Ever wish you had a trusted friend who could help you figure out how to improve your financial situation and teach you all the great money-saving secrets? You may never meet Crystal Paine, but after listening to her audio book you’ll probably feel like she’s become that person to you. Most of us realize that we would benefit from an overhaul of our spending and savings habits, but we lack the knowledge and/or motivation to do so. In The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, Crystal Paine comes armed with both, ready to inspire us and teach us money-saving strategies that will allow us to reach our financial goals.
With her upbeat and friendly attitude, Paine explains how you can greatly improve your financial situation by following seven rules:
- Set goals
- Cut down on clutter
- Set up a budget
- Use only cash
- Use coupons
- Never pay retail
- Choose contentment
Some of these rules are not self-explanatory (see if you can answer this: how does a cluttered house relate to losing money?), but Paine does a great job breaking down each rule and giving lots of concrete, real-life examples to make her points (answer to the question above: house clutter causes you to lose track of all sorts of things, including that pesky bill buried under the clutter). I personally wouldn’t follow all seven rules (I love my credit card rewards too much to follow Rule# 4: Use only cash) but she makes a compelling argument as to how following the seven rules can drastically improve your financial situation.
Even if you’re not inclined to follow her budget advice, she offers a treasure trove of money-saving resources that anyone can use, regardless of their budget philosophy, including websites that specialize in listing coupon codes for online shopping, websites that track businesses who offer birthday freebies, tips on where to buy the cheapest prescription sunglasses, and detailed advice on how to save money on planes tickets, hotels, and other travel expenses.
Keep in mind this is not a book on “sophisticated” personal finance strategies like investing and tax sheltering, so readers looking for ways to beat the stock market or reduce their tax payments will be left empty-handed. What Paine does offer is simple, straightforward advice that any person, regardless of their financial situation, can use to make significant, positive change in their financial outlook. Some of the principles might seem obvious (“write down rules and break them into bite-sized pieces”) but they’re worth being reminded of. And keep in mind this is coming from a reputable source- Crystal Paine is a self-made success story, a busy mom who built from scratch a money management blog that is now read by millions, and she did it in between diaper changes and homeschooling her kids.
If you want to get down to the “nitty gritty” of grocery savings, Paine doesn’t disappoint: she provides a tutorial on using coupons (where to get coupons, how to match them with store sales) and then launches into “extreme couponing” techniques (how to obtain multiple copies of the same coupon, how to stack coupons at the register, how to play the “Drugstore Game,” etc). And for those too squeamish to use coupons, she provides a list of 25 ways to save money on groceries without using coupons.
I recommend the Money Saving Mom’s Budget for anyone looking for reliable advice on how to improve their financial situation, whether they’re looking to fine-tune or want a complete overhaul. Crystal Paine deftly combines back-to-basics budget advice with brand new Groupon-generation savings strategies, and the combination is a winner.
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget is available in audio book as well as traditional book format. The audio book comes with a 35-page PDF of worksheets and additional money-saving tips. I can say quite honestly that Crystal Paine should consider a second career in book narration, because she is as good as any professional narrator. When I used to commute two hours a day I listened to my fair share of audio books, and there is no question that Paine holds her own in book narration. Her delivery is upbeat and friendly, with clear diction and good pacing.
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The Daily Citron is all about managing money, ideas for living green, adventures in parenting, and most of all my attempts to make lemonade out of lemons, limes, citrons, and any other sour fruit life throws my way. All written by someone who hasn’t even come close to figuring life out, but wants to share what they’ve found useful so far.
Disclosure Notice: I was permitted to listen to a copy of this audio book for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated for the review. My reviews are always unbiased, and I only write positive reviews of books that I genuinely believe are great books.