Insights About Saving Money & Setting Some New Financial Goals for the Future

I was in the midst of compiling lists of service-providers to phone, tracking down cardboard boxes to fill up with our belongings, and checking item after item off my list as we prepared to move into our new house when Crystal Paine’s book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, arrived in the mail for me to review.

It came at a time when it seemed that there was barely any free time to spare, let alone sit down and read a book while there were contracts waiting to be signed and logistics to be planned.

But as one who has followed Crystal’s frugal-living and personal-finance blog. Money Saving Mom, for more than a year now, I’ve learned to always be impressed by her take on approaching spending and saving at home. Her story is an inspiring one, where she and her husband scraped by while he made his way through law school so that they didn’t take on a dime of debt. Then, once he was out and making money, they lived humbly so that they could save up enough cash to buy their house outright.

While that kind of story isn’t likely to work for everyone (how I'd love to not have a mortgage!), I always admire the way with which she approaches learning to live within your means and seeking out good deals without forgetting that money is not everything in life; God is. She has her priorities in line and that is what matters most to me. (For instance, she's giving away all the proceeds from her book to Compassion International! Love that!)

So with all that in mind, I cracked open the book and started making my way through the first chapter, which happened to be on goal-setting. As my husband and I are in the beginning stages of starting a new chapter in our own financial lives with our new house, this chapter was especially fitting and timely for me.

Even though I’m no stranger to budgeting and setting goals (for instance, you can read more about setting up our travel budget here and how we've tamed our wild eating-out budget here), it had been awhile since my husband and I had sat down and retooled our goals for saving with this new house. We knew from the inspection that it would need a new roof in the next five to ten years. The house also was on a septic system, which can have a limited lifespan, so we knew we wanted to be saving up for that in advance, as well.

In her book, Crystal advises that you figure out what your financial goals are—whether it's saving for a house, a car or even your Christmas gifts—and then build each of those funds methodically over time as part of your monthly budget.

So, we figured out the approximate cost for making those repairs, and then figured out that by saving at least $250 a month, we can save $3,000 a year. Within four years, we’ll have enough to be able to pay for both services! Hopefully they won’t end up coinciding with one another, but we like to play it on the safe side.

Previously, we had just been saving everything extra that we had at the end of the month, but it wasn’t a set amount. This was the key difference for us that will hopefully help us save more, since the money is set aside at the outset rather than as an afterthought.

That’s how Crystal has approached almost all of her savings goals; a little bit at a time while keeping her other spending expenses low.

And the rest of the book looks at many different ways to do just that—keeping your spending under control and finding smart ways to trim your budget—with ideas such as using a cash-only system to trimming your grocery budget (with and without using coupons, which you know I'm in support of!!) to a whole slew of other ideas to learn how to take control of your money, rather than let your money have control over you. Some of the ideas are familiar ones but then others are smart, out-of-the-box ones that I would never have thought of!

From reading her blog and now her new book, I can see how well these practical ideas have paid off for her and am encouraged to apply many of them to our own finances, as well!

You can find The Money Saving Mom’s Budget on Amazon and read Crystal’s blog at Money Saving Mom. (Plus when you purchase her book, she's giving away all the proceeds! How cool is that? You can read more about that here.)

Related Posts
Being Intentional about Saving Money
3 Easy Ways We've Learned to Stretch Our Finances (No Coupons Necessary)


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this book! I am very excited to get my own copy, as I have some financial goals I would like to set, and need some guidance. Hope you are enjoying your new home!

  2. I have also been following Money Saving Mom for a while now. She has some really good advice and tricks for saving.

    I loved reading about how they remained debt free, even through school and buying their house. I really wish I had found her blog earlier in my life.

    Also, it amazes me that she has found a way to raise her kids on a budget. I'd love to be a mom someday; knowing that it can be done and done well in an unstable economy is encouraging.

  3. Thanks for sharing this book. I can't wait to order it (gotta put it in the budget first) and start gleaning from her wisdom.

  4. So glad to share the info about this book with you!

    Patti, thank you so much for the well wishes! The house is ever-so-slowly coming together. Can't wait to share more :)

    Jackie, I agree that it's so refreshing and encouraging to hear how she's managed to raise a household on such a tight budget--and be happy with it!

    Urban Wife, ha, your comment made me smile: budgeting for a budgeting book! So fitting! :) I think you would make Crystal proud!

  5. Hmm... may be something for me to look in to! I'm trying out a new budget for this year. More tips are always welcome! :)

  6. It's tough sometimes, but I try to do a monthly budget, as each one brings unique expenses. Insert Dave Ramsey quote here. :)

  7. This sounds like a great book. I will have to check out her book and website too. I too find it really inspiring when people find ways to pay for things like house and large repairs on a small monthly budget. I like your idea of saving up for both items every month. We need to fix our roof soon as well as chimney. Both are expensive. Thanks for the tip and good luck on your goals!


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