Saturday, April 26, 2008

Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

So I finally got around to reading this popular author! Couldn't help it...after all, in my crowd of friends it was "Dave Ramsey says this...", "Dave Ramsey says that"...and there I was. Clueless.

It took a bit of effort, though. I'm not much of a numbers person. I always thought I'd leave that stuff to my husband. Then I remembered: it's the wife that does a lot of the shopping. Hmm. Maybe I needed to study up on this finance stuff after all. I'm glad I did!

Dave Ramsey's main point throughout the book is "stay out of debt!" Nothing new there. I've been taught that for years. In fact, I can probably quote most of the Bible verses that talk about money, debt and servitude. So I knew how bad debt was in theory. But here's the deal: Dave Ramsey puts a face on it. I'd be pretty surprised to hear that someone borrowed after reading his book. How could they ignore all those horror stories?!

Second point: save, save, and save some more. I like this. In fact, I was quite inspired after reading the plan for "financial peace". As a stay at home daughter, a lot of stuff in the book I can't really apply. But the saving part I can. So I decided to start my $1000 emergency fund. This might be hard! I tend to save for a particular purpose, spend it all, and then start over. It works...but it's a bit discouraging, after 10+ years of teaching to have a bunch of memories and not much in the bank!

Another thing emphasized over and over is the importance of a written budget. "Tell your money where to go, or you'll wonder where it's gone."

I learned a lot of things, reading this book. All about different types of mortgages, insurance, investments. Things I'd never really looked into. I feel smarter now!

Dave Ramsey's humor is diverting. His advice is practical and easy to understand. And I appreciate how he stresses the importance of the spiritual in bringing true peace to a life. Highly recommended.

Related: The Total Money Makeover
"Financial Peace" tells why. This book shows you how. A lot of the same information, but more detailed in the practical application.

For practical money-saving tips, read Crystal's blog. Inspiring.

Nothing to Wear? by Joe Lupo

Nothing to Wear?: A Five-Step Cure for the Common Closet
by Joe Lupo

I skimmed this book in an afternoon...actually, just over lunch. Nothing new here, just common sense advice like "get rid of the clothes you don't like" and "find your style". That's pretty much it. What I will remember most are the three questions to ask when weeding your closet:
1."Do I love it?"
2. "Does it flatter me?"
3. "Does it project the image I want of myself?"

One interesting idea was to take photos of outfit combinations to keep near your closet, to save time when you're in a hurry. A bit to organized for me, but it might work for some.

I wouldn't buy it. But it's worth a glance at the library. I was inspired to get rid of a few things. ;)

And just in case you wondered what my style is: Whimsical Classic

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two Are Better Than One by Carol Ryrie Brink

Two Are Better Than One
Carol Ryrie Brink
MacMillan Co. 1968

This is a story within a story, within a story. It spans many years and continents, venturing even into the land of make-believe. Two diminutive pocket dolls, Lester and Lynette, are the connecting link. For, "you only had to put Lester and Lynette in your pocket and the dullest day turned into something special." (p.3)

The dolls entered the lives of Cordy and Chrystal, two little girls from a small Idaho town, on a Christmas day near the turn of the century. Over the course of the next year, the girls and the dolls went everywhere together--to school, on horseback rides--even into the pages of a childhood novel.

It is this novel that adds so much charm to the story. As I read the melodramatic scribblings of Cordy and Chrystal, I was reminded of my own childhood days when I wrote stories with my best friends.

There were many moments--the rag doll costumes, the cartwheel hats--that made me laugh aloud.

This story shows the joys of childhood and the transition to maturity with wit, sympathy and wisdom. I set down the book with a sigh--for once, perfectly happy with an author's ending.

It is interesting to note the many parallels to the author's life in this story. To find more about her, go here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Latest treasure hunt

I love shopping for books. Especially when they are 25 cents each, as at the latest used book sale at my local library.

For an investment of about $15, here's what we got: (minus some that have already made it to the bookshelves)

As my family and I were driving to the sale, my dad mentioned that we needed to keep an eye out for Edwin Tunis titles. Early in our homeschooling years, we loved reading his books describing the Colonial period and have been saddened to find them gradually disappearing from the library shelves. Not only that, but the prices have been going up dramatically on used copies...far above my budget, anyway!

After spending an hour or so looking through boxes and boxes of books, I thought I was finished. But my dad was still browsing the children's area. So I glanced around to pass the time---imagine my surprise when I found not one, but two Tunis titles! I couldn't help hurrying to my family and triumphantly proclaiming "I win!"

So here are my favorite buys, beneath an addition to our Clara Ingram Judson biography collection:

It was definitely a worthwhile hour and a half!

To find book sales in your area, try the Book Sale Finder. Happy hunting!