Most helpful positive review
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Worth at least 100 times the price
on May 22, 2000
I first read this book almost by accident in September of 1997. I was browsing through a bookstore out of town, and there it was. I thought $7 couldn't hurt. I've tried everything else. Why not this book?
Well, 2 1/2 years later, I've been able to pay off more debt than I care to mention. ($20,000+ comes to mind as a fairly accurate figure). I have often wondered what makes a self-help book really helpful. There are several things about this book that I really liked.
The first is that it is not a book about investments and how to get rich quick. It's not about depriving yourself either. It really doesn't give any specific financial advice which is why I liked it so much. There are other books for stuff like that.
Probably the single most important lesson in this book, and one which has changed my life immensely, is stop borrowing money. Just stop. Do it one day at a time. When I started on my debt repayment plan, I didn't worry so much about paying off my debt as much as not taking on any new debt. If that sounds simplistic, well it is. That's the whole point of this book. It's simple. It's not easy. If you want to heal, stop the bleeding. People who are in the rat race of juggling credit cards are bleeding cash every month. Stop the bleeding first, and then you start to heal.
Another lesson I learned is the monthly spending record. My friends howl when I suggest this. Keep track of every penny, yes every penny, that comes into your life and out of your life. I can say with conviction that that suggestion alone, coupled with not taking on new debt, will make your life so much different, you'll wonder in amazement. The author suggests keeping a weekly spending record and transferring it to a monthly record. I keep just a monthly record. It takes up very little time. It's also very eye opening how much money flows right out the expense column every month. The benefit of this is it allows you to make adjustments and find out where you are bleeding. It's not enough to guess. Until you write down everything, you will never fully understand where your money problems are. You can use a computer spreadsheet or you can do what I do which is write it down on old fashioned paper.
Another lesson this book taught me is that you don't need a credit card. Now there's a revolutionary concept. If you really think about it, how many people in your life including yourself say, "I need a credit card for emergencies." Hogwash! I've had two genuine emergencies in my life where I needed money and needed it fast. Well guess what? I had two choices, I could pay with a credit card or I could pay with cash. I paid with cash. Funny how many people accept cash as a payment these days. If you want to get out of debt, get out of the credit card habit. Use a debit card. I use my Visa debit card for all my amazon.com purchases, and it works beautifully. Same as cash.
One more thing, if you use credit cards and you pay interest every month, do you realize you're making the bank rich? Do you realize you're working for the bank? Whether you like it or not, that's true. Here's another lesson. Look over your credit card balances right now and ask yourself out of all the money you owe, how much stuff do you have to show for it?
Why do I give this book 5 stars? Well, I can divide my life into two time periods. The first time period was everything that happened up until september 14, 1997 which is the day I bought the book, and everything that has happened since then. I have no credit card debt at all since reading that book. I do have a credit card (okay, I cheat) with a $350 limit only to rebuild my credit. I pay it off every month. One word of caution, reading this book can be frustrating at times because you will come to the full realization that your attitude about money is completely wrong and that you are overwhelmed with debt that will take a long time to pay off. Relax. Once you start paying off your debt, it's all downhill. It picks up speed as you go along. I know, I've done it. Thanks Jerrold Mundis for writing this book. I've saved thousands of dollars in interest because of it.