The very first blog I ever read was Money Saving Mom.  It was back in 2008 when I was 6 months pregnant and desperately looking to figure out a way to quit my job and stay home with my kids. Through her site I learned about the drugstore game and did quite well getting toiletries for my family for free or nearly free.

I was continually amazed by how she could feed her family for so little, and I was inspired when she and her husband bought their first home with cash, outright.  Perhaps because I have read her blog every day for the last 3.5 years, I did not find a lot of new information in her book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.

However, for people who haven’t read Money Saving Mom for years like I have or who are trying to learn how to live within their means or who want to slash their grocery budgets, especially when food prices are so high right now, I highly recommend The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.

An Overview

The book begins with issues Crystal is passionate about–setting goals, decluttering and being organized. In fact, the first two chapters focus on goal setting and decluttering, and with good reason.  If you don’t have goals, it is hard to actively strive toward something and make an impact, and if your home is a cluttered mess, you are wasting a great deal of time by looking for things and trying to clean with all of the clutter in the way, and you likely are wasting money buying things that you already have but cannot find.

Chapter Three takes readers through how to make a budget so every expense, including annual expenses, are covered.  She clearly outlines her strategy, and most importantly emphasizes that readers should take it slowly and shouldn’t expect overnight results.  She suggests three months just to become familiar and comfortable with budgeting before moving on to a more detailed budget.

She also argues that people should use cash only for three months to become more in touch with their spending.  I wholeheartedly endorse this approach as my husband and I have been doing this for the last 8 weeks, and it has proved to be eye opening.  In addition, she refutes common reasons why people say they “have to” use credit cards.

Chapters 5 through 7 focus entirely on ways to lower your grocery bill.  These are the chapters I plan to reread and study, because in 2012, I want to spend time lowering my grocery bill through the use of coupons.  Crystal encourages everyone to use coupons, even those who have food allergies or intolerances or who eat an organic diet, because there are still deals to be had.  Currently The Money Saving Mom’s Budget Book is on pre-order on Amazon for $11.09.  I daresay you could recoup the cost of the book in just one grocery shopping trip following the strategies outlined in these chapters.

The last two chapters of the book focus on ways to save on entertainment and other expensive items such as glasses and contacts and to commit to being content within your own life and your own situation.

There is additional valuable information at the end of the book such as budget forms, strategies for having a successful garage sale and ways to budget your time.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend because, using Crystal’s strategies, a reader will quickly recoup the price of the book.  The real strength of the book, in my opinion, is the section on how to lower your grocery bill.

The Giveaway

Crystal has generously agreed to give one Mom’s Plans reader a copy of the book when it is released on January 12, 2012.

-To enter, simply leave your favorite money saving tip in the comments.

-For an additional entry, follow Mom’s Plans on Facebook and leave a comment that you have done so (or that you already do)

This giveaway will end on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

I received a pre-release copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget Book for review purposes.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.

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