[Front Cover of 397 Ways To Save Money]

We are already familiar with Kerry Taylor’s work. We know her the creative and talented writer and photographer behind Squawkfox.com. She has now hit the big leagues with her new book, which has already garnered rave reviews and briefly made it to the Amazon.ca best seller list.

The book’s title says it all: it features an impressively long collection of tips to save money. Just pick a topic such as “Home Maintenance” and dive straight in for ideas on saving some cash. Kerry shows not only how to save money but also how much savings each tip can potentially generate. It is a timely addition to the genre, especially at a time when North Americans are turning their backs on their spend thrift ways.

The paperback book, published by Harper Collins Canada, is priced frugally at $14.99 but is available even cheaper at online bookstores. An excerpt is available on the Squawkfox website.

Other reviews
Four Pillars said it is “a great reference” and “a really good book”.
Jon Chevreau called it “The Guerrilla Frugality Bible”.
Million Dollar Journey thought the book contained “ideas that anyone can easily use to keep more cash in their pockets”.
Preet reviewed the book favourably and linked to other reviews.
Larry MacDonald chimed in with a 398th way to save money.

This article has 12 comments

  1. I enjoyed this book. I don’t usually keep review books but it’s worth it for the reference material.

  2. Seems more like an ad than a review. 😉

    I hope she does well with the book, but IMO this genre of books lacks value because they tend to state the obvious. I haven’t read it yet, so I could be wrong and there could be several ingenious tips, but those that were mentioned in Chevreau’s review (i.e. use a programmable thermostat, ride a bike, insulate your house, etc.) weren’t revolutionary.

    Another example is the ’75 Ways to Save Gas’ book that you linked to in the Friday blog roundup. Examples: walking is a way to save gas. You burn gas in drive thrus.

    I keep expecting to see tips along the lines of “avoiding putting all of your money in a big pile, pouring gasoline on it and then lighting it on fire is a great way to save money.” This isn’t a criticism of the blogs – only of the genre. They may be good primers for people who are financially reckless, but are they likely to buy this kind of book?

  3. Canadian Capitalist

    @Al: It is true that many, if not most, readers will find a lot of frugal tips rather obvious. But there does exist a segment of the population who are oblivious of how wasteful they are. And when money is tight they will start to look for ways to save money and hopefully will turn to books like these. At least, that’s the hope…

  4. “avoiding putting all of your money in a big pile, pouring gasoline on it and then lighting it on fire is a great way to save money.”

    It’s a great way to save gas, too.

  5. CC, sorry to be harsh since I generally tremendously enjoy your blog. But is your enthusiasm getting in the way of your objectivity? I’ve read (since it was mentioned by you) the excerpt the author offers, and am not impressed. While perhaps there are readers who would benefit from the advice, I can’t imagine it would be readers of this blog. In particular the “how much would you save” part you highlight in your post is quite primitive.

    2 examples:
    a) Suggestion to not buy brand names. Most of us would agree this is frugal. However stating that this can save 10-50% and therefore “$37.50 cash in the bank on a $75 purchase” is only marginally helpful.
    b) Suggestion to use loyalty points instead of cash, with a bottom line of “Buying products and services with loyalty
    program points can save you from spending your real dollars.
    Just be sure to use your points before they expire” is just not insightful, it’s self evident. Maybe coupled with a discussion of how the value of loyalty points varies widely, that loyalty points spent on certain merchandise can seem like poor value at first glance compared to saving up for e.g. a big trip, but due to flight availability, point inflation and chance of expiry it might be worth it – that might be insightful, but as stated it is not.

    Now I may be wrong and perhaps the excerpt is just poorly chosen. I’ve cherry picked to examples to prove my point. However, in the whole excerpt I did not see anything which would be more meaningful or less self-obvious. To me this seems like yet another example of a book jumping on the frugality bandwagon, but having little to offer.

  6. I like Houska’s reply, and I very much agree with the examples that Houska gave. I don’t think this is very objective and it really does seem like it’s just advertising. Has anyone actually read the book? Does it have anything to offer?

  7. I actually read the whole book and thought it was worthwhile. If you check out my review (link is in the article) then you can see some of the tips which I really liked and learned something from.

    I agree the tips from the excerpt are not earth-shattering. I guess the excerpt was to show the style of the book?

  8. Canadian Capitalist

    @Houska: Ouch but thanks for your comments. I did find a few tips that were personally useful for me, so I got value out of reading the book. I’ll cite one example: Remove dirt and debris from air conditioner coolant coils. I’ve never done this and come to think of it, I am tardy about cleaning the refrigerator coils too. Perhaps it is obvious but I’m not in the habit of doing this regularly.

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