Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom by Michelle Singletary

Always trying to find ways to maybe pinch another penny, I am very open to any book that promises a new approach to saving money. Most of these book have very traditional ways of getting financially independent, paying off high rate credit card debt first, paying off mortgage early by making extra payments early in the year etc. While the messages in these books hold true, they are not really great and new revelations. This book is a little bit different, it tries to teach people that money can be saved by determining what is really essential. Cutting down on expenses can be hard, but if you realize that life essentials are really only a few items then walking past a lot of store windows without buying anything becomes easily achievable.

I rate this book along the lines of the new "minimalist lifestyle" movement that is gaining traction in which people cut down on expenses by focusing on items they really need. What I found distracting was the tie in with Christian believes. While I do not question the power of anyone religion, Jesus in my opinion had very little to say about spending money on the large amount of commercial items that are available to us today, including online shopping. I would not have minded a chapter dedicated to showing how Christian believes support good spending habits or living according to a strict budget, after all tithing is an expense that can easily be budgeted. But the author, in my opinion, goes overboard by making constant and never-ending references to Christianity.

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This book is about getting people out of the routine of simply spending and the author has good advice. She recommends spending cash rather than plastic, keeping a journal of expenses. I do  both of these things and have done for years. Did it take a huge religious epiphany for me to start keeping a journal? No, I simply realized that keeping a journal had made it easier for generations of women in my family to get their money allocated in a way that allowed them to save despite scarce resources. What helped me cut down on expenses was the knowledge that superficial things, such as clothes and house and jewelry, are not what matters. Is there some tie in to my underlying religion, yes, but I certainly do not consider keeping a journal an exercise in religion.

Unfortunately, I have to give this book a rather negative review because the constant litany of Christianity does this and Christianity mandates that, when really the author has good recommendations on how to focus your spending on essential items and re-evaluate your current spending to focus on what is required; both processes will allow most people to cut back on expenses and save in the long run.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been influenced by any third party. 

1 comment:

Beth said...

Thanks for this honest and insightful review. I think a lot of authors try to "Christianize" their books by adding in TOO MANY biblical references.