May 3, 2013

Pocket Your Dollars

Pocket Your Dollars by Carrie Rocha

This is not your typical money management book. Nor is it a guide to budgeting.  Nor is it a how to book on getting out of debt.  Though it does mention those things it is simply a book about changing your attitude toward money, debt, financial stress, and even life in general.

This is the most real and down to earth book I have ever read that deals with money! Carrie Rocha shares real life stories from her own childhood, her husband's childhood in Brazil, and their own life together with their two girls to give you insight into how they were able to pay off all of their debts except for their mortgage.

Instead of making you feel like you are an awful person for ever acquiring debt to begin with, Carrie instead helps you feel better because her and Marco have both been there too! Her book isn't "preachy" and it isn't a guilt trip either!

This book has three parts: 1) 5 attitudes that must go; 2) skills to change those attitudes; and 3) simple budgeting advice.

The first attitude she talks about is the idea that "having more money will solve everything".  I have to admit I often find myself thinking this and it was eye opening to be reminded that it really isn't true. I love how she ends each topic with a quiz and discussion questions to get you thinking about your own life.

The second attitude is the idea that "I deserve a treat" and I hate to admit it but I do struggle with this one! I find myself saying "you've had a busy week you deserve to eat out" or "you had a rough day at work you deserve frozen yogurt" when I should just go home and either make a simple meal or eat something that is ready to go from the freezer.

The third attitude is "it won't happen to me." This attitude isn't one of my current struggles. In fact this attitude is probably the area I'm the strongest in because it caters to my insane love of planning for things.  So in our financial planning I have money set specifically aside for the "it won't happen to me" situations. I have money set aside for the things that come up like bad breaks, needing new tires, and other expenses I call "annual expenses" such as renters insurance that I only pay once a year but could easily forget.  Maybe I am better at this because I like to plan or maybe it is partially because with my husband being a mechanic I am able to easily plan for those sneaky car repairs that most of us tend to forget about.  So Iset aside a set amount each week for "annual expenses" and use that account to pay for those types of things.

The fourth attitude is "fake it til you make it" and it isn't really a struggle for me either since a main part of this lesson is about consumerism and for the most part I don't struggle too much with that.  Basically it talks about how you don't have to live above your means just to look like the next door neighbors

The fifth attitude is "I can't afford it" and this chapter was very well written. Carrie shared a story from her own childhood where her mother continuously told her they couldn't afford something but then later gave it to Carrie for a present - therefore making Carrie feel incredibly guilty that her mother had spent money she couldn't afford to spend on her. She talks about how instead of saying "I can't afford it" we should say "we can save up for it." I really liked how in this chapter she outlined that it is okay to save up cash for a big ticket item like a treadmill so long as you are still paying down your debts at the same tine and not making them any bigger.  this was comforting to me because sometimes I feel guilty if we buy something we have the cash for since I feel like I should be only paying off debt and not buying new things.

Part two of the book then goes on to talk about the "how to's" of changing your attitudes to money through positive self talk, standing up to pressure, and staying committed to the ultimate goal.

Then part three gets into the nitty gritty of setting up a "spending plan" and learning how to pay down your debt through the snowball method.  Carrie gives many excellent examples in her book bout both of these concepts.  She then also outlines a variety of ways to save money such as shopping at Aldi instead of a brand name grocery store, getting rid of cable, and eating out less.

A lot of what Carrie Rocha writes about in her book truly is common sense but we all need reminders. I highly recommend this book to anyone! But I especially recommend it to anyone struggling to pay off debt, anyone about to get married, or anyone who just wants to stay on track with their current spending plans.

Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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