Review: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

A little over two months ago I had the privilege of reviewing Crystal Paine’s new book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year.  So why has it taken me so long to write the review?  I am asking myself the same question.  I think the answer to that question is why I really needed to read this book in the first place!

Why I Needed The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

As I mentioned to Crystal, I have been married for almost 20 years.  Nineteen of those years have been as a military spouse.  As you probably guessed, we aren’t rich.  And here’s the big secret…we have never had a budget {gasp}. I always felt that we couldn’t have a budget because there really wasn’t much to budget.  We don’t spend on extravagances, we live very frugally, and are working hard to pay off the last of our debts.

Recently I have been couponing and have seen some success from it, but I knew there was more to the puzzle than just clipping coupons each week.  Financial freedom doesn’t come from cutting your grocery bill.  I was excited when I started reading Crystal’s book.  She has laid out all the elements in plain English.  And she does so in an order that both makes sense and is doable.

I guess that is why it just made sense to me when one of the first chapters has nothing whatsoever (ok, well it is foundational, but not in an obvious kind of way) to do with budgeting and money.  It is entitled, “Are the Chaos and Clutter in Your Life Keeping You from Financial Freedom?”  Who knew?  And it is so true… When the house is a mess and our schedules are out of whack, the last thing on the to-do list (for me anyway) is to make sure the finances are in order.

Here’s the thing: you might have great intentions, you might be able to set inspirational goals, and you may even put together a surefire budget.  But if you’re drowning in cutter and your days are completely overbooked, implementing any of the money-saving tips in this book is going to be a feat of sheer willpower.

~Crystal Paine, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

So what have I been doing to get us on a budget?  I have been clearing the clutter.  To be honest, I didn’t really think this was a big area for me.  My husband likes a clean, mess free home (and I do too, it’s just hard to make happen on a daily basis).  Our home is generally clean and picked up, but once I read chapter 2, I realized I had some work to do.

Where I Am At

Knowing that we need to downsize anyway has helped, but overall I like to hang on to too many “things”.  However, I have gone through each room purging them of anything that we don’t need.  And let me tell you, it feels so good.  I am about to do it again.  There is just something mentally relaxing about walking into a room where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Because I like the feeling of clean, I didn’t have a problem completing the de-cluttering step.

My problem is more the “chaos”.  Which leads me to the answer to the question, why haven’t I gotten the review done sooner?  Here is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…I have an overwhelming schedule that hasn’t been tamed yet.  I have more plates spinning than I can count, and until I can get them under control, I won’t be able to see real results with our financial goals.

Saving money and budgeting takes time and it takes discipline.  These are two areas of my life that I need to get under control.  I have six children spanning from a toddler to a young adult, and balancing it all requires a disciplined use of my time.

So that’s where I am at right now.  Working on me before I work on finances.  Learning to budget my time before my money.

The Rest of the Story

When I finished reading the book, I was all fired up (and still am) about all the goodies tucked away in this gem of a book.  I wanted to go through each step and have them all done before I wrote up my review.  After all, if I could do it all, it could be done by anyone!  Then reality struck and I realized it was going to take a lot of work to get from A to Z.  And all that work was going to take some time.

Yes, the steps are “easy” and Crystal does a great a great job of breaking down each step in bite-sized chunks.  I also loved how she intertwined stories of real people, their struggles, and their successes.  This helped me visualize and apply each step to my life.  This book isn’t meant to be a “follow my method and get rich quick” type of book.  Rather it is a book of sound principles, which when applied with diligence and hard work, will help anyone gain control of their money (and really a lot of other areas of their life as well).

I am still working at it, and thankful for the tools Crystal has provided to help with the journey!

To learn more about Crystal’s book, or to find great dealsstretch your hard-earned dollars, and live on less than you make so you can save more and give more, visit her at Money Saving Mom!

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