In the middle of reading The Official Guide to Being a Winnipeg Cheapskate by Jeremy Bradley. Was planning to read it and write a review but I can tell you right now, I won’t make it to the end. Let me save you a few bucks or a trip to the library.
I’ll start positive. The biggest plus is that it doesn’t centre around shopping and consumption. There is a segment on the CBC morning show called “money saving moms” that is all about shopping for the best deals and it totally bugs me. Here’s a tip…. want to save money? Then don’t go shopping for a bunch of cheap crap you don’t need. This book does talk a bit about coupons and online deals, but it’s overall focus is on being frugal by doing things that are fun and cheap / free.
My biggest complaint is that is has nothing to do with Winnipeg, other than the premise that Winnipeggers are cheap. I was really hoping for some home grown tips like places to go and things to do in Winnipeg, not “have a garage sale” or “clean the house.”
There was also some pretty lame advice. Bradley suggests making extra money by getting crafty. Okay, but…
One idea – thanks to a school project from back in the day – is accordion-folding a page and tying it in the middle to make a butterfly. When you are done, set up a table outside and sell your art (p.7).
What?!? I mean, c’mon… this is not a serious suggestion. If it had started “One idea for your kids…” then maybe. Maybe. Though… I might make some money this way because my neighbours would feel sorry for me for being so pathetic and buy my stupid butterflies. And then talk behind my back about how I was totally losing it.
In the chapter on birthdays, he talks about surprise parties and suggests that a surprise guest list is better than a surprise event. I’m still with him at this point. Then he tells a story about bringing in a distant relative, in this case, a long-lost grandson. But wait…. who is paying for this distant relative to get to the party? I guess it’s a cheap surprise for the organizer if the grandson is paying for the flight. Anyway… the whole thing didn’t seem well thought out.
I don’t want to diss the entire book. There are tons of really practical suggestions, like considering whether you can afford to live in the area of town you want and in the big house that you want before you actually buy a house. Being house poor sucks so maybe you’re better off starting lower and working your way up. So yes, excellent advice. There just didn’t seem to be anything mind blowing. Read blogs and read other books. There is already so much great information on being frugal that this book hardly seems necessary.
2 stars out of 5 (and both those stars are because Bradley seems like a really sweet guy).