Book Review: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

So if you’ve been around the money-saving-blog world for very long, you’ve probably heard about this book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, by Crystal Paine (aka, Money Saving Mom :) ).  A few months ago I jumped at the chance to be able to review a copy of her new book, and I was not disappointed!

I’ve been reading her blog for a couple of years, so my biggest curiosity was whether or not the book would just be a condensed version of all she’s posted on her blog. But I was pretty sure Crystal would manage better than that! :)

And I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while some of the things I had read online were included (like part of their house-buying story), she includes plenty of new information, fresh ideas, and even a 3-step budgeting process that I don’t believe I’ve ever read anywhere else. I most definitely did not feel like I was just re-reading in a book format.

I would heartily recommend this book to everyone. If you have a budget system and home organization system that’s currently working for you, that’s awesome. I still think you’d enjoy this book and learn new things. If nothing else, you’d have read a good book that you could knowledgably recommend to someone who was struggling. Get it from the library if you want to “try before you buy” :)

If you’re like the many people who are struggling with making ends meet, debt piling up, or clutter overwhelming your brain and home, you should definitely buy this book. Don’t wait for it to be available at the library. :) You’ll be able to read it quickly–Crystal’s writing style is simple and straightforward and she gives easy-to-implement plans for taking charge of different areas of your life.

The first sentence that stood out to me was this:

“If living beneath your means or saving sixty-five percent on your grocery bills were effortless, everyone would be doing it!”

I’d never thought about it that way, but often grumbled when it took me an hour to make my grocery list because of trying to plan the menu around sales and find any coupons that match up. I would think, “Everybody else can make a grocery list in probably 15 minutes flat. Why am I spending so much time on this?!” But the fact that I’m making a list (checking it twice….just kidding!) and routinely seeing “You saved $20 today” on my Kroger receipts is not something the 15-minute list makers would necessarily see on a regular basis. (If you do, please start a blog called or something and I’ll be your first subscriber! :) )

Crystal gives “7 Rules for Financial Success” and elaborates on them throughout the chapters. She starts out with goal-setting and breaking down the big goals, moves on to organization (mentally and in your home), and then starts into the money side of things. The 3-step process to having a full-fledged budget is brilliant, in my opinion. Instead of telling you to sit down and just bang! come up with a budget, she breaks it down into bite-size pieces. (Wait, doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s like a full buget is your goal, but you’re breaking it down into smaller, doable steps. Just like you’d do for Rule #1. How ’bout that!)

I’ve got to say, the section on home organization was where I really benefited. I need to go back through now and write down plans for improving in that area. It’s so true that when things are organized in the home, everything runs so much smoother. And right now I don’t even have any kiddos to work around! (Give me a couple weeks…then I won’t be able to say that anymore :) ) And a simple organization system like she recommends is much easier to maintain than a complex one. Thanks, Crystal :)

Her last rule, “Choose Contentment,” is definitely the foundation for all the others. Without a mindset of “enough is enough” and being content with what you’ve been given, you’ll have a hard time really implementing the other guidelines and strategies.

And of course, no finance book would be complete without sections for earning extra income, cutting extra costs, holding good garage sales, finding good deals on entertainment, and ready-made charts to help you set goals and get organized. These are the places you’ll want to bookmark and re-read every so often to be reminded of ways you can keep yourself on track.

And last, but not least, do read the acknowledgements at the end! Crystal said she enjoys reading those if she’s enjoyed a book, and I definitely agree, strange though it may be. You’ll see that although Crystal wrote a fabulous book, she also had amazing help in getting it all put together. I love seeing how an author’s personality comes through in the acknowledgements, and I think you will too :)

So there’s what I thought of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. Should you read it? YES. Should you recommend it to others who might benefit? YES. Should you go around to all the giveaways and enter them? Of course! :)

Happy reading :) This book will be released January 10, 2012.

Would you like to win a copy of the book? Just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered into the drawing. Comments will be closed January 9th, 2012 at 11:59 pm. I’ll post the winner on the 10th :)



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