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"The Total Money Makeover"

The Bottom Line

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


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Dave Ramsey offers practical advice on how to get out of debt. This book is focused on motivating readers to take the necessary steps to become and stay debt free. it is a straightforward book, but some critiques feel that it oversimplifies the process and does not address deeper issues that you may be facing.


  • Offers solutions to many money mistakes
  • Fun and easy to read
  • Explains difficult concepts simply


  • Focuses primarily on getting out of debt
  • Forms in the book are time consuming

Guide Review

Dave Ramsey outlines a seven step program to help you achieve true financial success. He does emphasize the fact that getting out of debt and saving money will require sacrifice and hard work. He offers inspirational stories to motivate you to change your spending and savings habits along the way.

Although Dave Ramsey does include the necessary steps of saving for various reasons, this book is primarily focused on getting out of debt. He explains the traps that many people fall into when it comes to borrowing money. He also explains what to do to turn the situation around. He focuses on truly taking control of your money through basic budgeting and debt reduction.

Although his zero-dollar budget is a good one, the budgeting worksheets at the back of the book are too broadly focused to be very helpful. However, you may consider visiting his website to take advantage of his online tools. The budgeting tool helps to save you time by making it easier to fill out and track your expenses. There is a monthly or annual charge for accessing these tools.

This is a great book for those just starting to take control of their finances. If you simply follow Dave's plan you will get out of debt and stay that way. You may want to look for more in-depth resources once you start saving for retirement and your children's education.

If you enjoy this book and want more help implementing the plan, Dave Ramsey does offer classes that you can sign up for online or through a local church or bank. The Financial Peace University classes will take you through the steps of setting up a budget and a debt snowball plan. If you are married, it is recommended that you take the classes together. You can also purchase the workbook to have additional resources to help you implement the plan. You can also listen to his radio show to learn more about his plan. 

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