Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Review - Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy by Jonni McCoy

Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy
Author: Jonni McCoy
Year: 2009
Page: 297
Genre: Non-fiction - Lifestyle

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Maybe, depending on topics
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
With gas and food prices soaring, there's more need than ever before for Jonni McCoy's Miserly Moms. Jonni shares the money-saving strategies that allowed her family to transition from two incomes to one. These practical, proven strategies, tips, and recipes will help anyone live frugally without feeling deprived. Real-life examples show how anyone can learn to live more carefully and reach their financial goals. Now in its fourth edition, Miserly Moms is packed with even more ways to reduce a family's expenses and expose hidden living costs.

First Sentence:
When I first wrote this book, our family lived in one of the most expensive parts of America -- the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why did I pick this book?
While I am not a mum, it doesn't mean I don't want to see how my husband and I can save just for the two of us!

My thoughts:
  • I have never heard of the author before, but her writing is quite clear and straight forward. The book, while not for entertainment, was not boring to read

  • It is full of good, practical tips, however, we're already doing a lot of what she said... but it is nice to have it all in one book, especially for those who need the extra help

  • I wish in the introduction she would leave out the religious reference (note, I am agnostic, and believe in everyone can believe in whatever they want to believe in as long as it's not harmful to others or themselves) - only because mentioning "I began to feel God tugging at my heart to stay home to raise our family", "Trying to interpret what God was saying to me" and "Once it became clear that the part-time arrangement was not God's plan" all in one paragraph (p13) does not really add to the value of the book and may put off some of the audience (which would be a shame as everyone can learn something from this book!) She could easily have just said she wanted to be a stay-at-home mum. I don't recall more religious references after that which I appreciate. Just that this was at the very beginning of the book which could have set the wrong tone

  • She includes a lot of references and statistics (e.g. comparing home-made food costs and convenience-food costs) - which is wonderful and very useful - though I wonder if this is an editorial mistake? On page 14, she wrote, "I read that some financial experts had calculated the cost of working as nine to twenty-five dollars per hour", then on p194, "Financial experts have calculated the cost of working at anywhere from nine to thirty-five dollars per hour". Which is it, $9-$25 or $9-$35? It is very interesting to know the figures as we haven't really thought about it, but just wish it is clearer (yes I know - we have to calculated for ourselves what it costs US to work, depending on where we live etc, but still, there is a big difference between $25 and $35 for us who don't make a lot of money!)

  • She also includes some recipes in the book, so good for those who want some ideas. I haven't tried any of them though so can't speak to how they are.

  • She focuses on grocery the most (where you can really cut your expenses) but she also talks about other expanses you could reduce, such as utility, insurance, car etc

  • I like that she wants to be frugal (=value) but not cheap/stingy (=lowest price always)

  • The section I found the most useful (and new) to me was the section on whole grains, especially if we were to reduce meat intake as I doubt we'll become vegetarians (p99-100) - "Make sure your family is getting the complete protein they need from a meatless dish. A complete protein is the end result of two incomplete amino acids combining to form a complete protein. E.g. Brown rice is an incomplete protein, and beans are an incomplete protein, but when combined, they make a complete protein (p99)" and "most experts say complementary proteins don't have to consumed in the same meal but can be eaten within a few hours of each other on the same day." (p101)

    Compete Protein Combination (p100)

    • whole grains + legumes
    • whole grains + dairy
    • legumes + nuts or seeds
    • legumes + dairy
    • vegetables + legumes

    Legumes = plants that have pods with rows of seeds inside (e.g. chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, alfalfa and beans such as kidney, lima, garbanzo

    Whole Grains = amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, rice, rye, oats, wheat, barley, spelt, corn

    Nuts and grains do not form a complete protein, and peanuts are legumes not nuts

  • So all-in-all, not a bad book for those who wants some tips, and a good reminder for us to keep on doing what works for us


Have you read this book? 
If you have, I would love to hear what you think!
I'll link your review here if you wish!

100+ Reading


  1. Great tips I need to give this to my sister!

  2. @Maria - I hope your sister will the book helpful!

  3. I dont know if this book is right for me, I mean I am a student, don't have a hubby or children and still with mom! :)
    However I can see that it might be useful when I am living on my own.. :)

  4. @Nina - you can always help your mum save :) It's never too early to learn this stuff, I wish they had taught us more about being financially responsible in schools!

  5. Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog:)) Yes, why don't you list all the books you borrowed from the library for your reading in 2009 and share with us how much you actually saved? I will put a link to your post once you put it up and it will be very interesting to see how a libarary can save book lovers money. My problem with the libarary is sometimes I take too long to read a book and I need to return it before I finish reading it, and it's not as convenient as just buying. I bought most of my books on impulse just by going into a bookstore for coffee....

  6. @Juju - It's quite helpful too!

    @mylastread - I may do that! It'll take a while to compile the ones I read in 2009... I should start tracking the ones for 2010! My problem with library books is that I reserve a lot of books, and then they all come at the same time! It's probably a good thing I don't buy books on impulse, or I'd be in a lot of debt...