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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Frugal Duchess Book Tour comes to Chief Family Officer

One of my favorite bloggers published a book earlier this year, and I'm delighted to host a stop along her online book tour. Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is known as The Frugal Duchess and has written a book by the same name. The following guest post is by her, and will give you a taste of what her book has to offer:

The Brady Bunch versus The Cosby Family

My book — a memoir with money-saving tips — is really a green book and I'm not talking about recycled paper. The Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money is a green book because it's filled with recycled memories and borrowed material from my parents. You see, my parents were children during the Depression, and I have borrowed a lot of their frugal memories and money-saving tips to write this book.

My folks were born in the 1930s, attended college in the 1950s, and they raised four children during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. As such, my parents have witnessed a lot of change in this country.

For example, hunting for a house — one of the major themes of my book — was a challenge for my parents.

During the 1960s, when I was a little girl, my parents wanted to raise a family in an upscale suburb. As part of the process, my parents would speak to real estate agents on the phone and would receive hearty long-distance welcomes from brokers. But houses would suddenly be taken off the market when the Harveys (my family) arrived. At least once or twice when we got out of the family car to look at a home that was for sale, we quickly piled back in.

Over the phone, real estate agents assumed we were the Brady Bunch, but when we arrived at curbside, we looked like the Cosby Family. And in the 1960s, the Cosby Family was not always welcome in a Brady Bunch-era neighborhood.

I was about six or seven at the time, so I was clueless and didn't understand why we were locked out of some Open House tours in suburban neighborhoods. My parents provided details and insights when I spent time interviewing them for my book.

Here's a sample of the frugal tips that I picked up from my parents: On many Saturday mornings, my mother and her brother — as children — walked four miles to attend free art classes at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Decades later, as a mom and a writer, I have followed in their footsteps and have used my phone, feet and keyboard to find low-cost programs for my family.

For instance, from tutoring services to Internet access, public libraries offer a wealth of free programs. With a library card you can rent movies, CDs and DVDs for free. The branch near my home has an ample supply of movies for children, tweens and teens. My sons and daughter are happy with the selection and their contentment means that we spend less at the video store. As a source of entertainment, libraries provide a long list of cultural programs, lectures and performances. I've spotted free music classes, bike and backpack safety courses for school-age children. Other activities include storytelling sessions for toddlers — complete with songs, stories, finger play and crafts. Other free programs include "Live Homework Help," in which students (grades 4 through 12) receive free and individualized tutoring in science, math, English and social studies. The pool of tutors includes college professors, graduate students and certified teachers. Each public library has its own menu of community programs. The free services are worth checking out.

Thank you, Sharon! You can find The Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money at Amazon. And, you can win your very own copy of Sharon's book by filling out the form below. (If you're reading this in a feed aggregator or email, you'll need to click through to the post to reach the form.)

For an additional entry, subscribe to CFO via RSS or email and fill out the form again to let me know you've done so.

For a third entry, spread the word about this contest - tell a friend or write about it on your own blog. Then let me know about it by filling out the form again.

You can enter up to three times (one for each type), and you must submit separate entries for each type. I'll select the winner using and announce them here on CFO as well as contact them by email. The winner will have 48 hours to send me their address, otherwise their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected.

The giveaway ends at 6:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday, November 18. Sorry, this giveaway is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Good luck!

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