Catey Hill • Center Street • April 24, 2018 • 288 Pages
This book starts with a slightly annoying “you go girl!” introduction. I’m not sure if author Catey Hill means for the book to be read solely by 20-something mothers, but I definitely feel like she talks down to her reader. She says things like, “Okay, I know you are probably still feeling like [budgeting] is way too big of a task to undertake…But I know managing your money smartly is totally doable… I’ll show you how. I swear, it won’t bore you to death or totally freak you out.” Totally freak me out? I had a baby, not a lobotomy. I don’t know, can’t we just assume that the 21st-century woman is capable of getting her financial ish in order without feeling bored or freaked out?
The first 170 pages is all about money-saving advice. From food to childcare, eduction to vacations, Hill gives a surprisingly large number of mostly helpful tips for saving money. To be fair, some of the advice is pretty ridiculous. For example, she encourages moms to “Shop a grocery store by first walking left instead of right; annual savings: $100.” Huh? That doesn’t even make sense. How is that “savings” calculated? Or how about “Eat a kids meal when eating out for dinner. You’ll save money, and, bonus, you’ll eat less, too!” Yeah, nope.
But some things I do like about this section. Her average cost lists by state are interesting. I have three kids of my own, and I know exactly how much we pay for kid expenses. But I was surprised—and relieved—to see that our overall spending (in areas of childcare, education, and basic supplies) is average for our area.
I also think her advice for decreasing costs during vacation are very helpful. And I love the section on teaching kids gratitude. I put that advice to work right away.
It’s okay to keep giving to a child who feels grateful for what she gets; not a good idea to keep giving to a child who feels entitled to the things she gets… The best way for kids to learn gratitude is for their parents to model it for them often.
The second part of the book is a step-by-step guide to getting your finances under control in 30 minutes or less per week. The milestones Hill wants her readers to achieve are: 1) manage living costs, 2) pay down debt, 3) get the right insurance, 4) build up emergency savings, and 5) build up long-term savings and retirement. This section reminds me of (many) other finance books I’ve read, including The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and The 10 Commandments of Money by Liz Weston, two of my favorites on the subject. Hill doesn’t add much to the conversation, so this section will only be applicable to beginners.
Overall, this book didn’t wow me, but there was just enough good advice to keep me interested. If you’re a finance pro, you’ll want to skip this one. If you’re just starting out, my advice is to stick to Dave Ramsey and Liz Weston’s books.
Many thanks to Center Street and Amazon Vine for the Advanced Reader Copy!