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Power Spending – Getting More For Less

In addition to our articles bankruptcy in Canada, we occasionally review books that may be of interest to our readers.

Today we review Power Spending: Getting More For Less by Carolyn Johnston, Eric Poulin and Robin Poulin. I was consulted for the section of the book on debt, and bankruptcy, and in fact the website is referenced to describe how a consumer proposal works.

With that said, the highest compliment I can give this book is that it’s full of practical financial advice. Lot’s of book talk about theories, and explain complicated budgeting systems that no-one could ever implement in real life. That’s not a problem with this book; everyone who reads it will find dozens of practical tips they can implement in real life, immediately.

That doesn’t surprise me, because two of the authors, Eric and Robin Poulin, are the Co-Founders of Calendar Budget the online personal finance tracking and planning tool that makes managing money easy. You simply open the program and you will see a calendar. Enter what you spent today in the calendar. That’s it! The program will then summarize where you spend your money, and help you produce easy to use graphs and charts so you can easily see where your money is going.

Knowing that CalendarBudget is easy to use but also very powerful, I knew that Power Spending: Getting More For Less would also be powerful, but easy to apply and understand.

The first section starts with basic economic survival, and discusses household budgeting, emergency planning, credit and debt, and how to save money.

The second section is on Advanced Power Spending, and includes chapters on how to save money on your food bill (and since everyone eats, this should help everyone), and chapters on saving money on entertainment, travel, and even partying!

All chapters contain practical advice.

  • put money aside at the beginning of the month (because if you wait until the end of the month, it won’t be there) (page 57);
  • on page 75 they have a nine step sidebar to answer the question “should I lease or buy a vehicle”; (the advice is practical, but you’ll have to buy the book for the actual tips!;
  • don’t buy life insurance for your baby; the only members of your family who need life insurance coverage are those whose death would create a financial hardship (page 93);
  • on page 120 they have 19 ideas for an inexpensive date, including test driving cars, going on a picnic, and playing with animals at a pet shop;
  • on page 166 the book has six tips for how to sell stuff you no longer need by selling on-line.

As you can see, all of the tips are practical and easy to implement.

I suggest you start with the table of contents, and open the book at whatever section most appeals to you; you don’t have to, and probably won’t, read the book from cover to cover. Start where you want, use the tips, and return often for a refresher. That’s what makes Power Spending: Getting More For Less a powerful, practical book.