The Penny Pincher’s Book – a review

I discovered the Penny Pincher’s Book at about the same time as the Tightwad Gazette. I would say it is the UK equivalent. Like the Gazette, it was born from a newsletter, the Penny Pincher Paper.

John and Irma Mustoe are not preaching an austere and joyless existence. Rather they are saying that saving money gives you more choices and more control. ‘Spending money must be a skill at least as important as earning it’ – a great quote and one I agree with.

The Penny Pincher’s Book is full of tips to save money, some to save pounds and others that will make a few pennies difference. Making do, mending, reusing and repurposing in creative ways form the basis of much of the advice.

Getting the best value

There are many suggestions for wringing every last drop of value out of all your purchases. Some may not be worth the effort (reuse the free envelopes in junk mailings by turning them inside out and carefully regluing it is one I wouldn’t bother with -I’d sooner stick a label on top of the address) but others are genius. For example, bicarbonate of soda can be sprinkled on a flannel and wiped under the arms as a deodorant. I know this works as my long lasting Lush one is basically bicarbonate of soda with some essential oils. Dilute shampoo by a third and it will last longer and lather better. Turn down your heating by one degree to save around 8% on your heating bill. Take care of what you have – ‘maintenance works’!

Just because you cannot do all of a job it doesn’t mean you can’t do any of it. This is Mr S’s philosophy for sure. He is currently fitting our new wood burner. He has removed the old fireplace and laid the hearth, fitted a mantle shelf and plans to clean the chimney. Once we have paid a professional to line the chimney he will fit the burner. 

It’s a great book that you can pick up and read a few pages of every now and again to get some inspiration, but you will easily read it through as it’s an interesting and absorbing read. I have the original book from 1995, which you can still pick up secondhand, but I notice that Amazon is selling an updated version, the Penny Pincher’s Book Revisited, published in 2007.

So,/the Penny Pincher’s Book is another classic on my frugal bookshelf. More to follow!

9 thoughts on “The Penny Pincher’s Book – a review

  1. Well done, that man!
    My way of making a ‘saving’ this week, is not to do a big food shop. We only go when we actually need to replenish stocks, and as we don’t need to this week, we won’t be shopping. Worry Waitrose, sorry Lidl, sorry Mr Morrison! I have all kinds of things in the freezer – fish, meat, fresh-but-now-frozen pasts, and good stocks in the larder of tinned beans (haricot, butter, red kidney, cannellini, chick peas, etc) and the chiller in the fridge has just about everything except an iceberg lettuce (who needs them!), there is even a courgette! But of course, it’s not really a saving as once we’ve eaten our way through the stock, we will have to buy more than we would’ve done had we shopped today … there really is no actual saving, we just eat the food we need to eat.
    However, it’s nice to eat one’s way through the contents of the fridge, freezer and larder. Then a big clean out of all three and then a big shop for fresh stock.
    Margaret P

    • I love the Shoestring Cottage blog ad have noticed that you are a regulat respondent so thought I’d take a look at your blog whilst I tucked into a p,ate of cheese and crackers (lunch out today at a friends and as it was a hearty one just wanted a snack this evening). Guess what I was eating…..Little black bomber! It is my favourite.

  2. Thank you for sharing info on this book which I have ordered using some of my Christmas money! A second-hand (or course) copy from Amazon.
    The hearth and woodburner are looking great and it seems like you both remembered Valentine’s Day!

  3. Claim to Fame……….I used to write for the Penny Pincher Paper. My bits were called “From a Suffolk Smallholding”! Never got paid though!
    I have all my copies of the PPP in a box to re read sometime when they are unpacked

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