Thursday, December 18, 2008

Living Rich for Less

During my errands earlier today, I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my mom. I love the local pharmacy, everyone there knows me by name and is very friendly. Two of the pharmacists are my uncle and cousin, and the third is the father of one of Doogie's best friends. It's one of those stereotypical small town businesses in every good sense of the word. I got there a little after twelve, which is apparently their rush hour. The place was packed (which means there were about eight people there). Those waiting to be served, were standing to two ragged lines giving plenty of space for privacy to those at the counters. I wasn't in any hurry, so I stood back as well. All of a sudden, an older woman of about 65 walked up the main aisle, brushed past me and the person ahead of me and stood directly in front of the counter waiting for service. Before she came in, everyone was polite, but her disrespect changed how everyone else acted. The previously informal lines suddenly tightened up, and those who had been hanging back from the counter, moved forward to stand directly in front of it trying to make eye contact with one of the attendants. The woman moved back and forth between the lines until she was finally served. No one said a single word about her rudeness, but the quiet calm in the room was gone, and everyone's impatience was suddenly palpable. I wonder how many times I effect an entire room with my attitude and how I treat other people. I think that kindness can be just as catchy as rudeness. As Christians, we're supposed to be light in the world, so while we are getting impatient as Christmas approaches, let's remember to be patient and try to let our joy and love spread instead of our frustration and anger.

Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay is the rare completely enjoyable self-help book. Kay, who is well known for her financial know-how and down to earth ideas, writes like your best friend would talk to you. She shares funny anecdotes and stories about how she has overcome financial trouble, giving solid advice on how you can do it too. Kay bases all of her info on the 10/10/80 system. 10% to charity, 10% savings, and 80% spent wisely. I've read quite a few of these type of books before, and they are often full of unrealistic advice about reusing your coffee filters on one of the of the spectrum and mutual funds and capital gains taxes on the other. Neither one works for me, but Kay's ideas hit home and are absolutely doable. From saving money on college (which we really need to learn about right now) to terrific ideas about donating your time, money, and talents, as well as specific information like using Dawn dish detergent because it has the highest concentration of detergent making you have to use less and therefore saving you money. She tells how to maintain your home to save money as well as how to shop for groceries. There are ideas I will implement this month, and many more I will start in the new year. As soon as I finished reading the book, I passed it to my husband. He started reading it last night, and he thoroughly enjoyed Kay's writing voice as well. It's a self help book with humor, heart, and solid truths.

You can win a copy of this book! I'm giving away three this week; to enter, just drop me an email before 10 pm this evening. I'll announce the winners tomorrow. Good luck!