5 Minutes for Books:
Learning to Live Financially Free

by Jennifer Donovan

If you weren’t one of the winners of Rose House from last week (see below) click over to the giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books and enter again, through Tuesday.

Today I (Jennifer) am happy to announce a guest contributor. Melissa is one of the founding contributors over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Melissa has been captivated by books for as long as she can remember. She resides in Virginia, and at her blog, Breath of Life.

In today’s economy, many American families are having to tighten their belts, slash their spending, and learn to survive on less. Being frugal is now chic. The media seems to be hopping on the bandwagon, with hundreds of books promising to pave the way to financial security. At first glance, Learning to Live Financially Free: Hard-Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Marriage & Your Money might seem no different from the multitude of “get yourself out of debt” offerings.

Trust me, it is.

As the subtitle, “Hard Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Marriage & Your Money” suggests, Curt and Marybeth Whalen have been there. They share honestly their struggle with money, and their battle to change their poor spending habits and win financial freedom. Each gives a personal own account of how they found themselves $95,000 in debt, and what drove them to realize change was necessary no matter the cost.

The Whalens’ solution may seem backwards to the world but proves that God’s economy, which may not make sense, is completely different than man’s. They are quick to give God the glory for delivering them from their staggering debt in just four years. On one income. With six children.

Each chapter ends with Scripture, discussion questions, and a plan of action. The book also includes great resources and ideas to cut spending, find contentment, and learn to control your finances (rather than having your finances control you). It’s not a “feel-good” read, but is a Biblically sound handbook for those who are ready to commit to change and the hard work that it entails.

Whether you are thousands of dollars in debt, or simply want to experience freedom from the pressures of money so you can use it to glorify God, Learning to Live Financially Free: Hard-Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Marriage & Your Money is a book worth reading.

We have one copy to give away (U.S. shipping addresses only, please). If you’d like to win, leave a comment below. If you want to make it interesting, tell us where you struggle most in your spending.

We’ll announce the winner in next week’s column.

The winners of Rose House are #63 JD, #139 Heather C., #10 jennsquared

And remember, if you didn’t win click over to the giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books and enter again, through Tuesday.

Written by 5 Minutes for Books contributing reviewer Melissa

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa May 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Sounds like a good book. Count me in!


2 Angela C. May 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

accoupons at gmail dot com


3 Eileen May 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm

We struggle to make ends meet, even though we do not consider ourselves people that spend money frivolously. Any tips on other things we can do are always well received. Hopefully, this book will provide some more insight!



4 Julia May 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I would love to win a copy of this book. I think the area we struggle most with is being deceived about the little ways our money goes down the tube: a book here, a cup of coffee there…Its these little things that are the money drainers that add up big time.


5 momstheword May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Ooooh, I would love to win a copy. I am currently reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I enjoy being frugal but am not as frugal as I could be. I have lots of room for improvement, lol!


6 CD May 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Yes, please!


7 Nicole May 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I’d love to win a copy of this! We’re pretty frugal, but I’m sure we can do better. The Whalens presented at a conference that I attended recently, and while I didn’t get to hear them, a friend did and she said they were great!


8 alissa May 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm

i struggle most when i see things that are on sale but i really dont need them. i just have to get the deal- i am getting better with it though! maybe this book would help even more! thanks.


9 Susan S. May 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm

This book sounds wonderful! I think we struggle with the little things… It’s easy to get a cup of coffee here, a book there. And suddenly all those little things add up.


10 Melissa D at DropTheBabyWeight May 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I’m the sinner in this family. I’d love the book!


11 Ellen C. May 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I’d love to read this. Maybe it would help me with my budgeting. Thanks for the chance.


12 susan May 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Since becoming a stay at home mom I’m learning how to budget and this book would surely come in handy!


13 veedee May 18, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I love books but trying to budget on what books I purchase so I look for them in the library first!


14 Marla Taviano May 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

We’re self-employed with irregular income. I have a hard time saving enough to last us until the next check. :(


15 Laura May 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm

That sounds like a good book!


16 Just Mom May 18, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Sounds great, I’d love to win!


17 MaryBeth May 18, 2009 at 10:03 pm

I thought I’d read all the best books on financial freedom… this is one I missed! I would love to check it out!


18 Angela May 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

With 4 kids I am always trying new ways to save money, for now, we are pay check to pay check like so many other families.


19 Occupation: Mommy May 18, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Sounds like a good one!


20 Amber May 18, 2009 at 11:58 pm

We just bought our first house today, I would love this to help us get our finances in line!


21 Holly May 19, 2009 at 12:15 am

This one looks so good. I really want to read it. And I’d really love to win it! ;)



22 Cassandra May 19, 2009 at 12:31 am

I struggle most in our grocery budget. I love to eat and I still struggle to figure out couponing, sales, etc. while eating healthy with some organic produce thrown in. I would love the chance to own this book!


23 Stacy May 19, 2009 at 1:16 am

We try really hard, but I work for a nonprofit and my husband is in school.


24 Stacy May 19, 2009 at 1:21 am

I subscribe through google reader.


25 Tammy May 19, 2009 at 5:22 am

I’d like to win this book!


26 Angie May 19, 2009 at 6:47 am

EVERYBODY needs this book right now, including me!


27 Ann May 19, 2009 at 7:31 am

Stopping my husband from spending money is where I struggle the most. I don’t spend anything but he does. It makes me crazy.


28 Amy Reads Good Books May 19, 2009 at 8:59 am

Sounds like a very timely and useful book! I struggle the most with spending too much on books! :)


29 Leah May 19, 2009 at 9:26 am

I’d love to win this! We struggle the most with food spending- groceries and eating out. :(


30 Alexandra Hancock May 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

I would love to read this book! We still struggle despite the fact that we created a budget, are paying off our debts, and saving our emergency fund because my fiance has a really hard spending habit to break. He likes to buy a video game here and a movie there as well as the various $1-$4 fishing things he just NEEDS every time we go to the store. It’s really frustrating and we are working on it.


31 Alexandra Hancock May 19, 2009 at 10:37 am

oh yeah i almost forgot…i subscribe. :)


32 gaby317 May 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

This sounds so helpful! We’re newly married and learning to combine our finances and reevaluating our separate spending. Any and all useful advice is very welcome!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com


33 Gena May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

I would love the extra tips.


34 Chelsea May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

I would love to win this book. It sounds very different then those on the market…and sounds easier to read. I have the hardest time budgeting with things for me kids.


35 Diana (Ladybug Limited) May 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I would love this– my biggest struggle is those great deals I don’t need now but might later…


36 Liz May 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I’d love to win this.


37 Laurie Ann May 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm

This book is one I would love to read (and win). Great review!


38 Michelle May 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I’d love to win a copy of this book. I’m always interested to hear the tips and ideas of how people overcome such monumental debt. Thanks for the review and for offering this book!


39 cris May 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I’d love to see if the info in the book works for those of us in big cities – prices here (and lack of promotions!) are very different than the burbs.


40 Anita Yancey May 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Sounds like a book I really need to read. Please enter me. Thanks!


41 KimN May 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

I would love to read their advice…I struggle with wanting to dress my girls up in new clothes instead of checking consignments!


42 Bridget May 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm

This book looks like it would be really helpful. We try to be frugal, but are struggling on one income.


43 julie coleman May 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I would love a copy of this book– money has always challenged us. When my children were small, we felt nickeled and dimed to death– uniforms, school supplies, sports equipment, etc. forced much spending. Now that they are adults, we still find ourselves struggling to best help them, as two are in grad school and sometimes need help. But the amount of help has gone from nickel and dimes to thousands!!


44 Mama to 2 boys May 19, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I love MaryBeth and all of her advice.. I would love to win this!!! Thanks!


45 Dot May 20, 2009 at 12:35 am

I would love to read the book! My husband and I are struggling with a workable solution to our finance problems. We can use all the help we can get.


46 Jeannie May 20, 2009 at 7:35 am

Wow, I’m impressed! We are muddling through it too, with one income and only one kid. Sounds like a great book to help a lot of people!Jeannie


47 Stephenie May 20, 2009 at 8:46 am

I’m am working on resisting the urge to go out to eat. My husband have really improved in this area, but we still have our weak moments. Fast food for a family of four adds up quickly!


48 Celeste Harris May 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

This book looks great. My husband is an accountant and is great with budgeting. I, on the other hand, am not. I’d love to learn to be a better steward of what he works hard to earn and what God has blessed us with.


49 The Gang's Momma May 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

I would love to win this book. I’ve actually already heard some good buzz about it. Financially, we struggle the most with the daily maintenance of our budget and with being consistent in the midst of keeping the boundaries of the budget very tight. It’s wearisome and feels plodding but we have to keep the end goal in sight. Even on the crazy days.


50 Jen May 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

Sounds like a good book and just what we could use around here. Thanks for the contest.


51 Carol May 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Count me in too!~ Thanks.


52 Kelly Lee Lake May 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Please enter me in the drawing, thanks so much!


53 Missy May 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I need to stop spending so much money at Target. I shop there almost every day (sadly, I’m not joking). :(


54 Marla T May 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I could really use this book. I struggle in all areas of finances. I tend to spend too much money on books. I love books!!! Thank you for the entry.



55 LivingforGod May 21, 2009 at 3:37 am

This book sounds great. I probably struggle most on grocery spending and book buying :).


56 Krista May 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Yeah, we could definitely use this! ;)


57 LaVonne May 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm

It sounds like a great resource to not only read but also to share. Thanks for the chance to win!


58 Shelly Nissley May 22, 2009 at 6:02 am

Looks like a good read!


59 Cathy May 22, 2009 at 9:31 am

This sounds like a great book to have. We have some debt that I would like to eliminate. The struggle for me would be in little purchases or in great deals that seem to good to pass up. But, how much do we really need?? It’s time to cut back!


60 Jennifer C. May 22, 2009 at 10:55 am

I’m sure there are several things I could learn from reading this book.


61 Jen May 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Count me in. Thanks!


62 Jennifer Cullen May 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Because my husband is self-employed, our income is very up and down. I need a plan of action! This book sounds perfect for me!


63 Oh Dear May 23, 2009 at 9:58 am

We too are a one income family. We throw a lot of money away eating out! We love it but we hate it!


64 Alexandra S May 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

Would love to win!


65 Dena May 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway!


66 Cindy B. in Montana May 24, 2009 at 1:29 am

Who couldn’t use this??? We’ve done a lot to cut needless spending, but I know we could more!


67 kathy pease May 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Thanks for the GREAT giveaway
please count me in :)


68 Kristie May 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm

This sounds like it would be great for us to read!


69 holly brown May 25, 2009 at 5:52 pm

with 3 kids 4 and under, we realy seem to struggle with cutting back on the “extra hands” we need…the occasional house cleaner, the babysitter for a meeting here, yard help, etc…


70 Donna May 27, 2009 at 2:06 am

With one 22 year old son in college, 3 teen daughters and an 8 year old son, I struggle with seeing everything as a necessity and not knowing where to draw the line. Whatever happened to depending on God to provide and not thinking that we are entitled to what our latest “need” may be?


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