I recently finished reading The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money.
Not every money book will be helpful for you depending on where you are at in your journey to financial freedom.
Keep reading to find out my thoughts on this book and whether it is the right for you and where you currently are in your journey!
This book is by the founder of The Financial Diet, Chelsea Fagen. At its core, it is a money basics book for the young millennial who maybe hasn’t thought too deeply about their personal finances, but wants to start making small, active changes in their lifestyle. I really wish I had this book when I was graduating college and making my start in the world. I certainly don’t think I would be in nearly as much credit card debt during my 20s if I did.
What I Loved about The Financial Diet
The Financial Diet is less of a traditional book, and more like an inclusive handbook. You don’t have to sit and read it through all at once, you can skip around and it will still all make sense. It covers a little bit on every topic and is laid out in very digestible chunks. It’s very colorful and I loved the designs and illustrations by The Financial Diet’s other co-founder, Lauren Van Hage. You’ll find all sorts of golden nuggets in there, from recipes to lists, to short two-page interviews with prominent figures in the finance world.
I loved the core messaging throughout the book, that being smarter with money isn’t just about what you put in the bank, but about everything in your lifestyle – the clothes you put in your closet, your spending habits, and the food you put in your kitchen (instead of ordering in all the time). Chelsea also shares lots of ways you can be boujee on a budget because she firmly believes that just because you’re broke, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself now and then (so long as you do it sensibly). She shares a lot about her personal story and learning from her financial faux-pas, which I think is a great way of humanizing the personal finance journey and making it more relatable.
This book *IS* for you if:
- You’re early on in your financial journey.
- You’re newly graduated or about to graduate.
- You want to curb your emotional spending on unnecessary things.
- You want to learn about the basics of budgeting and dealing with your credit.
- You want to understand what the hell it means to invest and the basics to get started.
This book is *NOT* for you if:
- You’re past money basics and into more advanced territory.
- You’re looking to expand your financial literacy.
- You’ve mostly controlled your emotional spending.
- You don’t like cutesy sh*t.
About the author
I personally love Chelsea and the work she does on The Financial Diet’s website, Instagram, and YouTube channel. They are all great sources of free advice for those wanting to get to grips with their finances, and just get more young people comfortable with talking about money in general.
Chelsea is also great at connecting politics to finances and isn’t afraid of recognizing the discrepancies and inequalities in our society. She was a very outspoken and ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders, which is slightly controversial in the money world. But because Chelsea was so outspoken about her politics, she gave me the confidence to speak out my own political views and activism.
But as well as being political and frugal, Chelsea also enjoys cute, boujee things and living life to its fullest. She has adopted a very French mentality that combines socialism and being smart with finances, but also not being afraid to enjoy the finer things in life (maybe her French husband connected her to some of these ideas). These are all things I subscribe to, and while I personally didn’t learn anything new in this book – being more advanced in my financial journey than the book’s target readership – it felt very aligned with my values in general.
So, should you read The Financial Diet?
For someone getting to grips with and learning the basics of personal finance? Yes, I think this book is very valuable and I would especially recommend it for younger millennials. But if you’re further along in your financial transformation, I would suggest saving your money and skipping this one.