I confess I have not read much in terms of money management which is why when Bethany Publishing offered Pocket Your Dollars, by Carrie Rocha, to review, it quickly peeked my interest. Who doesn’t want to keep more of the money they make in their pocket?! I sure wanted to find out how.
The claim of the author is that if you change in these five attitudes (addressed in her book) you will be successful in making changes in the way you spend to pay down your debt, avoid financial stress, and keep more of what you make. I didn’t know much about the author and only up until recently I started following your popular money saving blogs. So with excitement I opened the book and read on with an open mind and an eagerness to learn whatever good she had to say.
Quickly though, I realized that being published by a “Christian Publisher,” doesn’t always mean the content of the book is exclusively geared toward a Christian audience. In that sense this book was a disappointment. It was definitely written for the audience at large; void of any Christian motivation to be good stewards of the Lord’s money. And it puzzled me because the, “The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money” (http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/money-and-motives-11581312.html). A Christian venturing to speak on money would have far more valuable reasons to address the topic than any worldly perspective can offer. For me, it is imperative to know what motivates a person to be frugal or not. It matters because their motivations affect the risks they take and most certainly the counsel they give. Money can lead us to want more of it and never be satisfied or to make wiser choices and be satisfied. With that in mind, I wanted to listen to Carrie but though she gave minute glimpses of being a church attender and giver she stated that her and her family’s motivation to save was ultimately to fulfill their dreams to move to Latin America…and of course get all the things they always wanted but couldn’t have growing up (p54-56). Big disappointment there, but I kept reading.
There were nine chapters of essentially her perspective on how Americans think about money and spending and how dysfunctional it is. Her observations are valid, but again, the motivation to change is to focus on the bigger and better things you want to get. Keep your eyes on the prize, is her counsel, and you’ll get that vacation you always wanted, that nicer car, that bigger house, etc. 90% of her book was spent on these ideas and attitudes. Finally, in the last and smallest part of the book she talks about budgeting advice. That part was worth reading. And I did learn something new. Perhaps you have heard about the “snowball” or “rollover method” to debt approach. It is basically paying off your lowest balance loans first. Jon and I have tried that before when we were birthing babies annually and we had a lot small doctor bills. By paying off all the small balances, first, we were able to make great progress and then just focus on paying off the big ones. One by one they all got paid off! However, she suggests that one common mistake people make when paying off debt is that they do not save or set aside for any emergencies – FIRST. And when something unexpected happens they have a tendency to fall back into debt again. I would say that was a mistake Jon and I made. In our effort to pay off our debt we left no room for savings and when the van needed new tires or the stove stopped working, we had to use the credit card to replace them. It takes looking ahead at what our household will need, but with a little planning you can save up for those expected or unexpected expenses you may encounter along the way. That was good advice and it is one we are taking to heart.
Carrie sounds super sweet, the kind a woman you want to hang out with. But what she offers in her book is essentially a vision for your money that, I, as a Christian, cannot endorse. For it is void of eternal value. This book would have been better if she had stock to the practical advice she obviously has learned and lived out. So…No. I don’t recommend this book. However, I would totally recommend her blog (by the same name) and get her helpful and practical advice from there.
Now, If you want to learn (or perhaps remind yourself of) a much better theology and motivation to be good steward with your money, please listen to my Pastor’s series on money, here.
***This book was provided for free to us from Bethany House Publishing. This review is entirely our own thoughts.