The Financial Diet sets itself apart from other beginner’s guides to personal finance. Almost every book in this category is full of textbook advice on how to set up different types of accounts and how to allocate investments. This can be very intimidating. The Financial Diet focuses more on the mindset and emotional realities of getting a handle on your money. This makes it a great starting point for anyone who feels overwhelmed by numbers.
When I first decided to learn about finance, I had no idea where to start. It seemed like every book on the shelf was written by and for people in their forties, people who owned a house and a car and had college degrees and careers. I couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was, a broke office temp with no credit, to where I wanted to be. Wherever that was? Because I had no idea when I was in my early twenties where I would eventually wind up. I just knew I hated being poor. I very much would have appreciated a book like The Financial Diet, with its profiles of various successful women and its casual language.
Another way that this book sets itself apart is that it devotes a section to domestic skills. There are even recipes for traditional comfort food. From the perspective of someone who has gradually climbed the ladder, this is really important. It’s hard to keep to a budget without a sense of domestic contentment and a desire to spend most of your time hanging out at home. The advice here on how to cook, do home repairs, and shop for bargains is pretty solid.
The specific financial advice dealing with actual dollar amounts and actual types of accounts is solid as well. Seeing a selection of budgets from different people with different lifestyles is much more helpful than the abstract percentages and worksheets that fill most budgeting books. I found the checklists and journaling prompts to be insightful and thought-provoking, even for someone whose finances are already organized.
The Financial Diet is not, and does not claim to be, the only personal finance book anyone could need. The subtitle spells out that this is for total beginners. Speaking for myself, I really appreciated how it addressed class privilege, imposter syndrome, and the challenge of transforming from a clueless young person to a professional adult with a career. I would recommend it to any beginner with a good sense of humor. Come to think of it, this book would make a good graduation gift.
“Learning basic skills like how to install a shelf... has done more for me financially than any raise on a biweekly paycheck.”
“I know from personal experience that the more control I got over my financial life, the more I realized that I am not my mistakes - and neither are you.”
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.