Book Review: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year

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When Crystal Paine AKA “Money Saving Mom” offered bloggers the opportunity to review her new book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, I jumped at the opportunity!  Crystal’s book will be released on January 10, but you can pre-order a copy here.  I am a huge fan of the Money Saving Mom blog; Crystal has a very balanced approach to frugality, budgeting, DIY-ing, and life in general, and I appreciate everything I have learned from her.

When I heard she was writing a book, I was very excited; however, since I follow her blog, I wasn’t sure how much “new” material I would really learn from the read.  I was pleasantly surprised!  The book is similar to her blog, but she has new and different material in the book as well.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Crystal is her focus on goal-setting and breaking goals into bite-size pieces that are easily attainable.  She gives very detailed goal-setting help in the beginning of her book.  Another thing I love about the book is the appendix full of forms for budgeting, goal setting, and time management.  Crystal not only teaches you how to implement money saving principles, but she also gives you the tools to do so.

In chapter 2, Crystal discusses clutter…something we all have to some extent.  She poses the question, “Are chaos and clutter keeping you from financial success?”  Often we have so much “stuff” in our homes and lives that we can’t think straight, much less stick to a budget and focus on saving money.  Crystal guides you through very practical steps to taming the clutter in your own life and home.  Step by step and room by room, you will learn how to not only eliminate clutter, but also turn that clutter into cash.  (Something that I’ve already implemented thanks to craigslist and ebay!)  With minds and homes free of clutter, it’s so much easier to focus on budgeting and being a good steward both of money and time.

The book spends a good bit of time discussing how to set up a budget, implement a cash envelope system, lower your grocery bill, and save money in general.  These chapters are helpful for those who are new to these principles, as well as those who might want a refresher course or a few new tips.

In her last chapter, Crystal focuses on contentment.  It’s easy for us to look at other people  and wish we had their job, could save as much money as they do, etc.  However, we should instead be thankful for what we do have and focus on all we have been blessed with!

The Money Saving Mom’s Budget is a great read for someone who wants to get out of debt and start living on a budget, as well as someone who wants to learn more about saving money and squeaking more savings out of their monthly spending.  I highly recommend the book!



ps  I received a copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget in exchange for reviewing the book; however, all opinions in the book review are mine!  🙂


1,000 Gifts

51.  answered prayers
52.  seminary food give-away – so many blessings!
53.  holding a brand new baby and getting a teeny tiny smile
54.  God supplies all our needs
55.  God is never late
56.  connections with fellow music teachers
57.  chilly evenings
58.  an evening of peppermint tea, the 5 Browns, and piano planning
59.  God’s changing work in lives

Book Review: The Power of a Praying Wife

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When I picked up The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian I expected to be reading a book that exclusively taught me how to pray for my husband.  And it did…but in so many ways that I never before considered.

The book turned out to be deeper than teaching me how to pray for Jared.  The first chapter in the book is titled His Wife.  “Praying for a husband must begin with praying for his wife.”  Stormie explains that when you pray for your husband, you must have a pure heart, free of resentment, unforgiveness, or ulterior motives.  In order to do that, you need to pray and beg God that you will have those right motives…you need to pray for your husband’s wife.  That’s me.

I think we’ve all prayed that our hubbies would change something at some point.  On the surface, that’s really not a bad thing.  The question we must ask ourselves is, “Why, am I praying this?”  Am I praying because I want things to be better for me, or with Jared’s best interest in mind?

Um.  Conviction!  Woven throughout the chapters was the underlying principle of the need to be selfless, loving, and generous in your prayers for your husband.  To pray with his best interest, not yours, in mind.

Another thing that stuck out to me in the book was the need to pray for your husband BEFORE you talk about something difficult with him.  Our hubby’s aren’t perfect (though mine might be pretty close 😉 ), and there are times that we will need to lovingly discuss a difficult problem or situation.  In my bull-headedness, I like to rush into those conversations, but this book challenged me to pray first.  Pray that my own heart is right.  (Because, often I’m the one with the problem, and not him!)  Pray that God would point out those areas to hubby.  Pray and ask if I should even talk to hubby about whatever situation.  And then wait…don’t speak quite yet, but continue praying!  If I do feel led to speak…finally pray that God would prepare His heart and guide my words.  Stormie points out that praying before these conversations often makes the conversations completely unneccessary.  However, if they do remain necessary, the conversation and situation will go so much better with God’s help!  And, isn’t that how we are supposed to do everything in life anyway?

The majority of the book was composed of short chapters brimming with specific matters of prayer regarding our husbands:  His Purpose, His Mind, His Reputation, His Priorities, His Past, His Marriage, His Finances, and many more!  The end of each chapter included a prayer full of applicable Scripture verses to pray.  I’ve never been big on pre-written prayers, but it was a blessing to me to read through the Biblical prayers and pray them to God specifically for Jared.  I was also challenged to include more Scripture in all of my personal, daily prayers. 

The Power of a Praying Wife was a beneficial read that was a help to my prayers for Jared, myself, and our marriage.  I appreciated Stormie’s heartfelt writing and transparency as she taught Biblical models and principles for prayer.

1,000 Gifts

41.  sanctification
42.  learning from Titus 2 women
43.  the gift of music to worship my God
44.  a sweet, blue-eyed baby girl calling my “Emmy”
45.  holding my man’s strong hand
46.  free bread
47.  God’s strength to endure the long week
48.  rest
49.  crunchy leaves beneath my feet
50.  “in whatever state I am…to be…content

I am truly blessed!

1,000 Gifts

31.  beautiful fall colors
32.  pumpkin buttercream candle
33.  2 more piano students
34.  good deals at a thrift store
35.  finishing “The Power of a Praying Wife”
36.  His mercy and His all sufficient grace
37.  free autumn subway art
38.  game and pizza night with new friends
39.  dinner and movie date with my hubs
40.  a projected week of learning and growing in a seminary block course

Do you ever get in that day to day rutt, where you’re just existing?  Me too.  How about counting your gifts and standing in awe of the multitude of blessings that you have been given…praise your Heavenly Father!

Fall Mantle Wanna-Be

I love fireplaces, and I love decorated mantles!  But, we don’t have either right now…so, I pretend that my piano is a mantle, and I love decorating it!

Here’s my simple fall vignette:

My adorable “In everything give thanks” print:

You’ve already seen the book page “pumpkin”, errrr “apple”:

I made a “Give Thanks” banner using just my printer, scrapbook paper, and twine:

I love the fall feeling it has!


And just for fun, here’s a quick peak at a corner of my kitchen counter complete with a free printable:

It Feels Like…Home

What makes a house feel homey to you?  When the weather begins to turn cooler and the promise of autumn is in the air, I have the urge to make our apartment feel homey.  I absolutely love walking in the door out of the brisk fall weather and just feeling glad to be home!

Making your house inviting and homey doesn’t need to involve a big house or expensive decorations!  Anyone can make her home beautiful, no matter the size of the building or her financial limitations!  I’ve been in large, expensive, and beautiful houses that didn’t feel homey at all!  You see, it’s the people and the love that make a house home!  Expensive furnishings are only thingsthings that in the grand scheme of things really don’t matter. Instead choose to focus on what we do have and can afford!

A few simple ways that I try to keep our apartment feeling homey is by keeping it clean!  Clutter automatically makes me feel crazy, disorganized and unfocused.  By putting our things where they belong, keeping up with the dishes, and doing a quick tidying up each day…our little cottage already feels homey!

I also love keeping our cozy nest smelling good, and you can’t beat the homey smell and feeling of candles!  Right now, I am loving my pumpkin buttercream Yankee candle!  (I bought my Yankee candles at an incredible sale…2 for $25 AND I used a $10/$25 coupon, making them $7.50 each.  Watch for those sales!  Another way to get even cheaper candles is to “buy” Glade or Febreze candles with coupons, often making them free!  And of course, you can always request your favorite Yankee candle scents as Christmas and birthday gifts…***shameless hint to any family reading***  😉 )

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Another way I like to keep our abode “homey” is by playing music throughout the day.  I usually use free internet radio: either my  Pandora stations or Christian music from Abiding Radio.  Having music playing as I go about my daily work just gives a relaxed and peaceful feeling to the home!

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What tips do you have for making your abode inviting and homey?