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

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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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: #1,123,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a college student working at a Borders thinking that everyone I knew must have some secret to spending habits I don't. I could hardly afford to eat out more than once or twice a month, and having a latte a day was completely out of reach. So I bought the book thinking it would be full of budgeting advice so I could start dressing and spending more like my peers.

As it turns out, not so much. The authors background is similar to mine in that her parents came to this country to have a better life and lived rather thriftily. The author stopped living her parents cheap lifestyle upon moving away to college and getting her first credit card. As someone who does not own a credit card yet, I can't exactly get myself into the trouble she did.

Most of the tips about how to shop and use various things (cosmetics, clothes, etc.) are tips I already know/ employ. I also already know that with my part-time job I could never afford to eat out a couple of times a week, so budgeting for it would probably put me into debt, not keep me out of it.

The book does have some great tips and advice about a couple of things. It explains 401k's as well as the alternatives for those who are not offered one, along with various other financial tools.

I think this would serve as a great warning to the college students living it up, buying designer brands and lattes everyday when they can't truly afford them. If you, like me managed to avoid that, then you will likely still benefit from the financial advice.

As for figuring out how to afford that latte a day, I think I'll look for another book.
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This book is a good Personal Finance book; however, it is not a good book for those who already possess personal finance knowledge. I didn't learn anything, but I LOVED the point of view (financially struggling finance writer). She was able to step back and look at herself and determine where she went wrong. At several points throughout, it seemd that she was advertising brand names and websites. This was a little distracting.

When reading this book it is important to keep in mind the big picture, budgeting, frugality, personal goals, and most importantly don't follow her bad (past) examples. Don't get too caught up in the details of who's who and their back stories.

Her best move was obtaining a financial adviser. For me, this is where a big chunk of the valuable information starts.

In addition, if I were advising someone financially, I WOULD give this to them to read. Why? Because it clearly shows her financial mistakes which anyone should be able to learn from.
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Format: Paperback
We're three months into 2011 and I'm on a kick of reading personal finance books. I'm sure many of you made resolutions to save money, spend less and pay off debt. Most of us are still recovering from 2008, the year that recession really hit America. The auto companies went bankrupt. Laborers were laid off or forced to retire early. The foreclosure rate increased. The stock market took a dive. The government was forced to bail out major institutions. Many Americans lost their homes and jobs. I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Since then, I've been getting more requests than ever to create personal budgets and to provide financial consulting. Basically, we're a bunch of hot broke messes.

Author Nancy Trejos is a personal finance columnist for the Washington Post. Frugality isn't new to her. She grew up middle-class with parents who made $60,000/year combined, with two siblings in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Hot (broke) Messes is mostly about her own life experiences with a few tips mingled in. I personally didn't learn much, with the exception of a beauty tip for skin (Use Johnson & Johnson baby oil gel in the shower for greater skin moisture). It offers standard guidelines:

Determine financial goals.
Keep all receipts.
Ask for freebies.
Find dual uses for items.
Assess your needs.
Shop online for bargains.
Find a personal finance consultant.

If you are unsure how to handle your own personal finances, then this book will offer basic tips to get started. If you already abide by a personal budget, then it's not worth reading unless you need a refresher.

L. Marie of Precision Reviews
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