Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
Who Is Rachel Cruze?
Rachel Cruze, daughter of financial guru Dave Ramsey, is branching out from her father’s financial advice on saving, investing, and giving by promoting her own content on how to save money. Her growing brand focuses on how to spend less on food, fashion, entertainment, and other niches in comparison to her father’s higher-level advice (like "don’t spend more than 10% of your budget on food in most cases").
The 14 Day Money Finder by Rachel Cruze is a 14-day, daily advice series intended to help you find ways to save money until you’ve saved several hundred dollars in various categories. What are the pros and cons of this 14-Day Money Finder series?
Pros of "14-Day Money Finder"
The two to five-minute snippets are easier to digest than hour-long lectures that are hard to put into action. They are certainly easier to sit through than the hour-long FPU lessons, and you can do them during a coffee break or any time of day.
Some of the advice is useful and takes only a few minutes to complete, such as the day you list all of your subscriptions and add-on services. Your task is then to pick at least one to cancel. It isn’t a generic piece of advice like “cut the cable!” After all, you may have a contract, and the TV could be your entertainment source versus the movie theater. Cutting the premium movie channels or ending the magazine subscriptions you aren’t using anymore is valid advice, though. And this advice, by making you confront those expenses, can be personalized.
The discussion on eating out versus the grocery budget is useful. When you eat out less, make sure you add more to the grocery budget.
Cons of "14-Day Money Finder"
Several of the sessions were, in my opinion, wasted by having you set aside a small bill and later give it away. The Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program does promote tithing (giving 10%), even while getting out of debt, but this is lesson is both separate from that and almost petty. I would have preferred even more actionable advice over more than 10% of these lessons involving setting aside cash and later giving it to someone.
Several of the lessons tie into the Dave Ramsey program, like "list out your expenses" and "make a budget." If you are already in the Dave Ramsey FPU program or you've already done this, these lessons are redundant.
Rachel Cruze refers several times to her YouTube channel. The channel is a mix of frugal recipes, "save on fashion" advice, and budget makeovers. Its value depends on where you are in life, but its advice focuses on the household and generic life advice. The advice on raising money-smart children is a repeat of the "Smart Money, Smart Kids" books and videos.
Cruze’s lesson is useful only to those just starting to figure out how much they are spending and looking for some short and simple ways to save money. So, if you’re starting out on the FPU plan, Cruze’s Money Finder is a good complimentary lesson. For everyone else, it lacks the detail, depth, and value you need.
If you are looking for very detailed advice on cutting grocery costs, childcare, utilities, gas, and health insurance—this isn’t it. Websites like “The Dollar Stretcher” and frugal-living books are more useful in helping you identify where and how to cut these areas.