The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey | Book Review

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey | Book ReviewThe Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition by Dave Ramsey
Published by Thomas Nelson Inc on September 17th 2013
Genres: Business & Economics, Personal Finance, Money Management
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.
Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach.
Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition.
By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this—it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies. With The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition, you’ll be able to: 

Design a sure-fire plan for paying off all debt—meaning cars, houses, everything
Recognize the 10 most dangerous money myths (these will kill you)
Secure a big, fat nest egg for emergencies and retirement!

Includes new, expanded “Dave Rants” sidebars tackle marriage conflict, college debt, and more. All-new forms and back-of-the-book resources to make Total Money Makeover a reality.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is essentially Personal Finance 101 – most especially when it comes to debt reduction. You guys. I am basically drowning in student loan debt. Right now my student loan debt stands at 43,700 something. In the grand scheme of things, that is not too terrible compared to people who went to law school or medical school or private school and owe over 100 grand. However, that is still a whole lot of money. So, while browsing personal finance and debt reduction pins on Pinterest, I kept coming across Dave Ramsey. I got to the point where I knew the 7 Baby Steps of Financial Freedom, but really wanted to read The Total Money Makeover. Of course, because I am trying to hustle my debt away, I borrowed it from my new favorite place in town THE LIBRARY!

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey contains 7 Baby Steps to achieve Financial Freedom. Overall, the steps actually make a lot of sense.

So, The Total Money Makeover is this super basic book about personal finance. If you are not a math person, Dave Ramsey has you covered. He also has a bit of a cult like following, FYI. Anyways, so the book begins with a discussion of Dave’s experience with clawing his way out of debt. Then it goes into some money myths. Then it begins to detail the seven baby steps toward financial freedom. I think for the most part, the steps certainly make sense. I have heard that his investment advice is not all that great, but to be honest with you all, I do not even understand the first thing about investing and how it works and how you even make money from investing — like do you get a check in the mail or what? HELP I AM CONFUSED.

So the main takeaways from The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey were basically that debt is whack, I need to actually save money for retirement and not depend upon a man or social security, and that I should probably educate myself about investing. Also — you will live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. That is a mantra that goes through the entire book and is on every single page at the bottom. I guess you say it after you drink the Kool Aid and are initiated into this whole personal finance thing. What it means is that you have to sacrifice now so that you can spend your twilight years not eating dog food and experiencing financial freedom. I guess that does make sense, however, I am totally one of those I WANT IT NOW Veruca Salt types so it is really challenging for me to make sacrifices, but I have been attempting.

So, I guess I am on step one, but also step two. You apparently are not supposed to do more than one step at a time, but whatever. I do what I want. So, I have like $200 in savings because I literally just opened up a savings account like in May. I am not a super responsible adult with money, clearly. However, you guys, I have paid off all of my credit card debt. I have paid off my car. I have begun paying more than the income based minimum on my student loans. And now I side hustle on Swagbucks to earn between an extra $25-50 per month to help pad my account, I also fuck with Bing to get those $5 Amazon Gift Cards which I basically am saving away to help with Christmas expenses. I am working hard to not spend money on stupid things, which I decided to do after splurging on a cheap pool at WalMart, because well, as a fool who is easily parted with her money, I thought okay it would be sensible to start this after being parted with that money.

I would say that the first few steps of The Total Money Makeover actually do work. I mean, it is smart to have an emergency fund so you are not depending on your credit cards to save you. I also think that it is smart to not buy a car that you can’t afford. It is smart to pay down your debts if you have issues with spending. I mean, I grew up poor so when I finally got a bit of money, I would spend it immediately on things. Now though, I am learning to delay the gratification and to enjoy seeing my savings account grow. Also, it is a bit of a rush to pay debt off. I use two tools — Mint Budgeting App and ReadyForZero which keep me on track and motivated.

Also, PS, I should warn you that there’s a lot of Christianity in this book which is cool, nothing against Christians, y’all are great. As a non-religious person, I did not feel weird or uncomfortable reading this book. Also, Dave definitely has a different political ideology than I do, but frankly if you pretend he’s your uncle at a family gathering, it isn’t too hard to tune all that stuff out.

So, friends, have you read Dave Ramsey? What are your thoughts on this whole personal finance debt reduction thing? Any motivating tips or other great ways to side hustle? Do you have any recommendations for me as to what personal finance book I should read next? CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN INVESTING TO ME LIKE I AM FIVE?

Other reviews of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey:

Financial Millennial – “It truly helped me to become financially conscious

Femosphere - Dave really puts the intimidating financial maze into layman’s terms.

Cheddar Pie – “But even coming from that place of skepticism, I loved this book.

Support Good Books & Good Wine In Her Quest To Pay Down Student Loan Debt:

Peek Inside The Total Money Makeover

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. […] books and pinning things that relate directly to what I want to accomplish. I’ll admit that reading Dave Ramsey earlier this year lit a fire within me. Yet, after my car accident and getting a new used car, I began to spend less […]

  2. […] at budgeting and need some real back to basics information. Otherwise, I found that I gelled with The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey much more. There’s a wealth of personal finance books out there that you can […]