Book Review: The Penny Pincher's Club

Fiction runs in fads. Consider chick lit. It started with Bridget Jones and spawned a new section of books with pink covers and pun-filled titles. Then someone combined the idea of chick lit + recipes and another niche launched.

When I picked up a copy of Sarah Strohmeyer's The Penny Pincher's Club, I wondered if this book would start another fad: extreme couponing fiction.

As a couponer, I admit to picking up the book because of the title, but it looked like a fun read.

Kat Griffiths is like many suburban moms in New Jersey. She works part time and shops the the rest of the time. As the wife of an economic professor, they have a modest income, but that doesn't stop her from pulling out credit cards whenever she finds something.

After precariously living on the financial edge for too long, Kate uncovers evidence that her husband of twenty years is cheating on her with his assistant and is about to leave her. Freaked out by a recent divorce in the community where another women is forced to work two jobs to take care of her kids, Kat and her sister seek the guidance of the toughest divorce attorney in the area. The cost: a $15,000 retainer.

Determined to save $15,000 and make sure her husband doesn't take everything in her anticipated divorce proceedings, Kat gives herself just under a year to pay off debt and save her $15,000 when her only daughter will be starting college and out of the nest.

Aided by her housekeeper, a member of the local penny pinchers club, Kat funnels her energy into saving money and stops spending cold turkey. Suddenly, she goes from being a shopaholic to a saver. Along the way, a flame from the past gives her the opportunity to put her money worries aside.

The only problem? All of her saving has suddenly stopped many of the problems in her marriage. Is divorce so imminent, or should Kat pursue the "one who got away?"

As a shopaholic/couponer/person-trying-to-save-money-and-pay-off-debt, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It dealt with some serious issues and picked up on an emerging trend in America without being silly.

Strohmeyer ends the book with money-saving tips and even lists a few of her favorite couponing blogs, which I appreciated. She treated this community with respect. The supporting characters were colorful, but she was respectful of them and didn't exploit them the way that TLC does on Extreme Couponing.

If you're a bargainista or a couponer, you'll enjoy reading The Penny Pinchers Club.

Adrienne works to save money and live graciously at Modern Belle blog.

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