CONTEST ENDED: Book Review and Giveaway: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

Sorry, this giveaway has ended. But the review is still perfectly good!

Regular readers here know that I am a big fan of Money Saving Mom, the blog by Crystal Paine that sparked the whole frugal mom blog genre. I learned how to shop CVS from this blog, and although we are so different — I’m a messy, cynical liberal atheist and she’s a home-schooling Christian mom who makes sure that everything on her blog is upbeat — I have always been impressed and inspired by Crystal’s professional approach to homemaking and mothering. Reading her blog not only showed me a lot of the money-saving techniques that are now regular parts of my life, but it also gave me a window into how a really on-the-ball homemaker grows a successful business while still trying out projects like making her own laundry soap.

And now what has she gone and done? She has gone and wrote a book.

I was lucky enough to receive one of the preview copies of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year.* I didn’t read it right away because I was finishing up Ron Santo: A Perfect 10* (and I am probably one of the only people on earth who loves both Crystal Paine and Ron Santo enough to read their books back-to-back). But last week, I got to meet Crystal in person, and that inspired me to hurry the heck up and read the book.

I enjoyed it. A lot of the couponing and budgeting tips in the book will be old hat to readers of this and other frugal Web sites, but even a veteran couponer will find useful advice here. I love that the book starts with a chapter on getting your life organized. I agree that a lot of money is wasted — in my house especially — because of disorganization and clutter. (Just today, we found out that two parking tickets we got last month now have late fees attached because my husband thought he paid them. Grr! I’m sure this would never happen in Crystal’s home with all her checklists and systems — it’s like Six Sigma over there!)

I’ll finish my review below, but first, let’s give away some books! Crystal has kindly offered to give two lucky Frugalistic Mom readers copies of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. You can enter this contest up to 3 times:

  • For your first entry, please leave a comment telling me if you have checked out Money Saving Mom’s blog and if so what you have gotten out of it. This entry is required to win.
  • You can get one bonus entry by Tweeting this post. If you Tweet it, leave a separate comment letting me know you did.
  • You can get a bonus entry by sharing this post on Facebook. If you share, leave a separate comment letting me know you did.
  • Do not leave more than 3 comments per person. I will count entries by counting comments, so if you do any of the bonus entries, you must leave a separate comment to be counted.



Now, more of the review:

I appreciated Crystal’s step-by-step description of how she declutters her house twice a year. (Although of course what she does in a week or less in her always-streamlined home would take me a month or more because I am starting with a much, much worse mess.)

Another thing I really enjoyed were the tips from Money Saving Mom readers, scattered throughout the book.

My favorite parts of the book, though, were the personal anecdotes. I am a blog reader because I like to read about people’s real lives. I could get all kinds of advice on running a household inexpensively from magazines and Web articles, but I choose to read blogs like MSM because I love seeing people’s lives unfold and seeing their practices and beliefs change through their experiences. One of my favorite series that Crystal has ever written was the one that chronicled her family’s journey to purchasing their first home with cash.

My only disappointment in this book is that I wish there were more, deeper personal anecdotes. Since I have been reading her blog daily for years, I already knew the Paine family somewhat well and was hoping to get to know more about their motivation to make the choices they have made, and what it felt like to live this frugal path. I’d also love to learn more about what it felt like for Paine to build her Web site into such a huge success, and how the income from that site and the growing workload has affected the family.

However, I have hope that we’ll learn more about what it’s like to be Crystal Paine in the future. After all, the first book on her reading list for 2012 is titled, “How to Write a Book Proposal.”

* Affiliate links — if you click through and shop at Amazon, I’ll earn a commission. Also, as stated above, I received a free copy of this book to review.

19 Responses to CONTEST ENDED: Book Review and Giveaway: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
  1. Cris
    January 5, 2012 | 6:05 pm

    I am also a huge fan of Money Saving Mom. I love her “I paid cash” series and find the stories shared by readers inspirational.

    My hubby has been laid off, back to work, laid off, back to work, etc. for 3+ years so making very FRUGAL choices is important as we ride the economic rollercoaster.

  2. Sarah
    January 5, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    I love reading your blog and Money Saving Mom and I’m excited to read Crystal’s book!

  3. Sheila Laurence
    January 5, 2012 | 6:36 pm

    I’ve been reading her since Biblical Womanhood (no longer available). I admire her grit, and think their husband/wife communication is admirable and is probably one of the biggest keys in their success. I love how she is giving her profits away also.

  4. Beth L.
    January 5, 2012 | 7:08 pm

    I have visited her site before mainly to use the pull down menu on regional store listings. I find her devotion to her family and her faith inspirational.

  5. mary
    January 5, 2012 | 7:12 pm

    I love her blog. I don’t think I could ever be at her level in terms of organzing, but she has inspired me to be a healthier, more frugal cook. And for that I am grateful.

  6. Julie
    January 5, 2012 | 8:06 pm

    I’ve been RSS-ing her blog almost as long as I’ve been following you (since back in the Shoplifting with Permission days.) And though I am with you in the messy, liberal cynical atheist camp, her clear write ups of the drugstore deals and her great projects keep me reading.

  7. Angie K.
    January 5, 2012 | 8:15 pm

    I have never checked out her blog before, but will do so after reading yours and others comments.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. dee
    January 5, 2012 | 8:32 pm

    Have been to the money saving mom blog. What I like is that she seems to do the homemade projects because she wants to and not because she has to (financially). Would like to know more about how she structures her day with the homeschooling hours and blogging.

  9. Nicole R
    January 5, 2012 | 8:54 pm

    I LOVE and have been a fan of hers & yours for a while now and have saved lots of $$.

  10. Nicole R
    January 5, 2012 | 8:54 pm

    I facebooked it!

  11. Andrea Charest
    January 6, 2012 | 2:05 am

    I just found her recently and went directly to the freezer cooking for a month info. I’m still not brave/insane enough to try it yet. But maybe one day…..

  12. adrianne
    January 6, 2012 | 4:00 am

    I’ve never actually checked out her blog though i know you have referenced her before. Buying a house with cash blows my mind! I need to check it out.

  13. kristin
    January 6, 2012 | 4:08 am

    I do look at her blog from time to time for match ups :)

  14. kristin
    January 6, 2012 | 4:09 am

    I tweeted. @corpusdlc

  15. kristin
    January 6, 2012 | 4:11 am

    I shared on facebook!!

  16. Patti
    January 6, 2012 | 4:45 am

    WOW to her website!! You can’t just stop by for a minute – I am always pulled in to read more.

  17. Jenn
    January 6, 2012 | 2:11 pm

    The CVS tips are awesome! I could easily spend a day on her website. She’s awesome!

  18. Amy
    January 6, 2012 | 3:14 pm

    I only check three blogs — yours, MSM, and mashupmom. You three are the best!

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