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The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your…
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The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt,… (2012)

by Crystal Paine

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[b: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode|18110681|Say Goodbye to Survival Mode 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life|Crystal Paine|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1371942924s/18110681.jpg|25435023] disappointed me, but I read several positive reviews of Paine's earlier book, [b: The Money Saving Mom's Budget|10873065|The Money Saving Mom's Budget Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year|Crystal Paine|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348474864s/10873065.jpg|15788369], which convinced me to pick it up - and I'm glad I did.

The first few chapters are mostly about the importance of a budget, which, presumably if someone is picking a book like this up, they know already. But she does give a fairly simple and easy-to-follow directions for actually creating that budget and sticking to it. Some people, I'm sure, want to follow a budget but just have no idea of how to go about it - or drastically underestimate areas, get dispirited, and give up.

She also describes how to declutter in one or two chapters, which I actually found more helpful than the entirety of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I had already done that the month previously, so I felt safe skipping ahead to the next few.

One thing you'll notice is that Paine adores lists. She suggests making a list of all your expenses, which is fair enough. Then she talks about making a list of your priorities, which... could be helpful, I suppose. Then she wants you to make a list of all of your time and fill that in and I kind of skipped over that because I can't stand that level of micromanagement. For people who adore lists and organization and can actually stick to them, that chapter is for y'all. For the rest of us, seeing a timesheet for every waking moment is just depressing.

The most valuable chapters were in how to coupon shop. Most of these tips are going to be more useful to families, who can afford to buy in bulk. Most sales are geared toward the "buy 10 for $10" or "buy two, get one free", which is not ordinarily useful for single people. If I bought 10 of something, it would probably go bad before I could use it all up.

That said, for deals that aren't geared toward bulk, there is some great information. I try vaguely to use coupons (when I remember) and shop sales (when I remember) when I'm planning my meal plan, but that's about it. She gives some great resources for finding coupons, how to use them, how to organize them, and how to get the best deals. This is where the book really proved its value.

She also talks about basic things to save money, including shopping around for the best prices, never paying full price for things, and a few other tips that are fairly obvious. Here I will say that it is fairly obvious that she is writing this with a family in mind - though she says that she hears it all the time from people that they "don't have time to shop around", she dismisses this and mentions that she bundles grocery shopping into other errands, so that she can hit them all at once. That's great, but that's if you're running errands already. If you get up at 6:30 in the morning, get to work by 8:00, stay until 6:00, and then get home at 7:00, you have three and a half hours to make dinner and eat, clean the house, and get ready for tomorrow before you have to go to bed. Running errands usually only happens on my lunch break when I can fit in a quick oil change. Look, Paine mentioned in her other book that she works 40 hours a week on her blog and takes care of her kids - which is awesome and I am not at all saying that work is less valuable. But it is different. Those 40 hours are more flexible and there's no commute time. There's a big difference, and I doubt most people who have a full-time job can fit some of her ideas into their schedule.

Some, however, are totally doable - and while she proposes going all-out and saving $50/hr (I still don't think the math is quite right on that), even just trying and instituting some of the easiest tips will probably save $10 - $15 per grocery trip, which can add up in the long-run. Instituting a budget and cutting back on areas you can afford to will probably save another $100 - $150.

This is a useful book, but I wouldn't propose trying all of her suggestions (or even the majority). Use what you can, when you can, and this book will prove its value. ( )
  kittyjay | Jan 2, 2016 |
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Distills financial advice and practices introduced in the author's "Money Saving Mom" blog to counsel readers on how to establish financial goals, organize in accordance with financial needs, and reduce grocery and household expenses.

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