Penny Pinching: How to Lower Your Everyday Expenses Without Lowering Your Standard of Living by Lee and Barbara Simmons

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I found this book at the thrift shop last week and thought it would be a fun read. It really was. This is the 5th edition of Lee and Barbara Simmons guide on how to save money on your every day expenses and it was written in 1999. It was neat to see how things have changed in the past 17 years. Most of the sections were still relevant, but the one about phones and internet is really outdated.

Most of the things in the shopping section I already knew. I’m a coupon user, I always check out after holiday/season clearance sales and shop at thrift stores. I have a book habit and I’m on a budget.  It has good suggestions for people that are looking for a few quick ways to save.

The section about automotive expenses wasn’t relevant to me, but there was a lot of good information on how to choose insurance, car part, etc. The insurance section also has great information in it. I learned all about different kinds of health and life insurance and what they do, or don’t, cover.

My favorite section was the one about phones and internet. I learned how to really get the most out of a payphone (Remember those?) It brought back memories of using calling cards to call people with when I moved, 1-800-Collect commercials and that annoying AOL dial up noise. The book predicts that people will be able to get their internet through their phone or cable provider and they were spot on. Most companies have a phone/internet/cable bundle now.

If you’d like a few tips on saving and a trip down memory lane, I suggest checking this out if you can find a copy. I gave it 3/5 stars.

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Point of Departure by Emily O’Beirne

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Point of Departure is about five girls (Kit, her two best friends Olivia and Liza, her other friend Mai and Kit’s cousin Tam) who are spending the summer traveling to different countries (Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, England and Thailand) before going to law school together. Unfortunately, Kit has to drop out of the trip when she finds herself in debt and the other girls go without her.

The book is told in third person from the view points of four of the characters. We don’t get to see Mai’s point of view. Along the way, the girls have doubts about going, become closer friends, find love and have some neat experiences. I loved the descriptions of each city and the hotel or hostel that they’re staying in. I could picture each place.

If you like books about friendships, travel, family, and love, I’d recommend this one. This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I wasn’t disappointed.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Review of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

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I was excited when I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways because it had great reviews and I’ve heard good things about it. I really enjoyed most of it. I like Goldberg’s writing style and it flows well.

I like the writing exercises that are in each chapter. I’ve done a couple of them and I plan on doing the rest. I feel like she gives some good tips on how to write and how to manage your time.  That was helpful. I like the timed exercises the most.

It’s neat that the author ties her ideas about writing into her zen beliefs, but some of it didn’t work for me. There were also a few times where it seemed like she was “humble bragging” or where things were just far-fetched. I honestly had to force myself to finish the last few chapter.

I would rate this book a 3.5/5 stars. If you like writing, check it out.