Clark Howard has made a career out of providing consumers advice about how to obtain the most value for their money. Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times compiles his most compelling advice, providing general advice about saving money on goods and services as well as specific advice tied to some of the more significant purchases most of us will have to make as we move through the different stages of our lives.
Clark immediately caught my attention with the first chapter – “Help Me Now, Clark” – which promises to improve an individual’s personal finances in just one week. It includes some quick practical tips such as searching for unclaimed money in your name, watching free movies on your computer instead of renting them on television, and getting a no-fee, no strings attached credit card that provides 2% cash back on all purchases. Clark asserts that making a number of these small changes will likely have a very minimal impact on your daily life but collectively have the potential to have a significant and positive impact on your financial health.
The other chapters of the book are filled with an abundance of valuable money-saving tips that target specific goods and services. Chapter titles include cars, computers and internet, consumer issues, health and healthcare, and personal finances. As I read through these chapters and others, I could not resist turning down the corners of certain pages to be certain to immediately implement some tips. In other cases, I was thinking I should keep this book readily accessible on my shelf for the time when the information becomes more relevant.
For example, in the chapter on consumer issues, Clark outlines how much money you can save on your grocery bill by buying perishable items in the grocery store once a week, and every six weeks purchasing non-perishables in bulk online at amazon.com or other stores that have mass purchasing power. In terms of long-term financial strategies, he provides extensive advice about how to save money before and after purchasing a home, how to obtain the most favorable apartment rental, and how to save money purchasing new appliances and on your monthly electric bill.
Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times is a valuable book that will likely provide a benefit to anyone who elects to purchase it. It is written in a clear, concise and user-friendly manner with an organizational structure that lets readers quickly pinpoint the information most relevant to their needs. This is the definitely the type of book that should remain a permanent part of anyone’s book collection as a reference to be used over and over again.