Live Large on a Small Budget

wisebread-cover For years now, the folks at Wisebread have been giving out great advice on living well for less. Now they’ve gathered all their wisdom together between two covers in 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, a new book featuring hundreds of great ideas from all their talented writers. Beautifully designed and engagingly written, 10,001 Ways… is a fun read straight through, and a great reference you’ll return to again and again.

The book is divided into two big parts. The first, “Frugal Living”, is a guide to cutting costs while maintaining – and even improving – your quality of life. With sections on food and drink, travel, health and beauty, shopping and bargain hunting, green living, and education and self-improvement, Part 1 offers plenty of tips you can put into action immediately.

The second major part, “Personal Finance”, is about managing your money and, hopefully, increasing your individual wealth. The basics of budgeting, financial planning, and investing are covered, accompanied by a section on handling credit cards and debt and another with tips on advancing your career and making more money. 

Although the book doesn’t get much into philosophy, the Wisebread approach has always been living well without living above your means. In the wake of global economic problems, massive job losses, unstable gas prices, and general uncertainty on a day-to-day basis, this message has never been more welcome. What 10,001 Ways… offers is a practical, grounded, and sensible approach to living and enjoying life – something a lot of us have been missing in the consumption-driven lifestyles that have become almost inescapable over the last couple of decades.

Don’t worry, though – the tips in 10,001 Ways… are practical but they’re not boring. This isn’t a book about living in monastic simplicity or puritanical self-deprivation. The very first chapter is a quite thorough guide to picking affordable wines! (Tip: Seek spin-off labels from big-name wineries for top-quality wine at bargain-bin prices.) Some of the other topics covered in the book include:

  • 7 Ways to Lower Water Heater Costs (Try dropping the thermostat to 120°F to cut your energy cost for hot water by up to 10%)
  • 10 Killer Ways to Feel Like a Million Bucks (Strengthen your hamstrings. Sitting all the time leads to weakened hamstrings, which can lead to aches in your lower back, knees, and hips.)
  • The Best and Worst places to Stash Cash in Your Home (Tampon boxes are in; toilet tanks are out.)
  • 12 Ways to Become Rent- or Mortgage-Free (Have you thought about living in a yurt? They’re affordable, comfortable, and you get to say “yurt” all the time – what more could you possibly need or want?)
  • 20 Signs That a Pink Slip Is Coming (Have you started getting a lot of requests by email or memo that could just as easily have been given in person? Your boss might be building up a paper trail to justify letting you go to HR…)
  • And plenty more – the title promises 10,001 tips, after all.

All in all, I highly recommend 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. For more information, check out the book’s homepage at Wisebread, or order it directly. Better yet, talk to your local public library librarian about ordering a case for their library, and check it out when it comes in – not only is that incredibly frugal, but you’ll be helping out your community as well! Or here’s another idea: keep reading for a chance to win your own copy, courtesy of Wisebread, absolutely free!

Contest: How Do You Live Large on a Small Budget?

That’s right, the editors of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget have offered a free copy of the book to a lucky Lifehack reader. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling your fellow Lifehack readers about your tip for living well without spending lots of cash. Tell us about your affordable luxuries, cheap thrills, and low-price high life.

All entries must be received by 11:59 pm PDT, Saturday May 30, 2009 (limit: one entry per person) and you must leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win (don’t worry, email addresses aren’t published on the site). After the entries have been . received, I will select one winner at random using a random number generator. Entries will not be judged, but try to come up with something good, anyway – consider it a public service!

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