Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is editor-in-chief of Barbara Friedberg Personal where she writes to educate, inspire, and motivate for wealth in money and life. Learn about personal finance from a real life Portfolio Manager! Stop by her website for an interview with the authors of Power Spending.

From the moment I unpacked this book and gave it a quick once over, I was elated. Not the reaction one would expect from a personal finance book. But this book is FUN. It’s colorful and well-organized with personal anecdotes, related websites, cartoons, and highlighted tips on every page. Additionally, the information is well laid out, very useful with reader tips in every section.

You will learn something new and have fun in the process! In fact, follow one or two of the recommendations and you’ll easily make back the purchase price of the book.

Power Spending is comprehensive in scope and covers much more than spending. Don’t let the clever titles and bright graphics fool you, the book is loaded with substance. From Basic Economic Survival, to Advanced Power Spending, there is something for everyone.


Chapter 2; Making Ends Meet,covers budgeting and emergency preparedness. The usual, keep track of income and expenses is recommended. With Bob Cratchet from the Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol as an example, the authors tic off several budgeting methods from the simplest; keep your money in separate jars, to more complex spreadsheets and computer programs. They go beyond the mundane with compelling sidebar lists. “Your Money’s Worth” tells the reader why to use budgeting software.

Tying in Emergency Preparedness is an important approach. Further driving home the importance of planning is the story of Mike Tyson, his 300 million dollar career earnings and subsequent bankruptcy. Now that’s making a point!

Chapter 5; Deal or No Deal starts globally with smart shopping tips. This chapter includes a few common sense maxims as well as some very informative retail market knowledge. “Fix it up, wear it out: make it do or do without,” says it all. Add a bit of psychological trickery that merchants use to make us shop, along with the best times to buy certain items and you have a meaty chapter.

Chapter 8; Fun on a Shoestring Budget has so many ideas, you’re bound to find several fun activities on the cheap. Some of the more creative tips include; test drive a car (note, don’t do this if you’re likely to buy it!), do a crossword puzzle in the park, play with animals at a pet shop, attend amateur night at a comedy club, and find vintage stuff at garage sales.

Chapter 12; It’s Better to Give wraps up the book with the tenet that, “Money isn’t everything.” Charitable giving on a budget is a topic rarely covered in the personal finance press. There’s even information on giving when you have no money to give at all!

Kevin at Invest it Wisely finishes up his book reviews with the negatives. In looking for areas of improvement for Power Spending, I’m coming up almost empty. My only criticism is that there may be too much information. And that’s not really much of a negative.

The readability and colorful format make Power Spending a wonderful resource for those who aren’t financially inclined. And personal finance sophisticates will definitely find something new to implement.

Check out the website. By Carolyn Johnston, Eric Poulin, and Robin Poulin. Publisher; Better Choice Publishing. $22.95, softcover, $14.95, eBook.

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