Taking a Page out of The Good Life for Less {Book Review}

I love my life.  But I know, deep in my soul there are things I could be doing better.  I could be saving money at the grocery store.  I could have a more organized home.  I could entertain more often.  I could likely even create more family memories than I do. And I could be doing it all for less money than I do now.

It all sounds very ‘pie-in-the-sky-, I know…. but what is refreshing and lovely is that, quite honestly, I’m learning that it isn’t. I’m taking advice and tips from someone I have known for years.  Amy Allen Clark is the founder and primary author of a lovely (and incredibly useful) website called MomAdvice.  As part of a family who originally learned to live a ‘Good Life for Less‘ out of necessity – her husband lost his job several years ago and they were forced to figure out how to make things work, Amy now truly embraces all the ways those experiences have allowed her, her husband and her children to live a life they love on less money AND – this is the treasure – to share that wisdom with others. She does this beautifully in her new book, The Good Life for Less.

The Good Life for Less, Amy Allen Clark

As I flipped through the pages of the book (I will confess to devouring it in one sitting), I will admit to squirming as Amy wags her author’s finger as us, stressing the importance of truly knowing where your money is coming from, where and how it is being spent and setting a family budget.  Some of my favorite advice in the book:

Chapter 1- Your Budget: Make it, Live it, Love it

  • Teach your Children to be Frugal – I love the message of modeling for your small people
  • Double checking your bills to make sure you aren’t being over-charged (I know most people don’t do this, but I will give my husband credit…we save money by doing this EVERY SINGLE MONTH)
  • Shop Smarter – including making a list and taking fewer trips to the store (both areas need improvement from me)

Chapter 2 – The Frugal Generous Kitchen

  • Clipping coupons (I will admit to doing this for the first time in years this past weekend, thank you, Amy)
  • Keeping a well stocked Pantry – I’m now trying to stock up on staples – she even includes a suggested ‘most used list’
  • Use what you have – almost my entire menu this week is based on items (aside from fresh fruit, vegetable & meat) that we already have

Chapter 3 – Recipes to Prepare and Share

  • I love that Amy offers ‘homemade’ versions of many regular staples – Ranch dressing, pancake mix, stuffing
  • I will be honest – there are too many meals I want to try  - so I can’t list them all here (homemade granola bars, anyone?)

Chapter 4 – Good Times: Holidays, Family Gatherings, and Special Occasions

  • Have a family tradition that isn’t based around a ‘regular’ holiday
  • Gift suggestions for almost every occasion
  • Summer fun ideas that don’t require great expense

Chapter 5 – Keep Your House Clean, Organized and Welcoming

  • I loved Amy’s ideas for decorating rooms in the house – so many including personal touches like family pictures and homemade artwork
  • Make some of your own cleaning supplies ( I actually unclogged a drain the other day all by myself with Amy’s tips)
  • Amy has convinced me there are some home repairs I can do myself (gasp!)

This book is such a treat. Written with Amy’s signature warmth… if you have ever had the pleasure of meeting her in person, you know JUST what I mean… it will take your hand and guide you gently through the many ways you can live The Good Life for Less.  I am having fun putting her many tips into practice – bit by bit.

She is making me better.  Related: my husband is happy, too.

Have you read The Good Life for Less?  If so… is there a favorite tip you’d love to share?