As author Jonni McCoy says at the outset, this isn't a theoretical guide. Miserly Moms is practical, practical, practical in its advice for living within a regulated budget—McCoy claims to have implemented all the ideas presented here, a claim substantiated by the amount of detail for each one. And while some might think by "miserly" she means "cheap," she assures us frugality is quite another matter; not tipping a waiter is cheap, whereas eating at home to save money is frugal.
Formerly a career mom living in the San Francisco Bay Area, she began to feel convicted that she needed to be home with her kids, not out pursuing money and advancement. After a lot of thought and prayer her husband agreed and McCoy quit her job to become a full-time housewife. In one of the nation's most expensive housing communities where two incomes are needed just to get by, this was a bold step. But by learning to manage and properly utilize resources, she discovered they could live just as well on her husband's income alone.
This book is largely an account of the practical aspect of this odyssey. Instead of simply telling the story, however, the author simply presents all the things she did to organize and keep a pleasant home on a drastically reduced budget. She begins with some testimonials from moms who've successfully taken a similar path to hers, then moves on to delineate "eleven miserly guidelines," basic rules for keeping costs down without sacrificing too much in other areas. From there she delves into more specific concerns, covering everything from clothing to baby care and special food needs, offering advice and setting the record straight on a variety of myths.
Some mothers won't be too concerned with a few chapters—for instance, she goes into some depth describing all the costs having a full-time job creates, and how much income is saved when those costs are eliminated. Most of the book is useful for any home manager, though, and McCoy's experienced wisdom is an excellent guide for veteran and rookie housewives alike. Especially in uncertain economic times like these, Miserly Moms is a crucial addition to any practical home library.