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Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better Paperback – July 19, 2013
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"Clare Levison creates a no-nonsense, easy-to-follow roadmap for you to break the chains of debt and become a true master of your money…and your future."
--Sharon L. Lechter, CPA, coauthor of the international best-selling Rich Dad, Poor Dad
"Clare provides a fresh perspective on financial literacy issues. Her ability to synthesize complex financial solutions into a clear and understandable story sets her apart from others."
--Ernie Almonte, CPA, former chairman of the American Institute of CPAs
About the Author
Clare K. Levison is a certified public accountant and national financial literacy spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). She has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country and is a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Board of Directors. She was named one of the 2010 Top Five CPAs Under Thirty-Five by the VSCPA. Clare has more than a decade of corporate accounting experience and is also an active volunteer, serving as PTA president, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher. She lives in Blacksburg,
Virginia, with her husband and two daughters.
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This is a quick read which is nice. It can also be viewed as a nice transition book.
My only reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is that some of the topics discussed (children, student loans) does not apply to me.
The author does a nice job of connecting you with her. One gets the impression she is quite a pleasant person with a good sense of humor. Her and her family would probably make great neighbors.
I'm sure the author means well but it's hard not to think stereotypical negative thoughts about her because everything she says just screams Upper-Middle-Class-Soccer-Mom. She's a CPA, but she's the kind of CPA that Dave Ramsey makes fun of because everything she says makes you think that she learned absolutely nothing about financial sense from her degree.
She says things like "Some people say this, others say that..." which is another way of saying she doesn't have a clue. She tells stories for the sake of telling stories (they add nothing to whatever point she is trying to make), and plenty of her arguments are just repeating common wisdom you can find elsewhere.
The real problem though, is that her perspective is highly skewed to the rich, trendy, and ignorant. Some of the advice (Buy a house! Buy a used car!) would be terrible advice for people under some circumstances. Alternatives to the status quo (living without a car or renting and investing) are not really explored, and even the subjects she does consider are not really considered in detail, save for some math she throws at you here and there that might actually be confusing (Ah, THAT'S what the CPA qualifications are for!).
In addition, when she does give decent advice (buy at outlets, buy used cars rather than new) she fails to discuss the trade-offs and times when doing the opposite might be a good idea (like how used cars of certain brands require expensive repairs or the fact that often the clothes for sale at outlets are not the same quality as those sold at retail stores).
All in all, I'm taking away two thoughts from this book.
1. There's MUCH better books on finance available, and I would recommend The Automatic Millionaire for those who want to cut out small expenses, buy a house, and retire well-off, and Total Money Makeover to people drowning in debt. Both have far, far, better information that you will find in this book and are much easier to understand in addition.
2. I could write a better book about living within your means than this one. I probably should start working on that now... In the meantime, a far, far better book about living within your means would be Affluenza (while it's not a personal finance book it will sell you on the philosophy of simple living far more than this book ever could.
All this considered, this book is a waste of money.