I’ve read many self-help and personal finance books over the years and the following books are the ones that had a lasting impact on me. I hope these books help and inspire you as much as they’ve helped and inspired me.
I reread The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs every year. Every time I do, it inspires me, motivates me, and reminds me that I’m on the right path. Luhrs’ writing is easy-to-read, down-to-earth, and funny. Her tips are practical, doable and make a lot of sense. She covers all kinds of topics including Time, Work, Food, Housing, Gardening, Travel and more. I especially love reading the real-life profiles of everyday people who have simplified their lives and are now so much happier and healthier than before. Essential reading for anyone who wants to be Super Frug.
Thrifty by Marjorie Harris is a fast read but it’s full of savvy tips on how to live a richly satisfying and stylish life while being frugal. Harris is a great writer (she is currently the gardening columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper) and I find myself writing down many of her sentences to keep in my quotes file. One of my favorites is: “Being thrifty requires a brain; being cheap doesn’t.” Chapters include The Frugal Fashionista, The Frugal Foodie, The Frugal Home, The Thrifty Gardener, and The Thrifty Traveller. Something I admire and trust about Harris’s tips is they are time-tested; these are tenets she’s learned from a lifetime of being frugal and successfully creating a self-sufficient life for herself and her family.
Get Your Assets in Gear! by Jah Dahlin Geiger is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how to make the most of their money. While I wish I had had this book when I started college, it’s actually very helpful for anyone at any age. It’s never too late to become financially fit. Dahlin Geiger clearly lays out clear and simple steps for getting out of debt, staying out of debt, saving money, and retiring as a millionaire.
I read the original version of The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman when I was 26, broke, unemployed, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. It taught me that I am more than my money. It also taught me that money doesn’t flow when your hands are clenched tightly–it flows when your hands are open. The tips in this book helped me understand the emotional and spiritual ways that we approach our money, and it gave me the practical knowledge I needed to make a better, more secure life for myself.
Guess who’s Super Frug? A ton of millionaires, that’s who. Stanley and Danko detail the 7 common denominators that self-made millionaires have in common in their fascinating book, The Millionaire Next Door. What’s great is they also explain how you can apply these rules or lessons to your own life. It’s an eye-opening book that dispels a lot of myths about who millionaires are and how they spend their money. Some might find this book a bit academic but I found the key lessons to be clear, practical, and very inspiring.
Can you imagine getting rid of most of your possessions and then building your own 128 square foot house on wheels? Does this sound crazy? Or does it sound enticing? Either way, you should read You Can Buy Happiness by Tammy Strobel. I found Strobel’s journey to simplify, reduce her consumption, and create a life that she loves absolutely fascinating. Her writing is friendly, straightforward, and honest–she doesn’t hold back from sharing her mistakes, misfortunes, and faulty ways of thinking. Also, her research, factoids, and interviews with all kinds of happy, interesting and independent people make this not only an inspiring book, but one with tons of resources.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson is exactly the kind of smart, stylish, practical, frugal, minimalist, conservation home guide that I’ve been looking for. But I didn’t know I was looking for it until I happened to run across a blurb in Sunset magazine that said that the Johnson family of four only produces one quart of garbage per year. That’s right. One quart. Can you believe it? Want to know how they do it? Then you should read this book. It is chock-full of great tips on how to reduce waste, reduce consumption, save money and still live a fabulous and fun life. If you are looking for practical ways to simplify your life, save money, and reduce waste, this book is for you.