I didn’t actually set out to become a tip aficionado. But that’s exactly what’s happened since the day I began publishing Debt-Proof Living newsletter (formerly Cheapskate Monthly) and invited readers to share with me their best money- and time-saving tips.
Three or four fascinating tips came pouring in those first few months (two or three more than I expected), and because they were great, I shared them with my readers. The more tips I published in subsequent months, the more readers responded with new and better tips. In time, I began to go out of my way looking for tips and was amazed at how many turned up. I’m not sure if I was more attracted to the tips or the tips to me (sometimes I feel like a tip magnet), but the result was clear: I loved tips. I can read a tip, digest it quickly, mentally file it for future use, move on to the next one, and never get bored.
Before long, tips began arriving at my office faster than I could figure out what to do with them. I couldn’t throw them away. And because of the way they arrived (and still do)—printed on napkins; buried in the recesses of long, detailed letters; salvaged on snippets torn from newspapers; phone, fax, and email messages—I had a logistical challenge from the very start.
First published in 1997 under the title Tiptionary, this book was a big hit. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who loved handy tips! Readers told me that reading the book was a lot like being faced with a bag of potato chips: It was almost impossible to stop with just one tip.
In the years since Tiptionary was released, the world has changed a lot! And that meant this book needed a radical update to make it current. Sections on banking, computers, and travel, for example, needed overhauls.
Enter Revell Books. All I had to do was mention the availability of a really awesome collection of handy tips to my editor, Vicki Crumpton, and the best publishing team in the world was mobilized into action.
Cheaper, Better, Faster is a revised and updated, fabulously fun collection of tips—short, to-the-point suggestions for ways to do things cheaper, better, and faster. Many of these tips are timeless; others we know are current and relevant five minutes ago, but who knows about next month!
The criteria for whether a tip made it into this collection were fairly simple: If it didn’t insult my intelligence, included a reasonable expectation that it saved time or money, and prompted a response anything close to Wow! What a great idea!—it was in.
There are many different ways to accomplish goals. And that’s good, because if you need to polish the copper in your kitchen and you don’t have lemons on hand but you do have a jug of vinegar, you’ll be able to get the job done without running to the store to spend money needlessly. That’s what Cheaper, Better, Faster is all about—saving time and money every day.
Excerpted from Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day by Mary Hunt (Revell, 2013)
Question: Do you have a tip that will make your fellow EC readers say, “Wow! What a great idea!”? Share it here.
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