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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
176 pages
Jan 2007
Moody Publishers

Half-Price Living: Secrets to Living Well on One Income

by Ellie Kay

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Because the achievement of "the great American dream" has been defined by the acquisition of fancy cars, large homes, designer clothes, expensive jewelry, the latest techno-gadgets, and custom made furniture, it has required lots and lots of cash. This has seemingly demanded that a married couple both be working full time. But Ellie Kay, in her new book 1/2 Price Living: Secrets to Living Well on One Income, says that by changing the perception of the dream, a couple can be happy, healthy, and successful on just one income. Sound impossible? Well, let's see how Ellie Kay alters the dream.

In working with a couple who had two young children, Kay discovered that the mother desired to be able to stay at home, nurturing her boys and enjoying their growing up years. However, from a vanity standpoint, the woman absolutely loved her huge home with its country setting and all the nice things inside it. Kay found a home that was equal in size, but it was in a crowded subdivision. She confronted the woman and told her that if she really, truly wanted to be at home with her sons, she would have to compromise. In the end, the woman and her husband sold their lovely country home, moved into the suburbs, got rid of one of their cars and some of their furniture, but the wife then got to stay at home caring for her boys. Years later, the woman was deliriously happy about her decision. She felt fulfilled as a wife and mom, and her family was a continuous joy to her.

If this example sounds a bit like something from a TV reality show, it's because that is exactly where it came from, and Kay was the media personality on that show. Nevertheless, in her book, she claims that many couples often are both working to make ends meet because they are squandering their double incomes. They are wasting money by paying ridiculously high interest rates on credit cards, by not getting good advice on lowering their taxes, by eating out when they should be cooking at home, by not refinancing their mortgages when rates improve, and by failing to take even the most basic money management steps (such as using coupons or waiting for year-end product sales). In simple but blunt lessons, she explains how to reverse these bad habits.

The key elements to this book come down to proper financial goal setting, strict adherence to a budget, elimination of all debt, and secure investing. Kay has ideas, options, and checklists for each of these areas. However, the book also addresses the issue of self-worth and psychological needs. Many women of today worry that to give up their careers as attorneys, nurses, engineers, or college professors will also diminish them in the eyes of their friends and former colleagues. (And, egotistically, it is even rougher on a man who may decide to be the at-home dad while his wife is the solo wage earner.) The author addresses a wide variety of ways to handle this, from working part-time to engaging in volunteer service, but mostly she says to realize it isn't a permanent situation unless you want it to be. You can always keep current in your field by reading or taking occasional seminars. Or, you may opt for a totally new career later in life.

Although the book is released by Moody Publishers, you won't find much in the way of strong biblical references, unless some verses apply directly to finances, such as Proverbs 22:7 and Romans 13:8 (found on page 147). This book has obviously been designed to be a "crossover" product. This does not make it any less accurate or valuable, but it does mean that what is pragmatic often takes precedent over that which could have been a great opportunity to show God's lessons about stewardship, tithing, and accountability. Overall, it's a very helpful book, nicely organized, honest and direct, and often very entertaining. – Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

A recent online survey found that 86% of working moms said they would stay at home if they were financially able to do so. Ellie Kay, “America’s Family Financial Expert™” and mom of many, has written 1/2 Price Living in response to the working mom’s desire to stay at home with her children. Kay has taken her financial background and combined it with her real-world mom experience to write a book that is filled with her professional and personal insights.

This book features Kay’s trademark wry humor. It also gives a step-by-step plan to downsize from two incomes to one with practical instruction, true life stories, comprehensive charts, worksheets, and a plan to make it work. But this isn’t a book about deprivation—it’s filled with painless tips to make living on one income a pleasure.