I’ve been a fan of The Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine, for quite some time. It was through her blog that I first learned about maximizing grocery savings through couponing. I did really well for awhile. I even had, like many others, my own frugal living blog – until I got lazy.
Meeting Crystal and hearing her speak was one of the highlights of my trip to the Relevant Conference in 2010. She’s such a kind, soft-spoken, genuine, tiny person.
Even so, I really had no great desire to read her new book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. Not because I didn’t think it would be good. I read Crystal’s blog, so I knew it would be. I didn’t want to read it because it might force me to get my head out of the sand – because it might convict me about cracking down and getting my budget on track and, let’s face it, I’ve tried that before. It’s hard and seemed impossible.
At least that was the case before I read Fat Chick Fed Up’s review. When Lisa put the whole budget thing in the perspective of losing weight, my arguments lost their steam. I mean, losing weight is hard…but I did it. Completely changing my eating habits was hard…but I did it.
So, when Crystal offered me the opportunity to review The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, I eagerly – okay, and a little fearfully – agreed.
As straightforward and down-to-earth as she is on her blog, Crystal covers topics such as the following in her book:
- How to begin goal setting
- Setting up a realistic budget
- Using and organizing coupons
- Money saving tips
- Switching to a cash-only system
Did that last one sound out of place? Tips on organization aren’t what you’d typically expect to find in a book on financial management, but it makes sense when Crystal explains it.
You may know that I typically have a hard time reading non-fiction books. I’m much more of a story kind of girl. Crystal has employed a technique in The Money Saving Mom’s Budget that works well for people like me, though: lots of stories. The stories from Crystal’s own experiences and those of her blog readers offer insight into the practical application of her budgeting tips.
Another extremely helpful aspect of the book is found right after the Table of Contents: Money Saving Mom’s 7 Rules for Financial Success. Each rule is followed by an action plan for the month (some action plans even cover two or three months). That means that you aren’t expected to completely overhaul your entire financial life overnight. Crystal provides reasonable baby steps to help change become something attainable.
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget makes a quick, easy read…well, until you slow down to do the activities and action points, but I preferred to read straight through the first time.
I started to work through each of the action steps as I came to them, but I quickly saw that doing so could result in me never finishing the book. I needed an overview to start with and time to let those ideas percolate before implementing them. (For the record, that’s the same approach I take at curriculum fairs and used book sales, too.)
At the end of the book, you’ll find all the worksheets to get you started:
- Goal setting
- Time budget
- Price book
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that this book has changed my life. Not yet, anyway. It took me a long time to finally decide to commit to do what it took to lose weight and this will take some time, too, because it’s a big commitment that requires a great deal of self-control and discipline.
Now I need to work up the determination and commitment and find a time to sit down and discuss all these ideas with my husband. The thoughts are percolating, though, and getting on a workable budget seems doable.
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget book is available on Amazon for $10.99.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. This post also contains affiliate links. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.