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How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes: The Complete Guide to Managing Your Money Better So You Can Spend More Time with Your Kids Paperback – February 6, 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After having her second child, Topolnicki, a former writer and editor for Money magazine, wanted to build a freelance writing career and spend more time with her children, though her financial savvy led her to wonder whether having only one full-time salary would dramatically alter her family's lifestyle. After taking a long, hard look at her expenses, savings and child-care bills, she quickly realized that making her own work hours and eliminating a lengthy commute would not mean that she'd have to penny-pinch. There were some cutbacks--more activities closer to home, fewer high-priced lattes--but Topolnicki has compiled her best strategies and advice to convince readers that most people would benefit from having one parent stay at home. In addition to detailing her own experience, Topolnicki offers insights from her interviews with other parents and includes their tips as well. She covers the basics of money management--budgeting, mortgages, retirement funds, insurance--in intelligible detail. Though solid, her conversational, friendly style is almost too simplistic. This book will best serve people who are intimidated by money matters and who haven't read other personal finance primers. There's lots of useful information here, along with some "thrifty" advice on price clubs, groceries and play groups that seems awfully familiar.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

Many parents today believe that two steady incomes are not only desirable but absolutely necessary in order to raise a family. Yet most full-time working mothers say that if it weren't for the money, they would not work, and instead would stay at home with their children. After the birth of her second child, Denise Topolnicki faced this common dilemma: Continue working full-time, or spend more time with her family? As a former editor of Money, Denise used her financial expertise and discovered that she could work only part-time and be at home for her children--while not breaking her family's budget.

By combining her investment know-how with compassionate advice, Denise gives parents a clear-cut strategy for controlling their money--from saving on food, to creating a cash reserve, to learning how to retire on less than two incomes. Packed with worksheets, detailed plans, and inspiring case studies, Topolnicki's plan helps families set fun priorities while still balancing the checkbook. Whether you want to leave work altogether or continue part-time, this book is the key to freedom for millions of families trapped on the working-parent treadmill.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (February 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,998,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sandra D. Peters on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is a big difference between "what we WANT in life" and "what we NEED in life." As a counsellor, I hear so many people with families say, "there is simply not enough money to go around," and in many cases, particularly single-parent families, that is true. However, in the case of many (and certainly not all) two-parent families, there WOULD be enough money to go around, if people had their priorities in order and actually knew how much they were spending on the "wants" in life, as opposed to the "needs. All the frills, luxuries, power lunches and expensive "play toys" i.e., cars, boats, motor homes and exotic vacations, can bring financial burden. Long after the novelty of the new "play toy" has worn off, the debt continues.
It is most unfortunate that all those who choose to live in a materialistic world, do not read this book before they lose sight of what is truly important in their life, and how short life is. The time, in the overall life cycle, that we have our children all to ourselves to enjoy is very short, indeed. Children need parents or a parent, depending on your family structure, to give them quality time and love far more than they need designer jeans and a car by the time they are sixteen. Sure, most kids would want those things; kids have a neat way of testing limits and boundaries, theirs and ours. All too often, it is the parents who are trying to compensate by giving their sons and daughters what they never had as children. But, at what cost?
This is an excellent book and highly recommended. It will make you think twice, not only about where you are spending your money, but how much quality time you actually spend with the greatest investment of your life - your children.
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Format: Paperback
I've been doing a lot of research on whether or not it will be feasible for me to either quit my job or cut back to part-time. And while I truly appreciate all the books out there about how to clip coupons and make my own granola, this book is different. Ms. Topolnicki gives financial advice on cutting back from two incomes, starting with tax savings and going all the way through to saving on groceries and entertainment. This is serious, real-life stuff. Her chapter on investing alone is worth the price of the book. Taxes, investments, savings, insurance, groceries, vacations, entertainment -- they're all covered and MORE! This is the first book I've read on the subject that gives me REAL hope that I can plan a budget on less than the two incomes we've gotten used to in the past ten years. I can't say enough about this book and the strategies that are outlined therein. Buy it, or borrow it from the library today.
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Format: Paperback
Denise Topolnicki gives practical advice on how to save money and live better at the same time.
The book is well-structured in that you can use its chapters separately as references, without having to go in cover-to-cover order to make use of its suggestions.
In my case, I mostly skimmed the preparatory suggestions on how to transition from a two-income to a one-income family, as we're already one income. The practical tips that followed were great. You get perspective on how much you should be spending on groceries, which kinds of cost-cutting measures aren't worth the effort and what how various saving and wealth-building techniques work.
Topolnicki's book also was a great springboard toward greater financial awareness. Now I find it easier to spot and understand information that's out there to help boost my family's finances.
I give credit to Topolnicki, a fellow business journalist, and her book for getting my family onto a plan that gets us squarely on our feet financially in just a matter of a few months.
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Format: Paperback
The book was filled with a lot of common sense suggestions. I consider myself to be a good manager of my money so most of the book was nothing revolutionary in how to deal with finances. There were a few things that were brought out that I didn't already know. I would suggest that if you are not good with your finances or don't have common sense in regards to these issues, then it is the book for you. If you are already finance saavy, then it might not give you what you were looking for. Still a good book.
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By A Customer on August 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The purpose of this very readable book is to allow a parent to spend more time with their children. The author used her experience in financial journalism to calculate expenses. After surveying more than 100 mothers, she then wrote this book to help other families with young children survive on one income. Most mothers are at home when their children are young. Whatever your reason, this book can help you to spend less on living expenses without pain.
This book has four parts. One) to help you analyze your present financial situation and plan for the future. Two) has hundreds of tips to help you cut spending. Three) shows how to save more while earning less. Four) tells you about work: quitting & keeping benefits, part-time work, and how to resume full-time work.
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