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Save Big - book review

May 16th, 2010 at 08:20 pm

I just finished reading the library book Save Big by Elisabeth Leamy. The book focuses on saving money on what she describes as the 5 big items people spend money on - houses, cars, credit, groceries and health care. Her philosophy is "I've always preferred to save a lot of money on a few things rather than a little bit of money on a bunch of things. I like to SAVE BIG. Not small."

She has some good ideas in the various categories, but nothing new for me. I found her style off-putting because of her disdain for saving on little stuff. How often do people buy houses or cars? Yes you can save money in these areas, but usually only a few times a decade, in my opinion you can't just save money on these items and expect to be able to spend freely in the rest of your life.

She speaks in hyperbole claiming "This book contains $1,176,916 worth of savings in all. You would have to deny yourself $294,229 lattes to save that much money."

First of all not all saving ideas will pertain to all people, and second just because you don't spend money on something doesn't mean you've saved money. Most likely it means you never had that money in the first place and if you did, you spent it on something else. I'd be very surprised to find someone who had $1 million saved based on these saving ideas. I could save thousands every day buy not buying a big house or a newer car, doesn't mean I actually have any more money in the bank.

She shows a real disdain for saving money on small items that build up into major savings over time.

"the way to cut those costs is not to install low-flow shower heads, yet that's one fo the most common tips for saving money around the house. If you do it to save the environment, fine. But to save money? Please. That's Small Stuff savings; five dollars a month at most. Peanuts. Pennies. Pathetic."

"The clasic tip for saving money on getting money is to go to your own bank's ATM to avoid fees. I don't like the idea of having to pay a fee to access my own money either, but we're talking Small Stuff Savings with that: an average of $3 per transaction, according to Utterly underwhelming."

"The usual advice to save on food is to pack you own lunch. Yawn ... Yes, that will save you about $7 a day, but it's a pain. When I pack my lunch and take it to work, my body goes into some sort of freak starvation mode and I inevitably wolf down my sack lunch at 11 A.M. Then I'm famished again at 3 P.M. and end up going out and buying another lunch. I soon get tired of packing a limp lunch and buying a late lunch and I give up. Besides, that's Small Stuff Savings."

Obviously she is a person who makes a pretty good salary and after buying houses, cars, groceries, and health care has enough money left to do all the other things in life she wants to - good for her, (I mean that sincerely), but most people aren't that way. They can't afford unlimited hot showers, $4 lattes, $3 ATM charges and $7 lunches every day. That adds up into big money.

For most people even buying houses and cars they can afford, not having debt and watching health care costs there is not enough money left to do everything. That is where saving on the little stuff comes in play. It's about priorities, do I save on hot water so I can travel. Do I save on ATM charges so I can go out to eat once in a while, etc.

She reminds me of the government. Oh, $5 million is just a small amount in the scheme of things - it's not worth bothering about. We don't want to concern ourselves with such small amounts of money. We need to spend $1 trillion for this program, just because 10% of that is wasted ... it's Small Stuff Savings - why are you bothering us about that? PLBHHHHH.....

As I said her attitude irked me, but the book is worth reading especially if you've never bought a house. There are some good ideas on that and in other chapters.

I also finished reading the library book Silent Sea by Clive Cussler. Adventure - very good.

3 Responses to “Save Big - book review”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I wouldn't like her attitude either! I like having a nice house and a nice car, and saving money on "little" things has allowed me to have both.

  2. elisabeth Says:

    I read her, okay, her attitude was so snarky I skimmed through it, book. However, people who don't take care of the small stuff usually don't take care of the big stuff either.

  3. baselle Says:

    Some saving is a home run (large stuff), but a lot of saving is a lot of base hits (small stuff done many times). To win the game of financial freedom, you have to play a complete game...or at least try to.

    Sounds like she's justifying living large by living slightly less large.

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