A Basic Primer on Household Finance

When his first daughter got married, Yehoshua Zauderer thought of all that she would need to know about navigating life in her own home and wrote up what he learned from his own experience in a book, 

The Chosson and Kallah's First Guide to Money. It is available as a paperback at Amazon for $14.39.The book is clearly intended for the more right leaning Orthodox crowd who tend to marry on the young side with no experience of living on their own before setting up house after marriage.  Read what I have to say about plus some of my own tips for a household budget at http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/the-basics-for-those-setting-out-on-their-own-for-the-first-time

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner


Orthonomics said…
A lot more of the book was up for sampling on Amazon until after your review. I had a nice peek inside, but then could no longer access some parts of the book that interested me.

In the intro the author speaks about none of the stories of those wh dont have to concern themselves with kosher, tuition, etc as people he could relate to. Such is a common attitude, but flawed in my opinion because changing financial habits is a function of behavior. Sure, I might not be able to live out in Nebraska, but I can choose a more inexpensive area with a shul. Sure, I might not be able to stock up on non-kosher ground beef at 99 cents a pound, but I can learn about freezing, stocking, coupon shopping, etc.
Ariella said…
He doesn't give really useful tips on saving money on the food bills. I get the feeling his wife rather than he deals with that. He opens with an admission that his wife brown bags as a rule, though he likes to treat himself to coffee from the shop regularly. Now that would be an interesting line to follow about the different habits the reflect on attitudes towards saving and spending that two people bring into a marriage. But he didn't follow up on that. Likely, his wife knows how much money goes towards food and how the extra cost of buying prepared lunches and even coffees multiply over the course of a year. He likely looks at it as I can afford to treat myself to a $3.50 (or whatever it costs) coffee in the morning; I certainly earn more than that. He does say that eating out would have to be reserved for special occasions because it is expensive. But he seems to believe pizza is an exception to that rule. However, even the nonkosher world is cutting back on pizza (see http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2010/10/4/eight-fun-alternatives-for-family-pizza-night.html) because it's not so cheap, especially when a whole family has to be fed.

The book doesn't really have a lot of real money saving tips. Some of them make very little difference -- like unplugging your cell phone charger and such when you don't need it and buying the light bulbs that use less electricity. I get the impression he envisions a young couple that can always fall back on their parents and even stay on with them if they don't manage to find an apartment in time. He suggests that they can do laundry at their home and so save the cost of the laundromat and the detergent (there's nothing wrong with that, but it only works for those who live pretty close to their parents). Some topics he brings up are also either too obvious or not really thoroughly examined, like wardrobe costs that include dry cleaning and the purchase and maintenance cost of sheitels. He doesn't cite actual figures here or get into the fact that many kallahs expect their mothers or MILs to foot the bill for the first sheitels and so go for the top-of-the-line models.
Orthonomics said…
Pizza isn't "inexpensive" in least, especially kosher pizza. Yet many seem to think pizza to be an exception. Problem is that even a low skilled wife or husband can create many, many nights of healthy, tasty soup for the cost of a large pizza.
tesyaa said…
Even the low-skilled wife or husband can make homemade pizza for a fraction of the pizza store cost.
Ariella said…
Yes, or you can put together baked ziti or lasagna instead, which costs about $8.50 when you make it at home and serves 6-8. Though a pie does have 8 slices, you usually need 2 slices per person, and the pies in my neighborhood sell for $18.

The thing is that the writer admits he takes out coffee everyday, so he probably looks at these things as small expenses, though he admits his wife packs up lunches as a rule. Perhaps the ideal book would be written by a couple who would have experience in planning economical meals as well as reviewing lease terms.

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