The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Low Cost Living. Live better, spend less by John Harrison: a review


Photo: Low Cost Living

Photo: Low Cost Living

I was really shocked when a middle aged woman declared on the radio last week that people should not make money writing books on low cost living.
“Why on earth not?” I thought.
I’d just finished John Harrison’s excellent book Low Cost Living. The book is filled with good advice and introduced me to lots of new ideas. A thoroughly sound investment.

The subtitle of the book “Live better, spend less” is something of a mantra here at the cottage. We have been trying to do this for the past seven years and I wish I’d had a book like this when we started out – the journey would certainly have been a lot less bumpy.

Saving money needn’t mean a life without fun or hope. Rather it means squeezing the most of the money and resources that you have and not wasting either of these. In a world where our natural resources are diminishing and our population is spiralling up we may in the future all be forced to become more self reliant and make do with less. Unemployment is now a harsh reality for millions. Why did schools drop the practical classes in cooking, woodwork and life skills? They would be so useful now.

Low Cost Living is the perfect book for anyone who needs or wishes to save cash. John Harrison has lived like this all his adult life, so the book is packed with genuine tips that he has gleaned from his own experience. He is not a mealy mouthed skin flint. He clearly lives a happy and well rounded life.

He covers ways to beat the supermarket at their own game, cut energy bills, grow your own food and turn your hobbies into cash. He shows the reader how to brew beer and make wine. He gives practical advice on keeping chickens and bees, bread making, simple delicious home cooking and preserving. He uncovers the traps that the unsuspecting might fall into. This book pinpoints ways of recycling sensibly and being resourceful – the glories of the charity shop bargains, foraging in parks and the joy of skips, to name but a few.

Low Cost Living is an enjoyable and inspirational read and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in living more of a sustainable lifestyle.
The final sentence of the book reflects the overall tone.
“Finally, keep in mind that true wealth is happiness. Money is useful, but happiness is priceless. Spend less and be happy.”
John Harrison’s happiness radiates off every page.

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  1. I’ve just managed to get this book for £1.78 on Amazon with free one day delivery – bargain! At least I hope it will be, can’t know until I start to read it, though the reviews look good.

  2. I quite often swap books using second class post through Saves money and as you always send a book to receive one it saves buying more bookcases! Worth a look.

  3. Cottagegardenfarmer

    I heard that broadcast too Fiona, seemed like a bit of a dual standard to me,- she seemd to be criticising someone for making money from a “frugality” book, and yet here she was making money from talking about someone writing a frugality book…if you see what I mean.

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