Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: The Recovering Spender

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.  This post contains affiliate links.

I was excited when I had the chance to review The Recovering Spender:  How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life by Lauren Greutman.  As is common in today's world, another financial book by a financial blogger.  I find nothing wrong with that.  I am a financial blogger myself, but I can't read every blog, and I love hearing others' stories of how they got into -- and out of -- debt.

The one thing I found very different about Greutman's story is she was a shopaholic.  I often think of people who get in trouble financially as ones that lose a job, incur a large amount of medical bills, or something similar, it was her shopping that got her family into trouble.

There were different times reading this book, I thought, "That's a terrible idea" -- such as the impulse buy of a house in another state!  Honestly, that's something I would LOVE to do because I admit I'm unhappy where I live now, but I know it's not financially feasible for us to move for a while.  The Greutman family just up and bought a house a few states away.  I feel this was even a bigger problem to their finances than her shopaholic tendencies.

What I liked about this book:  I always enjoy books where someone tells their story of getting into debt and how they got themselves out.  I find these types of books encouraging and uplifting because they are written by 'normal' people like you and I are -- not the Warren Buffet billionaire type but someone who could be a neighbor.  These type of books are great to encourage anyone in budgeting, watching money, cutting back, saving, and more.

What I disliked about this book:  The author has a website where she sells courses and products.  In a few of the chapters she mentions her $129 course about once a page.  I wouldn't be as concerned about this if it was a self-published book, but it's published by a major publishing house, and the list price is $14.99.   I felt this book was written to push her other products.  The cost of her course is more than the cost of the Financial Peace University course which many more have gone through successfully.  She also advertises her meal plans within this book without telling the price.  (Each is 20 slow cooker recipes ranging in price from just under $6 to just under $18 for the 20 recipes.)  While I understand there is value to someone finding information for you, there are so many recipes on Pinterest, I myself could not justify spending even $5.97 for 20 recipes.  I understand that bloggers do create products to help themselves make money, I don't think a BOOK is a place for advertising that.  In my opinion, the book should give a taste as to what is available -- if a person finds the information valuable, it's not difficult to visit the website to see what else the author provides both for free and for a fee.

I also was a bit unsure of what she was trying to prove (or disprove?) when she had said throughout the book to stop using credit cards, and then she started using one again to see if she was "cured".  One of the things I talk about on my blog is responsible credit card usage -- including wise use of reward cards.  She said she signed up for a rewards credit card, and how she had nightmares of getting back into debt.  It makes me wonder if she is as "recovering" as she says because if you can't trust yourself enough to be responsible with money -- even if it's a credit card and not cash, then I don't feel you are truly recovering.

I was also a bit confused about how she kept saying to get rid of your iPhone to save money.  For me, I have an older one and it would cost me more to go to a flip phone because I'd have to buy a new phone and wouldn't get much for my iPhone on eBay.  Yet, at the same time she suggests selling your iPhone BOX on eBay.  As a financial blogger, I have to say I have learned that it is rare that one size fits all situations.

I enjoyed the first part of this book, but didn't enjoy the second half.

Read a preview here:

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