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

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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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: #1,124,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Dominguez was the original track every penny you spend guy - so in that aspect, this book just reiterates what Joe came to the conclusion about in the 1970s. The new twist on this is to divide your Disposable Income by 365 and that is your Daily Disposable Income - don't spend more than that is the entire premise here.

Where Your Money or Your Life really takes a hardline to getting you to Financial Independence and then on to do something worthy with your life, i.e. volunteering or your next new venture - this book allows for a lot more "fat" as Dani Johnson would scream about. There's a lot more eating out, a lot more of going with your own flow for spending.

Okay, the really fascinating part of this book though, is the story of Alice Wood - the lawer who wrote this book. And that is why I gave it four stars - because she has a GREAT story! Forget the financial planning part - you can get that from Your Money or Your Life - or any of Dani Johnson's screamings about money - but the story behind Alice and the plane from Steamboat Springs (I've been on that same damn route and thought we were crashing, too!!)and the O2 masks and the ensuing brain damage - MAN OH MAN - the woman has a Hallmark movie in her - THAT is what she needs to be writing about, promoting and doing the screen play.

My advice - Alice, get yourself an agent and get a movie deal. Forget the financial stuff - YOU are the interest in this book!
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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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