Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Hot (broke) Messes

Little known fact about me: I'm a wallow-er. When I'm in bad mood or have a funk I just can't shake, I bathe in depair and shower in my own self-pity. Putting it that way sounds much more poetic (and way less pathetic) than it actually is. In order to keep a shred of my journalistic integrity, I'll refrain from whining about how I don't have any money and how I feel like a failure (see why here). Instead, I figured I would give you all a short review about a recent personal finance book I read. This would probably easier if I thought to write the review before I returned the book to the library, but that just wouldn't be me.
Second little known fact: I regularly judge (actual) books by their cover. Clearly, the bright pink and yellow combo called out to me in the library. I was initally intrigued by Ms. Trejos' claim about "having your latte", since most programs tell you to cut all your spending and don't encourage frivolous spending on things like coffee, manicures, new shirts, etc. To start, I felt like the author's kindred spirit: we were both young, had a lot of debt and didn't know what we spent it on, and definitely needed a plan on how to spend less.
When it came to my own personal finance, I was basing my decisions on the personal, not the financial, part of it. I have made pretty much every personal finance mistake you can make. I got my first credit card in college. It didn’t take long for me to max it out. That was the beginning of a string of errors.
Ms. Trejos chose to use a certified financial planner to assist her in getting out of debt (which I might do, if I could afford it). She had more debt than I do, but she also made about $30,000 more a year than I do (as a personal financial writer, where do I sign up?!). Like me, she kept track of her expenses and looked for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, this is where lost me- her tastes were much more expensive than mine are. I had never even heard of Kerastase shampoo before I read this book (which sells for $22 on Amazon, FYI), so I didn't find her cost cutting strategies very helpful. I need more than "stay in and have parties with friends instead of going out" since I only go out-out once or twice a month.

However, I appreciate where the author is coming from (since I'm right there too) and I could identify with her struggle to get back in touch with the financial side of personal finance. It was a quick read and would've fit in nicely with my "books for the beach" rotation.

Read any good finance books lately? When's the last time someone asked you that question?

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