Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup
Ruth Soukup knows what it is like to want what you can’t afford. And she knows the downward spiral of out-of-control spending and how it can consume your life, eat up your time, and destroy your relationships. When she finally hit bottom with her finances and her marriage was on the brink of divorce, she had to learn a totally different way to think about money...and discovered true happiness along the way.
In Living Well, Spending Less Ruth shares her secrets with warmth, total honesty, and practical help in every chapter. Following her wildly successful blog of the same name, Ruth gives her readers even more of what they love: lots of creative, helpful ideas and advice for families on a budget along with stories from her own journey to discovering what the good life is really all about.
With personal and creative challenges in each chapter, Living Well, Spending Less is perfect for small group study or discussion. As readers change the desires of their hearts and shift their priorities toward treasures that last, they will find a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity—and a budget that balances.
I was really looking forward to reading this book and hopefully learning some tips and techniques from a blogger whose blog I follow and read weekly. I am constantly trying to find ways to spend less, but still maintain a certain level of lifestyle that our family is comfortable having. After reading, Living Well, Spending Less, I came away with things that I liked and things that annoyed me about the book.
I'll start with what I liked. I like the honesty that Soukup shares in the book. She is honest in her overspending habit and the fact that she still battles the urges and need to overspend in her life. She is very open in her own struggles with being frugal and with stopping the overspending that is a detriment to her family. I like how she divides the book into 12 secrets and has them relating either to living well or to the spending less categories; some of these included contentment as being a choice, we all are given 24 hours in a day, saving is a state of mind, etc. She offers her own choices and mistakes to illustrate each point and she points out ways to change for the better. I love how she ends each chapter with a practical challenge for her readers to implement or to think about the particular secret she was discussing.
Even though there were things that I liked, there were also some cons with this book. First, I had a hard time reading this book for any length of time. Usually, if I get sucked into a book, I can read it over the course of a day or if I am extremely busy over the course of several days in a row. I will be honest and say that this book took me several weeks to read from cover to cover. Soukup's writing style was very distracting and seemed to be all over the place. It was not precise and centered as I have found the writing on her blog to be. I was also distracted by the auto-biographical nature of most of the chapters. Yes, I found that this helped with being real and I am glad that she was open with her readers, but after reading about it over and over I felt that it was over-kill and it almost sound whiny that she could not spend so much. Finally, I felt that it was also very "preachy." I am not against using Biblical examples in the book, however, I felt there was too much of that interlaced with her over-zealous use of her own examples and not enough practical advice for the average person.
Overall, I would give this book a grade of C. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't one of the greatest books that I have read.
DISCLAIMER: The publisher, Zondervan, provided me a free copy of this book through Booklook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.