One of the most profound moments in my life happened 15 years ago, when I heard a radio interview with an author who had paid off all of her debt in less than 5 years.
I immediately bought the book that would change the way I view money forever.
While that particular book was good, it wasn’t amazing. It was simply the catalyst that pushed our family to adopt a debt-free mindset. That first book opened me up to the possibility that there were other books – perhaps even better books – that could educate and inspire us as we fought to pay down our debt. We read more and learned more. We went from feeling broke all the time to having some breathing room in our lives because of what we learned in those books. We still have our mortgage, but other than that, we’ve managed to stay debt free for about 7 years now.
I know that many of you are still in the midst of your struggle to be debt-free – some of you have told me about your struggles, while others are struggling silently.
This post is for you. Today I’m sharing my list of 5 books every broke person should read. I’ve picked these books because they address the number one reason people have trouble getting out of debt and staying out of debt: Attitude. These books focus on making a crucial shift in thinking that bring you from paycheck to paycheck to a sound financial future.
The books were worth every penny to me, but if you simply can’t afford to spend any extra money right now, borrow these books from the library or from a friend. Find an audio copy you can listen to. Just make sure to put these on your reading list!
5 Books Every Broke Person Should Read
If you’re only going to read one book about your attitude toward money, Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make by Carrie Rocha is the one to read.
Her book provides invaluable insight into how our negative attitudes can affect our personal finances and then focuses on ways to change those negative attitudes into constructive frameworks for financial progress. From learning to appreciate what you have to figuring out how to exert self-control without deprivation, Rocha covers all the bases.
While Rocha’s personal story isn’t all that unique (lots of folks have paid down debt and lived to tell about it), she’s figured out why she got into debt and is using that knowledge to help people get out of debt and stay out. Pocket Your Dollars is a quick read, but it’s message sticks with you for a long time. You will see yourself in this book, and you will see how you can change.
If you are just starting on your journey to living debt-free, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey is an excellent introduction. Ramsey’s book covers the psychological aspects of money management and provides a useful guide to paying down debt and building wealth. The book touches on Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” toward financial peace – including how to establish an emergency fund and pay down debt using the “debt snowball” method.
The book offers inspirational stories, good solid advice, and even worksheets to help you work through your financial issues. It’s a great read for anyone who embraces Ramsey’s mantra of “Live like no one else so later you live like no one else.”
I’ve been a fan of Trent Hamm’s blog The Simple Dollar since it’s beginnings and his book by the same name is just as excellent.
In the book, The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams, Hamm shares his own personal story with debt and how he escaped the shackles of it. The book is loaded with great ideas to help you get rid of your own debt. It delves into the psychology of how you spend your money, questions what things you value and why they’re important to you, and encourages you to set realistic, achievable goals for your future.
Hamm has a way of making you do some tough thinking about money, career, and life choices that make this book a great asset in discovering your frugal self.
Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money With Your Honey by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar addresses how to talk about personal finances with your significant other. Because as anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship knows, love does not conquer all.
The book address your personal relationship with money first, so that you can know yourself before you work on finances as part of a couple. A financial compatibility quiz opens a dialogue with your partner about money and another section addresses the five key lifetime expenses (home, car, kids, retirement, and extended family) and how to tackle them as a couple. There’s also a Q & A section that handles many of the common questions readers may have about making sure they’re on the same financial page as their partner.
The book is written by two women for women, but men will still find a lot of good information here, too. If you’ve never talked about money with your partner, or if you feel like all you and your partner do is fight about money, this book will do an excellent job of getting you both on the same financial page – a step that is critical to financial success.
His book is intended to be a workbook of sorts. He encourages you to do a budget, examine your goals and values (i.e. give up the cigarettes if you really want to help save for your kids education), and respect money (Winget picks up every coin he finds on the sidewalk).
Winget’s tough lessons may be just the kick in the pants you need to get fired up about your situation. Just remember to focus on the message, not the messenger, and keep moving forward.
If you’re struggling with making a financial change, these 5 books will help you get on the right track to sound finances. I’ll be sharing my list of 5 books every frugal person should read in an upcoming post. Be sure to subscribe to Northern Cheapskate so you don’t miss it. (You can even get a free guide to saving on groceries when you do!)
What books have inspired you to change your attitude about money?
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