Category Archives: Uncategorized

Your Money or Your Life, Step 4: The Three Questions

[This is part 4 of a 9 part series on the book Your Money or Your Life. See my original post about the book.]

In the last step, we started a Monthly Tabulation, where you figure out how much you spend in various categories.

Now we’re going to add three more columns to the tabulation. Each column represents the answer to one of the following three questions you’ll ask yourself about money/time spent in that category:

  1. Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?
  2. Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
  3. How might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for a living?

For shorthand you can use a +/- system. The + sign means spending more in this category would increase fulfillment, would demonstrate greater personal alignment, or would increase after Financial Independence, respectively. Conversely, use the – sign if you didn’t receive fulfillment proportional to the hours of life energy you spent in that category, or if that expenditure was not in alignment with your values and purpose, or if you could see expenses in that category decreasing after Financial Independence, respectively. Leave the box blank if that category is just fine where it is.

For example, every month when I see how much we’re spending on car-related expenses (fuel, parking, insurance, maintenance), I put a – sign in “alignment with my values” since I value exercise and public transit over driving, and another – sign in “change if I didn’t have to work” since if I didn’t have to work I’d have more free time to get places slower. It took a while, but these costs have started to go down, like magic. I’m choosing to walk and/or ride the bus more often when we go on family outings. We’re saving money and also enjoying the ride.

Finally, this is the core of the 9 steps (and not only because we’re half way through). Taking a look at whether or not you’re spending what you want on the items/services you want to spend it on is the single best way to change your spending. Budgets don’t work, they’re like diets. Being honest with yourself about your values and the sense of fulfillment that your dollar buys is the only way to make changes.

This step takes about an hour a month. It also helps you figure out what is enough for you, which we’ll talk more about in a later step.

Advertisements

The voice that says “no”

It was July of this year. I was contemplating starting a blog about simple living, frugality, and other money/lifestyle topics. I floated the idea by my friend Mike (whose blog and lifestyle I admire), and he essentially wrote back “go for it!”

Fast forward to yesterday. I hung out with Mike and thought to myself, “I still haven’t started the blog. What’s holding me back?” My inner voice answered, “everything’s already been written before, we’re all reading the same books & blogs, and you can’t go head-to-head with the established Big Guys, so what value can you add to the discussion?”

Hold on a second. If I’m going to let The Voice that says “no” overrule me on the insignificant decision of whether or not to start a blog, what power will that voice have over my important decisions!?

The moral here is that even if you have no argument that will overrule the The Voice in a debate, that voice is just a little gnat and you’re a big person, so stop listening to it and start doing the things you want to do.

So even if I have nothing to add and nobody ever reads this, starting this blog is a my personal “up yours” to the voice that says “no”.