Thursday, January 19, 2012
The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine
The book starts out by teaching us the importance of having a plan and setting goals. This was a hard one for me, and honestly, I never did actually set my short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Mainly because I wanted to discuss it with my husband and for us to set goals together. The importance of having goals is to help you stay focused on your future. Not just wandering through life aimlessly, but living life on purpose.
Once your goals are written down, the next topic of discussion is clutter. This was an eye-opening chapter for me personally. I have been dealing with this issue for awhile and reading this chapter was the kick in the pants I needed to being proactive about reducing clutter and becoming more organized...especially in the area of papers in my house. I have piles. Not TONS of piles, but a couple that are ALWAYS there. And ever-increasing. And they never get put away. Mainly Crystal enlightened me on the fact that this paper clutter was costing me money. If I couldn't find a bill to pay (which has, ahem, happened to me more than once in the past), then I will most likely be charged a late fee for the late payment. All those added fees add up. Crystal describes in detail how to rid your life of clutter in order to save money. The day after reading that chapter I removed the piles from my life, filed everything, and found some things that had been missing for awhile.
Then the author goes on to talk about the importance of having a budget and how to do set one up for your family's finances. This one key item is the most important part of handling your finances, yet so few people do it! She even writes about the common excuses why people don't have a budget, then proves them all to be untrue!
Next up is couponing. Where to get them, how to use them, where to use them. You name it, it's in her book! She also advises first-time coupon users on how to get started without going to the extreme and finding yourself on that TLC show because you have stolen your kid's bedroom and converted it into a mini-warehouse to store all of your loot!
I really enjoyed chapter 7, which is called "25 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill Without Clipping Coupons". I was at a cross-road of deciding whether or not to continue clipping coupons since we are eliminating processed foods from our diet and the fact that it's time-consuming. When I lean more towards not using coupons or when I go on a month-long hiatus from clipping, I tend to feel guilty about losing the potential savings through clipping coupons. This chapter gave me ideas (25 of them!) of how to still save without coupons...so no more guilt for me! Yay!
At the end of the book, Crystal teaches us how to save money when eating out and gives lots of ideas on how to have date night (or family night) on a small budget. Budgeting isn't about never eating out...but being thrifty when you do!
I love this book. I think you should read it too! This is definitely a book I will be keeping on hand to refer back to often. She lists tons of websites pertaining to the subjects in this book and I can't wait to check some of them out! Throughout the entire book, the author shares her story of living on a small income and how she and her husband survived (which was, ultimately, how her blog, Money Saving Mom, was birthed!). All in all, I love this book. I know I said it already, but I really mean it! So go buy yourself a copy! You can find it on Amazon.com by clicking here!
* A HUGE thanks to the author for giving me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!!!