Most helpful positive review
Recommended in conjunction with Miserly Moms
on February 24, 2004
What I liked best about this book:
1. The chapter on contingency plans. Yes, it's obvious that it's a good idea to have a backup-plan in case the working parent gets laid off, there's a large unexpected expense, etc. Nevertheless, I found it helpful to read the authors' experiences regarding such emergencies which happened in their families and to consider the various ideas and options presented. My own contingency plan was that I worked fifteen months longer than I wanted to and progressively worked up to putting my entire paycheck in savings; by the time I quit, we had enough money set aside to pay our living expenses for an entire year, if that became necessary.
2. The chapter on stay-at-home blues. I appreciated the authors' candor in describing the pros and cons of staying home. A humorous (but true) example they give is that you won't necessarily fall in love with cleaning the bathroom and once home, you may do it more often than you did before. Most importantly, they're honest about the feeling of isolation that can creep up on a stay-at-home parent and how one can deal with it.
3. They "tell it like it is". As they say, unless one of the parents' incomes is completely disposable, it is going to be necessary to make some sacrifices somewhere. Something will have to go in order to keep the family's financial boat afloat. My family experienced this period of adjustment while saving for our emergency fund; by the time I left work, we were already used to managing on one income and it wasn't so difficult.
I address the chapters on the "cons" of staying home specifically because if most people pick up a book like this in the first place, it's probably because they already want to be home with their child(ren). What they want to know is how to achieve that goal and what to expect along the way. I found this book a terrific primer on how to get off the fast track in the smoothest possible manner.
The reason I recommended this book in conjunction with Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy is that I feel the latter book presents a larger share of nuts-and-bolts information on how to reduce expenses. Jonni McCoy once worked as a senior buyer for Apple Computers, among other firms, and you can see this real-world experience in how she analyzes and approaches the issue of frugality.