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This chapter is from the book

Spending Smart: A Proven Plan

Too many financial books are glad to tell you what to do with all your extra money, but how do you get that pile of cash in the first place? You spend your money smarter.

I know, because I've written more than 175 newspaper columns about spending money smarter. The columns appear in newspapers that together have millions of readers. Over the years, hundreds of readers have e-mailed and called to tell me how useful the tips were to them. Some gush about how easy it was to spend less money, all because they had the power of knowledge. Besides doling out advice in the newspaper column, I've also talked about Spending Smart on television, radio, and in my Web log, or blog.

I've interviewed the money gurus, from Suze Orman and David Bach to Dave Ramsey and Jean Chatzky. I've talked with Thomas J. Stanley, whose book The Millionaire Next Door changed our notions about the rich in America. And I've tapped the expertise of those who are not household names, but experts in their field, whether that's about manufacturer's coupons, emotional spending, or auto insurance.

And I've put these principles and tips into action in my own home, freeing up money to spend on things my family really cares about.

This book is organized into chapters with sections, each easily finished in a short sitting. Sections are essentially independent. You can read them in any order you like, with no plot or running theme to remember.

And don't be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and advice in this book. While it doesn't nearly cover all areas of spending in your life, it does provide literally hundreds of actionable tips. You don't need to implement all the Spending Smart advice right away, but you do need to get started today.

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