Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review - Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating The Holidays Without Breaking The Bank by Mary Hunt

Kicking off the holiday season of great Christmas reads, I thought it was appropriate for the first book to be on how to celebrate without ending up in the poor house!

Mary Hunt is an expert in helping people find ways to live within their means, and with her new book, "How To Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating The Holidays Without Breaking The Bank," she gives a ton of great advice on how to make this Christmas the best without spending a ton of money!

Christmas—with no debt, less stress, and more joy!

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the most stressful—and most expensive. Expectations run high, and it's tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your gift list.

But you don't have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.
Financial expert Mary Hunt shows you how to assess your situation, commit to no new debt, and think creatively about gifts. With Mary's guidance, you'll discover what caused you to overspend in the past and how to approach this Christmas with a plan. It just might be the best gift you can give yourself and your family.

"Debt-Proof Your Christmas" isn't your ordinary financial advice book. Author Mary  Hunt not only gives advice on how to make sound money decisions on holiday spending, she also includes a chapter on how to find great bargains, one on how to handle family gift-giving situations, as well as how to find extra cash for those important gifts. 

But my absolute favorite parts of this book are the chapters that Mary includes that has recipes on great food items to give as gifts, a whole section on gifts in a jar, gifts from the garden, and holiday entertaining ideas.

This is truly a multi-use book.  Some of the information helps to plan for the future, and some can be used with the upcoming holiday, but it is an all-around book that I intend to keep on the bookshelf for handy referral!

I highly recommend this book!

Here's a great video of Mary on "The Today Show" talking about her book -

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Mary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and sought-after motivational speaker. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members.

Her books have sold more than a million copies, and her daily newspaper column is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Everyday Cheapskate readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.

Among Mary's many recipes is this gem - Caramel Corn!  Yum!!!  I can't wait to try it out!

Caramel Corn

12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels or about two bags of microwave popcorn)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (omit if using salted microwave popcorn)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the popped popcorn into a big bowl, one that is at least twice the volume of the popcorn itself. Do not err on the side of a bowl that is too small, because you are going to do some serious stirring in a bit. Remove any un-popped kernels and set aside.
Stovetop instructions: Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend.
Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. You’ll get a little show here as the vanilla will “sizzle” while the baking soda gets all foamy and gorgeous. Make sure the mixture is stirred very well, then immediately pour over the popcorn.

Stir well to coat all of the popcorn. Keep stirring. A little more ... there, that ought to be about right.

Microwave instructions: Cut the butter into chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl along with the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well to combine. Microwave on high for an additional 2 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and stir very well. Return to microwave and heat for 2 more minutes on high. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla and baking soda. It will make popping sounds and get light and foamy. After stirring, immediately pour over the popcorn in the bowl. Stir well to coat all of the popcorn.
Whichever method you’ve followed, now spread the coated popcorn on one large or two smaller cookie sheets, breaking up any clumps. Bake at 200F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread out on waxed paper and allow to cool.

The big finish: This last step is critical, so don’t skip it. Sample the caramel corn to make sure it is fit for human consumption—perhaps even for gift-giving. You cannot be too careful here. Once you are satisfied, and if any caramel corn remains, store in airtight containers or re-sealable bags.

My thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing for the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

“Available December 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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