Official Review: Living on Less and Loving It!

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jaylperry
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Official Review: Living on Less and Loving It!

Post by jaylperry » 22 Jan 2018, 12:39

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Living on Less and Loving It!" by Cathy Estabrook.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Cathy Estabrook’s Living on Less & Loving It!: Penny Pinching With Style is filled with down-home wisdom and practical suggestions about how to dig out of a financial hole and start winning with money.

This book is not some pie-in-the-sky collection of theoretical personal finance tips but the hard-fought experiences of a family of six climbing out of poverty by taking extra jobs, making their own cleaning products, growing, preserving, and cooking their own food, negotiating monthly expenses, refinishing furniture, and finding every way possible to make their money work for them.

When I first picked up the book, I had expected a much less narrative style. I hadn’t anticipated that this book would be so completely autobiographical. Thus, the first chapter came as a bit of a surprise. Cathy Estabrook started off by telling (in great detail and with some unnecessary repetition) the story of how she and her husband had three children before they were out of their teens. This set the stage for their family’s extreme poverty in a small town.

However, the poverty doesn’t last forever. Cathy’s is an inspiring story of personal determination, grit, and progress. Even though she admits in the book that they have a long way to go before they would have enough money for retirement, they seem to be making their way step-by-step toward complete financial independence.

The first chapter tells the backstory, with the next eight chapters interspersing stories with general financial advice and motivation. Much of the financial advice––understanding wants vs. needs, setting attainable goals, starting slowly and progressing step-by-step, saving a beginner’s emergency fund, monitoring credit and retirement accounts, and living below your means––is standard in the personal finance space.

This book really shines in the last thirteen chapters, where the author gets to the practical part of her message. In these remaining chapters, Cathy Estabrook turns theory into reality by teaching very practical ways to save money and build wealth: how to make your own cleaning products, things to grow in the garden, how to do home canning and preserving, how to sell on eBay, how to save money when planning a wedding, how to refinance a mortgage, how to think about paying for college, how to save with CDs, how to invest in real estate, etc.

Living on Less & Loving It! is a great book for someone just starting a journey into personal finance. The style is accessible and non-technical enough even for someone who is math-phobic or who would hate a book with charts. I can see this book being very useful for a young family trying to figure out how to think about their financial future.

Unfortunately, the book was written in a very informal style filled with phrases such as “…but oh baby…” and “…so hey, that’s life, right?” The writing was not polished or well-edited. The book contained a large number of typos and grammatical errors as well as many awkward and meandering constructions. The structure was non-parallel in many places. The author’s promised “top ten ways to save money” were never enumerated, though they were the ostensible basis for the final thirteen chapters of the book. For those reasons I give this book 2 out of 4 stars. With the help of a patient and thorough editor, I believe the material in this book could easily be worthy of 4 stars.

******
Living on Less and Loving It!
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 10 Feb 2018, 00:30

I like the idea that has been exaggerated in the book about family ties and the poverty, which does not last long. It reflects on the "law of nature", happiness-sadness, riches-poverty, praise-insult, profits-losses. Thank you!
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Post by jaylperry » 10 Feb 2018, 01:13

Sahani Nimandra wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 00:30
I like the idea that has been exaggerated in the book about family ties and the poverty, which does not last long. It reflects on the "law of nature", happiness-sadness, riches-poverty, praise-insult, profits-losses. Thank you!
It is encouraging to read this kind of story and know that we can often choose to get out of a bad situation.
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Post by Mercy Bolo » 10 Feb 2018, 03:02

The content is great, but a round of editing is well overdue. Until an improved version of it is released, I will pass.
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Post by jaylperry » 10 Feb 2018, 03:09

Mercy Bolo wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 03:02
The content is great, but a round of editing is well overdue. Until an improved version of it is released, I will pass.
I’m always sad to see good content spoiled by bad editing.
“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
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Post by eddyokoth » 10 Feb 2018, 04:48

its an inspiring book the way cathy really work hard until she became successful providing for the family. the book has a lesson am really waiting to start reading the book to be inspired never to lose hope in life

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Post by jaylperry » 10 Feb 2018, 08:53

eddyokoth wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 04:48
its an inspiring book the way cathy really work hard until she became successful providing for the family. the book has a lesson am really waiting to start reading the book to be inspired never to lose hope in life
This book could definitely give hope to someone in a similar situation. Hope may be the spark that helps someone make a real turnaround.
“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

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Post by Al Chakauya » 10 Feb 2018, 08:59

It's always bad to see good content being spoilt by bad editing. I like the concept of saving money and putting it to good use. I am sure this is a good book for all young people who are keen to save money. Thank you for a great review.

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Post by Renae Stennett » 10 Feb 2018, 14:48

The true lesson of inspiration, this book captures the difference between being rich versus being successful. That's something we all want to be able to take care of ourselves and our families.

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Post by jaylperry » 11 Feb 2018, 01:34

Renae Stennett wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 14:48
...this book captures the difference between being rich versus being successful.
This is very true. There is so much success in Cathy's turnaround story that we can be inspired even if she never becomes "rich" by any external standard.
“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

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