Make Money, Not Excuses – Book Review

by Ryan Guina

make-money-not-excuses.jpgI recently received a copy of the book, Make Money, Not Excuses, by best selling author Jean Chatzky. The subtitle is Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever. I think that sums up what this book is about – taking control of your financial situation and coming to terms with the fact that no one is going to do this for you.

It’s only fair to note that this book is written for a female audience. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about money is that it doesn’t discriminate!

About the author. Before reading this book, I was not very familiar with Jean Chatzky, who is a best selling author and a semi-regular on the Oprah Winfrey show. She is also a journalist, financial editor for the Today show on NBC, and she hosts a nationally syndicated daily radio program, Talking Money with Jean Chatzky. With these credentials, I would say she is someone who is well qualified to talk about money!

About the book. The book’s goal is too help people get over their fear of money. In my opinion, this book is designed to help people who may be intimidated by money get over their fears. This is aimed more toward people new to money management, but there are some solid tips within it’s pages that are applicable to everyone.

What I liked. Jean Chatzky has a no nonsense approach to money matters. I would classify her writing as a female version of a mix between Dave Ramsey and Larry Winget, who wrote You’re Broke Because You Want to Be. The tagline on the back of the book is “Get Rich, Don’t Bitch.” I like that phrase, because it reiterates that you hold the keys to your financial future.

Each chapter starts off subtitle highlighting a common complaint many people have regarding handling money. It is titled: “Don’t Bitch.” Then Chatzky discusses common ways to deal with these situations under the heading “Get Rich.” Whining about the situation won’t fix anything, but action will. And this book is a call to action.

I also like how this book deals with the psychology of money instead of just cold, hard numbers. There are other great tidbits of information including how to reduce loans, pay off debt, make saving automatic, and a great glossary of financial terms used throughout the book.

What I didn’t like. There is not much bad to be said about this book. However, it is written as an entry level financial book. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value there, because there is a lot of value – it just depends on the audience. This book is directed toward women, so some men may not appreciate it as well as women might, but I still think they would gain a lot from reading it. This is also not an investing book and won’t tell you where to put your money to make millions. But in many ways it is more important than an investing book, because it helps people change their money habits whichcan be infinitely more rewarding.

Buy or don’t buy? Make Money, Not Excuses is targeted toward women, so definitely take that into account when making the decision to buy it. However, I think there is a lot of good information that can be learned from this book. This book is a very good introduction for someone looking to turn around their finances and I would recommend it for anyone who needs to change their money habits. If the audience is a man who wouldn’t be caught dead reading a book with a pink cover, then I would recommend You’re Broke Because You Want to Be, by Larry Winget.

Want a free copy?

I’m giving away my copy to one lucky reader. To enter, you must send me an e-mail with the secret phrase as the subject. The secret phrase is included in the footer of my RSS Feed or e-mail subscription. Here is more info about how to subscribe if you are not familiar with it. Once you have the secret phrase, you can e-mail me via my contact form. Subscribing is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How the winners will be selected:

The giveaway ends May 24th at 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Saving Time. I will use a random number generator to select the winner, which I will announce on this website Sunday, May 25th.

Good luck everyone! 🙂

Published or updated May 16, 2008.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dividend Growth Investor

The personal finance/investment advisory geared towards women and minorities is a growing part of the financial service industry. We live in fascinating times 😉


2 Curt

This book may be fun to read because it focuses on what we all like to do – make money.

But, I don’t think that is the problem. The primary problem is that we spend MORE money than we make. Saving money, changing happits and cutting back on expenses is not as fun as making more money.


3 Ryan


The book is about more than just making money. It also has a lot of details about how to spend less, simplify, declutter, and other great tips. I think it is a great place to start for someone who needs to change their financial habits.


4 Ricardo Bueno

The title to this book alone catches my attention.

I read a quote recently that’s been motivating me daily: “Do one thing. Do it well. Finish it.” — Author Unknown

I can see where people might get overwhelmed with their debt but the simple fact is, the sooner you address it, the better. Once you start dealing with the issue, it’ll feel like a great weight is being lifted of your shoulders. (I’m sorry if I went a tiny bit off topic on this comment but hey, I was just sharing a thought).


5 guinness416

I read this recently too, saw it at the library one day and picked it up on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. Having read a fair few personal finance books over the past couple of years, I’d say this one stands out for actually being well written. It is entry level, which are the sort of books that I toss aside quite quickly, but it doesn’t condescend to the readers like so many do. And the structure is kinda interesting. This is also the only money book (I’ve read) targeting women that I think did it successfully.


6 Pamela Grundy

Great book! It is astonishing to see how much we can waste in a single day. I went on a ‘money diet’ a few months ago and just tracked every time I would have normally bought something out of a vending machine or picked up a magazine or a pack of gum, and to my horror it all came to over $200 a month! I quit doing that and just paid off another credit card. Two to go! Whoo hoo!


7 Ryan


I appreciated the same things you mentioned – I thought this book was well written and not condescending, which are two big pluses.


The little things add up quickly!


8 Jeff Clair

Ryan, I appreciate your honest review.

Actually it’s a damn truth that no one is responsible for our financial future, only we can blame ourselves if it is not as per our wish. It’s all about changing our attitude regarding money and things have started to shape up as per our desire. Only that way we can take control of our financial future.

Jeff Clair


9 Jean Chatzky

Thanks so much for the nice words about my book! I’m glad that you found it easy to read and helpful. If you’d like ME to send a signed copy to your winner, I’d be happy to — that way you can keep yours.


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