5 Books that Changed How I Handle Money

I love reading! Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I love getting into a good book. I’ve read plenty of books in my day, and some of them have had a lasting impact. Getting more specific, I want to focus in on the books that changed how I handle money. There are 5 books I can easily pinpoint the effect they’ve had on my own money management.

I’m listing the books in the order in which they were read. Instead of giving you a synopsis of each book, I want to share the biggest takeaways I’ve had with the books. Keep reading to see 5 books that changed how I handle money, and how.

The 21-Day Financial Fast

The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom was the first personal finance book I read when I moved back to Austin, TX from Los Angeles, CA. I was in a position where I had a lot of lingering credit card debt from my time in California. I was also in a position where I was making better money and had less expenses.

I wanted to get to a place where I had a handle on my money. At that stage in my life, I was always out and about, spending money as I went. If I wanted something, I bought it. I wasn’t in the best position to be living that kind of life!

The 21-Day Financial Fast explains how a person actually completes a “financial fast”. I implemented the financial fast myself and it really helped me see that I didn’t need all the stuff I was previously spending my money on. It showed me that I could always have money in my bank account, and didn’t need to constantly spend, just because I could.

Live It, Love It, Earn It

Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom is one of those books I’d recommend to any woman looking to have a better understanding of personal finance. I had read this book after the 21-Day Financial Fast, and it really broadened my mindset, in terms of finance.

I got my B.S. degree in Finance from Cal State University of Northridge, but some of the best money lessons I’ve learned came from personal experience. After reading Live It, Love It, Earn It, I had a very good high-level understanding of all of the pieces I needed to put in place to be financially successful.

One of the best takeaways I had from the book was to focus on enjoyment with life, as opposed to enjoyment with material things. I was in a place where I was still spending a lot of money on “things”. I was much better with it, especially after the Financial Fast, but I needed to get to the bigger issue of why accumulating more brought me short-term enjoyment.

Shoo, Jimmy Choo!
Another great book I always recommend to women is Shoo, Jimmy Choo!: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More. Can you tell I was on my women empowerment kick?!  Shoo, Jimmy Choo was similar to Live It, Love It, Earn It in that there were a lot of high-level overviews of all areas of finance.

There were 2 chapters that had the biggest impact on me. The first was deciding whether to purchase or lease a car, and whether to do new or used if purchasing. I wasn’t in a position to be buying a new car (I had one that worked just fine), but the author gave so much insight on figuring out what was best for the reader.

The other chapter that had a huge impact on me, and changed how I handle money was the chapter on retirement plans. The author gave portfolio recommendations. She basically advised what investments everyone should have in their retirement plan. I went and changed my 401k investments based on her guidance. Fast forward 5 years and my 401k plan has grown tremendously. I share my investments in the article How I Picked My 401k Investments.

Profit First

I read Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine about a year and a half ago, and I completely changed how I manage the finances of my business. While Profit First is ultimately designed to help business finances, there are a lot of takeaways a reader can apply to their personal finances as well.

Profit First is centered around the model that you “pay yourself first”. I’ve preached this a lot, and it basically means that any time money comes in, a portion gets saved before anything is spent. The same applies to your business. The system requires a twice a month process for allocating income to profit, expenses, taxes and more.

I’ve been following the system in the book for my business since I read the book, and the difference is tremendous!

The Richest Man in Babylon

I actually finished The Richest Man in Babylon earlier this year, and the principals in the book are true game changers! While this book didn’t technically change how I handle money, it did reaffirm all of the principals I should be following with my money. I’m happy to say that while there is room for improvement in my finances, I am doing everything I should be.

Sometimes getting different viewpoints of similar financial principals can be beneficial. It helps you understand each principal a little better. I think this book is wonderful to clearly articulate what pieces everyone needs to have in place for their finances.

Related: 6 Women Focused Finance Reads


All of the books listed above have had a huge impact on my finances (and my business’ finances)! I would recommend each of the books 10 times over! Have you read any of the books listed above? Are there any principles you put into place after reading the books? Post a comment below to share your favorite finance reads!

The CGS Team



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