Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer

Book Synopsis:
A timely (and recession-proof) treat about the things money can⎯and can't⎯buy.

Living in New Jersey⎯the state that boasts the most malls per capita⎯Kat's favorite recreational activity is a no-brainer: shopping. But when she discovers that her husband, Griff, has been hiding a secret bank account and exchanging dubious e-mails with his attractive young assistant, her joyful consumerism suddenly loses its appeal. Are their fights about money more serious than she understood? Is he, as her friends suggest, preparing for a divorce? Just in case, Kat decides it's time to start saving. Unfortunately, having racked up tens of thousands of dollars in debt (of course she needed those tiki torches from Pier 1!), Kat finds herself in way over her head.

Drastic times call for drastic measures: Kat starts by canceling cable and kicking her $240 monthly Starbucks habit. But what starts out as a simple effort to cut costs soon becomes an over-the-top obsession when Kat joins an eclectic but lovable group of savers called the Penny Pinchers Club. Soon she is pumping her gas at dawn (when it is thicker) and serving dinner made from food she retrieved at the grocery store Dumpster. Kat is saving money, to be sure, but what she's really saving is time⎯time she spends with Griff, their daughter . . . and an old flame, who resurfaces at precisely the wrong moment, offering Kat a life where money is no object.

An irresistible and wonderfully warmhearted novel about the unexpected ways hardship can lead to happiness, The Penny Pinchers Club is the perfect pick-me-up for these troubled times.

My thoughts:

Kat loves to shop. She shops and shops and doesn't pay much attention to the bills. In fact, she's afraid of her bills. Luckily, (or maybe not) her husband handles their finances. Kat believes she has a good marriage with Griff. Well, that's until she finds condom wrappers in his suitcase when he comes home from a business trip. To make matters worse, she learns he has a secret credit card and a bank account (in his name only) that he has kept from her. So, what does she think? He's preparing to divorce her.

As Kat allows this one (and only one) conclusion to consume her (I mean it is obvious he's divorcing her, right?), she realizes maybe it's time for her to do a little growing up of her own and prepare for the inevitable: being a 40ish newly, divorced mother. To get ready for this new chapter in her life, she agrees to meet with a divorce lawyer and quickly learns she has a lot to do before Griff tells her he wants out. Step one: find money to pay for the lawyer, which also means she needs to get out of debt and start saving money fast!

She reluctantly attends The Penny Pinchers Club meeting with her housekeeper, Libby and meets an unique set of people. All have had financial woes in the past and have managed to overcome them. Now they buy in bulk, dumpster-drive and use coupons whenever possible. As Kat learns to do away with excess, she also learns an important lesson about herself and her marriage.

The Penny Pinchers Club is a great read. Yes, it deals with marital problems and how money can drive two people apart, but it's much more than that. As I continued to read, the more I focused on how things aren't always what they appear. We tend to see what we want to see and come to one (and only one) conclusion based on what is presented to us. It's so obvious, that if we choose to see it any differently, we will be in denial. But, that's not always the case. Sometimes we focus on what we know is right, that we tend to misread the clues.

Here I was looking for a light, fun read (which in a way it is), but was also given something to think about: the obvious isn't necessarily so obvious. I highly recommend this novel. Readers will cheer Kat on as she learns to save money and salvage what's left of her marriage.

Book details:
ISBN-13: 978-0-525-95117-9
Pages: 288
Year Published: 2009
Genre: Women's Fiction
Date Finished: August 30
Rating: A-


  1. I love Sarah Strohmeyer and she didn't disappoint with this one. Nice review!

  2. Glad you enjoyed this one. Everyonce in a while I like a light read and this sounds perfect. thanks Shon.

  3. This is one Sarah Strohmeyer novel I haven't read yet. I have really enjoyed the books she has written after the Bubbles series finished. Off to see if my library has this one or not.