The Absolute Best Business & Finance Books for Moms

Fear gripped our hearts as we held hands and tried to figure out what we were going to do. Without a dime in savings, my husband and I had both lost our jobs that afternoon. We’d celebrated my 20th birthday just weeks before and I was due to deliver our first baby in less than two months.

With no job prospects in sight, we made a rapid decision to open our own business right away instead of waiting several years like we’d originally planned.

In order to succeed though, we needed to learn a lot about finances. And I do mean a lot. From budgeting to business ownership to handling endless taxes, we quickly learned that we were never going to succeed financially unless we became great managers of our money.

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Those principles are true for everyone, not just business owners: we can either learn to control our money or our money will forever control us. And since those of us who struggle with keeping organized homes often struggle with keeping our finances organized, I want to share these fabulous resources that can help you get your financial clutter under control.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

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Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover completely changed the way my husband and I view our finances. Like Ramsey says, we can either tell our money where to go or we can wonder where it went. I wish I could give a copy of this book to every person in America, but unfortunately I can’t, so head to your local library and borrow a copy of The Total Money Makeover.

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff

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Jon Acuff asks, “What if you could go for broke without going broke? What if you could start today? What if you already have everything you need to begin?”

If you’re in a job you dislike or want to start a career that you love, then you will be able to learn from this incredibly inspiring, gut-wrenchingly honest book. Quitter is about using your current job position, regardless of where you’re working, to help propel you forward in life or your career.

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff

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Do you want to do something amazing but are terrified to even try? Or maybe you’ve attempted achieving your dream but fear held you back from giving it your all. If so, then Start would be a fabulous book to read.

Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey

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Just like a coach wouldn’t be without a playbook, a business owner shouldn’t be without a solid business manual. Entreleadership is that manual. From hiring (and firing) employees to making financial decisions and working towards business growth, this book covers just about everything a business owner needs to know in order to have a successful and thriving career.

My husband and I read much of Entreleadership together a couple of years ago and his company hasn’t been the same since (in a good way!).

Balanced by Tricia Goyer

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In Balanced, Tricia Goyer shows moms how they can work from home and be present, engaged parents who thoroughly love and enjoy their children.

Tricia didn’t just stop at giving moms permission to work without guilt – she also offered practical tips for how to balance time wisely, how to keep the kids happy while getting through a busy work day, and how to disengage from work when it’s time to put the laptop away.

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup

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If you’re a blogger, I highly recommend reading How to Blog for Profit! I read this book several months ago and immediately started implementing a few of Ruth’s tips. My readership multiplied tremendously within just the first few days and has been growing steadily ever since.

Do you have any favorite money management books? Which book on this list do you want to read?

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Your Clutter Could Be Costing You $25,000

Most of us have clutter, right? Whether it’s a storage closet, a basement, a room, or an entire house, many of us have spaces we can’t fully use because those areas are filled with stuff. But, have you ever thought about how much your clutter is costing you? Here are five ways that having too much stuff can get really pricy:

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1) Needing to buy new things.

When we need to run to the store and buy something because we can’t find scissors or clean socks again, we’re spending a lot of time, energy, and money on unnecessary items.

Likewise, when we step on our kid’s favorite toy that’s buried in a clutter pile, we usually dig into our pockets to fork out some cash so we can replace the beloved item.

2) Not wanting to be home.

When our houses are a mess, being home isn’t fun or relaxing. So whether it’s going to a movie, hitting the mall, or getting coffee on the town, it’s tempting to spend time and money doing anything except going home to a disaster.

3) Restaurant meals.

When our kitchen counters are piled high with dishes and our fridges are full of moldy items, the last thing we want to do at dinnertime is clean up our mess and search for edible food just so we can sit down to eat.

So we go to a restaurant. More time. More gas money. More cash for a dinner out.

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4) Late fees.

When we can’t find the water bill, the overdue library book, or the movie we rented, we’re going to owe some fines. And those fines can add up to hefty, but completely avoidable, amounts. Like the time my husband asked our kids if the library was a free place to visit and they adamantly insisted that library book “rental” is a paid service. Ahem 🙂

5) Storage space.

Maybe you’re storing your items in a storage facility. If so, you probably know the dollar amount. But even if you’re not using a storage facility, you could be spending big bucks to store your stuff.

For example, the median home cost is about $200,000. Divide that by an average of 8 rooms per house which would include a kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, a basement or garage, and a home office.

If just ONE of those 8 rooms in a $200,000 house is filled with clutter, that’s $25,000 for a storage room. That’s not even including the interest you’re paying if you have a loan on your house. If you have two rooms filled with clutter, then you could be spending $50,o00 to store your clutter!

Renters, you’re not off the hook either! If you rent, multiply your monthly rent by 12, then divide that by the number of rooms you have. For example, $900 rent over the course of a year is $10,800. If you live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with a kitchen and living room (6 rooms total), that means you’re paying $1,800 a year for storage. More if you have closets filled with junk.

Do the math to find out how much your own clutter is costing you – you might be shocked at the price. If you’re ready to un-bury yourself from clutter so you can save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars a year, then get my new book, Chaos to Clutter-Free. It’s only $4.99. You’ll save more than that in your first week of going clutter free.

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Have you ever considered how much your stuff is costing you? If you got rid of your clutter, what would you do with the cash you’d save?


Inspiring Time Management Must-Reads

One thing I’ve noticed with my live declutter series is that many women want to clean their homes but they’re not sure how to fit organization in with their already busy schedules. I completely relate – it is not easy to wear all of the Mom hats AND add decluttering to the list!

That’s why I decided to put together this book list for you – while there is no magic button, the following books were really helpful to me when I needed to figure out how to make time for organization, and I think they’ll help you, too!

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Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews

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Short and sweet, this is a perfect starter book if you’re new to the time-management genre. Like Amy Lynn Andrews says, “What if you could change your life in 30 pages? And for less than the price of a fancy coffee?” Yes, yes, yes! Buy it now and read it today!

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

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Laura tells her readers, “The way I see it, anything you do once a week happens enough to be important to you. This book is about where the time really goes, and how we can all use our time better.”

If you feel like you’re just too busy and don’t know what to do about it, then you must, must, must read this book! 168 Hours truly revolutionized the way I view my time and I haven’t been the same since (in a good way!).

28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person by Davonne Parks

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This book is perfect for anyone who struggles with timeliness. Since I’m a semi-reformed late person, I get it – being on time is tough!

Complete with tips, quotes, embarrassing confessions, and funny success stories (pajama church, anyone?!),  28 Days to Timeliness is a refreshing balance between informative and inspiring, and will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to begin your own journey towards timeliness.

{Special Note: 28 Days to Timeliness will go back up to $4.99 on February 1st, so get it now while it’s on sale!}

21 Days to A More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

21daysmoredisciplineThis book is like having a personal trainer for self discipline! I recommend 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life for anyone who wants to develop more discipline in their own life, for those who find themselves caught up in the comparison trap, or for people who (like me!) tend to come up with a fantastic plan, start out at 100 mph, then crash and burn after two days.

The simple chapters are very doable and wonderfully motivating to help the reader make a lasting change.

101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms by Davonne Parks.

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From beauty routines to meal preparation to cleaning and laundry, you’ll find tips in this book to simplify your daily approach. And, whether you’re a car-pooling working mom or a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, 101 Time-Saving Tips includes tips that are sure to benefit you, the busy mom.

Best of all, for a limited time only, 101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms is FREE to my blog subscribers! Go here to sign up.

What fabulous time management books have I missed? Let us know in the comments! (Bloggers, feel free to leave a link to your own related book reviews in the comments.)


How to Frugally Fill Awesome Stockings

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I remember rising early each Christmas with my younger brother and tip-toeing to each other’s rooms so we could dump out the contents from our homemade stockings together. Then we’d go around the upstairs, knocking on bedroom doors and hollering into vents to let everyone know that it was Christmas.

After several rounds of, “I know! It’s too early! Go back to sleep!” my brother and I would return to one of our rooms so we could play with our new things while we waited for everyone else to wake up.

As a child, I absolutely loved receiving those stockings at Christmastime and now that I fill stockings for my own children, I’m always on the lookout in December for fun stocking stuffers that won’t clutter up our house! After a few years of experience at clutter-free Christmases, I’d like to share some of my tips with you.

Stocking Stuffer Tips for a Clutter-Free Christmas:

1) Have one big item.

By big, I don’t mean expensive. I mean physically large. That way one item will take up a good portion of the stocking 🙂 Bubble bath, a book, or a box of candy all make good “big” stocking stuffers.

2) Focus on consumable items.

Things that can be used up then thrown out like lotions, bubble bath, crayons, or fun food make great stocking stuffers. Those items help people have fun and enjoy their gifts without the items becoming permanent fixtures in our houses.

3) Keep the recipient’s tastes in mind.

Stocking stuffer ideas you find online can be fun and helpful, but don’t feel like you need to buy the conventional stocking stuffers that are mentioned on those lists. Get creative and think about things the recipient would enjoy!

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{Click the photo to see 22 themed stocking stuffer ideas!}

4) Stay within your budget.

I’ve filled entire stockings for as little as $5.00 per person when money was tight. I’ve also spent as much as $40 for one stocking on years that we’ve went all out – and the $5 stockings have been just as well received as the $40 one! Sometimes it truly is the thought that counts.

5) Consider whether stockings are really necessary.

If your kids get stockings from you as well as from grandparents or other relatives, if they’re just not that into stockings, or if you’re on a very tight budget right now, then consider cutting out stockings altogether this year – just make sure to sit down with your kids in advance and let them know what to expect.

6) Browse the internet for ideas.

Even though other people don’t know our family members like we do, we can still get really good ideas from other people’s suggestions! So do a google search for something like, “Frugal stocking stuffer ideas” to get your wheels spinning! You can also check out my own stocking stuffer & themed gift ideas here and here.

7) Don’t panic at the last minute.

Christmas will be here soon and it’s tempting to panic and run to the store grabbing stuff just to fill a stocking. Resist that temptation! A stroll through the Dollar Tree may be helpful in finding some consumable items, but most people will enjoy a stocking that contains a few thoughtful gifts much more than they’ll enjoy a stocking that’s filled to the brim with trinkets.

So there you have it – seven simple tips for creatively and frugally filling clutter-free stockings the recipient is sure to enjoy!

What kinds of things do you like to give or receive in stockings?