Smart Mama, Smart Money: Raising Happy, Healthy Kids Without Breaking the Bank

Rosalyn Hoffman, Author
Rosalyn Hoffman. Penguin/New American Library, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 9780451235596
Reviewed on: 02/06/2012
Release date: 03/06/2012
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-57709-7
Paperback - 978-0-451-97846-2
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-57653-3
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Jack-of-all-trades Hoffman (Bitches on a Budget) compiles the tips and tricks she's learned in her careers as marketer, mother, and writer to produce an all-in-one guide to frugal parenting. Written to other mothers in tone, but not gender-specific in content, this valuable tome offers suggestions on how to survive the giant-plastic-stuff phase of infancy (buy a used stroller, but a new crib) and paying for college, though the bulk of her advice is focused on the many years between. With two of kids out of college and on their own, she confidently dispenses advice on topics ranging from clothing choices to sex-ed, but manages to do so in a chatty, friendly voice that is never overbearing. Food is a large part of any family's budget, and Hoffman discusses MyPlate, organics, and "smart shopping" with equal ease. She also provides a brief overview of financial management basics including budgeting, insurance, and credit cards, and her advice about helping kids distinguish "wants" from "needs" is astute and practical. In addition to everyday tips, Hoffman also offers tried-and-true insights into developing strong relationships with one's children—in the end, "a smart mom never loses sight of what her kids really need: unconditional love, safe boundaries, and room to play." Informative, entertaining, and applicable, this is a must-read for "smart mamas" and papas. (Mar.)
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