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Hot (broke) Messes: How to Have Your Latte and Drink It Too Paperback – May 20, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A new twist on the pink-covered girl's guide to finance trend is constructed by Trejos, a personal finance writer for the Washington Post, who herself hit financial bottom. Broke and deep in debt, she found herself having to call her hard-working, blue-collar, immigrant parents for money—all the while publicly advising others on their monetary well-being. She sheepishly admits having made every personal finance mistake under the sun, and through a myriad of stories from her own epic money screwups, she offers advice and resources for the similarly beleaguered. Trejos covers all the usual suspects of get-control-of-your-finances guides aimed at young women: credit scores, car payments, student loan payments, debt, health insurance, and accountability. What makes this one stand out is how relatable the author is and how poignant her situation: that someone ostensibly well schooled in the ins and outs of money wrangling can make the same mistakes as the rest of us. Peppy packaging and an encouraging tone should help this one get some traction. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Nancy Trejos is the personal finance columnist for the Washington Post. She's been with the Post for nine years, and her column is extremely popular.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; 1 edition (May 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446555428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446555425
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lawral Wornek on May 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Yes, you can afford to continue to buy your latte-a-day in this recession, you just need to budget for it and Nancy Trejos wants to show you how. Hot (Broke) Messes, which is a combination of Trejos' own journey to financial stability and the fruits of her research labor as a financial writer for The Post, is based on the principle of living within your means. This is great advice, but if you're looking for tips to help you do that on a day to day basis, this probably isn't the book for you. Hot (Broke) Messes is filled with gems like "stop using your credit cards" and "eat in a few nights a week." The advice is either too basic to be of any help, or too ridiculous (wasteful, expensive) to be called advice. I don't know about you, but I'm not comfortable telling my friends that I'm on a budget in an effort to get them to cover my tab and/or making sure I hit a bunch of embassy parties because they usually have great, free spreads. While these tactics seem to have worked well for Trejos, they are hardly applicable or even accessible to everyone.

That is not to say that there is no value in this book, because there is. Trejos' background as a financial reporter saved Hot (Broke) Messes for me. There is some wonderfully useful information about monitoring your credit score, managing debt, "good" vs. "bad" debt, how to choose insurance, and more. There is also cutting edge information about the new rules and regulations affecting student loans, credit card debt, and car and home loan options. Trejos offers all of this information in a very understandable way and with input from various financial experts. An extensive appendix also offers tables to help you figure out your net worth and set up your own financial plan and goals.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By schadepp on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
this book is written in a ridiculous, condescending and unhelpful way. the personality of the author that is revealed through reading this very personal narrative is like an annoying Cathy cartoon (i.e. Ack! i can't believe i accidentally bought another $70 bottle of champagne). my disgust for her grating personality is counterbalanced by the sheer wonder that i feel when i think about that fact that with her pathetic writing abilities she actually gets PAID by a reputable news agency, and quite a lot too as she constantly mentions. anyone who can't pay off 12K in credit card debt with an 80k salary is too stupid, impulsive and childish to be writing about finances. period.

basically, if you need advice about how to avoid painfully expensive shopping/spa rampages through california and avoiding the temptation of going out 7 DAYS A WEEK spending on average 40 DOLLARS PER OUTING then by all means read this book.

there is virtually no applicable advice for the average person and the odds are very unlikely that ms trejos' experience has anything to do with your life.

this book is overall worthless is my estimation and i wouldn't recommend it to anyone because i wouldn't want to admit having read it. the final straw for me was when ms. trejos states towards the end that she has applied the cash advance she received from selling this book towards her credit card debt but she STILL hasn't paid it completely off. it made me feel used that she was so obvious in her book writing aims- she just wants to make money, pure and simple. she doesn't know what she's talking about. she wants to rope you in with a bright pink cover. don't fall for it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Mary Gresham on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book over the past weekend and must say that it sounds familiar. I see so many young adults who have gotten into debt during college and then made it worse just after college. The problem with most money books is that they all give the same technical information and ignore the emotional issues that drive difficult money behaviors and attitudes.Nancy Trejos writes her personal narrative and at the same time weaves into it money management information and research, making it more interesting and more personal for the reader. You can read the book slowly and do the program that Nancy does as she does it, working on a spending plan and looking at how emotional spending operates in your life. She illustrates the dilemma of having a social life that can depend on going out to bars or restaurants and what a challenge that can be to the budget. Many tips and internet resources related to living well but less expensively are presented in the book. I am sure that a number of young women will see themselves portrayed in the story she tells and her path to financial health can work for them as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa K. on June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to read this book and I absolutely love it! It's written in a conversational manner, as though Trejos is one of your besties. She gives very practical advice that feels like it's real because every step of the way Trejos shares her own personal finance history and how she got into trouble. It's written for women, and I certainly felt it was relevant to women with a lifestyle similar to mine. For instance, women who may be wooed by things like designer skin care products. In the chapter titled "You're So Vain," Trejos describes how she once walked out of Neiman's with $445 in face creams because she had succumbed to a bit of peer pressure and felt it would make her look good. She then did some research to find a 2007 Consumer Report study that showed that oftentimes the best creams are not the most effective. 200 women tested various moisturizers and anti-wrinkle creams and the product that was the most effective was the Olay Regenerist collection and costs about $60 for three different products.

$60 still sounds a little pricey to me, so luckily Trejos provides many useful tips for cutting back on prices, such as scanning eBay for discounted products, requesting samples at cosmetics counters, or using the same products for multiple uses such as toner and make-up remover. There is one tip, however, that I think is particularly helpful:

Start early. There are four essentials: cleanser, sunscreen, night cream, and eye cream. If you get into a skin care routine in your twenties it'll spare you the cost of antiaging products later on in life.

Bottom Line: Start taking care of your skin now AND save money.
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