The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Living Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook

by Shel Horowitz

AWM Books Division

ISBN 0961466642 

Buy it online





The title is ticklish but appropriate: The Penny-Pinching Hedonist is essentially about living well on the cheap. Author Shel Horowitz has brought both humor and experience to Hedonist, cramming the book near to bursting with ideas for doing fun stuff without a lot of cash. It's a fun book.

Hedonist covers the gamut of things that are fun but can be expensive, from eating out to traveling, things to do with kids, shopping, gift-giving and even alternate lifestyles and exploring self-employment. While many of the subjects have been covered elsewhere, Horowitz' text rings with the truth and enthusiasm of experience. His suggestions are peppered with friendly hints and chatty anecdotes: you get the feeling that this is a man who really does have experience with finding fun on the cheap.

The topics covered are diverse and seemingly complete. For example, tips on saving money on many aspects of an overseas trip are given a thorough going over. As is how to make leftovers more interesting. In all cases, the tone is friendly, down-to-earth and filled with the type of sense we call "common" but all too often isn't.

Among other things, Horowitz covers some of the strategies of booking plane tickets, as well as some of the options for large savings in this area. Traveling as a courier, for example. And taking advantage of airline price wars.

Other methods of traveling are looked at as well. Hitchhiking, for example, gets a thorough going over and though the author doesn't recommend it, it's still interesting to see the topic dealt with in a rational way.

The wide range of topics covered really does make this a book for everyone. It's interesting, for example, to read about Horowitz' own brand of recycling.

Film canisters -- DO run them through the dishwasher first -- are great for storing spices as well as small bits of hardware. They also fit nicely into unused places in a child's lunchbox, for peanuts, raisins and other tiny treats.

It's this almost wild diversity that makes Hedonist such a treat. If you can think of it, it's probably here. More likely, however, you won't think of it until you've found it and will then be struck by the fact that you didn't think of it before.


Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine. Her fourth novel, Death was the Other Woman, is published by St. Martin's Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.