About four or five years ago I was talking with some friends and one was telling us how she doesn't pay for things like toothpaste and razors. I was confused, but intrigued. So when I got home I did a search for how to get free stuff from Walgreens. One of the sites that popped up was Money Saving Mom run by Crystal Paine. She had a whole section on how to "play the drugstore game" as she called it. That day changed the way I thought about coupons.
I've learned a lot from Crystal over the years and her and her husband's story have inspired me and my family. They've done some crazy things to get where they are today, like living on $1000 a month or saving up to pay cash for their first house. Very inspiring!
The Money Saving Mom's Budget, I jumped at the chance and was so excited when I got the email saying I would have a pre-release copy in a week or so. After reading the book, let me just say that it is amazing! Not amazing like the grapefruit cake that you can enjoy and linger on for a few minutes. But amazing in the sense that if you follow her recommendations you can change your life.
Some of the recommendations are very basic, like make a budget and stick with it. But what if you have never made a budget? Where do you start? Crystal has a step by step process of setting up a full blown budget - and taking several months to do it. You see, she believes (and I agree) that when you try to do too much too fast you burn out. So it's better to take is slow and consistently.
She also shows you how to play the "drugstore game" and use coupons wisely. There's a chapter on getting rid of the clutter and chaos. Loved that chapter as we still haven't gotten into a good groove with our grocery shopping since moving. I'm still shopping "European style" ... and blowing my budget each week.
Probably my favorite chapter is the last one because it deals with the root of all the clutter, chaos, overspending, etc. and that is lack of contentment. ouch!! Crystal encourages her readers to choose contentment and has some great ideas on how to actually do that.
There are also planning sheets in the back of the book and stories from her blog readers throughout. This is not a "do these 5 things and you will be set for life" type book. It is a book that will cause you to search inside to find the things that you and your family really want and what you need to do to make those things happen.
One last thing that I admire about Crystal and her husband ... all of the author's proceeds from the sale of this book are going to Compassion International. Pretty cool.
My copy is a pre-release copy which means that there are a few typos and the binding isn't what it is going to be on the real book. Crystal will be sending me a real book in January when the book gets release to the public. So, I thought I'd give the real book away.
To enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment with a money saving idea or budget idea. It doesn't have to be original or earth shattering, just something that you do that helps you out. The comments will be open until Dec. 31st and then a winner will be announced. Be sure that there is a way for me to contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be picked randomly - hopefully, I can figure out how to install a random number generator, if not I'll ask one of my children to pick a number. Also, this giveaway is only open to those living in the US and Canada. The book will be shipped in January 2012. (This is the first time I've done a giveaway so please be patient with me!)