April Reads 1: The Money $aving Mom’s Budget

I actually read this book in March, but I wanted to go back and re-read it again since I had blitzed through it and I knew I needed to slow down and think about some of the things Crystal Paine, Author of The Money $aving Mom’s Budget (see picture below) and author/founder of themoneysavingmom blog.

I have been a reader of Crystal’s for about a year now and if you don’t know this about me already, I LOVE reading about finances, budgeting, saving money, stretching the dollar etc etc. I have always been frugal some might say I pinch those pennies too hard – with my money even as a child (ask my parents: I made more than my siblings for weekly allowance because I did so many more chores – not because I wanted to spend money on clothes or shoes like every other teenager but because I felt called to sponsor a child from Kenya through Compassion International. And I did starting in the 7th grade and continuing through my first year of college).

Anywho, I went to a private school as an out-of-state student and now I am paying for it (oh, did I mention I also managed to complete a graduate degree in about 1 year’s worth of time as well?). It has been through some coaching, heartbreak and me coming to kind terms with money that I can spend it – and not have to feel guilty because I need new quality shoes or that I haven’t spent anything on myself in over a year and hey, I just want that purse okay?

I’ve learned to save up for things I want and to not buy something just because it is ‘on sale’ – although it helps! For example, one of my favorite clothing stores, Eddie Bauer, has a ginormous sale on Columbus Day weekend every. year. (think over 40% – 50% off!) and I know that I get stuff from them during that weekend. So I’ve been saving up for it. I might only walk in there with $100, but at least it is $100 I know will be well spent and there isn’t any guilt attached to it.

Now onto this book:


really like it. Not just about the financial information she presents, but also because a  lot of what she says can be applied in other parts on my life. For example: she talks about setting goals. Financially, she asks ‘Where do you want to be in five years?’ but this question also applies to real life. She recommends having three BIG goals, then breaking them down into bite-sized pieces.

Financially, I would love to have all my student loans paid off in five years. How do I break down that goal into yearly ones? Can it then be broken down monthly? Weekly? Life wise, I dream of being self-sufficient. That’s a big, lofty goal. Bite sized pieces for that might be: taking a canning class/learning to put food by, taking a beginners vegetable gardening class at a local greenhouse, reading The Backyard Homestead. Do you see what I mean? (Just a side note, I have had confirmation from two different people, in two very different settings about some of these things that I may be writing a post on. That way I can talk about it a bit more).

The second chapter of her book is THE most life changing of the whole nine, in my opinion. It is entitled ‘Are the Chaos and Clutter in Your Life Keeping You from Financial Success?’ and boy…. she is a game changer/ Are you ready?

  1. Stop trying to do it all. It is okay to say no.
  2. Create a list of your personal priorities
    1. What are you gifted at and what do you love to do?
    2. List everything you would like to do/accomplish in the next five to ten years
    3. Five things that will be really important to you at the end of your life.
    4. Look over all three lists and see which things overlap. Then narrow your list down to the top 6 or 8 personal priorities
  3. Develop a time budget  – start with the time you have, take out eight hours for sleep, 2 hours of margin time then prioritize the last 14 hours.
  4. Tame the Clutter Monster.

Crystal also talks about basic versus advanced budgeting, basic/advanced couponing (which I’m not really interested in, honestly), never paying retail/shop the sales, easy ways to save money that you may have not thought of before whether it be one glasses, kids clothes or exercise. She talks about how to be content with what you have been given and sharing/giving to others. She also gives a small appendix of helpful reading and website resources. Even though I have read similar articles, tips and tricks on much of the same things we talks about here and on her website, it never hurts to have gentle reminders. And who knows, you may have one of those ‘aha!’ moments reading this book and something that you have heard over and over again is finally making sense to you in a different light.

Overall I recommend this book to anyone! It would be a great gift for someone just starting out (with or without kids – as I have none!) or even to just add to your library. Happy Reading!



About C.Skinner

I am a military spouse and I am excited to travel! I love to find adventure; am trying to be more creative; this year my intention is to live a better, fuller life.
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