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How to fix your finances? Read on

From budgeting to retirement planning, these 5 books have you covered.

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Adopting a frugal lifestyle » Need some ideas on how to become a more frugal person or family? I have two favorites in this category. The first, Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less, edited by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree, covers ways to become more frugal in nearly every aspect of your life.

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The book includes sections on saving money on home repairs and upkeep, and cooking your own food. Advice on recipes was my favorite part, such as how-tos for meals, snacks and edible gifts, including entrees, desserts such as rice pudding treats and even condiments such as barbecue sauce. There also are recipes for things such as homemade play-dough and finger paint. It also inspires you to learn how to check your tire pressure or do some basic home repair.

By comparison, Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving, doesn’t have a lot of step-by-step instruction or information.

It’s more like The Money Saving Mom’s Budget in the way it nudges readers toward a more frugal lifestyle, suggesting stops at thrift stores and garage sales and buying in bulk (wisely, of course). The book is a narrative of the Amish way of handling personal finance.

Like Paine, author Lorilee Craker challenges and inspires readers to be more content with what they have — and to resist the urge to try and "buy" happiness.

Both books make a compelling case that adopting — and learning to be content with — a frugal lifestyle can actually make you a happier person because you will have fewer money worries.

Best tip from Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less: More people are renting homes and apartments these days, but many forgo renter’s insurance, even though it doesn’t cost a lot of money. If you can’t afford to replace your possessions in the event of theft, fire or some other loss, you need it.

Best tip from Money Secrets of the Amish : Teach your kids the difference between needs and wants, and the concepts of financial self-control and delayed gratification when they are young.

You can do this by refusing to give them everything, resisting the temptation to go overboard with gifts and making them work for much of what they want. Children who don’t learn these important lessons can become adults with real money problems.

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Lesley Mitchell writes One Cheap Chick in daily blog form at blogs.sltrib.com/cheap. lesley@sltrib.com Twitter: @cheapchick Facebook: Facebook.com/OneCheapChick

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