My first personal finance book I read was by Vanessa Summers, titled Get in the Game!: The Girls’ Guide to Money and Investing. It was my aunt’s book and it mysteriously appeared in a bookshelf in my parent’s house. The book was a bit dated (2001), but it gave me a good head start on my track to healthy personal finance.
Now enters this more recent book (2008) You’re So Money, by Farnoosh Torabi. I’m all for women-oriented PF books, but this book peaked my interest because of one thing; the target audience is for young adults in their 20s and 30s, but the main message is:
‘splurge when you can, and save on other things’
Or, in my own words, accepting our love for materialism while saving and being financially responsible in the process.
I absolutely LOVE this view on PF. We all know that living our life without ANY frivolous spending is a bunch of crock. If you quit cold turkey, eventually you know you are going to binge on something ridiculous. You have to do it little by little, and be very selective on what you want to spend your hard-earned money on. So this book is a good way to learn how to strike a natural balance between getting what you want, and not going broke in the process.
A few topics that I found that were thought provoking, or just plain good tips:
- Factoring you ‘need-wants’ into your budget, and cut down on the less important things. Need-wants constitute non-essential spending but are things you MUST HAVE that ensure a happy and complete lifestyle. Ex: an investment purse once a year because you love fashion, or soy lattes every weekday morning because they’re essential to your work survival. In exchange: eat out less and cook more, quit your gym and run at your local park instead.
- There’s no safety in numbers when it comes to shopping on sale. (I think I will be a bargain-hunter no matter what, but this idea is actually getting to me!) Little on-sale purchases add up. Psychologically it’s not a big deal when those items fail you, or get lost.
- Splurge when it makes sense. If you save up and spend on something wonderful and of great quality, you’re going to take care of it better and cherish it more. And if this item is your HOLY GRAIL of purses/shoes/what have you, you won’t be wasting your money on multiple cheap replicas or quick fixes.
- There is an entire chapter on the topic of Guilt-free Gadgetry, which I won’t go into because I don’t make big gadget purchases often. I’ve never seen this in a PF book and this is very relevant to our generation. She has some good tips on buying the best plans and getting good deals.
- Going out , having fun, and not going broke: pregame before clubbing, pay per drink in cash with $1/drink tip instead of opening a tab on your credit card (with 15% to 20% tip), don’t get too generous when buying rounds or else you may regret it when you’re sobered up later, eat at home first and show up later at the tail end of dinner before drinks.
And the main point: Have it all… just not all at once. What a great mantra!
There are a few things that irk me about the book, but it’s an overall great read that I’d recommend to anyone.