Book Review – Boiled Down Money Goo

There is a lot to say about money and how to manage it.  There’s a reason that there are dozens of money related magazines, hundreds of websites, and thousands of books all devoted to money management or some aspect thereof.  With all of that information out there, it would take years to get a handle on it (trust me; I’ve been reading and writing about money for over two and half years now, and I’m still learning more every day).  What we need is a book that gets down to the very basics in a simple and understandable manner.

Enter BOILED DOWN MONEY GOO.  This book, despite the odd title, attempts to get to the very basics of money and money management (that is, to ‘boil down’ money topics to the essential ‘goo’).  I was asked to read through and review it by the authors, and how could you resist reviewing a book with a title like that?  It attempts to provide the basics of money management in many different fields.  Does it serve as a great guide to money, or just a meaningless collection of goo?  Let’s find out!

Summary

Boiled Down Money Goo starts with a story of how co-author Daniel Minteer was deeply in debt when he first met and married his wife (and co-author) Deborah, and how they managed to pay off all their debt and build up their savings in the course of just seven years, quite an accomplishment for anyone.

The rest of the book is divided into 62 points that the authors want to convey (well, 61 points and a summary), grouped together according to theme.  The first group, appropriately enough, is about debt and how to avoid it, from the perils of plastic to the ways pay day loan companies, banks, and credit card companies will attempt to obtain more of your money.  The next section covers Getting Radical, taking a much different approach to your money than that of the average (and highly indebted) person.

The third section of the book covers budgeting, providing advice on how to prioritize your spending and saving as you try to get out of debt and build up your wealth.  It also stresses that you can’t let assumptions that ‘frugal’ is code for ‘miserly’ dissuade you from trying to save more.  There’s then a short section on how to keep your spending on food to a minimum.

The next section of the book looks at an always tricky point, dealing with money and relationships.  From ditching friends who lead you toward bad money decisions to NOT mixing money and family if you want a peaceful life, there are quite a few tips to keep your relationships (and wallet) healthy.  The following section is about children, stressing the importance of not bailing them out when they make mistakes with their money and suggesting they be paid by commission for chores, rather than a straight allowance each week.

The seventh section covers how to put a roof over your head, including plenty of considerations on how to keep your mortgage under control (and pay it off as soon as possible).  There is an unusual note on renting, pointing out that buying a home is not always the best option.  The next section covers vehicles, stressing the ways that you can keep your transport costs to a minimum.  There’s also a caution against getting an RV unless you will use it regularly and can pay cash for it.

The next section is all about buying and selling, well, just about everything that hasn’t been discussed already.  The buying part suggests buying used and inexpensively when possible (although noting that sometimes, it’s worthwhile to spend more up front to keep replacement costs down).  The selling section keeps up the pressure to sell unneeded or unused goods, as well as not paying to use a storage unit as an excuse to get even more stuff.

The tenth part of the book talks about vacations and how to save on them, from taking a ‘stay-cation’ as has been popular in recent years to avoiding timeshares at all costs.  The next section of the book looks at work, primarily suggesting the importance of treating your time as precious and not wasting it earning money you’ll just squander.  The twelfth section of the book is entitled Pride, and mainly covers ways that having excessive pride hurts your financial future, by keeping you from making the best financial decisions for you.

Next comes time, emphasizing how we trade time for money for much of our life, and how getting out of debt, saving, and investing can provide you with money that you can, in turn, trade for more time to do what you want later in life.  Speaking of Saving, that’s the next section of the book; it covers creation of a ‘job evacuation plan’ (that is, retirement plan), and stresses the power of compound interest to build up your wealth.  There’s also a note about keeping things in perspective when viewing others’ savings efforts; the secretary who has a $100,000 retirement account have probably had to save just as high a proportion of her money as the executive with the $10 million nest egg, and said executive should be respected for not spending all of his income, to boot.

The next chapter covers the act of giving, from giving presents to your family for Christmas or similar holidays to giving to charity to help others.  There’s a short section designed to give you one last kick in the pants, and then the book proper ends with a summary of all the points made throughout.

Pros

The book is nicely paced and very readable, with a healthy dose of humor and wit included (much of it at the expense of those who, like Daniel before he saw the light, would rather spend frivolously than save).  The tips are nice and solid, and each section is written in a nice, fluid pace.  The book is a pretty quick read, covering the needed material swiftly and without any excess material.

Cons

There’s not much here that you can’t get out of most introductory money management books (or websites, for that matter).  The book primarily focuses on debt reduction, with most other aspects of money management, from budgeting to investing, not getting much coverage.  The lack of details makes it hard to rely solely on this book as a monetary guide.

Overall

BOILED DOWN MONEY GOO is a pretty decent introductory money book.  If you are just getting started on your money management career, particularly if you are trying to get out of debt, it makes a great starting point.  If you’re ready to start applying your time and money to other goals, though, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere (or at least not consider this the be all and end all of money management books).

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