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Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,679 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews
Living Well, Spending Less is Ruth Soukup's first book, following her wildly successful blog of the same name. She gives her readers even more of what they love about the blog: lots of creative, helpful ideas and advice for moms on a budget along with stories from her own journey to discovering what the Good Life is really all about.
Paperback, 237 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Zondervan (first published December 9th 2014)
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John Markos O'Neill
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: given-up
This book is deceptive, because it claims to be about controlling spending, but it's actually a religious book, with a Christian point of view that creeps into everything. As a non-Christian, I found it hard to take, because everything has a religious bent. It's possible to write an advice book with a wider audience: Soukup simply chose not to do that. "What Color Is Your Parachute," was written by a former Episcopal minister who made no secret of his faith. Nevertheless, Richard Nelson Bolles m ...more
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I listened to this audio book thinking it would be a great way to get some good ideas for getting organized and boosting my savings account since I have some pretty big goals for the next year or two such as selling our condo and buying a house, and possibly doing IVF or adoption- all of which are expensive. While this had a lot of great tips in it for spending less, time management and organization etc,it wasn’t quite what I was expecting… Much more of a biography of sorts with many r
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was hoping for more, "Spending Less".....what I got was "I, me, my, our". I won't be fooled again by someone who charges me to talk about her life.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was not at all what I expected. I had no knowledge of Soukup's blog, so I went in blind. Right away, I was put off by all the Bible verses. I have no problem with Bible verses when I'm expecting to read Bible verses, but they caught me off guard in what I thought was a book about saving money. I sort of felt like I was being preached to.

Soukup talks a lot about her shopping addiction, which I couldn't care less about. The second half of the book is what's actually worth reading. This i
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ruth is a blogger who made her foray into personal finance writing after a series of financial missteps. This book is targeted at Christian women who (surprise) spend a lot of money. This ‘wisdom' is divided into 12 secrets:
1. The Good Life is Not What We Think It Is: A life well lived is not so much about what we have but about who we are
2. Contentment is a Choice: Longing for what we don’t have keeps us from the Good Life
3. We All Have a Sweet Spot: Finding that place where our passion and abi
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow - I really loved this book! The conversational tone and plethora of practical ideas for transforming your bank account AND (more importantly) your life, really spoke to my heart. So much good information packed into a short, quick read. I am currently combing through her website printing out all the helpful worksheets she has for EVERYTHING! Totally re-organized my bedroom closet after reading about her 40-hanger wardrobe, and am eager to complete so much more after reading this tome... feel ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 10, 2016 added it
Recommends it for: Christians in their manic phase
If you’re looking for a book to tell those in the bottom three quintiles of America how to stretch a dollar, then Ruth Soukup’s Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets to the Good Life is not for you.

And, even if you’re looking for a guide to decorating for less, which is ostensibly what appears in Soukup’s blog, this book is not for you.

However, if you have a disorder where you’re driven to buy expensive décor and constantly remodel your home, even though it already looks like a Homerama showpla
Erin Moore
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Am I a memoir? Am I a financial book? Am I a productivity book? Disappointed in this one.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Listened for Review (Brilliance)
Overall Rating: 3.00
Tips Rating: 3.50
Delivery Rating: 2.50

Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup had some great tips for learning to live with less but with a fuller life. Unfortunately, it was slightly buried under a rather haughty (for lack of a better word) attitude.

Overall Thoughts: First let me admit that I have read both Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and The Power t
Feb 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but the author's self-absorption and overuse of Biblical quotes ruined this book for me. Don't bother reading it.
Bea  Charmed
3.5 stars

I read a review of this on a blog and decided to give it a try. I can always use help with budgeting and cutting spending. The review warned that the book was Christian based and Bible based. Since the blurb doesn't indicate either of those facts, I appreciated the heads-up. As I read, I skipped over religious parts and the numerous Bible verses.

The first part of the book, the author talks about her shopping addiction, her spending problems, her depression, and how her marriage and fami
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
More than I expected and the author's story hits very close to home for me. I spent feeling as though each purchase brought me closer to completion when in actuality, it made me feel incompetent. When listening to this boo, it humbled me and made me feel embarrassed that I would entertain the notion that I needed more, when in fact, I had/have more than I could ever ask for!

I am not a religious person, but I respect and see the value of the scripture quotes as well as nonreligious quotes that i
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not just a finance book. Lots more in it to help you think about "The Good Life". Loads of practical stuff... though most of it is not new to me, it's always encouraging and refreshing to read how others put the same ideas to work in their own life.
Bobbi Woods
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
This book attempts to remind the reader that overspending is an "addiction" and that our attachment to material things and "keeping up with the Jones'" will eventually lead down a very bad path--loneliness, bankruptcy, etc. Having more "stuff" will not make us happy and Soukup quotes Scripture to help us detach from wanting more and focus on the real things in life that will bring happiness such as family, friendships and service to others. "Retail Therapy" is NOT COOL, people!

What I really like
Teresa Costa
Jun 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
I am currently working on making my life more simple and organized. As such I am reading all books I can find on the subject.

Yes, this book is religious. And I think that a lot of very outwardly religious women who want to talk in their Bible studies about "how hard it is to change" will love this book. It's very enabling. It's written by someone whose idea of a grocery budget for a month was over $1000 - her "spending habits" never landed her family in the legitimate poor house and her idea of
Feb 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Book club book for February. Didn't like it at all. The author was very self-righteous. Just not my style of book.
Nov 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book is deceiving. The title of it drew me in and when I opened the book I discovered it was a Christian book, heavy with verses. I grew up Catholic and I am open to all things, but this threw me off. As I went on I felt zero connection to the author or her content. As someone who is not religious, I did not feel a connection to the verses or words she used.

I was also unsympathetic with her "shopoholic" issue because it appeared very fake. I could not connect with her at all and I could not
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
It took me a few weeks to finish this book and I really can't explain why. Ruth Soukup provides a few great tips for living minimally and I appreciate the Christian perspective she brings to her writing. The problem here is that Ruth Soukup isn't saying anything new. We've heard this all before and, as a result, LIVING WELL SPENDING LESS is forgettable. If you have read her blog, visited the blogs of counterparts, or read any other self-help book about money management, then you've got Ruth's 12 ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Coming with high recommendations, I expected a lot from this book and it truly delivered. There are both practical and spiritual truths attested to within its covers. All in all a great read and a book that encourages you to do more with your life while not guilting you into it. It leads the reader towards the "good life."
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
A great book to reset your values for the new year! No matter your circumstances you can relate to some aspects of this book! Easy read!
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
While a lot of reviews only gave her one star because it was Christian based and mentioned she hid the fact, (she mentioned it in the Prologue) I found this book encouraging and a kick-in-the-pants to hone several areas of my life. Also, just because you aren’t a Christian/Jew doesn’t mean you can find encouragement in the Bible, like other religions or wisemen: Buddha, the Dalai Lama, etc.

I enjoyed her secrets for saving more on groceries without using coupons (yay!) and I also enjoyed her or
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wasn't familiar with the blog when I started this book. I choose to read it based on the title and description. Overall, it just wasn't about what I thought it would be. I was expecting a book which provided details about budgeting, planning, and money saving tips. While there are a few of those, this book is mostly about philosophy and religion. It was mostly, "appreciate what you have and you won't want" and while I may agree, it's not why I picked up the book. I did listen to the audio vers ...more
Becca Garber
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting easy read! I always love these as a kick in the pants when I need to do an organizing or cleaning project. She has so many good ideas.
Christopher Lawson
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
√ Will You be Content or Obsessed with More and More?

LIVING WELL, SPENDING LESS is a well-written, practical guide on escaping from the constant "Must have more" lifestyle that is so prevalent today. The author, Ruth Soukup, comes across as a modest person--not so much lecturing you what you should do, but instead, sharing lessons that she had to learn the hard way. The author clearly states that she is a Christian, and that this book is based on "what the Bible has taught me about the Good Life
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life is a tough book for me to judge. Most of the book is repeating articles from Ruth Soukup's web site of the same name. That means most of this book was stuff I previously read so I didn't learn as much new stuff as I hoped. But for a reader unfamiliar with the web site the book provides expanded versions of those original articles. I would be curious to find out how many people pick up this book that don't already follow the web site, though ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Ruth Soukup writes her version of secrets to a good life of living well and spending less. She encourages readers to take a long, hard look at our material possessions and why we want them. We learn how overspending destroyed her first marriage, led her to bankruptcy, and almost brought her second marriage to a breaking point before she changed her habits.

The book contains many Bible quotes and other references to over-indulgences of buying too many possessions. She teaches how to de-clutter and
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity.

I've read several self-help-ish books lately by Christian authors, and they all seem to tackle the same subjects--making the most of your time; harnessing your creativity; finding the place where your passion meets your career; curbing excess (in eating, spending, alcohol, or anything). I'm drawn to these books because I appreciate the little nuggets of wisdom these authors share. While I don't find every tid-bit
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The perfect read if you're looking for some guidance to make 2015 your best year yet. It is the a great combination of memoir, inspiration and nuts and bolts practical advice. I'm all about goals, organization and self-improvement. I read books, I take classes, I make lists. And I keep trying. And I fail or I go through a period where I really feel like I've got it together and then another time when I don't. So is the nature of life I think. I've been following Ruth Soukop's blog "Living Well ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Useful collection of other peoples work from the Bible to Consumer Reports.

I couldn't stop thinking where all the money was coming from in this household. I got lost when Ruth starts her dream job of being "blogger" and Chuck quits his job to be a stay at home Dad. She also home schools two kids. She is waking up at four in the morning and going to bed at ten (sometimes?). Really? Plausibility counts.

They take a month long vacation across country during this time. How? I would love to do this b
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a fast read with lots of good practical advice and some really thought provoking questions for your to ask yourself about your personal buying habits, etc. It is important to note that this book is a not a step by step for how to get on a budget or how to save money - although it does touch lightly on these topics. It is much more about helping you change your mindset on shopping and "stuff". I do feel it is a good "all in one place" book for summarizes pieces from different authors I ha ...more
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Ruth Soukup is a writer, photographer, DIY lover, passionate homemaker, and founder of Begun simply as a way to hold herself accountable as she attempted to replace her shopping addiction with a sustainable budget, has since grown to be one of the top frugal lifestyle blogs on the web, averaging over 700,000 unique visitors and 1.4 million pag ...more
More about Ruth Soukup

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“Likewise, you can’t live a truly productive, contented, and joy-filled life while your finances are in complete disarray. A Good Life and financial stability go hand in hand.” 1 likes
“My friends, I’m quite sure you all have a sweet spot too. My hope and prayer for you is that you will become fearless in all that you do, and you’ll dare to take the plunge, even when it means risking failure. Remember those words of Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Don’t let the possibility of falling short deter you from trying. Don’t let the naysayers or that little voice in the back of your head prevent you from taking action. Don’t let the messiness or trial-and-error nature of the process deter you. You will make mistakes. You will screw up along the way. There may even be times when you have to admit defeat. Keep going. Use those lessons as opportunities to discover what doesn’t work, and always persevere.” 1 likes
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