Skip to content

The blow-your-mind-over-notions-of-wealth Multiple Book Giveaway!

2013 June 27
by Rachel Turiel



Dawn, Rosie and I love (and share) the apron!money

I know how the kids feel, all jacked up on stuffing dollars into their money box, mystified that the equation: time + effort = spendable green bills. I’m the same way, slightly dumbfounded and giddy every time I get paid (in actual American currency as opposed to sticky hugs and garden lettuce) for my time and effort.

And still, there’s so much I don’t understand. Like, how I earn more for distributing a magazine than for the articles I write for it (distributing = dropping off a stack of mags at the food co-op while thinking about say, ice cream; writing articles = sitting at my computer sweating out words). Or, how last year every dollar we put into savings came out of savings, and what’s worse, we didn’t even realize this until Dan was losing his job and we needed to figure out how much money do we actually spend? (Apparently more than we think. Now we record everything spent in a ledger with categories like “groceries” or “automobile,” which is tedious but very illuminating. And which brings up conundrums like: does the $20 for birdseed go under “yard projects” or “entertainment?”).

As long as we’re both earning money, neither of us needs to work full time, which is the tremendous blessing of our lives, both in that we’re lucky to have work we enjoy and lucky to have time at home* with our kids and cultivating skills that feel like deposits in our own savings account.

I know we’re super lucky. We bought our house before the housing bubble floated to preposterous heights and then burst, and our mortgage is mercifully low. But as our friend Cody Coyote says, it’s about choices too. We’ve always had roommates to ease our financial burden, even when there were five of us sharing one bathroom (we were in our 20’s, no biggie). Our 10-day honeymoon was spent no more than 100 miles from our house, camping and hot-springing and catching fish and feeling very fancy with our egg-crate mattress in the back of the truck and cooler full of Guinness.

And what may look like sacrifice for some, feels like good fortune for us. We don’t eat out much, but we enjoy the hell out of sitting at the table together with elk burgers, a garden salad and a dollop of root cellar kraut on the side. As we’ve realized the true cost (in work hours) of purchasing and maintaining things, we’ve come to celebrate the many free and abundant gifts of this generous earth.

Books to Change Your Life + Giveaway

I was recently (and thankfully) given the books Saved by Ben Hewitt and The Good Life Lab by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne to review. Both books are essentially about living happily outside of the commodified economy, and  re-examining ones own relationship to money, work and life purpose.


In Saved, How I Quit Worrying About Money and Became The Richest Guy In The World, Ben Hewitt, who writes in the likeable and charming style of erudite redneck, is a great storyteller who moves seamlessly from the political to the personal. Hewitt, in digestible terms, breaks down the history of the American financial system, which is to say he explains how it’s generally (paraphrasing here) a big damn farce built on bendable rules and empty promises.

Hewitt also offers examples of a different, more tangible sense of wealth, like the one his family knows via raising meat- and milk-animals, community interdependency, acquiring practical skills, and an emphasis on paying off debts. He explores forms of exchange between people besides money, like trust, knowledge, skills, accountability and responsibility.

money7Hewitt boys and a family cow.

Many people wouldn’t be able to support a family of four off 35K as Hewitt does (though in my circles, this is not at all preposterous, and Hewitt is forthright in sharing the choices which led to his family becoming debt-free), and many of us don’t have the land, skills or interest to raise animals and gardens. But, I promise you, Saved will make you think and become inspired. You will think about the true cost of taking on debt, and be inspired by the true possibility of living simply and well.


The Good Life Lab – Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living by Wendy Jahanara Tremayne is part memoir, part DIY manual. In 2006 Wendy and her partner Mikey Sklar, leave NYC and their high-paying prestigious jobs, vowing to drop off the hamster wheel of work-earn-spend, leaving little room for living. They sought to consume less and produce more.


Mikey and Wendy

Wendy and Mikey discover that many of life’s expenses can be avoided by, ironically, getting rid of a job (typical job expenses: commute, expensive clothing/uniform/tools, outsourcing care of home/health/life to others due to lack of time, meals eaten out, health costs due to stress, rewards to make up for what’s been given up like: vacations, expensive consumer goods).

Wendy and Mikey move to New Mexico, and buy, for $10,000, a 1-acre RV park. They renovate the existing trailer, and build gardens, papercrete outbuildings and a life based on what can be salvaged, borrowed, foraged and bartered. As one reviewer says, rather than living in isolation from society, they “return to the interconnectedness and social values that have characterized humanity pretty much since there have been humans.” They hold skill-sharing workshops on their land, where someone teaches welding, someone else demonstrates how to make kombucha.

Wendy’s story is a beautiful tale of humility, respect for the earth, dreaming the impossible and making it happen. Her and Mikey are so committed to a decommodified world for everyone, they turn down opportunities to copyright and market their textile repourposing brainchild, “swap-o-rama-rama,” (including a 100K offer for sponsorship. For reals. Gasp.) due to their belief that sharing freely makes us all richer.

Within the DIY section are recipes for toothpaste, yogurt, wine, roasting coffee beans, nut milks, fermented foods and much, much more, as well as credos on “how to start making what you buy” or “abandoning trend,” or “there’s no such thing as a last good idea.”

Neither Ben Hewitt nor Wendy Tremayne suggest that there’s only way to disentangle yourself from the grip of our monetary system, and neither live without need for money. That is not necesarily the goal. The goal is to loosen the grip, to be aware of the steep price of debt and what the must-have vacation really costs once you’re back home, and most radical of all: to seek and celebrate a true happiness, one that can’t be bought or sold

Lucky readers, I am offering a Giveaway for both Saved and The Good Life Lab. Leave a comment below sharing one thing you do to save money or increase happiness, or both, to be entered. Giveaway is for both books, but you may specify in your comment if you’re just interested in one. Winner will be announced July 4th.

Ben Hewitt’s blog: (which is a high-five to my unconventional soul)

Podcast interview with Ben Hewitt

Wendy and Mikey’s blog: Holy Scrap

Wendy and Mikey’s YouTube channel and more here

*and nurturing our marriage, resting, playing in the woods, saving $ by not outsourcing the scrubbing of our own toilet.

 Mint-Lemonade Recipe

Pick and chop 2 cups of mint leaves. Boil 1 1/2 gallons water, throw in leaves, turn off heat. Steep for 30 minutes. Let cool in fridge. Strain mint leaves. Mix 1 part lemon juice (not lemonade, but 100% juice) with 7 parts mint tea. Add 1/2 part sugar/honey to taste. Mix and set up kickass mint lemonade stand on a hot summer day.



76 Responses leave one →
  1. June 27, 2013

    I don’t want to be first to comment, because does the first ever win? These books both sound great! And timely, as we’re preparing to sell all, quit jobs, and road trip across the country!

  2. June 27, 2013

    I am interested in both!

    It’s hard to point to one thing I do that saves money – I suppose I could point to the swaps I organize as one of them. Which also increases my sense of community which in turn increases my happiness. Does that count?

  3. Amanda in Montana permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I would say our biggest money savers are the garden and our chickens! I lost my job last year and we are struggling right now…. This would come at a great time.
    Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  4. June 27, 2013

    Those books look awesome. I am putting them on my list! I work full time, but my husband and I work opposite shifts, so we haven’t had to put our baby in daycare, thankfully. I would really love to work less and am starting to explore our options. The area where we spend the bulk of our income is food and we have really high standards for local/organic/non-GMO so it’s been hard for me to think of how to lower that bill– and lowering it is something we must do if I want to work less. SO, I’ve started making nut milk, and it’s been a wonderful experience! Much tastier than the store bought stuff by far, and cheaper. I also have been making our granola (which my husband eats like crazy) and just cooking more in general, trying to avoid those lunchtime trips to the food co-op!

  5. Elena permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I saw your post about healthcare from Ben Hewitt’s blog and am very much interested in his book. We grow and preserve food to save money, but I would like to do much more!

  6. Sara Parks permalink
    June 27, 2013

    All my clothes come from thrift stores and my boys’ are all hand-me-downs from older cousins. It’s great.

  7. June 27, 2013

    I can do without the books, thank you (though they sound both enlightening), but this issue is so close to my heart that I wanted to comment.
    The best thing we have done, as a family, for our finances and overall robust health was for me to quit working outside the home and for my husband to find a job much closer to home (3 miles via beater car or bike – versus 25 miles of freeway commute). We have more time together and we are both much, much more relaxed. He comes home for lunch on crazy busy days and waters the garden for therapy. I am not sleep-deprived from shift work (just from raising kids and late night reading habits, a whole different ball of wax) and I’m managing the tantrums of people whom I love and for whom it is developmentally appropriate, versus the tantrums of 40 year old surgeons with no social skills.
    From the outside it may look like our belts are tight. We swap, barter, repurpose, do without, and sure we dream, splurge, make mistakes, and wonder about the budgetary categorization of birdseed – but we are, for the most part, a wildly happy bunch of scrappy dressers. The biggest shift these changes gave us was the capacity to bring more meaning into our daily lives, less static. I totally get the rhapsody of elk burgers in the backyard.

  8. June 27, 2013

    Well, now that I think about it, my family is not that clever in saving money… other than the garden and bartering services. I need more hands-on skills I think. Thus, the “The Good Life Lab” would be super helpful!

    I will say though, that when presented with a choice to make money or not make money, we always ask ourselves “will it increase health or just wealth?” If the answer is the later, we pass on that opportunity. We live for health, in the broadest sense of the word, and realize that most methods of accumulating wealth or money are in great conflict with health. So, making less money and retaining the time to care about and experience life, is one of the best ways to become rich… rich with health and happiness. I love the quote by Arne Naess; “simple in means, rich in ends.”

  9. DEE permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Both these books sound great. On less than 25K SS income we live better than many in the 9-5 madhouse. Been practicing all the frugal ideas that many folks are just discovering. Last 45 years we’ve homesteaded,raised a huge garden,tended lg. orchard, milked a cow, tended chickens and we are well contented with our country life.

  10. Julie permalink
    June 27, 2013

    With a baby on the way and trying to determine how to cut back my work hours and still stay financially afloat, I’d love to read some different perspectives on the subject. Ben’s blog is one of my favorites to read and I actually have my name on the waiting list at the library to get Saved. I’m not familiar with Wendy and Mikey’s book, but would love to read it. Thanks for the give away and the mint lemonade recipe!

  11. Rachel W. permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I use the close line instead of the dryer in good weather to save money, but it also becomes a sort of calming activity. I don’t know if the chickens save us any money, but they do add enjoyment. I have “Saved” on order from the library already, but I think there about 23 others in line ahead of me for it.

  12. Sara permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We have making shifts over the past couple of years to save money and to live more simple, happier lives. First was gardening almost our entire city lot (inspired by your pictures!) and getting chickens and bees. Now we are putting our city house on the market and looking for some acreage in the country where we can be closer to nature and hopefully make a living doing what we love! Thanks for the giveaway! The books look great!

  13. Denise permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We call camping and staying with friends and relatives a vacation. Both books sound lovely!

  14. June 27, 2013

    Ben Hewitt is all over my Feedly right now, and it seems like it’s with very good reason. As we start trying for child #2, and I contemplate not working my 9-5 job, I find myself wanting to explore more deeply this other way of life.

  15. Jonni permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Wow, both of these books sound great. I have been slowly leaving the crazy life behind. I have been making my own household products, and personal hygien products for over a year now, and love it. I will gladly take both of these books off your hands….;)

  16. Erin permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Your recommendations are always, ALWAYS, top notch. I welcome them all!

  17. June 27, 2013

    These books sound fantastic! One of our money saving things is to eat out very little. We spend on quality (local when possible) ingredients and buy beer and wine buy the case ( extra discount) and live well – at home. Living in the city with so many tempting eateries is tempting, but what we save every month is better.

  18. June 27, 2013

    These look awesome! Totally adding these to my wish list :)

  19. Denise permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I would be more interested in The Good Life; it sounds fascinating! I, too, track expenses in a ledger with specific spending categories. I have done this for 5 years, and it’s great for accountability, but I also like to compare to past years. Some expenses stay about the same, but I have definitely noticed an increase in health care related expenses and groceries. I also use my ledger to present challenges to myself based on past totals.
    Btw, it’s supposed to be 104 degrees today (Texas); I would gladly buy some organic lemonade from a stand!

  20. Cindy permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We are deep in the rat race, I would love to read Wendy’s book. ;-)

  21. June 27, 2013

    for whatever reason, this post has got me all teared up and before i tell you how much i’d love to have those books, i also want to tell YOU that YOU are also one of the inspiring ones, teaching by example of how just good life can be, simply. super grateful for this little internet homestead of yours.

    so although it might fall into the category of hinder, rather than help, both jeff and i have eschewed high paying jobs (with their time commitment) so that we can spend a majority of time with our kids. this leads to trying to save money in a million other ways (making our own medicine, kombucha…you know me) and while it also means that we are still living in a greatly subpar housing situation with little mobility, we are both too acutely aware that THIS IS IT. and our littles are only little once. and some day i think we’ll look back on this as one of the richest times in our lives. xoxo

  22. Jessica G. permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I started growing my own fruits and veggies and canning and freezing. I love everything about it, eating food grown on our own soil throughout the year, giving homemade jams and canned items for gifts. And I love sharing the whole experience with my daughter.
    Also, I keep track of every purchase, not in a fancy schamncy way, but on a piece of paper. That way I can make sure I’m not exceeding the monthly budget. Everything is there, no surprises.

  23. Andrea permalink
    June 27, 2013

    ah, these books look awesome! you know i’d love them.

    i find that when i try to save money, it just doesnt happen. but if i make better choices, for the earth or health or simplicity… its often cheeper, if not free.

  24. dale_in_denver permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Living in the metro area, my kids are full of “needs.” They need new name-branded sneakers, they need new UnderArmor t-shirts. They need to keep up with the Joneses. Having some financial cushion that allows us to impulse buy things, we certainly do not set the best examples for our 3 sons. Shame on my husband and me.

    But we do try. Our CSA went bankrupt last year, so we are tending garden and raising chickens ourselves this year (which from a purely financial standpoint, is imprudent – but it is the life lessons on animal husbandry, the circle of life, the miracle of new life from seed, self-sufficiency that we are after here). I canned a lot last year with canning shares from the CSA. I plan to do it again this year, but will have to hit the farmers markets for my produce. I started making yogurt – how easy and delicious is that? I think it was a post of yours here that got me started on that. I’ve always been pretty good about preparing meals from whole foods, but now with a celiac diagnosis for my youngest, it is even more important. We can afford to buy a can of organic black beans whenever we want. But I don’t VALUE that purchase because I know how inexpensive and easy it is to make them at home. My oldest needed some new t-shirts (needed, because he had outgrown most of his), and he said Macy’s had some reasonably priced tshirts. Macy’s? I have no idea where that came from – *I* don’t even shop at Macy’s, TJMaxx is my speed. I asked him what he thought was reasonable – $15. *I* don’t even spend $15 on t-shirts. I took him to Saver’s, much to his chagrin. But, he found 5 t-shirts that he thought were kickass and all of them together cost us less than $15. I think he gets it – or is starting to, at least. And the library. Oh, how I love our library. I love our library so much that if I win, once I’ve finished reading a book, I will promptly donate it.

    Thank you for posting this – the give-away, but more importantly the more important stuff about living.

  25. rose permalink
    June 27, 2013

    The timing of this gives me chills. This is a subject being discussed at great length around here lately.

    Me staying home with the kids contributes to our happiness and making our own cleaning and personal care products saves us money. There’s a lot more we could be doing. I’m feeling grateful for the inspiration today. Thank you:)

  26. Lynn Ewing permalink
    June 27, 2013

    These books sound great! I can always use new inspiration to stay centered on what really matters.

  27. June 27, 2013

    I considered taking a job this fall, and though there were very tempting things about it, I was happy to see that my recovery from capitalism is well enough under way that it only took a few days to say no way. I’d rather volunteer (and will) towards that cause than have to answer to someone else’s clock. But it was interesting to notice that my era as the frugal extreme eco housewife might come to a natural end, and to accept that that would be okay, so long as my soul is happy. Anyways, my biggest secret for not spending money is simply not earning money. I have GOT to read the new mexico trailer park book.

  28. Nancy permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Love reading your, chapter by chapter, love your writing style, love watching the kids grow, the garden grow, the elk and deer antlers, the process of digging a root cellar, homeschooling, hunting, elk burgers…keep up the fantastic work!
    Meanwhile, we are older, retired so not working. We have a huge garden and grow all the veggies we eat. We hunt and elk is our red meat. We rarely buy clothes…my husband has a coat from high school…still fits! I process and freeze all the extra veggies. We have a large freezer and its full of meals, veggies…. I pick boxes of apples in the fall and freeze some and also make dried apples. (The never last very long!) I make all the bread we eat.
    Both books sound interesting.

  29. Beth Drechsel permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We have lived in many different communities throughout our marriage, and I have learned that one of the best ways to save money is to quickly get to know the neighbors. We have swapped tools and equipment back and forth, benefitted from each other’s various skills and talents, received hand-me-down clothing, enjoyed each other’s garden produce, picked and canned backyard fruit, cut each other’s hair, babysat for each other’s kids, shared meals . . . the list goes on and on. And best of all? We’ve made life-long friends in every neighborhood.

  30. Claire Ninde permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Great post again. Although I know this is a given, it is a challenge for some reason, for hubby Gordon to follow. Bring lunch everyday instead of buying lunch! Like I said, obvious. I LOVE leftovers for lunch (eating some now as I type) but for whatever reason, Gordon resists.

    Anyhooo,…one of my most favorite kid books ever pertaining to this subject, is Byrd Baylor’s, The Table Where Rich People Sit. I can just see your family reading this together and so getting it.


  31. June 27, 2013

    ah, they both look pretty good to me… i’ve just gotten back from the library and sometimes that is as close as i get to feeling community connected… meah.. AND, excitement of excitement… the hollyhock seeds i planted last year have come up THIS year and i do believe the bloom will be pink… very excited. thank you thank you… a year late but, nonetheless… :)

  32. Dawn permalink
    June 27, 2013

    latest effort to save money is to not water the lawn this summer, accept dead grass, and use the extra money for something more important!

  33. Meagan permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Hearing about the folks that wrote these books leaves me feeling wistful. In an effort to save, we grow our own, raise much of our meat, and just plain do without. Still, we find ways to spend what we save (mostly going to bills!) and find ourselves in the same old cycle- although our life is good now that we garden and farm. It’s just that I feel tethered to spend/save cycles, debt, and all the tension and stress it brings. I think I need a new perspective.

  34. Kristin permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We are currently focused on save save save so we can live live live sooner rather than later. I’m proud of how we’ve done but 12 years focused on a career has left me feeling tired and desiring something more meaningful out of life.

  35. Lindsey permalink
    June 27, 2013

    I was certain more people would have the same answer as me: riding my bike instead of driving alone. It definitely saves me money and gets me some exercise too which ultimately brings me happiness.

    PS Loved the clucky post! My girls will be 16 weeks (16!) on Saturday and are happy, endlessly entertaining (for us and the pooch) and a wonderful addition to our urban homestead.

  36. June 27, 2013

    Is this open to Canadians? We save money by adding all of my husband’s tips (he works in golf) to a big jar every summer. It adds up to quite a bit of money that we would have otherwise spent on stupid stuff, like coffee! :)

  37. katharine permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Would love to read both books…and then pass them along. I have been noticing quite a few books about money recently. Funny how things pop up. I’ve kept aware of my belief “money is bad” and it really has faded into money is useful and the question “how do I spend my money?”. The second book sounds like a great narrative. My family finds simple pleasures and we do a lot of things ourselves. I love the idea of skill sharing parties. We sometimes feel like taking on difficult projects is going out of style- we need more community work stuff.

  38. Lindsay permalink
    June 27, 2013

    We hunt and then butcher the elk ourselves.

  39. Sara permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Both books look interesting!

    How do we save? We get lots of handme downs for the kids (and some for us grown ups too—we also tend to wear our clothes until they are only fit for the rag bag). We have a big garden in the summer. We don’t eat out much and waste very few leftovers. I freelance and flex my schedule around my husband’s so we don’t have outside childcare costs and get to spend more time with our kids.

    When you say that neither of you has to work full if you’re both earning money, I’m curious about health insurance. That was our largest single expense until my husband got a job with health insurance.

  40. June 27, 2013

    The garden saves a ton of $. We eat really well and I’m surprised at how little we spend at the grocery store.

  41. Carly permalink
    June 27, 2013

    Discovering the need to avoid all processed foods and dairy has necessitated dietary changes that have shrunk our grocery bill a lot. We bake our own bread, make our own nut milks (and nut yogurt and nut ice cream). We never eat out. Other ways we save include trading babysitting with another family, using the library instead of the bookstore, and buying our clothes second hand. If only I could figure out how to pay off our sizable student loans before we’re 100 years old…

    As always, thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  42. June 27, 2013

    Ekkk! The apron looks so super cute on her! How fun!
    We do lots of things to save and had been debt free for years before this move to NM. We will get there again!
    We don’t eat out much, we hike for exercise and entertainment (your honeymoon sounds perfect), we camp for vacations, use the library a ton, and shop for clothes at the thrift shop. My guy takes leftovers for lunch (even when it means easing something cold that should be hot because he works out in the field away from the office), we also don’t buy bottled water for $6-$11 a gal (not to mention the plastic waste), and on and on. So many things… But there is always room for improvement.
    These books look great. I think I saw Saved at Maria’s bookshop in town there.
    Oh. And the lemonade stand. Awesome! Yay for them!

  43. Tricia in VA permalink
    June 28, 2013

    All of our baby items (toys, clothing, crib, changing table, etc) are hand me downs from friends and family, which has saved us a lot of cash. The few “new” items we have were gifts, such as our jogging stroller. We grow a lot of our own food and can & freeze. We are also trying to down size a little and selling items we no longer use or want. Books, however, are my biggest weakness! Bring on the books! :)

  44. June 28, 2013

    good morning! On May 1st 2013 my little family of 4 started on a challenge of not spending on unessentials/bring anything new into our house for 1 year. We are now just finishing up month 2 and I have to admit that while we are sticking true to our guidelines I could use a little motivation. I would love to receive a copy of The Good Life Lab. I would be sure to pass it along after I am finished with it. Thank you so much for offering these giveaways.

  45. Cassie C. permalink
    June 28, 2013

    Raise chickens and meat cows, shop thrift stores, garden, bus to work as often as possible, rarely eat out- some of the things we do to save money. I would love these books, please, please, please!

  46. Denise permalink
    June 28, 2013

    My family of 4 lives in the major hustle & bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area & folks around us find it unbelieveable that we have no TV or Internet. We started when we bought our house as a way to save but it has “paid” us richly in time spent together in our community, and as a family! In addition it has allowed us to really nurture our marriage. It is amazing how something that seemed so small or others think we are crazy for has truly allowed us to live more freely- I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  47. Linden permalink
    June 28, 2013

    Inspiring blog! We do our best, we love fresh air drying of clothes in the summer ( though we hang dry all year… often on makshift twine clothes lines strug up in our living room), farmers markets for fresh food, and interaction with farmers rather than long lines and money spent in supermarkets. I love librarys and waiting for that season on DVD rather than buying or spending money on cable tv.

  48. June 28, 2013

    We’ve done a lot to cut back on our spending over the years, but it still sometimes gets to us. Our biggest money-saver would probably be thrifting. I buy lots of books and it helps that I get them at thrift stores and rummage and yard sales. (It’d probably help more, and make my spouse happier, though, if I just didn’t buy so many books.)

    And thanks for the giveaway.

  49. June 28, 2013

    yesterday quinn and i stayed home. that saved a bunch of money in itself, but then i made soup, bread, and peanut butter cookies with what i already had on the shelves, which i’ve been lazy about lately. it felt good to bake a bunch of stuff from scratch and know i was feeding my family for so little money. i like that motto of consume less, produce more. these books sound awesome!!!

  50. June 28, 2013

    Hmmm, very interesting. Whenever I try to do the complex calculus of what we could or could not do without if someone (me) where to quit their job, I always get flummoxed by the health insurance paradox–according to legend, it is prohibitively expensive on the open market, and that once you don’t have it, you will be guaranteed to come down with some rare, incurable, and very-expensive-to-treat disease–and so keep on working for those two little plastic cards that make the one or two doctors visits per kid per year totally free, for a mere cost of my life and soul.

    Anyway, what I do to save money is dress my kids in 99% hand-me-downs. I find a touch of deprivation makes them extra-grateful whenever a garbage bag of old clothes shows up at our house.

  51. June 28, 2013

    What a duo of books! How lovely to have this kind of inspiration at hand. I love to start re-thinking money instead of just thinking about it all the time!

  52. Leah G permalink
    June 28, 2013

    Sounds like a page taken from my families book. When we discovered how the monetary system really worked…well.. we walked away from everything. We had a very large and successful business, fancy cars, big mortgage. Screw it. We gave each thing back and headed to the mtns. We built our home ourselves from the ground up with the cash we had saved. We have old cars. We grow all our own food from milk, meat, produce. I make our soaps and other goods. Baby #3 is on the way. We’ve lived pretty happily on $24k a year but luckily my Hubby is working and adding a little frosting to the cake lately. It can be done and it feels GREAT! we appreciate things so much more. I dont rush to buy gadgets because I want them. I really ponder them forever and figure a way to get them cheaper. Barter is key! We dont have tv or cell phones but we have very nourished bellies!

  53. Chelsie permalink
    June 28, 2013

    I don’t comment often here, but I those books sound amazing and I do enjoy your blog immensely!
    I was so surprised the other day to see/find out from your pics about the homestead’s anniversary that you are in an actual neighborhood…I had no idea!! You’ve all done amazing work!!
    I love making my own stuff whether it’s candles or tooth powder; dish cloths or curtains! Anything I use all the time I think about whether or not I could make it myself & often do!

  54. June 28, 2013

    Dang, I don’t know which book sounds bester (I meant to say that), so I guess I better read both. I gave up TV, I didn’t have cable anyway, but now I don’t see the crap that passes for entertainment and I don’t see the ads promising me my life will be better if I only buy X…ha, my life is the best when I’m outside, enjoying what life has to offer me.

  55. Crystal permalink
    June 28, 2013

    I would love to read those books! To answer the “how much money do we spend?” and “on what?” questions, I swear by YNAB – You Need A Budget. I’ve been using it for years, and it has really helped me figure out what I spend money on, and helped me reprioritize what I spend the money that I have on. It is software that you must -ahem- buy, but they have free classes on how to use it, and a very helpful community of users. It isn’t a very hard system to learn. Their website is

    I swear I don’t work for YNAB. I just really like what they do.

  56. June 29, 2013

    So it sounds like others may need the books more than me..I’ve got the frugal thing figured out. Single mama doing super well making 205 bucks a week. I don’t keep cash in my wallet which eliminates needless, petty purchases that add up quick. I also don’t use anything disposable (including toilet paper, we have soft pretty flannel to wipe our bums, again and again), never eat out, and i make anything I possibly can myself. If I can’t make it we just do without.

    Currently am in the process of transitioning to working at home making childrens toys (wooden puzzles, finger puppets, lacing beads, and more) and herbal salves and tinctures (and some pretty family wipes if you’re interested ;))

  57. June 29, 2013

    We make our own baby food! Even when its difficult like pea pods, we make it work! I love reading your blog it is wonderful inspiration.

  58. Allison permalink
    June 29, 2013

    Learning to discern between what I want and what I actually need to live a healthy and wholesome life has been a huge boon to saving money (which undoubtedly increases happiness!) and becoming more focused on the important, non-material things that make my life what I want it to be. I’m blessed to be at a great university studying exactly what I want and working in a beautiful greenhouse tending delicious herbs and greens, and that is enough to make my happiness complete!

  59. June 29, 2013

    Excellent recommendations! We do a lot ourselves, always have. My issue is, am I trying to do *too much* myself? Today I was completely frazzled. I wasn’t giving the kids the attention they needed because of THE LIST, the list in the back of my head (mulch asparagus, figure out what’s *wrong* with the asparagus, plant the raspberries before they die in those little black pots, pull up the spinach and plant collards, clean the bathrooms for the first time in 4? months, fold 3 loads of clothes and 1 load of diapers, do the dishes, return calls, sort through the 2-week stack of mail…). We grow and preserve our own veggies, hunt our meat, pick our berries, make our own cleaning products, do all of our own home-improvement type projects (the latest: building the chicken coop and tractor to house our 10 new layers and 10 new meat chickens), I sew and knit and most other clothes are hand-me-downs, we buy used, maintain our own vehicles, camp and hunt and gather for “vacation”. I don’t resent any of those things. I love it all. But! I only have time for a fraction of it. I pushed through today via coffee and chocolate. Without those two things, I think I would have fallen flat on my face. Oddly, coffee and chocolate are two things I will never be able to grow myself.

  60. Krystal Scarborough permalink
    June 30, 2013

    We buy in bulk. Whenever possible.
    My husband and I also ride our motorcycle alot. It gets great gas milage.
    I also make my own yogurt, butter, and kombucha.

  61. Christine D. permalink
    July 1, 2013

    Both books sound amazing and so timely for me!!! My husband and I just finished talking about budgets and finances and managing the family – I would love to be better about living more simply and enjoying the freedom that would allow! We grow our own garden every summer for our own veggies. We are for the first time ever raising our own grass fed cow on our small little farm. We also have chickens for our own eggs. While we do great with food, we are not good in other areas of our life and I would really like to start cutting down on technology, cable, etc. There is so much we can learn and these books would be inspirational!!

  62. Danielle permalink
    July 1, 2013

    These two books sound great, thank you for having this giveaway!
    I’m a big fan of our local Value Village and Goodwill stores for a lot of our clothing. Especially for the kids, where things don’t last long anyway! Reduce, re-use, recycle and save money.

  63. July 2, 2013

    I do a lot of things others do—garden, chickens, hand me downs, library, clothesline. I’ve also started sewing things for us and the home. I made a skirt for myself, curtains, and a 4th of July banner similar to a $$ one I saw on Plow and Hearth. We also pack a lot of picnic lunches and head to the mountain for a cheap day of fun, and I was most dishes by hand instead of using the behemoth dishwasher. Another way I saved money was by working at a greenhouse and getting things at a very discounted rate, although I ended up spending most of my paycheck there :/
    The books sound great, I will look them up if I don’t win the prize, thank you!

  64. July 2, 2013

    Just harvest a basket full of tomatoes. I grow herbs and veggies and even have a dairy goat now for fresh goat milk. I have made goat milk ice cream, soft cheese and homemade yogurt. Not working and finding all sorts of ways to live comfortably and soooooo happy!! Would love to read these books then pass on.

  65. Liz permalink
    July 2, 2013

    They both sound really interesting! We save a ton of money but not buying any clothes for our babe…our generous neighbors let us use their clothes as our son falls between their two.

  66. LISA H permalink
    July 2, 2013

    Would love to read these! I have a regular corporate job, but my passion and sideline which my husband is working on very hard is a natural handmade body product line we sell at festivals and online. I am a thrift addict, and have not only earned money re selling items on line, but can clothe us very reasonably. We make as much as we can from scratch, but have been remiss with a garden, and food producting animals on our 2 acres, we are committed to changing this and untilizing it to its full potential. What a great article.

  67. July 2, 2013

    What great books! I’ll be checking them out at the library for sure. My family gardens and also camps. We recently planted a few plum trees to go alongside our apple and cherry trees. I love to knit and craft (both to beautify my home and for mental stress relief). :)

  68. Emily permalink
    July 2, 2013

    The last few years I have tried to dry our clothes on the line from spring to fall. This year has been a struggle with all of the rain we have been getting. We by a farm share and since I am the last to pick up the box at our site I take all of the extras and freeze, can, or ferment all of them. I make food from scratch and we don’t eat out often. Even though we have little money I get to stay home and homeschool my children and be with them everyday. I don’t feel like I am sacrificing at all :)

  69. July 3, 2013

    I’m definitely always trying to save money, even when we don’t necessarily “need” extra. Why spend it if we don’t have to?! I walk a lot of places, opting to not drive our car if not necessary, we only buy our little guy’s clothing used, and I make a lot of his toys. Homemade play dough, toys out of every day objects. I love saving money!

  70. July 3, 2013

    I’m currently struggling with the idea that we “need” to put our kids in childcare, especially during the summer, so that we can work. I do need time to write and work for clients, and also time away from the children, but do I need five full days in July and August? Good question.

    As for ways to save money: library of instead of bookstore, one car and we cycle as much as possible, the garden, looking at the row of washed-out plastic bags in the dishpan, programmable thermostats and unplugging, going shopping in our closets and in the house – there’s so much stuff we already have that we don’t necessarily use, rethinking gift-giving, babysitting exchanges, bringing lunches/coffee/tea/snacks. My goal this summer is to replace our clothes line, which we lost when we replaced a window a couple of years ago.


  71. Heather S permalink
    July 3, 2013

    Oh I so hope I win; both books look fabulous! Hands down fabulous. To save money what works for me is pulling money out when I’m paid, in $100 increments, and putting it into a savings account. And in the happiness department I do really well :) I’m by nature a very happy optimistic person so I feel very fortunate, but I do things on a daily basis to cultivate that happiness even more; reading, playing board games with friends and my kiddos, going to the beach, riding my bike, having neighborhood bbq’s, etc :)

  72. July 3, 2013

    We tell ourselves we’re saving money by having cloth wipes (“family cloth”?) for pee and only using TP for the other business (sorry for the TMI). We’ve never actually calculated it out though. Oh wait, I just thought of another one! I haven’t bought tampons in five years since I started using a diva cup and that surely adds up to a few hundred dollars of savings.

  73. Sarah Z permalink
    July 3, 2013

    We do many of the above mentioned things to save money, and avoid being weighed down by stuff and debt. My husband is building his carpentry business, while I stay home with our two little ones (11mo and 2.5yrs). We garden, use hand-me-down, rarely buy new clothing, use the library, go on camping vacations, cook from scratch, rarely eat out, avoid unnecessary and frivolous purchases, and all that good stuff. But still, it seems the money goes flying out the door! Our health insurance expenses add up to close to what our mortgage is – that is messed up! But I cannot imagine going without health insurance, as I have seen too many forced into financial ruin by medical problems. I think about going back to work, just so I can get health insurance benefits. Sad, but true.

    I would love to read the books and get some more inspiration. Thank you for all that you do Rachel!

  74. September 26, 2014


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. DIY Kitchen: cilantro-mint dip | 6512 and growing
  2. Giveaway winner plus more! | 6512 and growing

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: