Book review: Your Money Or Your Life

I’m reading a classic of the money genre: Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It was written in 1992 but remains topical today. They basically say that every dollar that you spend, you have spent part of your life earning. That candy bar that costs a dollar? You spent 10 minutes earning that. The 100 dollar dohickey that you just have to have? Is it worth the 10 hours that it took to earn it? But I make 15 dollars an hour, you say? What about the time and money it takes to get ready for your job and decompress from it? Special clothes, makeup, shoes, gas for the commute, time spent driving, lunches at work, time spent calming down after a long day, the beer that you have to help calm you down, the ulcer medication that you wouldn’t need if it weren’t for the stress of the job… Once you’ve factored all of that in, you’ll find that you make considerably less than you thought. It’s that hourly wage that needs to be used to calculate how much of your life you’ve spent to earn something.

It’s a fascinating and useful way to look at spending. I’m not quite half way through the book and it has already made me think quite deeply about my relationship with money. The exercises so far have been useful and truly eye opening. Their big mantra is no guilt, no blame. No matter what you find out about yourself, there is no room for guilt or blame. This is a starting point to understanding your money habits and attitudes. The point is to get you past your old beliefs about money and get you thinking about it in a new way. No budgeting, no deprivation. There is a reality to be faced and that’s a good thing. Information is power.

It’s a great book and one that I had heard about for several years before finding a copy at the used bookstore. I absolutely recommend it. If only to give you a different way of relating to your money.

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4 Responses to Book review: Your Money Or Your Life

  1. My Light Bag says:

    I bought that book recently! It’s next on my reading list. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  2. Yep. I’ve hung onto both of her books. Can’t seem to part with them. What about the stuff you buy because you’ve got to “treat” yourself for suffering with an awful job? I did a lot of that even though I was frugal at heart. The best thing that has come along since those books is the tiny house movement. If you combined them, and didn’t have children, you could hugely alter your life. Look at this tiny house with tomato can siding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5j4PL-2Jlc.

    • I adore tiny houses but I’m not sure I’m that committed yet. Plus, the kids would never go for it. My pitfall wasn’t so much treating myself as being bored and just shopping aimlessly. But I totally know what you’re talking about.

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