Books to Help You Get Your Finances Sorted

I listen to a lot of audio books… a whole lot. I am lucky that my library participates in Overdrive aka Libby (same company, different…degree of app crashiness?), which means I borrow all my audio books and ebooks for free-ninety-nine. Overdrive is the non-crashy, older-school version. Libby made my phone crash no matter what I did, but theoretically has better graphic design and whatnot.

And really, there is no better way to kick off this little list of resources to help you get your financial life in order than to remind you that you should take the best advantage that you can of the free resources at your fingertips, right? Okay good. Go ahead and install the Overdrive or Libby app now if you don’t have it already. I’ll wait…
Okay, cool, now you’ve got that installed, and maybe plugged your library card info in (if you don’t have one at the ready… put that at the top o’ the old to-do list stat). You’re ready to add a bunch of books to your queue of things to either borrow now or put a hold on for when they become available. Let’s get into those recommendations!

You’ll notice that there are links to where to get these on Amazon. I am providing this in case this is your preference, as there’s definitely the possibility of the immediate satisfaction of an ebook/audio download right now that way.
I’ll break this down by category, and then provide reviews/summaries of each suggestion. Here’s an index to the options for easy reference:

Start Here (in this order):

  • The Latte Factor (change your mindset – start small)
  • Suze Orman’s Action Plan (get out of debt)
  • Meet the Frugalwoods (frugal living)
  • The Tightwad Gazette (frugal living)
  • Invested (investing)
  • Worth It (change your mindset – further growth)

Frugal / Simple Living:

  • The Complete Tightwad Gazette
  • Meet The Frugalwoods
  • Money Secrets of the Amish

Retirement:

  • Work Optional
  • How to Retire the Cheapskate Way

Being a Millionaire:

  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
  • The Millionaire Next Door

Real Estate:

  • Real Estate Investing for Beginners

Investing:

  • Invested
  • The Automatic Millionaire
  • Broke Millennial Takes on Investing
  • The Intelligent Investor
  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

Getting Out of Debt – Plans to Follow:

  • Suze Orman’s Action Plan
  • The Total Money Makeover

Getting Out of Debt: Changing Your Mindset:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • The Latte Factor
  • Thou Shall Prosper
  • Worth It
  • Know Your Value

Start Here (in this order):

I didn’t read these books in this order. If I had, I would’ve saved years of kinda-sorta doing some of the right things, but not so truly and deeply understanding the fundamental reasons why. I would’ve started doing those right things with the sort of enthusiasm and vigor that it will take to actually achieve my goals starting much younger, which would’ve saved me many years, and maybe decades, of being quite uncertain about my financial future. Consider this your opportunity to learn from my fail.

1. The Latte Factor

Why You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live Rich
by David Bach and John David MannĀ 
Purpose: Change your mindset

This book is told in a sort of parable style. The author creates a fictional young person who is making not-so-hot financial decisions in their life. That person meets up with a sagacious old person who seems to just hang out at a cafe all day yet somehow has really inspiring advice about how to live a good life and line up your finances to help make that happen. Many conversations ensue. Many big picture questions are addressed. Many small steps to towards achieving financial freedom are laid out. If you’ve learned as much as the young person in this book by the time you finish reading, and have acted upon even one or two of the pieces of advice, you will be well on your way!

2. Suze Orman’s Action Plan

New Rules for New Times
by Suze Orman
Purpose: Get out of debt

Suze provides the tough-love perspective you need to accurately assess where your finances currently are right now, and how to solve the problematic parts of that. You’ll learn to figure out just how much debt you’re in right now (sounds fun, right??? wheeeee!), and then, even more importantly, create a plan for how to get out of that debt. Once you’re out of debt, you’ll feel a much greater sense of control over your finances and, in turn, your life. If you know you really should put together a budget and start saving something for retirement so you don’t spend your later years eating cat food and praying the government doesn’t mess up Social Security too badly, well…now is the time. And Suze will be your own personal drill sergeant to see to it that you get on it.

3. Meet the Frugalwoods

Achieving Financial Independence through Simple Living
by Elizabeth Willard Thames
Purpose: Live frugally

In this autobiographical tale, you’ll follow Elizabeth through her retelling of how she and her husband went from hustling hard for every quickly-spent dollar to living more calmly, purposefully, and meaningfully by means of frugality. They basically decided to save money, and then they just…did. After three years, they had enough to buy the home in the woods of their dreams. If you want to be truly inspired to give this frugal living stuff a go, while also getting a lot of great advice about how to go about it, this is a great place to start.

4. The Complete Tightwad Gazette

Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
by Amy Dacyczyn (aka The Frugal Zealot)

Alternatively, this could be retitled The Frugal Living Bible. This book is a compendium of what back in the 1980’s and 1990’s people used to call a “newsletter”. Think of it like a blog without the internet. It arrived in the mailboxes of enthusiastic tightwads around the country and indeed around the globe each month for many, many years. This beast of a book is over 900 pages, and filled with so many well-indexed tips on a wide range of money-saving topics that you’ll eventually want to cave and buy a copy for yourself. Seeing the adorable page layout is part of the charm, as the author quit her job as a graphic designer to work on The Tightwad Gazette instead. I find myself referencing its helpful articles regularly, which is easy thanks to the elaborate index. From a step-by-step guide to talking your family down from holiday spending madness and getting them to embrace the joy and charm of homemade and thoughtfully-but-cheaply acquired gifts where it’s really the thought that counts, to how to cut your grocery bill down to far less than half of what you’re currently spending and not being even a little sad about it, this book’s got it all. The universal muffin, quiche, and casserole recipes alone, designed to help you get more creative with your cooking so you can confidently use whatever you’d got on hand rather than shop last-minute for the “just right” (expensive) ingredients called for in some recipe, are worth far more than their weight in gold. The power of the book comes largely from Amy’s dedication to doing thorough research and her ability to communicate her findings effectively. Did you ever wonder whether it was more efficient to fill your washing machine and/or dryer to the brim with clothes or do smaller loads? Amy has done that math for you on that question and just about any others you may have. The answer is that you should do smaller loads in the washer, but double up and put two loads at once into the dryer…that is, if you want to spend the money on your electric bill when you *could* hang everything out on the line to dry and get all sunshiney fresh instead.

In sum… if this is indeed the Frugal Living Bible, consider me an apostle. You. Must. Read. It.

5. Invested

Purpose: Take those extra dollars you’ve been saving and put them to work for you.

Worth It (change your mindset – further growth)

Have you read all of these books and found yourself still looking for more? Want to stay mentally engaged in this new project you’ve embarked upon?
Here are all the other books I’ve read / listened to on investing lately – except for the true duds. Those are a solid third-to-half of the books out there on financial stuff, so you’ll be glad to know that I’ve already weeded those out for you, so that you don’t have to waste the same hours of your life on them.

Category: Frugal Living

The easiest way to have more money is to keep more of what you’ve already got. Oh, you can bet that there will be a LOT of posts about the benefits of frugal living on this blog over time. But to kick us off, I’d like to share with you my very favorite books by others.

Remember, your first two recommendations in this category were:
1. Meet The Frugalwoods
and
2. The Complete Tightwad Gazette

Next up, we’ve got:

3. Money Secrets of the Amish

If you’ve already read the other two books I’ve recommended, none of the fundamental financial concepts here will actually be very new to you. The reason you should read it, though, is because while the previous two books were about plucky young people going against the grain of our consumerist culture, striking it out on their own and being willing to be completely weird and swap their values and priorities around compared to everyone around them…well, this book is kind of the opposite. It’s about how an entire (sub)culture of people have long viewed life, its pleasures, and how to best enjoy them in a way that is precisely in line with those exact same values and priorities that some of us are just catching onto now. This book will hopefully reinforce for you the value of working together towards the things we all want in this life, and encourage you to seek community with other likeminded individuals with similar goals.


……………………………………..more coming soon.
This post will be updated frequently until it is complete.
last update: 7/31/20