Effect influenced my frugality by strengthening my resolve to buy responsibly whenever possible. I’m not saying that I won’t look for the lowest price, just that I’ll ask myself what that low price means to me. Sometimes cheapest isn’t necessarily the best.
Ah, Betty Crocker! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… I love that this cookbook has the basics of cooking, with easy fool proof recipes. I love that the choices might not be the most sophisticated, but will feed my family healthfully and frugally. I love that instead of needing to turn to a mix, I can just flip open the big red binder, and find an easy to follow, inexpensive recipe.
More seriously, this cookbook, as basic as it is, has helped give me lots of ideas when planning menus or trying to figure out what’s for dinner. And who knows how many take-out meals it has saved me from? That’s frugal in my book!
What are some books that have influenced your views on frugality?
(This post was in the Carnival of Personal Finance at Four Pillars.)