January Reading List – Our First Books of 2020

February 3, 2020 (Last Updated: April 14, 2020)

Our January reading list for 2020 is here! These were the first 10 books I picked up for the year in various niches – there’s finance, decluttering, zero waste and money mindset books. Have a read and see if there’s any books you can add to your list for next month!

Person reading a book.

At the end of 2019, I set myself a goal to read 50 books in 2020 – an average of 4-5 books a month. Then I ended up reading 10 in January! With the number of books I’m getting through, I was inspired by Tread Lightly, Retire Early’s 2019 Book List and thought I’d start sharing what I’ve been reading too. I thought it would be great to see what other’s had thought of the books as well – if you’ve read any of them, I’d love to know your thoughts on how it’s helped you, what it taught you or what you liked/disliked about the book as a whole.


January Reading List – Our First Books of 2020

The following books are in my original reading order, and not in order of preference – which I make pretty clear anyway haha. I would say if you want to know my number one recommendation for this list, you’ll have to reach the bottom! 😉

As usual, all opinions are my own, and are based on my particular circumstances and previous knowledge and experiences.

1. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

First book of the year! I would love to say that this one was amazing…but I really didn’t get much out of it.

Similar to a lot of other reviewers, the title made me think it would be a book about the author’s journey of living with less, her shopping ban and maybe tips and tricks she discovered along the way. Instead, it’s more of a personal journey of discovery and change. It’s geared heavily (90% of the book) on personal stories of her sobriety, dating life, blog and family issues, which is fine but the title and subtitle of the book are super misleading. I originally thought it was just the author’s intro story to the book before it was going to get into the nitty gritty. Alas, this doesn’t come into play until after the last chapter. That aside, if you’re looking for more of a biographical story – this book is for you, as her journey is interesting, but if you’re looking for tips on living with less – skip to the end of the book or skip the book altogether.

Overall, I personally wouldn’t recommend this if you’re looking for frugal tips!


2. Kochie’s 11-Step Money Plan for a Better Life by David Koch

This book was a bit of a mish mash of recommendations and I wonder if clearer takeaways could be more helpful for readers.

My favourite tip was actually if you have kids. You can go to and get piggy banks that teach them to save, spend, donate and invest. A-mazing! Maybe adults can use them too!!

There was also a lot about credit card debt, which was inapplicable to us, so I did skip over a chunk of the book. If you’re just starting out with your finances and you’re Aussie based, it could be a good quick read – but otherwise you’re probably better off picking up The Barefoot Investor – which I found much easier to digest and put steps into practise!


3. The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

The Moment of Lift caught my eye on the ‘Grab n Go’ shelf at the library. I’d always wanted to know more about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and this was great insight into the work they do in this space, the changes that have been made since inception and what still needs to be done. It’s a powerful book on just some of the big issues women face in the world – particularly in third world countries – and I found it very eye opening. It’s a book about the call for courage and the necessity of change in our societies. Melinda talks a lot about women who have inspired her, and their stories will blow you away.

While it’s an easy read, it’s definitely not light reading, but I thoroughly recommend it.


4. Mindful Money by Canna Campbell

There were parts of this book that were great, and one particular part I heavily disagreed with.

I’ll start with the good things!

I loved Canna’s section on ideas for side-hustles. I found them very original and varied, so you could really go through the list and pick out a few to try that suit you and your lifestyle. It definitely went beyond doing surveys for a few $$ or selling items on Gumtree. Although both of those are definitely great and valid options for extra cash – they’re an easy go to – so it’s nice to have other out of the box suggestions for new things to try. I also loved her giving and donations section when she made mention that donations don’t need to be monetary in value and if you’re still in the saving stage to think about donating your time or skills with no expectations in return. Brilliant!

Then I read this quote in regard to living financially independent indefinitely:

“And by indefinitely, I mean forever. Unlike the popular Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement, which is based on a capital number eroding over time eventually to zero, forcing you to start from scratch at a much older age.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure the aim of FIRE is not to reach zero once we hit old age. I also think not everyone uses the 4% withdrawal of their capital number method – some live off dividends, others have passive income from businesses, and some get by on much safer withdrawals of 2%.

There is no one FIRE method.

Just my two cents, but it seemed a little harsh to categorise the whole movement under the one withdrawal method. *shrug*

I will however, finish off by saying that even though some things about this book annoyed me, overall I love Canna’s books and it was her $1000 Project book that helped us to start buying shares in the first place! So I do actually recommend it. Just skip the above paragraph when you see it and pretend it was never there. Ha!


5. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Really enjoyed this book. Ramit is pretty funny, and I enjoyed his writing style and sense of humour. There was a lot of content I knew or was US based and not applicable to me, but I still liked reading it anyway so I could pick up any new bits and pieces. I particularly loved his section on asset allocation. It’s an area I’m wanting to know more about, and continue learning as our net worth grows, and he explained it nice and simply.

Just an overall good personal finance book really! Read it. Hehe!


6. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! by Denise Duffield Thomas

This was a recommendation on my library app. The book was totally not what I expected. It was less of a finance book and more of a money manifestation book. Similar to Think and Grow Rich, this is about over-coming past money blocks (which was fascinating to read about without being too woo-woo) and making sure the universe is always on your side when it comes to money.

If you want an easy read, and think you might have some past money issues from your childhood, relationships or work – you might find this quite fascinating!


7. A Zero Waste Life: In Thirty Days by Anita Vandyke

Super quick read and full of zero waste goodness. I loved how Anita had put this book together – each area of zero waste (eg kitchen, bathroom) has three stages, so you can start making better choices on your way up to the best choices and make a zone completely zero waste.

This is also a good guide for those who are just starting to implement zero waste practises in their household, as she doesn’t overload you with information and the steps are very achievable.

We had an aha moment and made a big switch in our kitchen thanks to this book. We already recycle almost all of our kitchen products and found the kitchen bin was hardly filling up – so Anita’s recommendation is to switch the main bin over to be your recycling and make a small glass jar (or in our case an ice-cream container) the bin for non-recyclables. Huge zero waste win!


8. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

This was similar to Get Rich, Lucky Bitch and Think & Grow Rich – it was all down to money manifestation and mentality. I ended up borrowing the audiobook version, and found the most annoying thing about the book was listening to his voice. So maybe read a copy instead? Overall, I enjoyed the content. His cute calls to action to point to yourself and say ‘I have a millionaire mind’ were a little excessive, but they definitely drum home the point to ‘think rich’. It’s a pretty quick read, so grab it if you like guzzling up finance books like I do, but if you’ve got others on your reading list I wouldn’t prioritise it.


9. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

I feel like this is one of those books that everyone has read. Your mum, your uncle, the dog next door. Everyone. Except me apparently.

I’m glad I’ve finally read it. Another quick read, and I enjoyed the story-like feel to the whole book. I definitely picked up a few new ways of thinking about money – and making money in particular. One of my favourite takeaways was to educate yourself in certain areas so you know a great opportunity when you see one. EG if you understand the sharemarket – you know to buy them when they drop and sell them when they grow. Simple, but effective.

If you haven’t read it, you might as well hop on the bandwagon and tick it off your list. I’d recommend it!


10. Live Well on Less by Jody Allen

I skipped over a lot of this book, because a lot of the content was simple tips you should already know. Though, I did like all the recipes at the end for making your own household cleaners. That’s one area we’d like to reduce our waste in. If you’re already pretty savvy around the house, maybe not worth your time.


So! After all that – which one was my favourite for January you ask? 

I’d say I Will Teach You To Be Rich had the most new helpful content for me. Although, A Zero Waste Life and Rich Dad, Poor Dad are tied in as a close second!

Have you read any of the above books? I’d love to know what you thought in the comments below or hit us up on our Instagram!


Want some more reading recommendations? Head over to your Our Frugal Reading List page.


  • Reply
    Adventures With Poopsie
    February 3, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    I loved Melinda Gates’ book and have recommended it to a number of people. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    I read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ when I was quite young (15 maybe) so it’s probably worth a revisit for me as an adult.

    Really liked this post and I hope you will continue to share the books you read!

    • Reply
      Sarah & Laura
      February 4, 2020 at 10:10 am

      Yes, great book. I hope Melinda writes more! 🙂

      I wish I’d read Rich Dad, Poor Dad when I was that young haha bit late to the party!

      Glad you liked the post – there’ll definitely be more! Thanks for stopping by for a read. 😀

  • Reply
    Court @ Modern FImily
    February 4, 2020 at 12:35 am

    Wow 10 books, impressive! I too am aiming to read 40-50 this year. 5 down so far for me. From your list, I’ve only read 2: The Year of Less and Rich Dad Poor Dad. I agree with your commentary of The Year I’d Less. Cait is a great writer and I enjoyed the book but the title was definitely misleading. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad years ago so I honestly don’t remember much of it. I had I Will Teach You To Be Rich in my hand from the library but didn’t get a chance to crack it open so I’m back on the wait list for it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Reply
      Sarah & Laura
      February 4, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Yeah, I definitely surprised myself with that many…will see how we go this month!

      I think you’ll like I Will Teach You To Be Rich, hopefully it’s not too long on the wait list for you. 😀

  • Reply
    Reverse The Crush
    February 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Wow, that’s a lofty and impressive reading goal for the year. And thanks for sharing the list. The only book I’ve read from it is Rich Dad Poor Dad, which I thought was a really good starting point to begin building wealth. I will have to check out I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

    • Reply
      Sarah & Laura
      February 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm

      Yeah, I’ve surprised myself how quick I’m getting through it. Up to 20 for the year now! Glad you found a few new titles, and hope you like I Will Teach You To Be Rich. You might also like his asset allocation section with your dividend investing. 🙂 We’re also dividend fans ourselves over here! 😀 Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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