Book Review: It Is Only Money, And It Grows On Trees!


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review, however my opinion- good and bad- is my own. This post also contains affiliate links that support our family.

I never read books about money or finance until I was in college, when I worked at the public library weekends and evenings. I worked in the Literature department, but I would pick up as many hours as I could in other departments, especially Science and Technology. It wasn’t a very busy department,and I would often spend an evening sitting in the empty stacks reading books from the shelves when I didn’t get paged to find a book.

The Science Department housed all of the investing and money books. At the time, I considered investing to be something for rich people who didn’t eat lentils and ramen every night,  but I found The Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life, and they got me started on the road I am on now. I try and read new books about money on a regular basis- there is always something new to learn.

After reading 3-4 finance books a year for the past 20 years, I can tell you that there are two kinds of horrible money books: ones that can’t translate all of the dry, complicated information about investments and  budgets into something simple and relatable,  and ones that have all the excitable get-rich-quick language of an infomercial, but leave you completely unprepared to make any of that money magic happen in real life.

If you can stick to the middle path of these extremes, you are doing well.

How does It Is Only Money- And It Grows on Trees! measure up?

The Basics:

  • The information is presented as a series of conversations about money in a multicultural classroom setting. Values and beliefs about money are presented from the perspective of people from different religious groups, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.

What I liked:

  • This explains the basics of how money works in a simple conversational way.
  • It asks you to think about the values and beliefs you have about money, and to consider other ones as well.
  • It’s multicultural. The part of me that got an anthropology degree gives that two thumbs up. We live in a big world, and you never know who else might have a great approach to a problem you have.
  • There is a workbook section that helps you delve a little deeper into your own personal money story.
  • It looks at both the money basics and the big picture. You learn a little about budgeting, investing, making money, saving, and giving, but it also asks you to consider the consequences of money choices you make, including justice, ethics, greed, and sustainability.
  • She recommends living on no more than 50% of your income. If you are a devotee of Mr. Money Mustache, this will not be a new idea to you, but this will probably sound revolutionary to the average person.

Areas of weakness:

  • If you are a hardcore atheist, you might be bothered about discussions about religious values informing money values. In the same vein, if you are deeply offended by hearing how other cultures or religions approach something, this may not be for you.
  • The conversational style of the book makes the information easy to grasp, but it doesn’t always come off as natural.
  • There are about 13 pages that just list values. If you’re like me, you’ll just skip over those once you see how many pages they occupy.

My favorite tip:

  • This year, I have been focusing my reading efforts on learning about investing. The idea of picking where to allocate my portfolio makes me very nervous, and I don’t feel I know enough to tell if I can trust a financial adviser or not. She recommends making a pretend decision with a $5000 portfolio, and then following that portfolio for 3-6 months to see how it does. It allows you to gain practice without incurring the risk. Because I myself have spent longer than 6 months dithering over where to allocate funds, this is an incredibly appealing idea to me.

The Giveaway:

You can purchase your own copy of It Is Only Money- And It Grows on Trees!  on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or you can enter my giveaway and get your own copy for FREE!

There is one way to enter:

  1. Leave a comment below and tell me the one thing about money you need to learn about the most. Budgeting? Travel hacking? Saving for retirement? Cheap meals? Coupons?

One lucky random person will win a copy of the book!

The giveaway closes Monday 10/31/16 at 12 PM EST. One entry per person, and must be in the United States (sorry Canada). Winner must leave email for their comment and emails will not be shared or sold. The winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be chosen.

Tell me: What is the one thing about money you need to learn about the most?

Book Review: Money Making Mom


 The Goal: Work From Home On My Own Time

This past year I have transitioned from a full time working mother to a part-time student/full time mother/as-needed nurse.  I have been lucky enough to get to work from home a few days a month, and even if that hadn’t worked out, we still would have been able to survive on my husband’s income.

I won’t lie though- we wouldn’t have a lot of extras without my job. That means no season passes to the amusement park, no monthly date night to one of our favorite foodie joints, and fewer presents under the Christmas tree.

Right now, when I work, I am not able to pick and choose my days- I am dependent upon when my teammates take a day off, and if I want to work, I have to work everything else around those few available days.  I’m also bound to work during business hours on weekdays, unless I work a certain kind of case which only gives a few hours every week.

My ultimate goal is to work on my own time, on my own terms, in my own home.

This blog is one of the ways I would like to make that happen.

Money Making Mom


This is not my first blog. From 2007 to 2011, I wrote an infertility blog (now private) and was part of the BlogHer network.  I earned a tiny amount from that blog, plus a few freebies. The biggest takeaway from it was actual writing experience, especially my part in the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.  I helped collect this group of infertility stories, and contributed this article about pregnancy after infertility.

After we built our family, I did not want to continue writing about the subject, and I ended up starting a small frugality blog in 2009.  I wasn’t always consistent, especially during pregnancies #2 and #3, and it was mostly an easy repository for my menu plans, so I could quickly link to recipes.

When I left my full-time job, I decided I would try to commit to writing most days of the week, especially to help keep myself on track well enough to finish my master’s debt-free. I had a plan for my blog, but I’m always looking for more ideas for improvement. That is why I was excited to get to review Money Saving Mom Crystal Paine’s new book, Money Making Mom. I was provided a free copy of the book for my review, but opinions are 100% my own.

I know a lot of women who are trying to find a side gig- or even a full time gig- to help support their families. You may be like me and have a profession or trade already or perhaps you planned all along for your full-time career to be raising your children.

The book is meant as a guide to take you from deciding where your gifts and strengths lie to giving practical guidance in building your own side gig. If you don’t long to be a writer, she has collected a host of stories and advice from other entrepreneurs who have had success in other businesses. Some women start their own Etsy shops, some are successful in direct sales (like 31 Gifts or Mary Kay), some start cleaning services while their kids are in school, and others find a way to turn an untapped need in their community into a business.

Money Saving Mom wasn’t Crystal’s first business adventure. She admits to trying and failing several times before finally building a successful blog. As someone writing her third blog, that gives me hope.

I have a few ideas I’ve been mulling over, including an ebook and a webinar, and I’ve learned enough in my reading to start figuring out what the next few steps should be to get there. I also have a small list of books and resources I can comb through for more information.

I hope to continue to chronicle my own adventures here as I try to earn money from my writing. On November’s agenda: figure out how to link Google AdSense to this blog, set up a Facebook page, and brainstorm a few future articles.

Ready For The Next Step?

 Money Making Mom comes out November 3rd, but it is available for pre-order. Those who pre-order get a few extra bonuses, including:

Make Over Your Calendar: 7-Day Online Course—a comprehensive course to teach you how to simplify, streamline, and organize your daily schedule & to-do’s.

Crystal’s Top 10 Favorite Productivity Tools Tip Sheet—a printable PDF with links and information on her favorite tools for better time management.

An Exclusive Live Q&A Call—an invitation to join Crystal for a special exclusive Q&A call to ask any of your Money-Making Mom questions.

To receive these bonuses, you can purchase the book here and then fill out this form no later than today, November 2, as this is the last day the pre-order deal will be available!