Customer Reviews: The Smartest Way to Save: Why You Can't Hang on to Money and What to Do About It
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon January 31, 2009
This book does a great job of showing why it is not what you earn that is important but what you keep that matters. While so many of us are busy playing financial offense, literally killing ourselves for large incomes or with two income families. What we should really be doing is playing good financial defense, buying what we truly need. We should buy a car based on what we need a car for, which we can usually get used for a fourth of what a new car costs.Our home should be our castle but it should not cost as much as a castle in the mortgage and to maintain. The book turns over all stones in discussing how to save smart.
Here are Sam's principles for financial independence:
1. Daily choices add up.
2. Small savings over a long time create more wealth than big risks.
3. Pay yourself first.
4. Separate wants from needs.
5. Toxic debt is poison.
6. Credit is for emergencies. Pay cash until you reach your goal.
7. Windfalls are capital, not income. Capital is for wealth investment.
8. Never take a risk or purchase an item you cannot afford.
9. Put your own oxygen mask on first. (Do not try to help others financially until you are stable yourself).
10. Inexpensive gifts can show you care. Expensive gifts give a false impression and are motivated by insecurity.
11. Enjoyment of luxury is brief. But the anxiety can last a long time, at least until the debt is paid.
12. Get fulfillment from personal relationships not material things.
13. Why are you shopping? Know the reasons.
14. Resist the urge to indulge in instant gratification; invest instead.
15. Ask, ask, ask for what you want-and be clear. (For deals and discounts).
16. Comparison shop first.
17. Buy wholesale whenever possible.
18. Do not buy labels, buy value.
19. Buy pre-owned whenever appropriate.
20. Keep price tags and receipts.
21. Keep your funds invested and working for you, but cautiously.
22. Income $1.00; spend .99 cents= happiness; spend $1.01=misery.
23. Buy what pays you; don't buy things that decrease in value or cost you to own.
24. Immediately set aside for taxes.
25. Personal purchases cost you 60% more because they are after tax.
26. It's not how much you make-IT'S HOW MUCH YOU KEEP.

The book does a great job explaining all of these principles in great detail so you can follow them. I am sure this book will pay for itself in the money you save after reading it.
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on May 12, 2009
In this uncertain economy, we're all looking for ways to cut expenses and put money in the bank. Authors Samuel K. Freshman and Heidi E. Clingen have created a system called The SmartestWay to Save to help make it easier.

This book is all about saving, not investments. You won't find any advice on where to put your money once you've accumulated it. Instead, you're encouraged to do your own research and choose wisely. But if you want to learn how to build your savings, The SmartestWay to Save offers some ideas.

Many of the concepts discussed are pure common sense - don't spend to keep up with others, don't worry about what other people think, think before you spend, pay yourself first, comparison shop, and avoid debt.

But at times I wondered about their suggestions. They strongly tell us to avoid debit cards and ATMs, but if you keep careful tabs on your checking account balance, you can very safely use them to avoid credit cards. Shop discount stores like Sears and JCPenney? The last time I stepped inside either of these stores, I hardly thought their prices resembled "discount" prices. And Avon is "inexpensive" makeup? I don't think so.

Many internet sites are sprinkled throughout the book, but these are simply store links easily found through a search engine. Instead I'd have liked to see information on finding "discount codes" at websites we shop on a regular basis - they're out there if you know where to look for them. Tips on using the internet to find the best prices around would also have been helpful.

I'm a very frugal accountant, so my opinion may be slanted a bit, but to me, this was a very basic book designed to sway a spender to think about and start saving money. If you've been frugal for a while, I'm pretty sure you've been doing many of the suggestions already, and you'll find this book too basic for your needs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger, Bergers Book Reviews
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"The Smartest Way to Save Money" is not a groundbreaking book on saving and the ability to make more with less. The difference here is that the authors offer a solid plan (and series of plans) to help the reader make the correct financial choices.

Each chapter is relatively short and to the point - usually 5-8 pages that explains the problem and what you can do to change your spending habits. Some of the recommendations -

- Analyze the psychology of WHY you are in debt - is it because of misfortune or because you use spending to fulfill a deeper need.

- Strategies to pay off your credit card deb

- How to save - by incorporating a savings budget

- How to spend less on gifts, but to get a greater effect.

Again, most of the concepts are simple and mostly common sense, however the authors are able to present a realistic diagnosis and cure for your financial plan. The power is in the effectiveness of the authors to effectively boil down the concepts and eliminate the excuses. You may find some of the concepts old fashioned but it doesn't mean that we should try them in these trying times.

Final Verdict -

The authors would say not to buy his book... they would say to read the book, but to check your local library before committing to buying!

5 Stars

----Please note that I reviewed a free promotional copy which was provided by the author/publisher--
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on June 4, 2009
The SmartestWay to Save is actually brilliant. Not in that it reveals top secret information, but because it is honest. Simply speaking, The SmartestWay to Save reminds you of a loving fathers conversation with his son regarding money. From cover to cover, you'll find tips to saving on car shopping, clothes buying and grocery expenditures. You'll see the best way to avoid credit cards and should you already have them? The smartest way to get rid of them.

Nothing disclosed that will shock the average reader, yet the secret to its success is nothing short of clever. What lies within the 200 pages of this green and yellow book is common sense. Yep. As simplistic as it sounds, not one page contains anything more than common sense. These are things we all should know. Yet, somewhere along the way, we forgot or perhaps just quieted the voice inside that tried to keep us out of spending trouble. When you break it down to the smallest seed of wisdom, it hinges on this. It's not what you make that matters-it's what you save. I know. How complicated is that? If you are willing to use a little, small, minute amount of self control, great gains can be made in your wallet.

Read page eight and figure out why you spend. Are you rebelling against parents that were penny pinchers? Is it easier for you to spend than build relationships? Do you feel you deserve luxuries because you work hard? (you can thank the media for that one!) Once you identify the reason, determine to stop spending and start saving. Do you have $20 a month you can save? Watch that add up to over $112k over the course of 40 years. Do you know that asking "What can you do for us on this?" can save when it comes time to buying appliances, purchase property insurance or any other purchase?

The goal is to save as much as you can, be smart about what you do spend, and enjoy life, knowing your finances are in your control and not controlling you. The SmartestWay to Save is highly recommended for those wanting financial freedom and the knowledge to getting it done.
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2009
Most everyone agrees that saving money is important and many rank saving more money among their top goals for any new year. However, as much as most of us want to save more, only a small fraction experiences any significant degree of success. There are some valid reasons for our general lack of savings achievement but there are also many typical excuses and this book, The Smartest Way to Save, is intended as a guide to help everyone find reasonable ways to save more money than ever before.

The Smartest Way to Save is a list book of sorts and it includes a wide assortment of tips with each tip listed in a separate heading with an underline. Starting with the importance of creating a budget, this book guides the reader on a quest toward a more stable financial future. Some of the pieces of advice offered in this book deal with changes to spending and living habits that will have a definite, defined impact on your finances, such as the advice to avoid ATM machines when accessing cash. Other pieces of advice are not as clearly defined and can vary from person to person. One good example that the book offers is the advice to use coupons. Everyone can agree that coupons help everyone save money, but there is no way to know precisely how much because it will vary with each person and with each shopping excursion.

What I like best about this book is its ability to keep matters on a level that is easy to understand. This sounds simple enough, but many financial books stray too far and use complex financial terminology, graphs, amortization tables, and other things that will likely go beyond the understanding of the average joe- the very type of person these books are usually intended to assist. Instead, The Smartest Way to Save focuses its efforts on using easy to understand language that anyone can decipher. In no time at all, the reader can implement some of the changes mentioned in this book and, hopefully, start a disciplined savings plan that will lead to a more secure future and a more comfortable retirement.

Another quality that I like about this book is the authors' ability to help show ways to save money without going to extremes. Some books about personal finance take the concept of saving money way too far and suggest means for saving that are too petty and require giving up too much for relatively little effect on the personal bottom- line. These penny pinching strategies are often not only extreme and unnecessary, but the stress that some of these changes would cause is far greater harm then the benefits of the small amount of money saved. Fortunately, this book doesn't advocate giving up everything you like just to save a few cents here and a few pennies there. The advice offered here encourages frugality, but without taking it to the point of neglect.

Most of the advice offered in The Smartest Way to Save is sound, reasonable, and easy to implement. But I can't say that I like all of the advice in this book. I don't, for example, agree that debit cards are a source of evil that everyone should eliminate. I have been using debit cars for years and have not experienced any problems. I also wish the book would have offered more advice on ways to actually save (invest) money. The savings advice offered in this book is more along the lines of ways to avoid paying more than you should for everyday goods and services. There isn't a whole lot of advice on the different ways to invest and grow your way to financial independence.

Taken as a whole, however, The Smartest Way to Save is still a very good book about a very important subject. We are a consumer- driven society and many of us do, indeed, spend more than we should, often on things we don't need or even want all that badly. This book offers a good, quick way to discover different ways to save and different ways to implement changes to spending habits, improve net worth, and live a more worry- free life. It's a very practical book that can benefit anyone who reads it and takes its advice to heart.
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on June 27, 2012
The tips in this book are fine. They will help you save money. See Steve Burn's 4-star review for a good synopsis.

(Bonus tip: On Amazon, instead of adding an item directly to your shopping cart, add it to your wishlist, and then wait a couple of days for the heat-of-the-moment-ness to subside. If you still badly want it, go ahead and get it. I've saved thousands of dollars that way.)

(Bonus tip #2: Only grocery shop when you are neither tired nor even the slightest bit hungry so that you have the requisite willpower to avoid all of the temptations you will get pounded with. This way I've not only saved loads of money, but more importantly, I've made myself considerably healthier.)

What bothers me about this book does not have to do with the practicality of the tips but rather the way they are framed, e.g., tip # XX. - start finding fulfillment from personal relationships rather than material things because it will help you save money. Oh, that's why I should care about the people in my life?, so that it will help me save bucks? It seems to me that it should be the reverse: I should stop finding fulfillment from anything that cash can buy because it will help me care about people. Let's just remember what matters, please.
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on August 9, 2016
Everyone can benefit from this book. Great practical and necessary information for anyone to save. I recommend this book to every man, woman,and child! Especially children. This should be taught in our schools!
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on January 19, 2012
I just finished this book up and it was a surprisingly good read. The authors, Heidi E. Clingen and Samuel K. Freshman, do a great job of explaining to readers how saving can be accomplished on any budget, and why what you make is less important than how you save. With so many of us continually striving to make more money, The Smartest Way to Save instead chooses to highlight how defensive financial strategies are what we should really be focusing on. Rather than just buying something, The Smartest Way emphasizes the importance of contemplating and assessing our needs before making purchases.

Considering needs before buying is something that all financial experts will agree on. From corporate CEO's to your frugal next door neighbor, money saving tactics like these are applicable. Many of the concepts and strategies are common sense, but at times it can be easy to forget the basics. This is a great read to refresh your memory on all the ways you can be maximizing your income for the long run.

What I felt like should have been addressed more, however, was references to money-saving websites that can be used for everyday purchases. There's a whole world of coupon and discount websites on the Internet that will help reduce your spending, and I felt like these websites could have been highlighted.

The book is an easy read and I'd recommend it to anyone who is relatively new to cost saving strategies, or just someone who's looking to refresh their knowledge. At the low cost of $7 for a used copy, you really can't go wrong.
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on August 25, 2010
This book needs to be in the hands of every high school student. The tools taught in this book will set the foundation for financial success that every parent wants for their kids...and themselves! This book is easy to read, yet filled with invaluable information for every age group. As a money coach for teens, I completely respect and support the material taught in this book.How to Ditch Your Allowance and Be Richer Than Your Parents!: 9 Wealth building tools to make a teen rich
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on March 21, 2011
The principals provided in this book can be implemented by anyone! Sam and Heidi have done a really good job not only breaking down what to do and how to get on track financially, but also doing it in a motivating in that really makes you want to get to work.

As a recent college grad it has really helped me control my spending and invest in myself first. I now feel like I can not only be secure in the future, but truly lead myself to financial independence, I wish they would have taught me these principals in business school!

Its very easy to read with well laid out chapters, the type of book you want to pass along to friends. The book also provides information on numerous other resources, including Sam and Heidi's website. A must read!
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