Monday, January 02, 2012

Book Review (and a Giveaway!) : The Money Saving Mom's Budget

Most of you know that I am a big fan of saving money and trying to live frugally, and you also probably know that one of my favorite blogs is Money Saving Mom. I've been following Crystal's blog since she started it, and I love not only her money-saving advice, but especially how "real" she is. So I was very excited when I heard she was writing a book, and even more excited when I found out I would be able to receive a copy to review here!
The Money Saving Mom's Budget isn't a "get rich quick" book, nor was it just a repeat of her blog. I found it to be a fresh, encouraging look at how we as women can save money and plan a workable budget.

Throughout the book, Crystal sets forth 7 rules for financial success. It really hit home with me when she started off with Rule #1: "Set Big Goals and Break Them Down into Bite-Sized Pieces." Wow, yes! This rule applies to finances, and actually all of life. In fact, as I've been working on my goals for this year, I am applying the same principle of breaking them down. It's so true that when you look at the big picture (example: huge mounds of credit card debt, or maybe a large purchase such as a car), it can be overwhelming, but when you think about it in terms of bite-sized pieces (i.e. how much you can pay off or save per month, and ways to accomplish that), suddenly the big picture doesn't look quite so daunting. Crystal walks you through the goal-setting process in this first step. Some of the other rules for financial success include cutting the clutter in your life (*real* clutter--I love this, and so need this challenge!), setting up a budget, and how to use coupons effectively. There are others, but I don't want to give away all of them, just whet your appetite. :) The final rule is "Choose Contentment," which I also loved. Whether we have little or much, contentment is the key. Crystal writes, "Contentment is a state of the heart, unaffected by outward circumstances . . . You can choose to stop focusing on what you don't have and start being thankful for the many blessings you do have."

One of the things I liked most about The Money Saving Mom's Budget is how practical it is. Crystal is very down-to-earth, and writes about finances and frugal living in a way that is simple to understand. I have always found budgeting very difficult and we have made countless budgets, only to give up on them within a few months or less. But after reading this book, I actually feel as though I can make a budget and stick to it! She starts you off with just a simple food budget for the first month. The next month you add a bit more to it and make a "bare-bones budget," and then the third month you add even more to make a "full-fledged budget." Very doable!

I also really appreciated the encouraging tone of the book. It felt like I was getting kind advice from a friend, having someone to cheer me on through the sometimes-overwhelming maze of trying to figure out finances. Yes, Crystal is passionate about budgeting and saving money, because she's lived it--and still does--and knows how good financial freedom feels. But she doesn't come across in a preachy way, just an encouraging, "you can do this!" kind of way. And because the book was written by a young mom, someone who is in the same stage of life as me, I could really relate to it.

There is so much more I could write, but I don't want to make a book review into a book. :) Just a few other things I wanted to mention that you will find in this book:
~Tips on how to lower your living expenses
~Tips on how to use coupons effectively
~Tips on how to lower your grocery bill (with or without coupons)
~Personal testimonies from Money Saving Mom readers (something I felt really added to the book!!)
~Tips on how to save on dates, entertainment, and vacations
~Tips for having a successful garage sale
~A list of helpful resources (books, ebooks, websites, etc.)
~Worksheets for goal setting, budgeting, etc.

I'm sure you all can tell I am pretty excited about this book, and I hope I've inspired you all to get yourselves a copy. But if buying a book isn't in your budget right now, I have good news! The copy I received was an advance copy, but Crystal graciously offered to send me a final copy once my review was posted. And I will be giving THAT copy away to one of you, after I receive it! In order to enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. No other hoops to jump through, just comment and make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win. :) This giveaway will be open till next Monday, January 9th, at midnight. The Money Saving Mom's Budget is scheduled to release next Tuesday, January 10th, so I should be able to get a copy to the winner fairly soon after the giveaway ends.

For those who don't win the book, I hope you might order a copy. One other thing I think is so neat is that Crystal is donating all the profits from the book to Compassion International. So if you buy it, not only do you get an excellent book, but you also help a wonderful organization to show the love of Jesus and bring physical aid to children in other countries.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also, the links in this post are my Amazon affiliate links, just so you all know. :)


**EDIT: For those who are new to my blog, don't worry if your comment doesn't show up right away!  I have comment moderation enabled, so I have to publish them all individually.  No need to comment a second time, I have all your comments--and will publish them when I have time. :) And if you're commenting anonymously, PLEASE make sure to leave an email address so I have a way to contact you if you win, otherwise I will have to pick a different winner.  If you've already commented anonymously without leaving an address, please comment again.   Thanks! :)

83 comments:

Hil'Lesha said...

Sounds like a fantastic book!

HilLesha@gmail.com

Nikki said...

I would love to win a copy but I may buy a copy anyway.It sounded like a great resource.:)
I need all the help I can get.Hope you have a great week.~Nikki

1HappyWife said...

Please enter me :)!
Happy New Year to you and your family :)!

Katie said...

I would love to win this book! Budgeting and frugal living are goals I am working on in 2012. Kbruno01@yahoo

Mrs.T said...

Sounds like an excellent book! Sounds very practical and truly helpful ~ for real people.

Jessica said...

This sounds like a book I could really use!!

Sharon said...

i would love to read this book!

KayLindz said...

I would like to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Laurasu82@yahoo.com

Veronica said...

thanks for offering this on your site!

Keisla said...

Looking forward to reading this. MSM is one of my favorite go-to blogs.

Erin said...

I can't wait to read this book - please enter me.

erinb1 at aol dot com

KayJay said...

How fun! I would love to win this book :) Thanks!

Shell-Belle said...

We are a Sonlight family too!

Love Money Saving Mom--that sounds like a great book!

shelley.sneed@gmail.com

Cia said...

I'd love to win...thank you!

Jennifer said...

I would love to win a copy!

Anonymous said...

Would love to win. I follow Crystal's website and we are trying to get our finances under control! Thanks for the giveaway.

amberhenz@yahoo.com

Steph @ MomKaboodle said...

Would love to win a copy - thanks!

momkaboodle at gmail.com

Sharon said...

Would love a copy!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book, I hope I win.

sweta55(at)hotmail(dot)com

Fiona said...

Thanks for the chance to enter. Please enter me for this fantastic book

fionabanfield@hotmail.com

Lynette said...

I would love to win a copy--thanks for the chance.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy of this book

Katiria said...

winning a copy would be wonderful

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of the Money Saving Mom's Budget.

Kerrie said...

I am excited about this book! I will read it one way or another, and am looking forward to it.

twags999 at hotmail dot com

AnnMarie said...

Would love to win a copy to give to my brother and SIL.

Dixie said...

I would love to read this book.

Jessica Tillett said...

I would love have a chance at winning this book! Thanks! ;)

jltillett81@yahoo.com

Hannah said...

I would love to win a copy! Thanks! :)

buttonsnblessings (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book.
agomezbc91@verizon.net

lyss said...

Pick me!

lyss . rose @ yahoo . com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks~
kernaomi at yahoo dot com

sash said...

Avid reader of Moneysavingmom.com, would love to win a copy! sksavings [at] gmail Thanks!

Anonymous said...

merlyn@dejazzd.com
I would love a copy. Thanks for the giveaway

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win this book!! :)

Becky

t_3_st at hotmail dot com

adventures in saving said...

I would love to win!

Diana said...

I'm posting for Mom- she would love to be eligible for the giveaway but when she tried to comment it didn't work. :)

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy of this book, need to set a budget my family can actually follow.

lizcasterline@yahoo.com

Beth.vG said...

I would love this book! :)

Charis said...

I will love to win a copy!

Donna said...

I gave one away as a Christmas gift, but would like one for myself. Thanks!

Frugal Girl said...

This would be so awesome to win!

Kyra said...

I want to win!

latanya said...

Thank you for the chance

dlatany at gmail dot com

drew carson said...

Love these blogs and would love to learn more.

Mandy said...

I'd love to win this book!

goldfuss1 [at] frontier [dot] com

Leigh Ann said...

Thank you for entering me in the contest!

Anonymous said...

I've been inspired by Crystal's blog over the past year, and I would love to read her book!
bkittie@hotmail.com

Chrissy said...

Really want to win this book!

Beauty of Grace said...

I am so excited about this giveaway!

Kassi said...

Would love a copy- sounds like a great, helpful book!

Laura said...

Thanks for the chance to win! lauralu04 @ gmail .com

Randall and Rachel Beita said...

I would love to win a copy! Thanks!

cait said...

would love to win! :)

SamanthaD said...

I'm a long time follower of Money Saving Mom and would love to win her book!

Thanks so much!
SamanthaD
Dull2000@cox.net

Anonymous said...

This looks like a fabulous book!

Jennifer Hooper
pianojen5@yahoo.com

crystal said...

Excited about this book - would love to win!

maria said...

What a great review. I need a copy of that book ! I hope i win it.

Maria Perez said...

I would love to win a copy.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I would love to win a copy of the book. maile5100@gmail.com

sara said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Thank you for the opportunity! sara_pulliam@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to have this book! fsmith2240@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win!

Connie
ccorey at binghamton dot edu

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy... looks like a great book!

pklandru@hotmail.com

thesavvysunflower said...

Thanks for the opportunity - I would love to win a copy of this book!

Anonymous said...

I'm so looking forward to reading this book...winning a copy would be great!

muller508@comcast.net

blaireruch said...

ooh, i really would love to get this book!

shellygoguen said...

This book sounds like it's exactly what I need. I would love to win it -thank you for the chance.

shelly@goguen.org

Linda said...

I'd love to win. Thanks

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing your feedback on Crystal's book. I would really like to read it too!
~Rebecca
montanaprescotts@yahoo.com

Angie M. said...

I would love to win a copy of this book!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win since there is no way we can afford 1 on our budget right now.
karen b
bkbowman91@centurylink.net

The Culbertsons said...

I want to learn how to manage my time better and set goals.

wifery said...

I would love to have that book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Shannon said...

I would love to read this! Thank you!

runner330@yahoo.com

Melissa said...

Your review is helpful and the fact that Crystal's book is practical is the main reason I need it, whether I win it (!) or buy it.
melissamberry@hotmail.com

amanda said...

thanks for this oppurtunity i love crystal!



browneyes0124@yahoo.com

Ashley said...

i could so use this book! it would truly be a great help and motivation. I would truly love to win such a useful book! @ ashes121314@gmail.com

Carmen said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance.

Jill said...

Please enter me! I would like to read this book! Thanks for making a simple and easy to enter giveaway!

LaNell said...

I would love to win this book.

mrsniceantonio said...

I would love to win! Good luck to all who entered.