Only 10,001?  I really expected more.  10,001 is a number I can respect.  I don’t like round numbers like 250, 10, and 75.  Back in college I wrote my roommate checks for $323.99 and tossed in a $1 bill and a penny for the $325 I owed him.  While he didn’t appreciate it, numbers like that always manage to grab my attention.  This was a good start for Wise Bread’s first book.

Set to publish today, 10,001 Ways To Live Large On A Small Budget is a superbook of lists.  We all know how much we love lists (category lists), the human mind just can’t get enough of that ordered structure.  This book is filled with lists to help you save money, time, energy, and even your sanity.  Some of them are really good, some are alright, some are simply common sense and still some are simply terrible.  I won’t tell you which ones are terrible since that is just opinions, but really I don’t want to read tips on how to make my own pickles.  Let’s instead focus on some of the best lists I found in the book:

Buying Wine: Not only is this the first list in the book, it’s one of the best.  I enjoy wine, especially cheap wine, and don’t know much about picking out the right types other than certain brands.  This list really helped me for my future purchases
Brown Bagging: I pack my lunch every day, but I don’t put together the most unique meals (read: same thing every day).  With this list I’m now able to add some flare to my boring old brown bag.
Fun With Ice Cube Trays: Ice cube trays don’t have to be just for ice.  Put leftover coffee in there and drop the roasted cubes into the blender for a tasty frappuchino, or freeze gravy cubes to add some flavor to your soup.
Vacation Savings: No we’re not talking about driving instead of flying, what we’re saying here is how you can save money by taking a vacation.
Bulk Buying: I look forward to the day that I can have a closet full of toilet paper, but I’ll be sure to follow these tips when I do.
Regifting: Yes Wise Bread endorses regifting, just make sure you follow the rules or else you might make a mistake and give a gift back!

Many of my favorite lists come early on in the book.  This is merely because as the book progresses, the tips change from frugal living to investment and career advice.  I know a bit more about these subjects than I do with frugal living, so you have to browse the right section for your interests.

In order to properly review a book one must look at the target audience.  This may be the fundamental flaw of this book.  Frugal and personal finance junkies are found mostly on the internet these days.  The webs are our meeting place, our classroom, and our home.  Most of the lists are good, but it isn’t you can’t find online with some Google searches.  The only reason an internet savvy user might get the book is if they really like the way it feels in their hands or really wants to give the book as a gift.  So a flaw it may be, but a fatal one it is not.

Wise Bread pulled out all the stops for this book.  They grabbed the big names in personal finance to contribute.  Not that Wise Bread isn’t known for its branding, but they pulled in ZenHabits.net, Getrichslowly.org, and TheSimpleDollar.com to contribute to the book.  This shows this book is not just a Wise Bread thing, but the best the personal finance community has to offer.

I like two kinds of books, fiction and bathroom.  Fiction books I like are Star Wars, James Bond, and maybe a little Harry Potter.  A bathroom book is exactly what you’re thinking.  A book that is a good read for a 5 minute stretch has serious lasting appeal in my easily distracted mind.  If it doesn’t belong in the bathroom for you, it might look better on a coffee table.  10,001 Ways To Live Large On A Small Budget is perfect for the coffee table, makes a great gift, and is perhaps the best bathroom companion since a closet full of toilet paper.

The publisher provided a copy of this book for review.

Photo: fenchurch

categories: books, personal finance