Frugal Boot Camp: The Complete Book Of Home Management

The Complete Book of Home Management by Elva Anson and Kathie Liden.  This book is available on Amazon for $.01-$10.  I found two copies on eBay for $4.50 and $4.99.

I'm not sure just where I acquired this book but it was on my bookshelf.  This is one of three books I've read over the weekend.  It wasn't a hard read.  It's a decent book, probably more suited to those who are actively parenting but not a bad book to refresh thinking.  I'm going to pass this one on to one of the younger girls in my family, I think.

The book has good practical information.  Originally published as The Compleat Family Book ( still available on Amazon and eBay for under $4)  in 1960 and being reprinted several times, the information in it is not dated.  It's all good practical advice.

The book begins with the supposition that you want to change your family and home.  It's a Christian based book and there are several references to scripture and putting God first in your life, your marriage, your family and home. As you all know by now, I whole heartedly agree with that! 

The first chapter introduces the idea that change can be had if one is willing to adjust attitude and thinking, words and actions.  The authors suggest half steps to goals.  One of my favorite lines in this chapter reminds that even if you move two steps forward and one step back, you're still making progress.   This moderate approach is repeated all through the other chapters, as well. 

Chapter two encourages family participation in making changes, working as a team.  Chapter three is about the home itself and suggests methods of organization. 

I think Chapter four was one of my favorites.  Titled 'Manage the Minute' the authors point out that many tasks take only a few minutes and if we dedicate those minutes to achieving our goals we will find we've made progress.  No, they don't suggest you must work every waking moment.  It's truly a practical book.  I've mentioned many times that there are days I simply don't feel like doing a thing.  So I will turn on a favorite television program or read a chapter in my current book then get up and work during commercials (or for a little longer period between chapters).  By day's end I've accomplished something and most necessary jobs are finished.  The authors liken the minute of time to pennies.  We all know enough pennies will make $1...well so many minutes make up an hour, don't they? Suddenly those pennies have value.  So do minutes when they are combined a little at a time.   "Minutes are time and time is LIFE."  I was also pleased to see the proposal that you time yourself doing certain tasks and then fit them into little pauses in other activities.  In that manner the house is often cleaned.  I have learned this little trick myself and agree that it is very practical.

The next few chapters cover a home management notebook, raising responsible children, teaching children the principles of money management by making them responsible for monitoring various areas of the family budget.

Chapters 8 and 9 cover the budget and food budget.  In speaking of the family budget the point is made that saved money is often worth more than the mere dollar amount saved, as you've also saved taxes and sometimes interest. This concept is a new thought to me but it's most obviously true.  My accounting background assures me that it is.  It's an 'added value' sort of thing.  The money I save has an added value because it is free of taxes and deductions. 

The authors urge that credit be used properly and thoughtfully to stretch the budget when necessary but to give careful thought to what is purchased and why.  They suggest you first borrow from your own savings account and set up a schedule for repayment.  You'll recall that John and I have done this several times for major purchases or repairs that had to be made.

I thought these were worth noting:
Ten Questions to ask before you buy anything:
1.  Do I really need it, can I get along without it?
2. Can I make it?
3. How often will I use it?
4. Will it serve well in the way I want to use it?
5. Could I choose something else that would serve multiple purposes?
6. How much care does it require?
7. How durable is it?
8. Does it have good design?  Is it quality?
9. How much storage space does it require?
10. What good information can I get to help me decide?

The Chapter on the food budget is very practical.  Food storage and bulk purchases are addressed, gardening and the usual methods of stretching foods while eating healthily.   A couple of good recipes in this chapter:
3 cups warm water (105f-110f)
1 cup noninstant dried milk
Combine in blender.  Add
1/4 cup yogurt as starter and a bit of vanilla. 
Pour into containers and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours to set up.
(I've not tried this recipe and can't say what 'set' is like in it.  The noninstant milk is available at

To boost the nutrition  of any bread, cake or cookie do this: 
For each cup of flour, first place in your measuring cup 1 T. soy flour, 1 T. nonfat dry milk powder, 1 T wheat germ.  Fill the rest of the way with flour.

Chapter Ten is mostly about nutrition and the importance of that on health.   Again, good practical information and a nice refresher course.

All in all, it's a good basics book. 


Debbie said...

I used to have this book myself. :) I think I gave it away years ago to a younger friend. I did really enjoy all the advice in it though. It really did help me when I was a young mother on a very tight budget. :)

Anonymous said...

One of the questions I ask myself when I think I need some new decorating or new clothing item is, "will I still be excited about this in 6 months or will I like what I now have just as much as I would the new?" I think often times the reasons some people have to have new is plain old boredom. What is so exciting today will boring tomorrow. I do change things around with the seasons but it is with items I generally have had for many years. Many people when they get something new throw or give away perfectly good items just to get new and than groan and moan about the lack of money to do things they really want. Gramma D

Kylie said...

Thanks for the share, love reading your blog.

Kathy said...

I like that quote...Minutes are time and time is life. I need to remember that and use the minutes. Thanks

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