Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples
This book was free for Kindle several years ago, costs less than $1 in paperback now.
This book is essentially Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University summarized and targeted more to those who are engaged or newlywed. Bell includes the same essential "baby steps" of building an emergency fund, doing a debt snowball (smallest to largest), instead calling it an "accelerator," the envelope system, and the same allocated spending plan. Many of the quotes and stats in the book are also cited by Ramsey, but Bell gives Ramsey no credit, claiming he learned most of it third-hand from mentors in the afterword. For that, I ding him a star. But practically speaking, I recommend this book over the Ramsey course itself as it's cheaper and takes less time to go through.
One difference is he includes a chapter on identifying your temperament, filling out a personality survey (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholy) and giving some general advice on dealing with a spouse of a particular type. The end of the book he recommends Emerson Eggerich's Love and Respect to married couples, and I concur.
I mostly liked how he talked about being generous in giving to a local church. I do not agree with one of the reviews on Amazon that this is "prosperity gospel" teaching, Bell simply writes:
"there is an unmistakable promise seen throughout the pages of Scripture that blessings flow from generosity motivated by a grateful heart. Some people trace material blessings to their generosity. Others have experienced a closer relationship with God...The Bible teaches that the main reason God enables us to prosper is so that we will grow in generosity: 'You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion (2 Corinthians 9:11)'" (loc. 1083). Bell doesn't promise prosperity as a result of generosity.
His approach to budgeting are summed here:
"Use a plan to guide your finances; work as if working for the Lord; give generously to help spread the gospel, alleviate the suffering of the poor, and support those who teach God’s Word; save adequately; avoid the bondage of debt; maintain a good name by managing your credit score; invest patiently; anticipate danger by building walls of protection; and spend wisely" (loc. 2627).
3.5 stars out of 5.