My Favorite Personal Finance Books

My Favorite Personal Finance Books

I’m booking it with Jessica this year, and February’s read is The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year, by Crystal Paine.  I’m a fan of Crystal’s blog, Money Saving Mom, and this book does a good job of capturing the essence of what Crystal blogs about.

Crystal’s personal story is inspiring–she and her husband lived in a tiny basement apartment on a teeny income when they were first married, and still managed to get him through law school without taking on any debt obligations.  I started reading Money Saving Mom when they were halfway towards their goal of paying cash for their first house.  And now, Crystal is donating all the proceeds from her book to Compassion International!  This woman is the real deal, and it shows on every page.

The content in The Money Saving Mom’s Budget is top-notch; I just wish there were more of it!  Somehow, it seems incomplete.  I felt like I was reading the middle of a good book that was missing the beginning and ending.

That being said, this book is an excellent primer for anyone trying to plant their feet on firm financial ground, and great motivation for anyone who wants a reminder of why they want to live frugally in the first place.  I think I’m pretty well-versed in the field of personal finance, but I still came away from this book with practical action points I need to follow through on, like requesting a copy of my credit report to make sure everything is in order.

If you’d like to improve your personal financial outlook, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Crystal’s book (or one of the other finance books I mention below).  We devote our time, energy and resources to the things that have our attention If you want to improve your financial situation, focus your attention on your finances by reading a good book.

My Favorite Personal Finance Books:

George Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon. This was the first finance book I read, given to me by my dad.  The advice couldn’t be simpler, though that doesn’t mean it’s easy to put it into practice.

Thomas Stanley, William Danko, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy.  How does the typical millionaire live?  Not that differently from everybody else.  My dad gave me this book, too. (Notice a pattern yet?)

Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness Unlike Crystal Paine, Dave Ramsey made a wreck of his own personal finances early on his financial career.  He turned his ship around, and made it his mission to teach other people how to get out of debt–and stay out.  This is a great step-by-step guide to turning your own finances around, one baby step at a time.

And for those of you who prefer your financial advice short and snappy, Steve Martin and Amy Poehler have some words of wisdom to share with you: Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford.

What’s your favorite personal finance book?

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  1. A couple of years ago we did a “Financial Freedom” dinner through our church and opened it up to people in the community (then offered follow-up classes). We showed that “Don’t Buy Things You Cannot Afford” video and everyone loved it! So, SO funny!!

    I agree with your take on the MSM book – slightly disappointed, yet I still came away encouraged to make some changes.

  2. I want to get a hold of a copy of Crystal’s book! I feel like I know a lot about personal finance too, but I love how Crystal challenges some of commonly-held beliefs, like that everyone has a mortgage. She really makes me think.

    Love TMM and The Millionaire Next Door. I recently read The Real Cost of Living by Carmen Wong Ulrich & it provided a really good breakdown about the various expenses you will incur by doing different things in life, like having a baby or buying a house.

  3. Sarah Beals says:

    My brother in law is a Dave Ramsey consultant in Kansas City. (Stephen Stricklin, Wise Wealth, ) He has a radio show and swears by the Dave Ramsey stuff. Never read it myself though…much to his dismay. 🙂 Haven’t read Crystal’s book yet. Thanks for the take on it!!

  4. Annie Kate says:

    That is a good list, but I’d add Tightwad Gazette to it. Lots of Big sisterly advice, something I like since I don’t have a big sister. LOL

    I just reviewed another great one: 7 Money Rules for Life by Mary Hunt.

    Thanks for your take on the MSM book. If anyone is curious, they can get chapter 7 here for free: and a free audio download of chapter 1 at the Money Saving Mom (offered yesterday).

    Annie Kate

  5. This is great. I’m going to check out all those books. I have a couple of Dave Ramsey’s books. THey’re fabulous 🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh, and I’ve seen that SNL skit on saving money. It’s hysterically funny 🙂 🙂 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. deborah says:

    I really want to read MSM’s book. It’s interesting to hear your opinion on it. I like Dave Ramsey’s book and the book with Amy Poehler has to be funny!

  7. Sarah says:

    I went through dave ramsey’s financial peace program (twice! Because once you’ve done it, you can go back as many times as you want for FREE!) and love it! It totally changed the way I handled my finances and I definitely agree that the total money makeover is a great read by Ramsey!
    Thanks for sharing the SNL skit – I’d never seen it. Hillarious! And yet there’s definitely truth to it…

  8. bridget says:

    love that skit. i haven’t seen it. i also have read her blog pretty religiously so not everything was new but most of it i felt like was still a good read.

  9. Barbara says:

    “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence,” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. This book will help you understand the true costs associated with many things in your life, including your job. (Take-away: You don’t make near as much money as you think you do.)

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