I grew up on a farm that wasn’t quite in the middle of nowhere but was 10 miles from the closest town. So while many of my peers spent the summers at our city’s park or in the municipal swimming pool, I spent a lot of summers in the treehouse that my father built for my brother and I, a can of pop near my elbow and a book in my hands. I would burn through a ton of books during the span of a summer.
In my adulthood, I live in a city, I’ve tried to cut pop out of my diet, but the attraction of books remain constant to me. In addition to the books I invested in recently at Savers (they were half off – so I got a ton of paperbacks for 50 cents and a dollar a piece), I’m going to read and review some books on frugality and debt reduction. Here’s my list so far:
“Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey – I’ve read this before, but it was a couple years ago. I’d like to re-read it again and maybe spur myself into thinking frugally again. I’m not making the same mistakes that I made before when I got myself into debt, but I’m not as mindful as I should be about saving money and aggressively paying off my college loans.
“The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan – This is a non-fiction account of the people who lived through the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl. Debt reduction? Not so much. Frugality? Absolutely. If anything, I think this book is going to give me a greater appreciation of what it is that I have in my life.
“Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict” by Avis Cardelle – I’m blaming Oprah on this one. I was going through some of her newsletters that have stacked up in my inbox and this one looks interesting. Because maybe I wasn’t as bad as the author, but I used to LOVE shopping. It cheered me up when I was sad, it contributed to my financial downfall and yeah … let’s just say that I’m interested to hear this person’s account and how she transitioned her life from meaningless spending to mindful shopping.
“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – Again – damn you Oprah! Damn you and the books that you suggest that look so tempting and promise a greater insight into my psyche! Oh wow – that was something of a rant. Anyway, Oprah talked about this in one of her newsletters and the gist of the book is that the author spent a year “testing” some of the nuggets of wisdom that get spewed out on how to make you a happier person. You know what I’m talking about – you could be waiting in the line at the grocery store or in the dentist’s waiting room and some magazine will have some variation on “10 Ways to Be Happier.” (Examples? Take time to sniff the roses, sniff lavender to calm yourself, put yourself first, etc., etc., etc. Yes, I am prey to these articles.) Well, it turns out that magazine publishers aren’t just trying to sell copies – this kind of thinking has been going on since Aristotle’s time.
So what does this have to do with frugality and debt reduction? Probably nothing. I’m just curious to see what kind of correlations the author makes between wealth and happiness. I’m a happier person since I’ve retired my credit card debt. My money isn’t going to the credit card companies – it goes to my college debt, towards stuff for the house, landscaping projects, but stuff is stuff – in my mind there is still a correlation to spending money and happiness. I need to work on that – I’m curious what I will learn from this book.
So far, that’s it. Curious about the other books that I’m reading this summer? So far, I’ve plowed through “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson (yeah, don’t read this one at night if you have an overactive imagination); “Summer Sisters” by Judy Blume (I fracking LOVE Judy Blume – she of “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” fame – is my summer sister. I felt like I was 13 again.); and “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink. I’m sure I’ll read “Bag of Bones” by Stephen King and “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova at some point this summer – I re-read them as a matter of course every year. (And no, I cannot explain that – I just like those books a lot and revisit them like they are old friends.)
What are you reading, my friends? Do you have any suggestions you’d like to share for financial books or what books have you not been able to put down so far this year?
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