Solo Lisa Reads: Savvy Chic by Anna Johnson

Now that I have a mortgage to pay, I could do with more money-saving tips. With this in mind, I found myself buying a copy of Savvy Chic: The Art of More for Less by Anna Johnson. Those who expect a humdrum treatise on budgeting are in for a treat. Johnson not only writes beautifully, her book is a blend of whimsical illustrations, meditative essays, and practical advice that would make even the most spendthrift among us excited about frugality.

Author Anna Johnson (source)

Johnson freely admits that she's the last person to tell others how to manage their finances. "This is not an account of saving, hoarding, sheltering, or even particularly respecting money. I am not a tea bag squeezer," she declares in the preface. Instead, her attitude toward money is one of "libertine thrift": You work hard for your money, so your money should yield as much pleasure and utility as possible for you. She draws on a lifetime of near-penniless experiences (first as the child of carefree bohemians, later as a struggling freelance writer), artfully offering guidance on how to lead a stylish yet inexpensive existence. Among the topics discussed are:

  • Looking stylish on a shoestring
  • Penniless pleasures to occupy you when you are bored and broke
  • How to keep spirits high when funds are low
  • Eating, traveling, and entertaining in style and on budget

Savvy Chic is not merely a manual on how to save money, it's a meditation on how to savour life's pleasures great and small, regardless of what one's financial situation may be.

What have you been reading this summer?

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