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Low-Cost Living: Live better, spend less [Kindle Edition]

John Harrison
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £5.99
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Book Description

When economic conditions are tough, we all need to watch our spending. John Harrison's simple, tried and tested methods will help you to enjoy a better standard of living while saving money and helping the environment.

Discover the benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables, raising chickens, making butter, cheese and bread, and brewing your own beer.

Save energy, save on your bills.

Harvest food for free and avoid waste.

Play the supermarkets at their own game and get the best deals.

See how to recycle, re-use, make do and mend.

Find out if solar power is right for you and whether wind power makes domestic sense.

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Product Description


Anyone who is serious about not tearing the planet to shreds in a frenzy of consumerist mania should buy this book. It sets the standard. (Richard Lawson Green World)

Book Description

Reduce your living costs, lower your carbon footprint and still live well.

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More About the Author

John Harrison (b.1955) lives in Snowdonia, North Wales on a smallholding with his wife Val and a pride of miniature lions who can be mistaken for moggies. As well as writing, he runs his website from his home. They aim to be as self-sufficient as possible, not only growing fruit and vegetables, but making their own butter, cheese and preserves and soon to be raising their own livestock.
His first book, Vegetable Growing Month by Month was a best selling success, closely followed by The Essential Allotment Guide and Low Cost Living which he says should have been titled "Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs"
Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves was a collaboration with his wife, Val, and it has become a bestseller because of it's straightforward, honest style. Val not only tells you what to do but also what do when things go wrong. And they do!
His book, Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Growing in Small Spaces was released in March 2010 and was based on their time in a terraced house with just a patch of concrete to grow on.
Following this John and his wife Val released How to Store Your Home Grown Produce, in September 2010. They realised many home growers just didn't know what to do to store their crops. As well as being released in the UK, this book was picked up by Skyhorse in the USA where it's doing very well.
The next book was The Complete Vegetable Grower. This was a departure from John's other works being a hardback, lavishly illustrated in colour with photographs. In effect it's a compendium of his previous growing books with some new material.
His latest book, released 1st September 2011, is Backgarden Chickens & Other Poultry. Written with his daughter, Cara, it aims to give a practical guide to those thinking of keeping poultry. Cara keeps a flock of chickens, ducks and quail in her small terraced house garden near Leeds.
As both John and his daughter Cara are into self-sufficiency the book also covers the economics of keeping poultry at home and raising chickens for the table.
They make no secret of the fact that it is hard to 'do the evil deed' when you raise table birds and admit that the Aylesbury ducks were reprieved and are now beloved pets.
Currently John is writing a book on making your own wine, beer and cider. He's thoroughly enjoying the research and testing phase!
John served on the National Executive of the National Vegetable Society, a charity promoting the cultivation and showing of vegetables until recently and is a fellow of the society.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Savvy savings 14 Aug. 2010
Even for those of us who recycle, shun supermarkets, cut waste and cook - there are fresh tips to be found in this little book which can be read cover to cover in one short sitting. We grow what we can and have cut down food and packaging waste by only buying what we need so we thought we were doing ok. But this little book flagged up the fact that we really don't need to run the dishwasher for two hours on eco - 30mins does the job fine and slashes the energy cost; we always check and switch off our standbys but we'd overlooked the 'phones on charge all the time and the 'sleeping' computer; we'd forgotten how delicious bread and butter pud can be - considering it's made largely of stale bread and above all - we'd forgotten how rewarding life is when waste is cut, achievement is a daily event with home grown veg, home made jams and chutney etc and the freezer is full - all without the grind (and fuel cost) of the supermarket and the groan of the bills. It's not about austerity or frugality - it's about living a good life. If I have one complaint it's about some of the comments regarding water saving - that it's not all that important in a country as wet as the UK. Well even here in Wales with our rainfall we had drought orders this year - and let's face it water, like everything else is a precious resource - we should be using it wisely. It's easy to put this book aside and say 'well I knew that before I bought the book, it's just common sense' - but the key thing is not just knowing, it's doing. And don't say you haven't got the time - we both work full time, long hours - and this is a darn site more rewarding and relaxing than reality TV!
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Dip Into Book 5 May 2010
By Mouse
I bought this book partly in response to the recession and partly because I was curious about keeping hens in a built up area. It's a lovely book with an inviting and cosy writing style which made me dip in and read more every time I passed it - I even took it to bed! I loved the recipes and was a bit shocked to read about the commercial bread making process. I've found tips on everything from making the most of supermarket offers to storing vegetables. John Harrison writes like your uncle and I shall dip into his book regularly. As a manual it would need to be too big to carry around but as a motivational starter it's just perfect. We need more common sense like this.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very nice book with many hands-on tips on things one can do to reduce costs in life and get time over for other things.

I like the writers view that you should find out how far you're willing to go yourself. Many other books and sources claim you should do "everything" including shearing your own sheep, spin your yarn, weave your cloth and sew your own clothes by hand. That's not a life for everyone and might turn people away from getting a bit of interest in how they consume and how they can change it for the better. Not only for the environment - but for themselves too getting better products lasting longer!

For someone already baking their own bread, mending some clothes, cooking from basic ingredients etc maybe this book doesn't have so much new information. But it's a good inspiration to see how someone else has changed his life, without sacrificing upon good standards.

For me, also some information about what's legal in food production also made me think a bit more. I already knew things were bad and that some dubious substances go into our food, but here I got some new information that made me even more read on the labels in the supermarket.

In short: A good inspirational book that is written in a very sympathic way, but probably mostly aimed for the beginner in self-sufficient living.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars low cost living 29 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent - easy to read and extremely informative! From someone who loses interest part way through most books - that's one heck of a compliment! Would highly recommend. We are looking to move to France and becoming self sufficient - this book will definitely help. I bought the author's other books - all very well written.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Low Cost Living 20 July 2010
By Becky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book with lots of handy money saving tips. Also had some good recipes to make with home grown foods. I did feel that some of the suggestions were more inclined towards country living that high rise apartment, however a good read all the same.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Gem! 11 July 2009
By S. Robb
I love the way this book shows how a less consumerist, more ecological lifestyle can also be more economical. I am also impressed by how it is helpful to those who are new to the concept as well as to those (like me) who are already converted.
It's very well organised and also indexed, so can be read cover to cover and just dipped into when you want information about something specific, and the basic guidance is nicely laced with interesting facts and background information.
The first half is all about food, (including recipes), and the second half covers the other aspects of our lives where savings can be made, and the environment treated a little more respectfully.
I am sure that anyone buying it will save the (minimal) cost of the book many times over by following the advice within it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Starting Point 29 Dec. 2010
By marcoscu TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you looking for ways to make your lifestyle greener and in so doing to save some money then this little book would be a good start. It has chapters on such topics making bread, butter, cheese, bee keeping, chickens, growing fruit and veg, as well as on food storage, cleaning, energy use etc. Each chapter is short and illustrated with just a few simple line drawings.
It is a good starting point. Read this book and then research further on any topics that stimulate your interest. Anyone considering a greener lifestyle could do worse than making this book their point of departure.
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