MORE FOR YOUR MONEY by Mary Bowen Hall
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An eye-opening excursion into spending styles and what they cost you. Hall's examples are not necessarily drawn from major disasters like bankruptcy: she has a good feel for the buried dream that never surfaces because we're too busy buying things we don't really want--either to keep up with the Joneses, or to please a so-pleasant salesman, or because we're tired and our feet hurt and we want to go home. Here and there she makes a pitch for frugality--cleaning the oven with ten cents worth of ammonia instead of those expensive aerosol cleaners, braiding rugs instead of buying expensive do-it-yourself kits; but Hall notes that you may even spend more money after you put her theories into practice: you'll simply get more enjoyment from it. One of her pet insights is that we've been conditioned to buy products or things rather than services, while the rich use their discretionary income to purchase services that allow for the maximum enjoyment of leisure. In one of several worksheets designed to help us set priorities, we're asked to divide our spending wishes into four categories: security (e.g., saving for retirement); caring for others (charities, etc.); buyables; and leisure activities. Then we evaluate how deeply we really want these things (the phrase ""I ought"" to do such-and-such is a sure sign of a programmed need, not a genuine individual choice). Related topics are touched on--ways we can be on the brink of financial disaster without even realizing it, how major events like weddings and funerals can needlessly empty the pocketbook--but the insights that challenge our everyday spending assumptions are the heart of the book. When mom asks dad to take the kids and go for fast food so that she can get some work done (without having to prepare dinner and do the dishes), is this trip really the necessary godsend it seems? Or, is it a way to avoid asking for help with ""her"" chores (a much less expensive proposition)? Some intelligent thought on a perennial problem--with tips to ease it permanently.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin