Practical advice for money and life

Paul Mastin

4 Stars

April 27, 2012

The first thing to say about Ellie Kay is that she grew up in Fort Worth! So of course I'm going to love a book by a Fort Worth girl! In her book, Living Rich for Less, Kay provides practical insights for people living on a budget, that is, just about everyone. If you're a fan of Dave Ramsey, Ron Blue, and their ilk, you'll enjoy Kay. True to her experience as a columnist for Family Circle, Women's World, and USA Today, she's a bit more feminine and more casual and breezy in style than her male counterparts, but no less valuable to read.

Kay starts off with her priorities in the right place: the first chapters of the book are dedicated to giving. She encourages a 10-10-80 plan, in which you give away 10%, save 10%, then plan and spend wisely the remaining 80%. It's significant that it's not the 80-10-10 plan or the 10-80-10 plan. Giving comes first, no matter what. Even families with low incomes can give. Kay lays out some principles of wise giving.

Then of course there's saving. Hopefully if you're picking up a book like Living Rich for Less, you don't need a lot of convincing that saving is important. The last portion covers the 80%, which is of greatest concern to most families. She encourages getting out of debt, but doesn't hammer on it the way Ramsey does (but maybe she should). There are plenty of practical ideas here for saving, which can add up to a significant difference in the family budget. She spends a seemingly disproportionate amount of space on couponing (good advice) and saving money on cruises (OK advice if you're going on a cruise, but a whole chapter? Seemed like a bit much).

Kay gives a lot to think about here, which is her goal: think about where your money goes and make it work for you. The end result is a little superficial, but the book lays down some principles to get you pointed in the right direction.