|The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A superb starting place for anyone concerned about the way that they spend money or if you'd just like to make certain that you don't waste more than you have to. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: July 2009|
|External links: Author's website|
A soon as I read the introduction I wondered if this was really going to be the book for me. Despite having two books in the top ten best seller list India Knight knew the bailiffs well and was facing bankruptcy. It wasn't that she wasn't earning money – it was simply that she had no ability to handle it. Hmm – I have a horror of debt and I can handle money. Was India Knight really going to be able to teach the person who grew up with the austerity of post-war Britain chomping at her heels anything about thrift? Plans were already forming to move the book on, when slowly and inexorably I was won over.
Perhaps the best place to start with this book is to say what it isn't. Frugality might be the new black but there's no suggestion in this book that you should be living less than well. It's about not wasting money rather than not spending it and there are many occasions when the recommendation is that you should buy the best of any particular article that you can afford.
It's not a manifesto for any particular environmental, charitable or political movement although she does make her feelings about child labour in the clothing industry and animal cruelty in the food chain very clear. This was a point which was a potential worry about the book. Yes, I know I can get a top in the market for about £2, but I don't want to get cheap clothing at the expense of a child of the same age as my grandchildren, or any child. They're ice skating and planning Christmas outings whilst he or she slaves for a few pence a week. I don't want to eat a cheap chicken which has been reared in cruelty and fortunately India Knight has the same views.
There's quite a bit about growing your own salad and vegetables and making your own food, but it's not about self-sufficiency either and if that's what you're looking for then you might be better with The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton.
It's not a 'bible' of thriftiness. You won't find the answer to every problem in here, but what you will find are a lot of starting places which you can explore further as your need or taste takes you. For instance, there's a section on gardening, with ideas about how you can grow salad and some other crops for family consumption. The attitude is 'look, I did this from scratch and so can you. Here are a few ideas, books, websites and shops which can get you started'. There's inspiration there.
So, what is it then? Well, India Knight takes nine areas – food, clothes, crafts, community, having fun, beauty, holidays, home and money – and looks at buying sensibly. She gives lots of good ideas for how you can cut back, save or even cut out and still live well. There are plenty of resources for further exploration such as websites which you might not have found easily or books. The books are all sensible choices rather than the 'one author scratching another's back' which is so often the case with book recommendations. I can personally vouch for The Kitchen Revolution by Rosie Sykes, Polly Russell and Zoe Heron which would be a splendid investment for anyone serious about cooking good food from scratch.
If you're hoping that this book will transform your finances overnight then I'm afraid that it's going to be a disappointment but if you're serious about getting or keeping your finances in order and need a starting point then this could be the best money that you've ever spent. The book is never preachy simply because it's written by someone who has probably been in far worse financial straights than most of us. There's sympathy, understanding and a positive approach to putting everything on a better footing.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight at Amazon.com.
The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight is in the Top Ten Books To Help Down-Size And Make Ends Meet.
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