12/6/2011 1:02 PM ET|
Best tips for fixing your finances
Personal-finance author and blogger Ramit Sethi isn't for everyone; he's incredibly smart but also incredibly opinionated. (You should hear him go off on folks who pinch pennies versus building dollars.) That said, Get Rich Slowly blogger Roth highly recommends Sethi's "I Will Teach You to Be Rich."
And what would Sethi himself recommend? A book that isn't about personal finance. "Mindless Eating" has parallels with the way we handle money.
"You'll find surprising connections and insights by studying the psychology of eating," he says, "including why we overeat (overspend), why we believe we're in control of our food (investments) and surprising solutions to improving our food (and money) outcomes."
For the younger set
Is there a high school junior or senior in your life who wonders how to get through college? "Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents" is an absolute must, according to Hunt.
Both Chatzky and Dunleavey recommend "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties." Remember, kiddies, that compound interest is your friend.
But life is about more than just piling up the lucre. Blogger Will Chen of Wise Bread recommends "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back."
The author's writing style is engaging, and she uses real-life examples that help readers connect, according to Chen. "This is my favorite gift for college grads and anyone who needs a friendly intro to personal finance," he says.
As for the really younger set: I think every "tweenager" should read "Not Your Parents' Money Book: Making, Saving and Spending Your Own Money." It tackles questions that some parents can't or don't want to answer, and it encourages kids to think of money as a useful tool rather than a mystery.
Trimming the fat
The financial experts I interviewed tend to recommend bigger-picture titles versus books about daily frugality. I admire the former, of course, but have a real love for the latter. Full disclosure: I do, in fact, wash and reuse plastic food bags. That's why I want to recommend some of my favorite collections of frugal hackery:
- "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget." Frugality means different things to different people, and this book has something for everyone, from footloose nomads to at-home parents.
- "The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half." Your food budget has more room for compromise than just about any other category. Written by a woman who walks the talk, this book will let you save money on everything from cat litter to organic produce.
- "Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money." Along with the über-frugal tips (the author makes a disposable razor last more than a year), this book contains incredibly useful advice on travel, electronics, health care, fitness and other big-ticket items.
- Any of the "Tightwad Gazette" compilations. Self-proclaimed "frugal zealot" Amy Dacyczyn started publishing a newsletter in 1990 about how to wring every last drop from your budget. Seven years' worth of thrifty wisdom were turned into books. I got one of her books at a rummage sale for 50 cents. Amy would be proud.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BOTTOM LINE: Only buy for real needs. Eliminate all wants. Know what is needed for your survival. Do not watch commercials. Record all spending. Know when to spend and when not to. Buy only what is necessary. So on, so on.....
Better to tell people not to spend on a book and put their money straight to pay off debt or save it. That's the right tip.
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