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I second your book recommendation!

I would add another, which has similar stories about the challenges of managing money when income and costs are volatile, but in developing countries rather than in the US:

jkurnia · 2014-03-03 · Original thread
Hi janj, I am not familiar with any place where debt is not used in some form or another. (See for a really thorough exposition of the variety of debt strategies low-income households use to manage their finances.)

The main alternatives to debt that I am aware of are forms of Islamic financing, such as rent-to-own and profit-sharing models. We have explored the possibility of offering a profit-sharing financing product, but failed to come up with a feasible way of implementing such a model. The successful implementations of profit-sharing models seem to rely on strong information verification systems and intensive interaction with local staff, which we as an online service cannot offer.

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