Okay, I’ll admit it – I am not the most financially-savvy person. I am a book person, not a numbers person, which is why a book with over 250 tips on money management seemed, quite frankly, terrifying! But I was wrong. Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s Money Rules is an extremely accessible book to help readers think differently about personal finance. While some of her rules I have taken very seriously, others I have chosen to skip for the time-being, knowing that when I pick up this book again in 2 years, and in 5 years, and in 10 years, I will be in a different financial situation and have different priorities. There is always something new to take away from this book. In this blog post I will share with you my favourite advice from Money Rules.
1. Rule #22: Everybody Needs a Budget
I have met Gail Vaz-Oxlade and she is a wonderful, friendly, charismatic woman. But there is a hint of sass to her, and she does not shy away from it in Money Rules. Take, for example, Rule #22: Gail insists that everybody – rich or poor, famous or not – needs a budget. And she is serious. “If you think you can do better without a budget… pass this book on to someone who is smarter than you,” she states. Hah! Those who press on and keep reading are lucky, because on the following page Gail lays out a step by step guide to making a budget.
2. Rule #53: Don’t Buy The Minimum Payment Bullsh*t
This one was a real eye-opener for me. After graduation, I had some debts to pay off and though I did pay a big amount monthly, I did take relief in the minimum payment option. If you agree with me, apparently we’ve both been had. Studies show that the lower the minimum payment, the less people will pay off their bill each time. The longer it takes for the debt to be paid off, the more interest the credit companies can make. Interesting, isn’t it? Luckily, Gail teaches readers how to calculate their own debt repayment plan based off of their own timeline.
3. Rule #125: Busy People Spend Less Money
“Get busy and stay busy,” Gail insists! Busy people don’t have time to look for what’s missing in their life, nor do they have time to shop for the things that do. So rather than spending your free time shopping with friends or scanning sales racks because you’re bored, find something else to do! Get a hobby, join an organization or get a second job. This could not be truer – I can’t think of how many Saturdays I’ve gone to the mall just as something to do.
4. Rule #175: Television is not real life.
In this section, Gail reminds readers to not set expectations based off of what they see on television, whether it be fiction or “reality”. Her two examples are Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional, fashionable writer from Sex and the City, and Kim Kardashian, the iconic reality TV star. Their lives, and the millions of lives presented on television each week, set a standard that we should not try to emulate, according to Gail. “If you try, you’ll fail,” she says. “And you won’t have much more than a pile of debt and some very uncomfortable shoes to show for all your effort.”
5. Rule #261: Don’t Turn Guidelines Into Rules
Gail reminds readers that Money Rules is about personal finance, and that all “rules” should be treated as guidelines. Each, as Gail explains throughout the book, must be altered depending on the person and the circumstance, and everyone must do what is in their best interest. This rule is one of my favourites because it sums up how readers should digest the entire book – as advice that they can bend to fit their lifestyle.
What is your favourite rule from Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s Money Rules? Tell us on twitter @SavvyReader. For more information about the book, read an exclusive excerpt on Facebook here or visit Gail at one of her many Canadian Book Tour stops.
All the quotes in the above article are taken from Money Rules by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Copyright © 2012 by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. All rights reserved.