Yellow's Green

The Adventures of Money Blog.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Review - YF&B

Ok, so I haven't finished reading it yet, but I got a big stack of Suze Orman books from the library, and I'm *not* reading through all of them, as there is a lot of overlap.

I'm currently browsing "The Money Book for the Young Fabulous and Broke."
fun title, eh? So obviously marketed toward, well, the Young, Fabulous, and Broke! On the cover, Suze is sporting an upturned collar, and the words are all different sizes and colors. Inside the book you'll see "pop-ups" and "quick-tips" and she's set a lot of it up in Q&A format. She also writes in a very conversational tone: "OK, Listen up. I'm serious here. Don't shut your brain off or let your eyes glaze over."

Sorry, I've simply babbled descriptives and actually reviewed nothing, so far. She throws some very surprising advice out, relative to others giving advice (use credit cards, or at least don't totally cancel them when you cut them up). But one surprising thing she said popped out at me in a way that really made me want to mention it on a review...

She says NOT to use a budget. She compares budgeting to dieting. You try it, and you never really stick with it, you just end up gaining your weight back.

In a way, she is right. I tried budgeting. I tried hanging on to all my receipts. I tried having a set time I would go and review, comparing my what I had planned to spend with what I actually did spend and it NEVER worked.

But "All Your Worth" tricked me into using a budget! How? Because it wasn't like any budget that had ever been sent my way. It was just simply, balance. Everywhere I'm reading says to set goals. I made a rather silly dig on that when reviewing the MASSPIRG budget deal, but in reality I do have goals. My goals, however, did not stem from "I want $[insert amount here] to get [object]." Instead, they are percentages. I have a goal of my Must Haves = 50%, my Savings = 30%, and my Fun Money (aka Flexible/Variables) = 20%.

Starting here led me very gradually toward actually using a real budget and setting more concrete goals. But I don't hang on to receipts and look at things with hindsight. "I planned to spend blah, I did spend deblah." Instead, I go - "Ooo, I want to get that 50% off cute baby outfit for my pregnant friend, but how much do I have saved up in my fun money right now? Is it worth it to get that, or do I need to save more because I plan on driving all the way out to Idaho to visit that baby?"

So I think the moral of the story is this: jumping head first into budgeting may not actually work. Thinking you're going to live your life following the Atkins Diet probably won't work either. Instead, make it a Lifestyle (yes, with a capitol L). Is your money lifestyle penny-pinching, or charging everything? Is it fresh veggies, or Big Macs? Who knows, if you start eating fresh veggies, it could lead to eating whole grains and even growing your own garden - which would save you more physically AND financially. I love it when things come together like that!


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