Fun & Frugal ~ Molly’s Money-Saving Digest #Review
We all like to save money, and it’s even more important when the economy is uncertain. Busy in our day-to-day lives, used to doing things a certain way, it can be hard for us to see where we might make little changes and save some of those hard-earned dollars. Outside sources can be extremely useful for suggesting ways to enrich our lives without sacrificing our bank account.
One of my favorite resources is Econobusters. I joined the Econobusters A Minute With Molly mailing list about a year ago, and always enjoy reading the tips and applying the relevant ones in my life. I check out the blog on a semi-regular basic, and at some point, I added myself as a Econobusters fan on Facebook. (Those quick little tips always seem to come at the perfect moment.
But until recently, I’d never had a chance to check out the e-magazine, Molly’s Money-Saving Digest. (Our finances have been severely limited lately so spending money to save money wasn’t something I could justify, no matter how curious I was.) This month, though, I’ve had the privilege of checking out the January 2010 issue to review, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
My family isn’t very good at implementing and making huge changes stick all at once. It’s a lot more effective for us to change small habits – and though they seem minor at the time, they add up significantly in the long run.
Geared toward families that are interested in frugal lifestyle changes, Molly’s Money-Saving Digest is written for parents, but the advice, projects, and recipes within could be implemented by older children on their own, or by younger children with guidance.
One column, Kids’ Corner, includes projects specifically for the younger ones. For January, the focus was on money and finances. A hands-on craft, building a paper-mache piggy bank, had clear instructions and a list of supplies. A mini lesson on checking accounts and writing checks, complete with practice check forms to print, rounded out this section of the magazine. My only wish was that the practice checks were less “girly”. My oldest three, boys, would not be very happy with the pink flowers, so I had to create some on my own. Something a little more gender-neutral, or two patterns to choose from, would have been appreciated.
A large portion of this month’s magazine was dedicated to pie-making. Despite my enjoyment of baking, pies make me nervous, and I haven’t experimented with them much. The detailed directions and variety of tips and suggestions makes me willing to try these out. I’ve printed these out and saved them in my recipe binder – sometime soon we’re going to have a pie-making day.
I like the color and the layout of the magazine – it makes it easy to read on the screen. But when I’m printing, I want to use as little ink as possible. It did seem a bit bizarre to me that a magazine focused on frugality didn’t include printer-friendly recipe pages, especially with as graphics-heavy as the pie-making section was.
There are several included forms for adding to a household binder, including a clothing inventory sheet that I would like to use. I ran into the same issue with the included forms, and will probably recreate my own version in black & white. The green shading and lettering is pretty on the screen, and would look nice printed in color, but it’s not economical, and gray-scale in this case makes it rather difficult to read the words.
Don’t get me wrong – visually, the magazine layout and colors are appealing and easy to read on screen. But I’m a miser with ink, and I appreciate it when both color and black/white options are included, so I can make that choice.
I’m eclectic at heart, not just as homeschool style, so it’s rare that I ever do anything by following the directions exactly. The Feather Your Nest Frugally section, I’ve twisted and adapted for my own use – and I’ll have to share them as I finish them – but I wouldn’t have come to those innovations at this time without seeing them in this magazine. Since they’re home decor, I’m restricting myself to a few small projects, but hopefully we’ll be moving soon, and then I’ll get to really redecorate. (I’m planning on seasonal or monthly variations… and I may have each child be responsible for one of their own, allowing them to choose and create the inspirational statement and images for that frame.) I’ll share the results as they come.
Each issue also includes a week’s worth of menus, and several of these have gone into our menu-planning rotation. The grilled-cheese sandwiches with tomato were definite hit – it’s a strong illustration of how a minor, but flavorful, change can make a old standby like grilled-cheese seem totally new and appetizing – and at little extra cost.
Molly’s Money-Saving Digest subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month, or current and back issues can be purchased individually or bundled at The Old Schoolhouse Store.