25 January 2012

Review: Saving Savvy by Kelly Hancock

Saving Savvy: Smart and Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending in Half and Raise Your Standard of Living...and Giving aims to help households reduce their spending on groceries and dining out by giving readers information on budgeting, food purchasing and coupon shopping. Saving Savvyis written from a Christian perspective, so it also emphasises seeking God’s assistance in being a good steward of what you have been given, and giving to others out of your excess. It is interspersed with relevant bible quotes, real life stories from savvy savers, and lots of useful tips to help homemakers gain control of their food budget and still be able to bless others through giving.

There is good advice but the tone is patronising on occasion ("you will now learn"), and a lot of the information is also available on the author's website. I have heard a lot of the advice before (although some of it bears repetition as I don't always follow it). There were also some interesting ideas that I had not heard before, like the idea of using the tinfoil cooking dishes you can buy at discount stores for either freezing extra portions of cooked food (like lasagne) or giving them away without having to worry about getting the container back. It was curious to note that there was only one passing comment on taking lunches to work – I imagine I am not alone in finding that bought lunches quickly add up to become a major expenditure.

Saving Savvy has some excellent content, but the best hints are around US stores and coupon programmes. Too much of the information is simply not relevant outside the USA – I live in New Zealand, and the entire discussion on coupon programmes is pretty much irrelevant, as it emphasises using more than one coupon on the same product, or using coupons on sale items. All coupons and discount programmes I see specifically state that they cannot be used with any other offers, and most can only be used on full-price merchandise. As much of the information is also available on the authors' website, my recommendation to non-US customers would be to save your money and buy a locally-written book, like Sylvia Bowden's New Zealand Household Budget Kit.

Thanks to Worthy Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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