But through detailing their own strategies on budgeting, staying out of high-interest debt, saving for big expenses, and raising financially responsible adults — all of which are based on lived experience and most of which are reinforced by lessons from their Catholic faith — the couple sincerely earn their soapbox. To almost anyone, parent or not, raising 14 kids is a fantasy. That fact alone would make the Fatzingers, who paid off their final debt balance, a mortgage, nine years ago, qualified to publish their advice on managing money. “As you will discover from our story, you don’t have to be a Warren Buffett and have a net worth measured in the billions to live well — or to be financially secure,” Sam writes in the book’s introduction.
Over their 30-plus-year marriage, the Fatzingers have been broke entrepreneurs, savvy budgeters, and do-it-yourself fixer-uppers. In their new book, “A Catholic Guide to Spending Less and Living More,” Sam, 53, describes herself as the extroverted homemaker and her husband Rob, 55, as the introverted breadwinner.
Their most important title, however, is not so average: Mom and Dad to 14 children. Sam and Rob Fatzinger are a lot like the average American couple.
Frugal habits helped set a strong foundation, but eventually the family outgrew them The book is split into two parts: big ideas and essential skills. The first covers the mindsets, Catholic teachings, and frameworks used by the Fatzingers that more or less set the stage for the strategies implemented later on. Each chapter ends with a homework list, ranging from food for thought to conversation starters to specific, actionable tasks. In just over 150 pages of lessons distilled from personal stories and scripture, the Fatzingers explain clearly how to spend with self-control, avoid unnecessary debt, budget on a modest income, teach kids the skills and mindsets to be self-reliant, and ultimately, cultivate the discipline it takes to achieve big financial goals, like paying off your mortgage early or retiring, when it feels like you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions.
You’ll find the book worth reading if you’re willing to make small sacrifices to spend better, save more, parent smarter, and plan well. Catholicism plays a clear role in the Fatzingers’ own money philosophy, but the practical advice they offer for living well is really for anyone. With good humor and self-awareness, the Fatzingers pull back the curtain on their unique home life to show how getting financially ahead starts with a few simple strategies.
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