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Refinery29 Money Diaries: Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances... And Everyone Else's

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Does it feel like you’re NEVER going to finish paying back your student loans? Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)? Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial? The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend. Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers reader Does it feel like you’re NEVER going to finish paying back your student loans? Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)? Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial? The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend. Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers readers a revealing and often surprising look at the personal finances of others: what they spend, how they save, and even the purchases they hide from their partners and friends. Featuring all-new Money Diaries, valuable advice on how to get rich (and afford life in the meantime) from a handpicked team of female financial advisers, and money challenges that will save you up to $500, Refinery29 Money Diaries will empower you to take immediate control of your own money, including: • Why budgets are bulls&!t and what to do instead • How to make repaying your loans as painless as possible • How to start an emergency fund even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck • How to effectively ask for a raise and make sure you’re being paid fairly • How to have fun without going broke • The joy of saving for future you With a vision of what your dream bank account balance looks like, some expert advice to help you achieve it, and the support of a powerful community with the same goal, you’ll be a step closer to taking control of not just your wallet, but your life.


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Does it feel like you’re NEVER going to finish paying back your student loans? Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)? Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial? The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend. Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers reader Does it feel like you’re NEVER going to finish paying back your student loans? Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)? Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial? The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend. Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers readers a revealing and often surprising look at the personal finances of others: what they spend, how they save, and even the purchases they hide from their partners and friends. Featuring all-new Money Diaries, valuable advice on how to get rich (and afford life in the meantime) from a handpicked team of female financial advisers, and money challenges that will save you up to $500, Refinery29 Money Diaries will empower you to take immediate control of your own money, including: • Why budgets are bulls&!t and what to do instead • How to make repaying your loans as painless as possible • How to start an emergency fund even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck • How to effectively ask for a raise and make sure you’re being paid fairly • How to have fun without going broke • The joy of saving for future you With a vision of what your dream bank account balance looks like, some expert advice to help you achieve it, and the support of a powerful community with the same goal, you’ll be a step closer to taking control of not just your wallet, but your life.

30 review for Refinery29 Money Diaries: Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances... And Everyone Else's

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kimmie

    The money diaries themselves are interesting but the financial advice given is highly questionable. Of course finance is personal and everyone handles it differently, but I don't feel that this book really acknowledged this. Rather it presented the advice as fact, which is troublesome as I'm sure they have younger readers who will take their advice to heart and not do their own independent research. A couple points that bothered me: -The authors never even address the possibility of aggressively The money diaries themselves are interesting but the financial advice given is highly questionable. Of course finance is personal and everyone handles it differently, but I don't feel that this book really acknowledged this. Rather it presented the advice as fact, which is troublesome as I'm sure they have younger readers who will take their advice to heart and not do their own independent research. A couple points that bothered me: -The authors never even address the possibility of aggressively paying down student loans. They refer to student debt as good debt since it is an investment in your future self, but in today's student loan bubble, this just isn't true. They mention the amount of money one would earn if they started investing early, but fail to discuss the amount of money one would save in interest if they paid more than just the minimum payments. As a book geared towards millennial women where the average student loan debt hovers around $30k, it seemed like such a let down to not spend more time discussing this topic. They also do not discourage readers from taking on more debt (in the form of cars/mortgages) while carrying student loan debt. They also state that one doesn't need to stop living an enjoyable life while paying off debt, so there's no reason to make getting rid of student loan debt a priority. I'm not trying to judge their method of setting financial priorities, if it works for them great! The fact that they're touting this ideology as truth though is worrying. Maybe I've drank Dave Ramsey's Kool-Aid of "in order to be like no one else, you need to live on no one else", but I think it's at least worth mentioning to readers that getting rid of debt early to have more flexibility in terms of career choices can be a smart move. -The author advises people should pick a target retirement age to invest their 401ks since it's easy... without once mentioning the high fees they charge that eat away into the earnings. Again, terrible advice because they did not talk about the downsides of picking that investment. It wouldn't have been so hard to throw in a line about the high fees they charge... -The author doesn't discuss fixed vs. variable mortgages or 30 vs 15 year mortgages, and the amount one could save if they picked a 15 year fixed rate mortgage (which could be in the hundreds of thousands). Again, if there is going to be a whole chapter devoted to buying a home, it seems silly to not touch upon those points. -The author's tone on investing in the last chapter was quite odd. She made investing seem like a necessary chore that just "had to be done". She talks about this stereotype of women being afraid to invest, but then goes on to act like she's scared of it, and it's best to hire a financial advisor or a use a robo-investor, and leaves it at that. Although this type of investing is arguably better then nothing, it's quite frightening that risk is never discussed. There is risk in all types of investments, and encouraging people to invest without touching upon them is unethical. I did enjoy the chapters on navigating personal relationships with finances, negotiating higher raises, and the importance of saving for retirement. There is value I gained from the book and overall would like to recommend it, but because of the points above, just can't with a clear conscience. *Side note, I listened the audible version of this book. The narration was terrible! Lindsey sounded like a girl reading a middle school graduation speech off index cards. The other woman who read the money diaries gave this flat monotonous depressing tone to each diary. It's hard to explain, but I think I may just be spoiled by the high quality narrations of past audible books I've listened to.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    I'm a little older than your target reader, but I loved the book. I know it will be a huge help to any individual living and working today. Lots of great advice. While it had so much to take in, anyone can take small steps to get financially secure. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    It is undeniable that money has changed in the last few decades. Our salaries, our investments, our bank accounts all look different from the baby boomer generation. I think this book is a great read for the younger population because it shows what we’re all spending our money on. It’s a view into the dirty secrets of other hard-working women. You can read other personal finance books that will tell you to be a spendthrift, save for a house, and never spend money on restaurants. This book says o It is undeniable that money has changed in the last few decades. Our salaries, our investments, our bank accounts all look different from the baby boomer generation. I think this book is a great read for the younger population because it shows what we’re all spending our money on. It’s a view into the dirty secrets of other hard-working women. You can read other personal finance books that will tell you to be a spendthrift, save for a house, and never spend money on restaurants. This book says otherwise because we’re all different and want different things. The book reveals how some women need to invest in FSAs or other insurance plans while others can put more money into puppy expenses. As a devout reader of the Money Diaries, this book is an analysis and a review of some of the diaries that are relatable to those struggling to figure out what to do with your money when you’re an outlier. Also, while other books are yelling at you this book is relatively easy to digest – even the tough discussions like keeping separate bank accounts from your significant others.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A fantastic and accessible approach to personal finance. This book isn't a silver bullet to understanding finances, but will do a good job at putting you on the right track without scaring the personal finance ingenue. The inclusion of personal money diaries, and check-ins with millennial on specific issues (how much are you saving for retirement?) is a big plus, and helps drive home the point that personal finance is just that-- personal. My only real issue with the book is Stanberry's continue A fantastic and accessible approach to personal finance. This book isn't a silver bullet to understanding finances, but will do a good job at putting you on the right track without scaring the personal finance ingenue. The inclusion of personal money diaries, and check-ins with millennial on specific issues (how much are you saving for retirement?) is a big plus, and helps drive home the point that personal finance is just that-- personal. My only real issue with the book is Stanberry's continued use of the tired trope of savings in the context of millennial latte consumption-- can we not?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    2.5ish stars, I guess...I mean, it was fine. The "diary" parts were equal parts interesting and annoying. Like, it's interesting to see how other people spend the money they make, but I don't need to hear every single thought about their daily lives you know? It also seemed like all the diaries were written in the same voice which makes me wonder about the authenticity but then, I skimmed the entries so maybe I'm wrong lol. There was really nothing earth-shattering here, but it was nice (as a fe 2.5ish stars, I guess...I mean, it was fine. The "diary" parts were equal parts interesting and annoying. Like, it's interesting to see how other people spend the money they make, but I don't need to hear every single thought about their daily lives you know? It also seemed like all the diaries were written in the same voice which makes me wonder about the authenticity but then, I skimmed the entries so maybe I'm wrong lol. There was really nothing earth-shattering here, but it was nice (as a female millennial) to read a book geared toward other female millennials. Even if it really was trying too hard to be that (do we need to qualify so many expressions with the term "AF"?). Also...are there really that many adult women out there whose parents are still paying their phone bills??! Wowza.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dillon

    I bought this book for a friend who just started working down their student debt. Typically for folks starting their personal finance journey I'd recommend I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, but I felt this book was more digestible, positive, and less intimidating in tone and tact. Not sure if this is the intended use case, but I ended up learning a lot more about the female perspective on personal finance and saving. I hope this helps me communicate better in relationships and build em I bought this book for a friend who just started working down their student debt. Typically for folks starting their personal finance journey I'd recommend I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, but I felt this book was more digestible, positive, and less intimidating in tone and tact. Not sure if this is the intended use case, but I ended up learning a lot more about the female perspective on personal finance and saving. I hope this helps me communicate better in relationships and build empathy when facing scenarios outlined in Diaries.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam Duffy

    Am I money savvy now?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is my favorite column on Refinery29 (which you really should subscribe to, if you already don't), and I mainly picked it up for the columns. In between the columns, there are chapters of financial advice. I'm older than the target audience for that advice, but I thought that they raised some good issues. If you're serious about saving and getting your financial act together, you probably should get a book on just that - this isn't completely comprehensive, and it's coming from one perspecti This is my favorite column on Refinery29 (which you really should subscribe to, if you already don't), and I mainly picked it up for the columns. In between the columns, there are chapters of financial advice. I'm older than the target audience for that advice, but I thought that they raised some good issues. If you're serious about saving and getting your financial act together, you probably should get a book on just that - this isn't completely comprehensive, and it's coming from one perspective. I didn't always agree with her advice - like they don't really address paying down student loans because it's 'good' debt. That may be the case, but I know people in their'40s still paying down student loans, and it affects car and house purchases, amongst other things. I also didn't agree with her take on certain kinds of investments - I'd definitely consult another book prior to investing. But, this is a fun read and I think it's a good 'first money' book for someone entering the workforce or graduating from college. It raises some good points and can help someone get their financial life together.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    This book is written in a supportive, anecdotal style that I imagine would be appealing to those in their 20's and 30's. I am older, but found the advice generally to be sensible. Under the chapter sub-heading "When It's Okay to Lean on Mom and Dad - and When it's Not", however, I was bemused (as the parent of a millennial dependent) to find that apparently it's never "Not" okay. In fact, the question was not actually addressed after the author acknowledges a 2015 PEW Research study that finds t This book is written in a supportive, anecdotal style that I imagine would be appealing to those in their 20's and 30's. I am older, but found the advice generally to be sensible. Under the chapter sub-heading "When It's Okay to Lean on Mom and Dad - and When it's Not", however, I was bemused (as the parent of a millennial dependent) to find that apparently it's never "Not" okay. In fact, the question was not actually addressed after the author acknowledges a 2015 PEW Research study that finds that 40% of millennials receive support from their parents. Instead the focus of this chapter fell on planning for the day when one's parents may become dependent on THEM, stating also that there are millions of millennials who already provide financial assistance to their families - without citing statistics to back this up. Having said this, I appreciate any effort to help and encourage individuals to manage their income and lives responsibly, and I recognize that this is more challenging for younger Americans. This book suggests tips such as automating payments, contributing to retirement accounts, packing your own lunches and cutting back on fancy coffees.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Shook

    I just learned about the Money Diaries on Refinery29 and am slightly obsessed with them now and this book is a decent companion with follow-up and discussion on general personal finance. The book is full of challenges to complete so you are aware of your complete financial picture as well as saving some extra dollars. Honest about the reality of starting life with debt (hopefully only educational but does discuss consumer debt) this book is a good one for a more complete overview of life goals a I just learned about the Money Diaries on Refinery29 and am slightly obsessed with them now and this book is a decent companion with follow-up and discussion on general personal finance. The book is full of challenges to complete so you are aware of your complete financial picture as well as saving some extra dollars. Honest about the reality of starting life with debt (hopefully only educational but does discuss consumer debt) this book is a good one for a more complete overview of life goals and how to reach them while considering your finances. If you already know your income to monthly spending ratios, are paying off debt and investing in your retirement I'm not sure this book will have anything new to add, but if you are curious about your personal finances and know you could (should) be doing more, this one has practical advice and won't make you feel dumb for not doing something already.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucie

    As a huge fan of Refinery 29s money diaries series, I just had to get this book and luckily I wasn't disappointed. I think that this is an excellent introduction to dealing with money. This has a great combination of personal anecdotes (although I kind of don't like the author's husband now, but that's another story) and practical advice. This had just enough detail to make the book actually useful, while not being too intimidating for someone brand new to finance. I loved the addition of the mi As a huge fan of Refinery 29s money diaries series, I just had to get this book and luckily I wasn't disappointed. I think that this is an excellent introduction to dealing with money. This has a great combination of personal anecdotes (although I kind of don't like the author's husband now, but that's another story) and practical advice. This had just enough detail to make the book actually useful, while not being too intimidating for someone brand new to finance. I loved the addition of the mini savings challenges, and of course the extra money diaries. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to take more control of their money.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jamie K

    Only giving this two stars because I gave up on it at page 289 when the money diary person was putting more into their 401k in a year than I make in a year. Horribly depressing and honestly tortured myself too long reading the money diaries that do not look at all like my life (except maybe the one of the low paid teacher). The plus side is it inspired me to track my own spending for the month (aside from budgeted items). So I guess one good thing came out of me reading this. Also agreeing with Only giving this two stars because I gave up on it at page 289 when the money diary person was putting more into their 401k in a year than I make in a year. Horribly depressing and honestly tortured myself too long reading the money diaries that do not look at all like my life (except maybe the one of the low paid teacher). The plus side is it inspired me to track my own spending for the month (aside from budgeted items). So I guess one good thing came out of me reading this. Also agreeing with many other reviewers in the shock at how many of these money diaries included parents paying for their cell phone into their 30s! Seriously?!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crista Colvin

    Loved everything about this book, particularly the fun and palatable design. However, as with many of the books I read these days, I would ask that the author more explicitly acknowledge the existence of single people and the possibility of exponential financial progress (debt payoff, down payment) a partner can bestow. I was surprised there wasn't more of this, given the millennial bent. Looking forward to seeing more from this author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    I will admit some of the financial advice is kind of “duh”, but overall I felt like this helped clarify some of the “adult” savings and expense issues. I’ll definitely come back to reference some of the later chapters at one point or another. It has definitely made me pay closer attention to my personal spending habits more, and I love being nosey and reading the money diaries. I’d recommend this to any of my friends for sure.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Saskia

    There’s a lot of good info in this book, I just really came to dislike the chatty style it was written in. And the the random nature of the savings challenge didn’t make sense to me. I get that the book is trying to make learning about finances less daunting for women, but it just ended up feeling infantilizing to me. 2-3 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hailley Griffis

    Really really enjoyed this book. Unlike other personal finance books I didn’t get lost. In fact, I felt I understood every chapter and instead of closing this book feeling like a failure at my personal finances I walked away feeling empowered and knowledgeable. A huge thank you to the author for writing it in a way that is relatable and easy to process!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

    I'm definitely not the target audience for this book, but I thought it was really good!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    My husband and I listened to this together. The advice is pretty basic but very approachable for newbies.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I find it fascinating to see how people choose to spend their money so I really enjoyed this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ReneeB

    I really liked this book. It covered so many topics. It gave me a lot to think about now & the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Not as many money diaries as I had hoped but still enjoyed!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Anderson

    I picked this up hoping it would just be a lot of money diaries, which it wasn't. But it was a lot of sound financial advice, echoing advice I'd gleaned from other books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I expected this to have more money diaries but it was more of a "money diaries then discuss" kind of structure, which I'm not complaining about.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    all the fun of money diaries without the intense and vicious judgmental comments

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arleen

    The Millenial bible on how to adult!! this book should be part of high school curriculum. No one ever teaches us about smart money management. Loved this book and learned a lot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sierra Dean

    LOVED this. I'm obsessed with the Money Diaries series, but there was some really solid general finance wisdom in here.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I loved the money diaries, but I'm definitely not the target market for the advice (too old...)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Simpauco

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tiana

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carey

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