After taking a break from listening to audiobooks on Audible, I felt compelled to start the new year with a self-development title that aligns with my 2020 goals. I chose “Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life” by Ruth Soukup because that book sounded like the perfect fit and choosing it aligns with my goal to save more and spend less. The book begins with the author’s spending habits and personal story of her shopping addiction. To be honest, I immediately questioned whether I would enjoy this audiobook because I could not relate to the author at all. She seemed a little self-absorbed and wasteful based on her description of her behaviors. I was frustrated to hear so much about her shopping habits and all the things she filled her home with, but I stuck around to hear her tips.
I am having difficulty classifying “Living Well, Spending Less.” It’s Christian faith-based, but also touches on minimalism/decluttering, being good stewards of your money/not spending, giving and self-help. She introduces each chapter by discussing a “secret” or tip for living well along with Bible verses and other quotes. Examples of her secrets/chapters: “Written Goals Can Change Your Life” and “Less Stuff Equals More Joy.” Her secrets are all aligned with her faith and she mentions her religious beliefs often in her book. Some of her ideas are not revolutionary, though she offers suggestions I have never heard, like keeping track of your grocery store’s “rock-bottom price,” and knowing that things go on sale every 6-8 weeks. It might seem counterintuitive to stock up on certain items/spend more at one time, but it actually saves you money, as she explains, if it’s something you use regularly AND you’re getting it at the lowest possible price. On decluttering, many of her statements echo Marie Kondo, except she disagrees you should tackle all of your belongings at once because she thinks you’ll be overwhelmed.
I expected to hear more practical solutions for spending less, but the audiobook mostly focused on being grateful for what you have and reminding readers to “build riches in heaven” — basically you can’t take any material thing with you when you die. She also often begins chapters talking about her own life. It seems like part memoir, part self-development book at the same time. Throughout the book she shares some lessons that resonated with me:
- “Contentment is a choice.”
- “Keep your eyes on your own path.”
- There is much to be grateful for.
- Make the most of where you are right now, while also taking steps to improve.
Overall many of the messages resonated with me, including gratitude, choosing contentment, not being “stingy” with our time and attention, and knowing what matters most to us. If you don’t enjoy reading about God or the Bible you may not enjoy this book — or maybe you don’t mind hearing her perspective.
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