I adore audio books. However, I find myself typically listening while doing the dishes, scrubbing the bathroom or some other monotonous mommy-job to make the time pass. I have been known, (ahem…on occasion), to become so engrossed that I realize after a few minutes that I have stopped cleaning to listen. I did find myself, yet again, putting down dishes or folding the laundry, simply because I wanted to write down Crystal’s tips or quotes in her new book Money Saving Mom’s Budget.
Crystal Paine is the author of this audio book (and bonus, she is the one reading it on the recording!) as well as the creator of MoneySavingMom.com; one of the top personal finance blogs on the web today. I love perusing the deals, tips, tricks, recipes and guest posts on her blog, and was thrilled to be chosen as one of the bloggers for her book review tour.
When I applied, I let them know that I was interested in hearing a condensed version of her budgeting tips, because those of us here at VKMW (as well as many of you) don’t budget like most main stream Americans. Case in point…um…well…I don’t cut coupons (hang with me here and I’ll explain uno momento!) So, I was really interested to see how far reaching Crystal’s budgeting principles would stretch, and if it would include the Traditional Foods/Weston A. Price adherents, those on the Paleo or GAPS diets, etc.
For starters, here are some of the topics that Crystal covers in Money Saving Mom's Budget:
How to set up a realistic budget
Never pay retail
Slash your grocery bill
Organize your time & your home
Use coupons wisely
Pay with cash only
Become debt free
Make every dollar count
I was pleased that at the beginning of her book, I agreed 100% with all of her budgeting principles, tips and encouragement. She starts out the first few minutes assuming that you are already trying to get out of debt or, at very least, live more frugally. She and her husband lived on sometimes as little as $650 per month while he was in law school, and so she’s been-there-done-that and can speak as someone who survived and has the tips and tricks to coach you through it. Her suggestions for budgeting, even when you feel like you are sinking in credit cards, are excellent. She also talks about goal-setting and is the perfect cheerleader and coach in one package – giving you clear cut instruction and the needed pep talk to make it happen.
After she has laid the ground work with budgeting and goal setting, she spends a good portion of the audio book explaining couponing and…oh my heart beats fast to say that…here is where Crystal and I start to take 2 different paths.
Crystal says at the beginning of her couponing chapter that ” Everyone should use coupons”…unless “…You are one of the .0002% of people in America who has never touched food unless it was grown in your own yard, you make your own toothpaste out of tree bark, and you use cloth toilet paper. Then I’ll exempt you.” She then jokingly assures her readers that yes, there really ARE people who use cloth toilet paper and that you can google it…and then she jokingly advises you not to google it, saying that she is frugal, but not THAT frugal.
Let me say that I TOTALLY understand where she is coming from and although we use cloth diapers and wipes, let me say that no, our family does NOT use cloth toilet paper…(and yes, it does elicit the same response in me that Crystal had!)…but I also know that there are alot of you out there in the Traditional Foods camp, as well as those crunchy mamas that are trying to “green” your home who do those things that she not-so-subtly discounted. So it was a little hard for me to get past her opening, knowing that she was already dissuaded against many things that I know some of you practice.
She also makes mention in the first few chapters that the grocery budget is one item that can always be tweaked and is where you have the potential to save money – which I agree with – in principle. And here is why I was so interested to review her book. As a Traditional Foodie and someone who adheres (albeit sometimes more strictly than others) to the health and diet principles of Weston A. Price, I have chosen that food is one area of the budget that I try to put more money into (and I find creative ways to cut other corners), not take away from.
We do have some food sensitivites and allergies that we have to accomodate, but aside from those, we choose to eat whole, unprocessed foods, usually made from scratch that contain high quality ingredients. We do so because we have seen the health benefits that it brings, and because, after much research, I know too much about conventionally processed food and my husband and I have chosen, for the sake of frugality and health, to only buy REAL food that would be identifiable by our great grandmas. (you can check our some of our Living Naturally Series to find out why)
Which leads me back to my confession – I don’t cut coupons for this reason. The majorioty of the ingredients that I buy are already reasonably priced because I buy ingredients. I also make all of my cleaning products for pennies on the gallon, so a bottle of Windex for $0.37 after coupons is not that beneficial to me. If I stumble across a worthwhile coupon then I will definitely apply it. However, the ratio of time spent searching, clipping and organizing coupons in proportion to the coupons that actually apply to the items my family uses is so low, that, as a Traditional Foodie, I don’t find it beneficial.
Crystal is quick to assure her listeners that just because you use coupons does not mean that you eat only junk food and that there are myriads of coupons for health food, organic items, as well as the staples that everyone needs – batteries, deoderant, shampoo, cleaning products, etc. I do agree with her wholeheartedly that just because you use coupons does NOT mean that you are a junk food addict and hoard 487 bottles of Pert Plus in your garage.
I know that as a Traditional Foodie, a good 80-90% of what my family consumes does not come with couponing options – but a large amount can be purchased at a discount in bulk – which is also one of Crystal’s money saving tips. Couponing simply does not fit my family’s situation, and it’s just not worth the time investment for me to search high and low and only save a dollar or two in the end.
Given that many of her couponing principles didn’t apply to my family’s chosen diet and lifestyle, there were several chapters and segments that were not as applicable to me (such as portions about couponing, drug store shopping, coupon organization, etc.) These chapters, while not a perfect fit for my situation, were still very well written and contained so much information that, if you DO clip coupons, I advise that you sit with pen and paper while you listen!
Crystal wraps up by talking about tips for saving money on other budget items, such as utilities (spoiler alert: yes, you should line dry your clothes!) and she even gives great tips for entertainment and vacations; knowing that “splurging” is a necessary part of any budget to keep us sane! But, most importantly to me, Crystal emphasized the need to be be content – to CHOOSE to be content with what we have and are given – in plenty or in want.
I am so grateful to have been sent a copy of Crystal’s audio book to review, and although there were segments that, as a Traditional Foodie were somewhat irrelevant to my purchasing habits, (based on my circumstances, diet and life style choices), this audio book is none the less PACKED with great information and her encouragement and straight- forward tips were exactly what I needed to hear to revitalize my family’s journey of living frugally and simply. The Money Saving Mom Audio book is an excellent resource for basic household budgeting principles, and it’s definitely a worth while read, er listen!
Celebrate the release of Money Saving Mom’s Budget audio book with Crystal by entering her iPad2 Giveaway (a GREAT tool to keep track of your budget!) and RSVPing to the Live Webcast Event on 4/5!
One savvy winner will receive:
A Brand new iPad2
The Money Saving Mom‘s Budget by Crystal Paine, audio edition
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 4/4/12. Winner will be announced at The Money Saving Mom’s Live Webcast Event on 4/5. Crystal will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement – bring your friends! She’ll share tips and advice and her husband will be joining her to share how the principles Crystal outlines in her book have dramatically impacted their family life. She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and much more!
So grab your copy of The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget and join Crystal and friends on the evening of April 5th for an evening of fun of learning, sharing and encouragement.
Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!
This post was linked to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop, WLWW Link Up Party at Women Living Well, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Your Green Resource at Green Backs Gal, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead, Mentoring Mamas at Simply Living for Him, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network, Sunday School Blog Hop at Butter Believer, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF, Welcome Home Link-Up at Raising Arrows, Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager