The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Review and Giveaway!

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Shelby for winning! 

When BrownThumbPapa and I were newlyweds, we were thrifty out of necessity. We used to joke that the decorating scheme for our house was “Early American Attic.”

Our dining room was furnished from Papa’s parents’ garage:

The living room was nearly as bare as the dining room. We were given an old sofa and lamp so the living room wasn’t completely empty. Yes, that’s a car stereo speaker on the floor so we could listen to the house stereo.

Those days were many years ago, but some things haven’t changed. Now we’re thrifty by choice, and it enables us to do more with the money we have. This is why I really enjoyed Crystal Paine’s book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year.

Crystal knows what she’s doing and isn’t just repeating stuff she’s heard or read elsewhere. She and her husband lived on a beans and rice budget to stay out of debt while he went through law school. Their grocery and household products budget was $35 a week, (sounds familiar!) and they lived in a tiny basement apartment.

Unlike some books on frugal living–and believe me, I’ve read them all–Crystal isn’t preachy or condescending. Reading The Money Saving Mom’s Budget made me feel like a good friend was giving heartfelt, encouraging advice. She doesn’t ask you to do anything crazy, like sell plasma or stop using toilet paper. Instead, she gives concrete ideas and advice from her own experience.

One idea that we’ve implemented from her book is saving for a goal. Currently, any extra money in checking at the end of each month goes toward our emergency fund—even if it’s just $10. An emergency fund is important, but once the money goes into savings I won’t touch it. This means that some “luxury” purchases don’t get made, because I won’t use a credit card for them.

We identified some goals and have implemented a high-tech method of saving for them.

When we empty our pockets of change, we put it in whichever jar appeals to us at the time. If I’m tired of sweeping, I’ll drop some money in the jar for the Dyson vacuum. As it gets closer to summer, we’ll save more for a security door so the fresh air can breeze through the house. Money from recycling and mail-in rebates also goes in a jar. (Money from online surveys goes toward Christmas.) This allows us to add to our emergency fund and pay cash for these luxury purchases!

What else can you learn from The Money Saving Mom’s Budget? Here are just a few of the tantalizing topics she covers:

  • Give yourself an instant raise without increasing your take-home pay
  • 9 ways to get coupons for free
  • How to use your great deals to feed your family
  • 25 ways to lower your grocery bill without clipping coupons
  • Dress your children for free
  • 10 ways to earn an extra $100 per month

And yes, they’re all realistic, legitimate ideas. You won’t be knitting sweaters for your kids from dryer lint or selling your hair to earn extra money.

Are you ready to run right out and order a copy? Hang on!

One lucky BrownThumbMama reader will win a copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.

To enter:

Comment below and tell us your favorite money-saving tip. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

For bonus entries (leave a separate comment for each one):
•   “Like” BrownThumbMama on Facebook. (Let me know if you already do.)

•   Subscribe to BrownThumbMama for free by email. (If you already subscribe, let me know.)
•   Post about this giveaway on your Facebook wall or blog.

U.S. entries only, please. Contest is open until 7pm PST on Thursday, January 12, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!


Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of the book at no charge. My opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way.

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  1. says

    I read the Money Saving Mom blog but haven’t even tried to win her book in a giveaway there because when it’s me against like 20,000 others, FAT CHANCE. But maybe here? It’s worth a shot! My favorite money-saving tip is to shop at thrift stores. We buy ‘vintage’ (old!) sheets when we need fabric for craft projects and it’s a huge fraction of the cost at the fabric store! 😉

  2. Darren says

    The idea that has saved me some money in the last year has been to use cash for my weekly spending money. I pull out a certain amount at the beginning of the month and put it into weekly envelopes. I used to swipe my debit card for stuff I really didn’t need but find I wont spend cash for it. Also gives you a tangible view of your spending limits. If the wallets empty, you can’t buy the soda.

  3. Christina says

    Darren’s way of saving money is good but I really like the creative way I have cut our household heating costs. Place the 15 pound cat on your chest like a blanket so you don’t have to turn on or up the heat. :-)

  4. Sheri Chow says

    I save money on groceries by planning our weekly menu around what’s on sale at the store, and then using coupons whenever possible. We also shop at thrift stores. I love BTM!

  5. says

    Plan your meals, go to the grocery store only one time a week, stick to your list and use coupons! That’s a huge money saver for our family of six.

  6. says

    I plan meals ahead according to what is on sale and then make a list before I go to the store. When I’m at the store I make sure to stick to the list so I don’t buy unnecessary items.

  7. says

    My best money saving tip is using points to earn products with companies you are already using. Travel points, CC points, Debit points, Mypoints, etc.

    My husband and I barely spent anything for Christmas these last two years just using points.

  8. says

    I love to listen to music so my favorite money-saving tip is to sign up for email lists that give away things for free! There are several Christian music sites that will offer free songs for download every week, plus Amazon has free MP3s as well. And MoneySavingMom has been awesome about posting when Amazon gives away $2 in MP3 credits! –sksavings [at] gmail

  9. Anonymous says

    I have begun using homemade Shout on my husband’s work shirts. He is a bartender at a restaurant so you can imagine how dirty they become. We go through a lot of stain cleaner so this is a great help to our budget.

    Heather C.

  10. says

    My money saving tip, and it’s an obvious and common one I know, is that I shop in bulk. I look for items that I purchase regularly. I usually will alternate staples each month but if I see something that’s obviously a bargain and I know for a fact that I will use it, I scoop it up and store it for later use.

  11. says

    One of my favorite tips is to be content with what you have – even shopping for “deals” on clothing and such you are spending money. Love what you have, make do for longer.

  12. says

    My best money saving tip is to buy only things you can pay for with cash. This includes big things like cars! Interest payments give you nothing and just take away your money.

  13. says

    one tip is to stay out of the stores & always have a list! we only buy what we need & often times used so we can try to make our dollars stretch further ..

  14. Anonymous says

    We save lots of money by buying restaurant gift certificates on daily deal sites. You can often save 50% on a meal. Of course, we are careful to buy certificates only for restaurants where we were planning to eat anyway.

  15. Anonymous says

    I often shop at consignment stores and find many items with tags still attached for incredible prices. You have to be aware of what a sale really is and know if a deal is really a deal or just a way for the store to get your money.

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