From cooking with less, to living with less, to yard sales, flea markets, thrift shops, auctions and dumpsters, to consignment and vintage to being just a total all-in-all out tightwad, the following books are recommended to read if you need to start living on a budget.
In Dining with the Dollar Diva: Divalicious Recipes with Ingredients Costing a Dollar or Less, by Elizabeth Fisher, the author talks about "divalicious" recipes created with ingredients that cost one dollar or less. Author Elizabeth Fisher is a regular mom who is a wiz at creating exquisite menus and dining experiences at economical prices. Each recipe is accompanied by an interesting story about how that recipe came to be created. Most ingredients can be found at your local dollar store or in the dollar section in your local supermarket. This is the first book in the Dollar Diva series.
Be Thrifty: How To Live Better With Less, by Pia Catton, is how about it all starts with a penny. An indispensable book for graduates sharing their first apartment, young families stretching a dollar, retirees, students, frugalistas (the fashionably frugal), career-changers, and anyone who wants to cut back and needs ideas for how to get started, Be Thrifty offers positive solutions for every facet of our lives, covering food, health, finances, entertainment, education, travel, clothing, pets, and those often costly special occasions for a big family from Thanksgiving to getting married.
Be Thrifty is not about being cheap, it's about being smart and self-sufficient. Drawing on the work of experts in every field, it shows how to cut your food bills, cut your credit card debt, cut your own hair. Financial writers explain how to create a budget, and the thriftiest ways to invest in the market (thrifty people are savers, and savers need to make their money work hard). Professional chefs give step-by-step advice for shopping for the cheapest, tastiest ingredients and offer recipes that put those ingredients to good use, from homemade Chinese "take-out" to the frugal barbecue.
There are also tips on creating a home spa; why beeswax candles burn the longest; the twenty best bottles of wine for under $10; tips for building a budget music collection, including how to buy from a flea market with confidence; how to sell your home without a realtor; the adjustable-wrench guide to home plumbing repair; how to make your own fresh mozzarella for less than half the cost of an Italian deli's brand; the basics of negotiating a killer rate on a car; keeping your clothes looking great without a trip to the dry cleaner; unspooling old sweaters and repurposing the wool; the stuff you should buy in bulk and the stuff you shouldn't; how to outfit a nursery; and much, much, much more. Be Thrifty is about how to thrive and feel good.
In I Brake For Yard Sales and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions and The Occasional Dumpster, by Lara Spencer, Good Morning America correspondent Lara Spencer is a self-confessed frugalista with a passion for shopping at yard sales, thrift shops, and estate sales, and for decorating her home and friends' homes with her fabulous finds.
In I Brake for Yard Sales, Lara shares her secrets for bargain hunting and tells you where to shop, what to look for, how to pay for it, how to restore it, and finally, where to put it in your house. Looking for the newest arrivals at your local thrift shops? After busy Saturdays and no-pick-up Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the best days to shop for fresh items. Peppered with wisdom from world-renowned appraisers whom Lara knows from her previous work on Antiques Roadshow as well as contributions from well-known designers, this book also features the house of comedienne and good friend Kathy Griffin, which Spencer herself refurbished and decorated.
In Secondhand Chic: Finding Fabulous Fashion at Consignment, Vintage and Thrift Stores, by Christa Weil, her book is fun, funky, and fabulous and is the first personal buying guide to help you get in on the resale craze that is sweeping America.
Would you like to find a mint-condition Yves Saint Laurent jacket for $25...a brand-new, pleated wool skirt still bearing the original $40 price tag, for $7...a genuine Dior suit for $75? Now you can! In Secondhand Chic you'll discover where to look, what to look for, and how to buy quality. In fact, you'll get all the secrets of spotting a valuable bargain so you can shop brilliantly whether you're in a consignment, thrift, or vintage store. Expert shopper Christa Weil shares the insider information that will help you buy the best clothes you've ever owned...at a fraction of the retail cost.
Learn about spotting quality -- which you will know immediately from buttons, pockets, seams, and fabric.
Labels...big names, department store brands, exquisite foreign lines and fakes!
Finding your size when there are no labels or tags.
Flaws you can fix and the ones you can't, from wrong lengths and wrinkles to stains and shininess.
Unearthing handmade shoes, silk scarves, name jewelry, and other elegant accessories.
Buying what you really need and caring for the clothes you've got.
The styles that make your body look best,
from domestic to international stores, from New York to London, from Memphis to Paris...no matter where you buy, you can buy secondhand chic.
In The Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn, is the long-awaited complete book of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living! In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life."
Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips and topics, such as: travel for tightwads, how to transform old blue jeans into potholders and quilts, ten painless ways to save $100 this year, picture-framing for pennies, a comparison of painting versus re-siding your house, halloween costumes from scrounged materials, thrifty window treatments, ways to dry up dry-cleaning costs, inexpensive gifts, creative fundraisers for kids, slashing your electric bill, frugal fix-its, cutting the cost of college, moving for less, saving on groceries, gift-wrapping for tightwads, furniture fundamentals, cheap breakfast cereals, avoiding credit card debt, using items you were about to throw away (milk jugs, plastic meat trays, and more!), recipes galore, from penny-pinching pizza to toaster pastries, and much much more . . .
There are plenty more books to read on the topic of being frugal, thrifty and living on a budget, but I have taken up my allotted space already!
My advice to you? Do not feel ashamed! Frugal is even the rage these days! Not only do poor people think thrifty, but so do the rich. Saving money is good. Saving money is wise.