Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Book Review: The Money Saving Mom's Budget
I have been reading Crystal's blog Money Saving Mom since at least 2008. I was a big Dave Ramsey fan and her financial principles are much like his. Although what is great about Crystal's blog is that you see an actual person living out those principles.
The book is well organized and uses real life examples. She starts out with her 7 rules for financial success. These are great because it gives you a month to do each rule. It also gives you a starting point. Chapter 1 talks about goal setting which is obviously important if you want to change anything in your life. As they say the definition of stupidity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Bottom line - goals are a must. She gives you ways to start setting goals and even how to go about setting them when you are barely treading water.
Chapter 2 deals with cutting out your clutter - physical and personal. She also gives you tips on how to turn your clutter into cash. And once again, she gives you practical steps to help you accomplish your clutter cutting. Chapter 3 deals with setting up a budget and ways to lower your expenses as well. Chapter 4 deals with going plastic-free. She gives good answers to using cash envelopes and even what to do with all the coins you get from using cash.
Chapter 5 - coupons! I am not the biggest coupon fan, but this chapter shows you that coupons are not just for junk food. She shares where to get free coupons and even different ways of organizing them. In Chapter 6, she shares how to know if things are a good deal and helps you formulate a plan for using the food you bought with coupons in your menu plans.
Chapter 7 deals with saving money at the grocery store even without coupons. There were several good ideas in this chapter that I had not thought about. Going out without going broke is what Chapter 8 is about. Using coupons, getting free or cheap gift cards to restaurants. Also included is how to save money on everything from clothing to glasses to dental work.
Chapter 9 tells you how to do all of this while not always living for someday. How to choose contentment and even a few ways to earn some extra money.
The Appendix is full of interesting worksheets that you can use.
Overall I wasn't sure I would learn anything new from this book, but I definitely did. It also reminded me of how important it is to set goals and actively see them through. I enjoyed the real world examples of Crystal's and also of some of her readers.
I think this book will definitely give you something to think about and maybe even teach you some new (really old) ways of handling your money. Another great reason to buy this book is that she is giving away all the proceeds from this book to Compassion International.
Disclosure: I was given an advance copy of this book to review. All opinions are completely my own.