January 28, 2015

Living Well Spending Less {a review}

For years now, many online writers have shared a word for the year. It is a word which directs, describes, and determines a path for the year. I've had my share of word of the year as well. This year is no different, except that I haven't displayed my word for all to see yet. Truly, I am just not ready to do so. I can most assuredly say that my word has a lot to do with living well. Doesn't everyone's word? Isn't that what we all, on some level, hope to do? live well?

When I saw the title Living Well Spending Less on a listing of possible books to review, I immediately thought the timing couldn't be better. New year, new word, new you! So, I quickly nabbed a spot for review.

The Book
Divided into two main sections, Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, by Ruth Soukup, attempts to tackle a broad spectrum of topics. However, the main premise of the book is defining the good life and showing readers how to live it without going broke in the process. Soukup intertwines personal life experience into the pages.

In the first section, Living Well, Soukup considers what the good life really is. She offers readers a shift from main stream cultural thinking to a more sound definition of a life lived well. Individual topics include contentment, goals, time management, and decluttering.

Spending Less, which is the second section, builds upon the foundational thoughts established in the first section. In this section, Soukup offers ideas to help readers spend less. Though there are numerous, specific money saving tips mentioned, this is not the main focus. Creating a mind set of frugality and stewardship is the point of the second section.

Each individual chapter, regardless of the section, begins with several related quotes or Bible verses and ends with action points to motivate readers to practice what was suggested in the chapter.

My Thoughts
The premise for the book is outstanding. Who doesn't want to live well and not break the bank at the same time? The delivery and set up of the ideas are perfect for modern readers. However, the ideas presented are not ground breaking or new. These are commonsense, practical tips that have been around for a very long time. Perhaps that is the beauty of the book? By taking what we all inherently know, Soukup presents it in a way which promotes our understanding and challenges us to action.

Ways to Use the Book
While a straight through reading is easily done, this book would lend itself well to a 12 week personal or small group challenge. The chapters are of an ideal length for such an undertaking, and the quotes, tips, and action points within each chapter could serve well as talking points for a small group.

What I Will Do with My Copy
Here's the bottom line: I liked the book. I would even recommend the book to others to read and use. However, I won't be keeping my copy. My bookshelf is limited to books I either love or books I will need to return to in the future. This book, while well done, doesn't fit either of those criteria. I'll be donating my copy to our church library for others to freely read. It is my hope that it will be a blessing to those who do.

~ Dorie

Fine Print: I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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