Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend Reading: Hot (broke) Messes

Hot (broke) Messes: How to Have Your Latte and Drink it too.  By Nancy Trejos. Business Plus, May 2010.

This is more of a tale of financial mishap than a personal finance book, but that's a rather nice change of pace, actually.  Author Nancy Trejos is a personal finance writer at the Washington Post, and is currently crawling her way out of debts racking up by poor decision-making, ignorance and trying to keep up with the Joneses (I hate that expression).  She turns her mistakes into our lessons, and supplements those with accounts of other people's woes and triumphs.

As far as personal finance books go, this one is certainly the most readable.  Trejos is an excellent writer, so I forgave what seemed to be a bit self-indulgent at times.  She also steps a toe into other areas that fall under the umbrella of personal finance, but rarely get mentioned i.e. health insurance.

Best Takeaways:
  • I now have a better understanding of health insurance and what some of the previously daunting terms mean.  I'm not going to have health insurance any time soon, but it's nice to have a bit of information.
  • The importance of honesty.  Since this is more of a narrative than a personal finance book, you actually get to see her character develop as she goes along her personal finance journey.  She includes excerpts from her diary about her financial hits and misses, and you witness a person going from not looking at price tags to buying wheat crackers for $1 less. She comes clean with her friends about her budget and finds that many of them are in the same boat.  It's so important to just be honest with your friends about where you are moneywise, but it's also really hard to do.  In the long run, we all know that saving and paying off debt will serve us better than having friends who spend recklessly, but everyone gets caught up sometimes.
  • An example.  She's very honest and warts-and-all about her personal finance trials and lessons, and that's something you rarely get.  It's really nice to experience a book of this type and not feel a bit like you're being lectured.  Certainly Suze Orman talks about her own financial wobbles, but this is much more confessional, and you can see how you two would get sucked into buying a condo for love or buying a car because you're sick of feeling deprived.  I certainly get petulant when deprived (see clothes shopping), and even though I know I'm not alone in that, it's still nice to have a reminder.
Overall, I highly recommend this book.  Whether you're starting out budgeting or are a seasoned couponer, there's something in here for everyone, and it's entertaining.

1 comment:

  1. This one has been on my to-read list for awhile. Thanks for reminding me of it... knowing it's not yet another lecture-style finance book makes me want to read it even more!