Tips for De-Cluttering Your House and Getting Paid for it

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When you’re trying not to spend money, there’s no better way to spend your time than making money. And you know what my favorite way to make money is?


I couldn’t make a living off of it but it’s a great way to build an emergency fund or earn a little vacation money. The feeling of a good purge is half the reward anyway.

And with the rise of blogs, books, and movies about minimalism, I think you guys agree. Whether you’re venturing into minimalism, doing a No-Spend Challenge or just trying to spend less, getting rid of stuff is a wild way to spend a Friday night and a cathartic activity.

So if you want to go further than just “not spending” and make your home and life more minimalist and cozy, here are 7 tips for de-cluttering your house and where to sell your stuff for quick cash.

Also, if you like this topic I cover this and much more in my book The No-Spend Challenge Guide. Check it out to help you save more, spend less, and make the most of your time paying off debt.

1. Mentally Prepare

When purging unused items it’s important to go in knowing what you’re up against. The goal isn’t to go from hoarder to Ikea in one day. Purging is a process. The reason I love de-cluttering while on a No Spend Challenge is that it’s unlikely I’ll replace the stuff I get rid of during that process.

Also, you have to give up the “I paid $$$ for this” mentality. What you paid for it mattered to your budget (or lack of) when you bought it. It’s non-use matters today. If you haven’t used it this year then you can live without it.

2. Physically Prepare

You can start your purge up to a year before you actually get rid of anything. Try this hanger trick, made famous by Oprah. Go into your closet and turn all the hangers the wrong way (whatever that means to you).

Whenever you put a garment back into the closet after wearing it put it in with the hanger facing the right way. At the end of six months or a year whatever hangers are still facing the wrong way can easily be gotten rid of.

3. Keep – Sell/Give – Store

For going through drawers and closets that have become a black hole of clutter, find three boxes and label them: keep, sell/give, and store. There could also be a fourth box for trash but I like to keep it simple and just bring the trash can over.

The “Keep” box is for things you use and still need to easy access to. The Sell/Give box gets an attempt at selling then if that fails goes to charity, and the Store box is for things you need or want but can go into deep storage.

I also like the Store box as a tester for getting rid of more on my next purge. If you’re holding that snow globe from middle school and you’re having a hard time parting with it, you don’t have to make a decision yet. Put it in the Store box and come back to it in a month.

4. Don’t Call It Junk

When we were hosting a garage sale for my mom we had a lot of clothes leftover. I went through and tried to separate out what we could sell to Clothes Mentor which buys and sells gently used clothes for women.

There were these two pairs of corduroy overalls, one with Eeyore on the front, the other with Pooh and Piglet. Assuming that I knew what was in style I put those in the Give box but Travis saw me and was convinced they would sell. I don’t remember everything I said but it was something to the extent of “you’re crazy, these are ugly.” But because I wanted to prove him wrong I let him take them.

We ended up taking the clothes to Plato’s Closet, which sells teen clothing because Clothes Mentor wasn’t buying at the time. I was prepared to make very little because the clothes were definitely for an older crowd. When we picked up our two bins of clothing they’d agreed to buy three items from us. Two of them were the overalls.

That story to say, I don’t call anything junk anymore (well, I’m at least trying now). You’d be shocked at what people will buy online or at gently-used stores. It’s usually the things we think will sell that don’t and the things we think will never sell do the quickest.

5. Free Your Flat Surfaces

I read this online and it’s become my mantra when I only have five minutes to clean. Clearing off countertops, the coffee table, dining table, desk, anything flat can transform your house.

This is especially true in a small house. We didn’t have many flat surfaces in our apartment; it was pretty much just the kitchen table. So it ended up being a catchall for mail, papers, etc. The first thing to get cleared was always that table and it made a huge difference right off the bat.

6. Find Storage

Don’t buy storage. You’re trying not to spend money remember? You don’t even know how much storage you’re going to need until after you finish. Trust me, I too have dreams about the Container Store but use it as a reward instead of a necessity.

Use what you have for free first. Wrap boxes with ribbon or washi tape for custom storage or look for free storage on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I try to make it my goal to get rid of enough stuff to eliminate the need of containers.

Wait a few months after finishing the de-clutter, if it still bothers you then you can go buy exactly what you need, but chances are you won’t even think about it once it’s done.

7. One Room at a Time

Don’t try to tackle the whole house in one day, not even a month. 2-4 hours is about how much most people can handle. So start small and tackle one room, closet or drawer at a time and just keep going.

I suggest starting with the most used room down to the least. For me that’s the bedroom or kitchen.

Suggestions for quick purges:

  • Old Magazines
  • Stretched out Hair Ties
  • Unused CDs & DVDs
  • Unused Makeup & Skincare
  • Free T-Shirts
  • Unwanted Gifts
  • Unused Purses

Now here’s the fun part. Where you can make some money off your efforts. There are a few ways to go at this. You can sell items yourself on eBay, Poshmark, or Amazon. Or you can sell to reselling services like DeCluttr, ThredUp, and Gone.

You’ll get more money doing it yourself but it also takes more time. Either one is a good option because you’re making some dough and you have a clean house! Here are some more ideas on where to sell your stuff and what these services buy:

  • DeCluttr- Games, CDs, DVDs, Books, Tech
  • Gone- Electronics
  • ThredUp- Clothes
  • Poshmark- Clothes
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Letgo
  • OfferUp
  • Mercari
  • Amazon

If you have a lot of stuff to sell (or you have friends with stuff to sell too) you can go with a good ol’ fashioned garage sale. I highly recommend having a multi-person yard sale. We did one this way and in addition to having more variety, we had a lot of fun together.

So what are your tips for de-cluttering your house? What’s the first drawer, room, or closet you’re going to tackle this weekend?

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How to Declutter Effectively

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How to Declutter Effectively

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How to declutter your home and make tons of money!! #declutteryourhouse #howtodeclutteryourhouse #makemoneysellingyourstuff #sellingyourthings #flippingforprofit #makemoremoney #sidehustles #sidehustleideas #makemoneyfast

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Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.


What You Need to Know about Credit Card Hardship Programs

  • Credit Card Debt

Good intentions don’t pay credit card bills. It doesn’t matter how frugal and committed you are, if you can’t work and earn, your bills won’t get paid. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that millions of Americans have to deal with every single year, but there are some programs to make this period easier for you.

Credit card companies and other lenders are not there to make your life difficult. They want to get paid as quickly and completely as possible, and if that means making some alternative arrangements to account for your financial situation, they’ll be more than happy to do so. 

What is a Credit Card Hardship Program?

Hardship programs are used by most credit card companies. It may seem counterintuitive when you consider that they are for-profit companies, but they have run the numbers and determined that a little leeway here can benefit their bottom line in the future.

Their ultimate goal is to get back the credit they supplied you with. Any interest on top of this is a bonus. They know that refusing to offer any kind of assistance increases the risk of default, at which point the credit card debt will be sold to a collection agency for mere cents on the dollar.

A hardship program gives you more opportunities to repay, which minimizes the massive losses the creditor faces when they sell your debt cheaply to debt collectors. 

Who Offers Credit Card Hardship Programs?

Many lenders offer these services, but they’re not always vocal about them. Creditors want to talk with you directly when you’re experiencing any kind of financial hardship. Their goal, in the first instance, is to negotiate more manageable monthly payments, whether in the form of a repayment plan or reduced credit card payments.

If you explain your situation in full and make it clear that you’re experiencing financial hardship and can’t cover your monthly payment, they may refer you to their hardship program.

Remember that you’re the one who owes them money and it’s not their fault that you’re in financial hardship. Don’t simply refuse to pay and insist that they add you to a financial hardship program, because they are under no obligation to do so. It may be an unsecured debt, but it’s debt nonetheless and they can call in the debt collectors or file a judgment against you.

The ball is very much in their court and they’ll only be interested in helping you if they believe you’re worthy of that help and are not simply looking for an easy escape.

How Does Credit Card Hardship Help?

A hardship program can help you with credit card debt. These programs are offered by individual lenders, as opposed to debt management plans, which cover all lenders, and they typically aim to reduce one or more of the following:

  • Interest
  • Minimum Payment
  • Fees
  • Penalties

The creditor may also create a more manageable payment schedule. They can’t help with other debts, however. A credit card hardship program won’t reduce your mortgage payments, nor will it help with any loans that you have.

What are the Requirements for Credit Card Hardship Programs?

Hardship programs differ from creditor to creditor. But just like a debt management program, you need to be experiencing some kind of hardship, such as the loss of a job, an illness or injury, or a serious reduction in your income.

As noted above, these programs are offered by individual creditors and not by the financial sector on the whole. If you have multiple debts with many different creditors, you may be better suited to debt relief programs like a debt management or debt settlement program. These are offered by debt relief companies like National Debt Relief as well as credit unions and banks.

Debt consolidation can also help in this situation and all options can help with student loans and personal loans, as well as credit card debt. You don’t need a hardship letter to qualify or apply. This is generally limited to mortgages. For credit card debt, just give them a ring.

Pros and Cons of Credit Card Hardship Programs

Although a financial hardship program may seem like a win-win, it’s not without its issues. As with the requirements, these downsides will depend on the creditor and their specific program, but we have discussed some general pros and cons of financial hardship programs below.

What are the Advantages of Credit Card Hardship Programs?

The main advantage of a financial hardship program is that it can alleviate some of your responsibilities and take the burden of immediate debt obligations off your shoulders. The credit card provider will assess your situation and determine what you can and cannot pay.

They may reduce the interest rate or the monthly payment; they may create a repayment plan. In some cases, you may get an extended term, which means you pay more in the long-term but less in the short-term, much like you would with a debt consolidation loan.

What are the Disadvantages of Credit Card Hardship Programs?

Credit card hardship programs can adversely affect your credit score. They are not reported to the credit bureaus as such, but your creditor may include a note on your account that announces your inclusion in their hardship program. This note may put other creditors off and reduce your chances of acquiring further credit.

It only makes sense—if you’ve told one lender that you’re struggling financially and can’t afford to meet their repayments, then why would another creditor want to lend you money?

A financial hardship program may impact your credit report and credit score in other ways, as well. For instance, they may suspend your account, which will impact your payment history and your credit utilization ratio, which, combined, accounts for 65% of your total FICO Score.

Summary: Hardship Programs and Other Options

A hardship program isn’t the only option available to you, nor is it an option you should rush into. Don’t panic and dive in as soon as you suffer a little hardship. Give yourself time to better understand your situation, to budget properly and assess how difficult those payments will be, and then contact your creditor.

If they tell you that there is no hardship program available, hang-up and try again. Sometimes, they will try to push you towards negotiation or just simply refuse to provide any flexibility whatsoever. But you may get a different response from another member of staff while using a different approach.

If they insist that no hardship program is available, look into debt settlement, debt management, or debt consolidation. All options are viable for someone suffering from financial hardship and all can help to reduce your debts and obligations.


You Can Buy More House If You Put More Money Down

I was reading through the latest quarterly home price report from the National Association of Realtors yesterday and stumbled upon an interesting nugget.

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth pointing out to prospective home buyers who might be lacking in the income department.

Simply put, if you are able to come to the table with more money for a down payment, you’ll be able to buy more house.

Allow me to explain, using the NAR’s latest Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability and Housing Affordability Index release (Q2 2020).

National Median Home Price Rises to $291,300

  • Expect home prices to keep rising throughout the year and next
  • This should continue to hurt purchasing power despite low mortgage rates
  • But if you’re able to come in with a larger down payment
  • You can keep your loan amount at a reasonable level and boost affordability

In the report, they noted that the national median existing single-family home price rose to $291,300 in the second quarter of 2020, up 4.2% from a year earlier ($279,560).

For the record, the pace slowed a bit as the median price in the first quarter of 2020 was 7.7% higher than it was during the first quarter of 2019.

Still, we continue to see healthy (maybe too healthy) home price growth and it’s probably going to keep rising, which should make it more difficult for some would-be buyers to purchase homes due to DTI restrictions.

Yes, mortgage lenders limit what you can afford based on your income, but there’s a way around this if you happen to have money in the bank (or a relative willing to gift you money for a down payment).

Ultimately, the more you put down, the smaller your loan amount will be. And the smaller your loan amount, the less income you’ll need to qualify for a mortgage.

In the report, NAR highlighted the fact that affordability improved in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of 2019 because of lower mortgage rates.

But that might not continue to be the case if home prices keep surging higher and interest rates stay relatively flat.

What It Takes to Buy a Median Priced Home Today

  • Let’s consider the income you need to buy a median-priced home
  • Which varies based on the down payment you’re able to come up with
  • As you can see, the more you put down, the less you need to make
  • Of course you’ll have to save more of your money along the way or rely on a gift

This is what is now needed in the way of income to purchase a single-family home at the national median price:

If 5% down payment: income of $58,613
If 10% down payment: income of $55,528
If 20% down payment: income of $49,358

Assuming you’re a frugal person who actually socks away savings, unlike most Americans, you’ll be able to buy the median priced home despite having significantly lower income than other individuals.

In fact, if you’re able to come in with a 20% down payment, you can buy that $291,300 median home price with less than $50,000 in annual household income.

Meanwhile, someone only able to muster a 5% down payment will need to be making nearly $60,000 per year.

NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.29% and a monthly principal and interest payment limited to 25% of gross income.

You might be thinking that the person with a lower income probably has more difficulty saving, but that’s not always the case.

There are plenty of folks who simply live beyond their means, despite making more money, and wind up with nothing in the way of savings.

The point here is that you don’t need to make a ton of money in order to buy a house. You’ll just need more money for the down payment.

Another benefit of a higher down payment, specifically of 20% or more, is that you can avoid mortgage insurance entirely.

Additionally, you’ll be able to obtain a lower mortgage rate because pricing adjustments are lower when your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 80% or less.

You’ll also have a decent chunk of equity in your home, which will give you the ability to sell it if need be, or refinance in the future.

And overall, you’ll have more lending options when you put more money down, along with fewer close calls if the numbers don’t quite add up while in underwriting.

Avoid Other Debt and Your Income Goes Further

  • If your income is constrained and not expected to increase
  • There’s another way you can further your purchasing power
  • Simply by paying off debt and not accumulating new debt prior to home purchase
  • This means more of the income you have can go toward a monthly mortgage payment

Another way to boost your home buying power is simply to avoid other debt.

If you don’t have any outstanding credit card debt, auto loans, student loans, etc., your income will go further when it comes to the mortgage.

When lenders determine how much you can afford, they combine all your monthly liabilities from your credit report and use your income to offset them.

If you have a ton of liabilities, your income won’t go as far since it will already be swallowed up by car payments, credit card payments, etc.

Conversely, if you’ve paid off your car and carry no other debt, that full amount of income will be available to offset your housing costs, boosting what you can afford.

Read more: What you can afford isn’t necessarily what you should spend.


8 Low Cost Ways To Improve Your Home’s Appearance

If you’ve been in your house a few years, you may notice that its original luster is wearing.

When you first buy a house, the previous owners will likely have spent a lot of time and energy making the house look as appealing as possible.

Just a few years after living in the house, however, you’ll likely find the time has come to make improvements and bump up the home’s visual appeal.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money making your home look spic and span and real-estate-listing ready (even if you have no intention of selling your home).

In fact, there are several low-cost ways that you can make your home look like it did when you first bought it.

ways to improve your home's appearance

ways to improve your home's appearance

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to simply declutter.  You might even be able to make a little money with your extra stuff!

Wash The Walls

If you haven’t washed the walls, that may be an easy (and free) first step to improve the interior of your home.

I noticed certain areas of our walls, usually on corners, about shin high that were much darker than the rest of the wall.  I wiped them down, and the walls looked much better.

I later found that they were in spots where our cat would rub his face on the corner.

Paint With Neutral Colors

ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paint

ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paintIf washing the walls doesn’t improve the look of your home as much as you would like, consider a fresh coat of paint.  However, if you’re going to go through the hassle of painting your walls to improve your interior, why not choose neutral colors?

Often you don’t know when you’ll move; sometimes you unexpectedly have to move due to a job loss or family illness.  If you choose neutral colors, you will likely be helping yourself when it’s time to sell.

My friend recently tried to sell her house, and doing so took her much longer than expected.  Although her house looked nice inside, I can’t help but wonder if the electric blue walls she had throughout the home discouraged potential buyers.

Clean Up The Landscaping

In as little as a year or two, without regular attention, your landscaping can look overrun. Bushes become too big for the yard, trees have overhanging branches that need to be trimmed.

Improve the curb appeal of your home by trimming bushes, taking care of dead leaves, and putting down new rocks or grass.

Power Wash

Likewise, you don’t notice how grimy your exterior is until you clean it.

Borrow or rent a power washer to remove the built-up grime from your sidewalks and cement porches, the exterior walls of your home, and your deck.

You’ll be shocked how much dirt you remove and how much better your home looks after you’re done. Maintaining your home by doing things like washing it can greatly add to it’s appeal.

Replace Outdoor Welcome Mats

If you have outdoor welcome mats, they’re subject to wind, rain, snow and sun damage.

Under these circumstances, they turn shabby rather quickly, so make sure to replace them at least once a year.  Your home will look that much more inviting.

Paint Kitchen Cabinets And Bathroom Cabinets

Are your cabinets from the 80s?

If so, you can improve them for a little cash and a lot of elbow grease by painting them yourself.

We have blond kitchen cabinets that are so old, the paint has worn completely through in some places.  This winter when it’s cooler, we plan to sand and repaint them.  Doing so will vastly improve the look of our kitchen.

If you’re repainting the cabinets, don’t forget to add stylish handles and knobs to complete the look.

Update Light Fixtures

Light fixtures can make a room look dated.  Both of our bathrooms have dressing room type lighting strips, which I hate.  We also plan to replace these.

We’ll buy the fixtures ourselves and hire an electrician to actually replace them.

If your home is looking a little worn and dated, these low-cost improvements can give it a whole new look.

What other frugal home improvements do you recommend to improve the look of your home?


5 Money-Saving Tips for Your Wedding

Preparing for the big day? Here are some areas where you can cut costs.

The moment you get engaged, everyone wants to know: When is the wedding? Engagements can be simple when compared to weddings—unless you are eloping or having a courthouse ceremony. If you are wedding planning on a budget and your plans don’t include hiring a wedding planner, here are some money-saving tips for your wedding:

The dress

2018 national average: $1,6311

Not wearing your grandmother’s gown? Buying used or renting can be a cost-effective way to save money on your wedding. Because wedding dresses tend to be worn once and then preserved, they are usually in “like new” condition when sold secondhand. Many websites offer pre-owned wedding dresses from major designers for when you are wedding planning on a budget.

Save money on your wedding by shopping for dresses secondhand

“We find it very rare that a bride finds sentimental value in her veil or headpiece unless it is an heirloom,” says Brittany Haas, CEO of Happily Ever Borrowed, an accessory rental store. “Accessories are generally an expensive afterthought,” she adds. “For example, the veil is something that you generally only wear for 15 minutes for your wedding day. Brides have so many more romantic things to spend on than an object only worn for 15 minutes.”

Local consignment stores also frequently carry wedding dresses, and sometimes a formal evening gown can double for your big day, which can help you save money on your wedding.

One Last Frog, suggests brides, “Shop at wholesale stores for a high quantity of decor and flowers. Typically, wholesale stores are more open to negotiation and will give you a better price for the quantity of items or flowers a bride will order.”

And once you have your flowers, if you have bridesmaids willing to help out, you can easily put together bouquets to help cut back on wedding costs.

The reception venue

2018 national average: $15,4391

Most wedding guides will tell you reception venues charge less if you get married “off-season” in January, February or March, or during the week instead of on the weekend. The main way to really save on your venue and cut back on wedding costs is to keep your guest list low (100 or less). A smaller guest list can help you save money on your wedding by lowering the cost for food, tables, chairs and drinks.

When comparing the prices of different venues, consider that going with an all-inclusive venue can be a good money-saving tip for your wedding, says Joyce Scardina Becker, designer-in-chief of Events of Distinction. “The reception site and the vendors may have prearranged financial agreements, making it easy and more cost-effective,” Becker says.

The caterer

2018 national average: $70 per person1

Sit-down or buffet? “Many couples think that buffets are less expensive than a sit-down plated meal, but this is often not the case,” Becker says. “Many times buffets are more expensive because you have to offer more choices and you cannot control the quantity of food a guest takes. So you should check with your caterer before deciding on a buffet versus a sit-down dinner.”

If you’re wedding planning on a budget, food trucks can be an alternative to cut back on wedding costs, while providing a memorable guest experience.

When it comes to alcohol, Becker suggests:

  • Having a short cocktail hour—make it 45 minutes
  • Avoiding salty hors d’oeuvres (they make guests thirstier)
  • Uncorking bottles only as needed (a wedding planner or event organizer can control this)

Additionally, if your venue allows you to bring your own alcohol, wholesalers tend to offer lower prices and typically allow you to return any unopened bottles for credit. Bringing your own alcohol could help you save quite a bit of money on your wedding.

The photographer

2018 national average: $2,6791

One of the easiest ways to cut back on wedding costs is to limit how long your photographer stays. If you’re getting married in the off-season, you’ll likely find better deals than those getting hitched in the summer and fall.

An often overlooked money-saving tip for your wedding: Contact local college students studying photography who are interested in expanding their portfolio. Some experienced photographers may also have assistants who charge less, while still providing good service.

Happily (and financially) ever after

While looking for ways to save money on your wedding may not sound romantic, it may be the best gift couples can give themselves in the long run. Utilizing these money-saving tips to cut back on wedding costs can mean more savings to put toward other financial goals as a couple—goals like buying a home, starting a family, saving for a child’s education or building an emergency fund.




If You’re Interested in Personal Finance Books, We Answer 3 Questions About Them Here

Much of the best personal finance advice out there is found in books, where the entire scope of a personal finance plan can be explored in depth. Your local library has a plethora of personal finance books on the shelves, covering almost any sub-topic you could want, and can request many more if you simply ask.

But among all of those books, there are questions. Which personal finance book is the best? Which one is right for me? How does the advice in a personal finance book apply in today’s world where we’re dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences? Let’s look in-depth at some of those issues.

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In this article

1. What’s the best personal finance book?

What is the best personal finance book? There are thousands of them on Amazon and I don’t know which ones are worth reading.

– Max

It’s hard to define what “best” really means in terms of something like personal finance because people are coming to these books from such different places in their lives. A person in their 20s at the start of a great career, single and earning a good salary, is going to be looking for something much different than the type of book that would appeal to someone in their 50s who has always struggled to make money and is now very scared about retirement.

Thus, if you’re looking for the “best” personal finance book, you would want one that explains core concepts of personal finance in a way that’s meaningful and applicable to a lot of people.

[ More: More Americans Are Using Retirement Savings to Cover Expenses ]

One very good choice in that regard is “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The book focuses on examining personal finance through the lens of how much of your life you’re devoting to earning money, and thus how much of your life you’re spending with each transaction, casting money-saving decisions in a very powerful light. It is an incredibly powerful argument for spending less in the modern world, and overspending is one financial challenge almost all of us face.

Aside from that, look for a personal finance book that matches your life situation. For example, if you’re young, look for a book targeting folks in their 20s and 30s, like “Get a Financial Life” by Beth Kobliner.

2. How do I explore frugal hedonism while isolated?

I enjoyed learning about “The Art of Frugal Hedonism” and I picked it up from the library recently. Disappointed to find that it was mostly about doing things socially, which is much harder right now. How do you do frugal hedonism when you’re isolated?

– Dana

“The Art of Frugal Hedonism” is a great book that addresses saving money from an interesting perspective. It views frugality as a creative constraint, meaning that it nudges you to explore new things that you may not have done before, and those new things often expose you to pleasures that are entirely new to you.

Many of the examples given by the authors throughout the book are indeed oriented toward spending time with others, which is a difficult challenge for those practicing social distancing or socially isolated for other reasons. In our conversation with author Annie Raser-Rowland, she even directly points this out as a problem, noting that there’s no easy way around it.

So, what can a socially isolated person do to practice frugal hedonism? You can start by simply trying a wide range of low-cost solo activities and hobbies, particularly things you’ve never tried before. Try growing some vegetables in the spring, learning how to knit or learn how to cook.

[ Next: The Best Personal Finance Books ]

You can, in fact, be a frugal introvert. There are many things you can do solo that is quite inexpensive. Go through that list and pick out a few that you haven’t tried before that seem like they have at least a bit of potential to be interesting, and try them. Some will click, and that’s great. Some won’t, but then at least you’ll have an interesting story to tell.

3. What is the best Dave Ramsey book?

I have been listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio recently and I like his advice. I looked on Amazon and they have several books by him. Which one is the best or the best to read first?

– Michael

Hands down, the best Dave Ramsey book is “The Total Money Makeover.” The reason is that, among all of Dave’s books, it’s the one that leans in the strongest to his core message.

Dave Ramsey is extremely good at practical psychology. He’s very good at helping people define the personal finance problem they’re facing and have the willpower to overcome it through motivational tactics. He leans into that strength, which is great, but by doing so, he’s perhaps not so good at other areas. He chooses to offer motivational predictions rather than offer extremely accurate numbers, which is why he’ll consistently overestimate stock market returns when he delves into investments because doing so motivates people to turn toward investing.

That’s why “The Total Money Makeover” stands out amongst all of Dave’s books. It sticks with the practical psychology of debt and focuses on developing a debt repayment plan, his variant of which he calls the debt snowball, and how to motivate yourself to actually pull it off. This is the area where Dave shines, and it’s never more clear than in this book.

Do you have any questions? The best way to ask is to follow me on Facebook and ask questions directly there. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future mailbag (which, via full disclosure, may also get re-posted on other websites that pick up my blog). However, I do receive many, many questions per week, so I may not necessarily be able to answer yours.

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