Back in April I started reading Martin Lewis’ book about personal finances: “The Money Diet“. The is aimed at helping ordinary people manage their finances more effectively: it is essentially about the ways in which ordinary people can save money. A lot of the advice in this book is geared towards saving money without sacrificing lifestyle, although there is plenty of advice for those who need to make more radical changes.
I found the book is very readable; it explains things in a clear, down-to-earth manor. Mr. Lewis’ focus is on day-t0-day financial decisions rather than ‘expert’ topics. There is little about the stock market, for example, but there is some great advice on how to cut utility bills. Much of the book’s advice could be described as “common sense”, but for the financially challenged (like me), this is an ideal place to start. And I’d be willing to bet that even the most ‘expert’ financial guru could learn a little from a book like this.
Almost everything in the book can be found on Martin Lewis’ website “MoneySavingExpert.com“. Nevertheless, I recommend reading the book: it provides a great introduction to the material on the site, and also provides an ideal mental framework for the information on the web site. That said, if you have not seen the MoneySavingExpert web site, please do take a look. It goes into much greater depth than the book, it has up-to-the-minute information on a wide range of topics, and there are great discussion forums where the wider money-saving community can share ideas and support each other.
My only criticism of the book is that the ‘diet’ metaphor does get a little tedious at times, but this is easily forgiven given the quality of the information presented.
The real test of a book like this is “does it work?”. Well, in the couple of months since I read the book, I have saved over £600 without significantly altering my lifestyle in any way. Admittedly, this has taken a lot of work. But it has clearly been worth it.
Overall, the best thing about The Money Diet has not been the advice it gives, but the attitude that has been instilled in me as I have read it. I know that I am paddling in shallow water when it comes to personal finances. This book has given me water-wings and a sense that one day I may be able to swim in deeper water.
In keeping with the philosophy of the book, I actually borrowed the copy I read from my local library. It has been that valuable to me that I may even go and buy my own copy – at a discount, of course!
Your comments on this review are welcome!