5 Free Ebooks On Saving Money

Dave Ramsey's Guide to Budgeting

Guide to budgeting

Ramsey runs one of the larger budgeting/savings blogs in the US. This well-written book is the basics of how to setup a budget to help you achieve your savings goals.

Note, this book is pushing Ramsey's paid products including the Financial Peace University - don't think for a minute you need to be spending serious money to learn these basics! Also be wary that he uses American terminology e.g. mutual fund = unit trust.

Key features:

  • Assumes that married people have never been married before and don't have to provide for a blended family, assumes that the married wish to pool all income;
  • Based on using physical cash in envelopes to budget expenses such as groceries and petrol (or gas as they say in the US);
  • Budgets are based on a calendar month - as most New Zealanders are paid either fortnightly ("biweekly" in American) or weekly, this doesn't quite work as neatly for us

Has some useful points, but remember there is not one size that fits all as far as saving money and budgets are concerned.

Money for Life - Budgeting Success & Financial Fitness in Just 12 Weeks - Steven B. Smith

Money for Life

This book is told as a narrative story, rather than a non-fiction "how to” which may appeal to some readers. Again this an American book, so you'll need to ignore some of the Americanisms. Generally provides sound advice on how to track where money is going and then apply budgets to your expenses so you can start using the excess to pay off debt.

Key features:

  • Not a quick read, you need to read the entire story, and it’s hard to skim for the main points;
  • Again assumes a nice tidy nuclear family, this may not be your circumstance but you can adapt the principal;
  • The book is a promo for some software which provides the "virtual envelopes" to manage your budget, rather than the physical envelopes recommended in Ramsey's book. Note the software is paid and unlikely to suit the New Zealand reader (ASB bank provides a nice, and free app, for managing your budget online if you bank with them)

How To Save Money

How to Save Money

This book covers the same ground as Money for Life - but in a very different format. This is a well-structured non-fiction book with plenty of key points, diagrams, and questionnaires and exercises for you to complete as you read. It's pretty detailed, not a book you'd read in a single sitting, but worthwhile if you want the detail of the how and why of saving money, living within your means and.

Key features:

  • Some will find this book a little heavy going in places, a few simple formula are mentioned. However, it's fine to skip around to the summaries and key points, you can get the key points without reading every word
  • The suggested "technology" is merely using a notebook, this will suit some people, not all. However, you can apply the principal even if you prefer to use an app or a spread sheets rather than a pen and paper

Saving Money and Time without Losing Your Mind

Saving money and time

The sub-title for this one is "8 Easy Expert Solutions for the Frugal Family" and the authors are a group of successful "mommie bloggers" from the US.

This books a little different from the others reviewed. Rather than concentrating on the "big picture" of the WHY and HOW of savings, this one is about the details. Chapters include Eating Organic on a Budget and Cleaning Tips to Save Time and Money.

Key features:

  • Not everything will work for a New Zealand audience, coupons, for example, are a huge industry in the US which barely exists in New Zealand
  • Very girly and family focussed. Possibly of less value to the men and childless members of society

Saving from New Zealand's Retirement Commissioner


The Retirement Commissioner’s office puts out a series of useful booklets on their website, other titles include Set Your Goals and Budgeting, and they are all worth a read. The website offers some funky online tools to help manage your budget and savings goals. One of the best explanations of compound interest around. Highly recommended!