Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
208 pages
Aug 2005

Dollars & Sense: A Mom's Guide to Money Matters

by Cynthia Sumner

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Admittedly, not a month goes by without a new book being released on money management. Most, like this book, cover basic topics, including how to set up a budget, how to evaluate insurance needs, how to balance a checkbook, when to start saving for your children’s college expenses, and where to go to check on your credit rating. However, what makes Dollars & Sense by Cynthia Sumner slightly different is that she asserts that in most families it is the wife who is responsible for paying the bills for the utilities, mortgage and car loans, groceries, medical and dental needs, insurance and retirement plans, and vacation costs. Thus, since the wife/mother of the family bears the brunt of the cash flow responsibilities, she needs some special training in money management. As such, this book speaks directly to married women.

Let me say that several of the plans she advocates in her book will probably not set well with men. For example, Sumner believes that the husband should have his checkbook and the wife should have hers. In this way, neither will write checks that the other won’t know about and, thereby, cause a joint account to become overdrawn. To a man’s way of thinking, this is divided (extra) labor; it is rather silly since the income from both spouses should be shared equally by all the family members; and it can lead to extra, needless expenses for more printed checks, more bank fees, and more paperwork. So, readers need to be advised that many of the suggestions presented in these pages will be a “hard sell” to husbands.

Nevertheless, this book presents some interesting psychological lessons that most books on finance don’t get into. For example, Sumner breaks people into categorical labels: the Frugal Family Financier, the Capable Currency Manager, the Ambitious Breakeven Caretaker, and the Extravagant Home Economist. In every chapter, she shows how each one of these persons is apt to handle savings, investments, insurance, tithes and offerings, and pleasure spending. She points out where a person may be missing the joys of life by being too conservative or may be risking financial stability by spending too carelessly. Her insights are revealing.

The book has many budgeting charts, reference lists, and goal setting plans, so it functions well as a basic handbook on finances. It also makes for an interesting self-study on one’s financial habits, beliefs, and practices. To that end, even men would find it worthwhile reading. -- Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Hey mom, what's keeping you from becoming a smart money manager?

Convinced you're not a "numbers person"? Think you don't have time? Wish you could just leave the money thing to your husband? Don't we all!

Cynthia Sumner knows that finances are confusing. But as a mom who has financial experience, she also knows that moms like you need a handy guide to help you sort through the confusion.

Look no further! In Dollars & Sense, Cynthia describes four money management personalities and shows you which one fits your family. She also shows you easy ways to balance your checkbook, set financial goals, make investments, and teach your children responsible money habits.

Whether you need to regain control over a financial disaster or merely tweak your family's financial procedures, Dollars & Sense will help you get the money thing under control.