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Wealth Watchers: A Simple Program to Help You Spend Less and Save More Hardcover – December 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wood, founder of the ingenious Wealth Watchers program, shares her accessible plan for financial independence in this highly original, commonsense approach to managing money. Her plan is based on the tenets of Weight Watchers—but rather than counting calories, readers are encouraged to figure out how much money they can spend each day. It's extraordinarily simple: Wood advocates basic action steps that anyone can take, including getting organized, creating a monthly budget, setting goals and journaling. She discusses the best approach to handling fixed expenses (e.g., housing and insurance) and semifixed expenses (e.g., transportation and child care) and includes a daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly journal in the back of the book for the reader to complete. Easy to follow and complemented by the author's well-told personal story, this unassuming book won't intimidate those with little financial knowledge and provides the simple tools everyone can use to take control of their finances. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Alice M. Wood grew up in Naperville, Illinois, where she worked as a successful attorney, representing at least 1,000 families in setting up their estate plans. Nine years ago she suffered a brain injury that, among other things, made it difficult for her to make good decisions. In her attempt to manage her weight and her money, she invented Wealth Watchers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439158193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439158197
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KJ28 on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having spent the last three months or so really getting serious about developing a budget and tracking my spending, I could really relate to the concepts introduced in this book. I began using [..] so I was already fully aware of my spending and where my money was going without having to track it manually as this book suggests. Otherwise, this book would have been a good place to start.

Having also participated in Weight Watchers, successfully reaching my goal weight and becoming a lifetime member, I can see how the concept of tracking every single expense can really be an effective tool for becoming aware of the areas in which you might be able to cut back on spending and actually save money for important things like retirement and your children's education. I really appreciated the author's willingness to share such a life-changing and devastating experience (her brain injury) and illustrate how such a tragedy ultimately inspired her to create a program that impacts so many lives. Her idea to introduce the program to corporations like McDonald's that employs many low-income individuals was brilliant and insightful. Financial literacy is so important, and it really doesn't matter how much money you make, it is what you decide to do with it that will dictate your level of financial freedom in the long run.

Though I have made many financial blunders in the past, the tools provided in this book and the lessons taught, will allow me to make significant changes now (it's not too late!) and to educate my children so that they won't make the same mistakes. The book is definitely worth reading. It is well-written, the author is transparent - admitting mistakes that you'll find you too have made - even with all of your education, high-income jobs and general knowledge about personal finance. There is always a lesson to be learned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 2000, estate-planning attorney Alice Wood suffered a serious brain injury. It affected her ability to think clearly and harmed her marriage, her law practice, her weight, her life - her entire ability to function. As she recovered, money became a major issue for her and her husband. When she joined Weight Watchers to try to slim down, she realized that its careful, day-by-day approach was an excellent model for a personal financial control program. That's when she developed Wealth Watchers. In their first year on the program, Wood and her husband cut their expenses by $12,000. She explains her simple, sensible tactics: List each cost, establish a budget and cut back on unnecessary purchases by exercising daily discretion. Her suggestions about saving money, buying insurance, putting aside retirement funds, budgeting for college, and so on, are very practical. getAbstract recommends this excellent book as a useful guide to getting the most out of your budget, husbanding your earnings and managing your money. If you don't yet have wealth to watch, she tells you how to save so you can accumulate some.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Mandel on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Wealth Watchers" has great range: a heartfelt journey to recovery from oxygen deprivation on a commercial airplane to a great financial program to help the reader save money during the worst of times.

Spending money and obesity have a lot in common - hence the title "Wealth Watchers" derived from the successful point system program of Weight Watchers. Because of Alice's brain injury, her skills as an estate planning attorney dissipated. In their place mushroomed financial confusion, ultimately a loss of financial control.

This book will make you aware of where your money goes and teach you how to become financially literate. Structured and guided journaling is an integral part of the program. Also, you will get easy to implement advice like going shopping alone to the supermarket without the kids - something I need to do.

Follow the personal responsibility checklist and you will soon be conscious of your daily disposable income. Maybe you will lose some unnecessary weight in the process!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. A. Tonelli on February 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alice Wood's book, Wealth Watchers, should be required reading for every child once he or she starts self-managing money. For those of us who didn't benefit from that early education, the book offers simple yet ingenious processes and tools to help us spend wisely and save more. Going a step further than a typical monthly budget, the Wealth Watchers method leads you to discover how much you can spend on a DAILY basis and encourages tracking your spending as it happens, helping to prevent that end-of-the-month "OH NO!" moment when you realize you don't have the funds to pay your bills.

Ms. Wood's personal story that lead her to create "Wealth Watchers" makes for interesting reading. Her life-changing experiences made her realize she needed help managing her money. But it doesn't take a catastrophic event to make us realize we too need help reaching our financial goals...today's economic climate is life-changing for us all. The process and tools Ms. Wood shares in "Wealth Watchers" make the book invaluable reading for everyone who manages money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Bordelon on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book brings to light some common sense spending and saving practices that we should all follow. The author is certainly right on target that our financial crisis is the result of everyone--individuals and our government--spending more than we take in and feeling that we should be able to have everything we want NOW. People need an easy, clear system, and this book offers it for most people. I really like her stress of those "small leaks" that we don't notice or tend to blow off--$3 here, $5 there. If you want a new couch, eliminating your daily Starbuck's habit and bringing a travel mug of coffee to work just might pay for it! Half of the book, however, is blank journal pages that might not work for everyone, and I'm certainly not going to haul around this hardcover book as my spending journal, despite its small size. It would also be quite cumbersome just to write in. Missing from this book is more focus and/or suggestions for people who don't have a regular, consistent income 12 months out of the year--teachers, contract workers, people who work for themselves, whatever. She really needed a whole other developed chapter giving hints and suggestions for people who don't get the same pay every month. The same is true for expenses--for example, I pay $250 for my son's preschool, but only for 9 months out of the year. The end of the book just seemed incomplete, like there should have been more.

The bottom line, though, is that this system is great for becoming much more aware of your spending habits and how much things really cost. We have become disassociated from our spending because swiping the debit or credit card is so easy.
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