Your Money or Your Life

Your Money or Your Life is a book about changing your relationship with money. It challenges our spending habits and shows us mistakes in our financial decisions.

This is the best book I've read in 2018, and I highly recommend reading it if you haven't already. The principles are life changing.

Book Title: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Fully Revised and Updated for 2018
Published Date: 1992
Authors: Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

The book can be purchased on Amazon. All quotes in this review come from the book. I will use the acronym YMYL in reference to the book.

YMYL wants to get you to a place where you are spending money on things that matter most to you. It is broken up into multiple steps that challenge our preconceived notions about handling and spending money.

Money Doesn’t Lead to Happiness

Endless desire is one of the pitfalls of human nature, and one of the first things you need to cure if you want to get ahead more quickly.

Most people would agree that money doesn’t lead to happiness. However, we spend more than we make as if it does. Money is a tool that we should use to pursue the things that make us happy. We need to figure out how much is “enough,” so we can discard the excess.

If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.

It’s about identifying, for yourself, what you need as opposed to what you crave, what purchases or types of purchases actually bring you fulfillment, what represents “enough” to you, and what you actually spend money on.

Our culture doesn’t make it easy to define how much is “enough.” They want us to believe we can never have enough and that we should continue spending as much money as possible. But this leads us through a cycle where no matter how much money we spend, there is always something else we “need.”

Whether to the debt collectors, your bills, hard luck, poor choices, or your own insecurities, if you have sacrificed your dreams on the altar of the almighty dollar, you need to reclaim them, as they are the fuel for this journey.

YMYL takes an in-depth look at spending categories to get us thinking about where we are wasting money. I found the book to be deeply practical and is part of why I wanted to start a financial blog.

What dreams are calling you? Step 4 of this financial program is your chance to make your dreams come true by aligning your earning and spending with your values, aspirations, purpose, and happiness. It will turn making a dying into making a living!

We should strive to align our spending with our values. YMYL defines financial independence as not having an extraordinary amount of money so we can pay people to do everything for us. Instead, it is independence from needing more money to meet our needs and be happy. Over time spending less starts to feel good, as you realize you are getting true value from money. Saving money becomes like a drug, as you start seeing your progress towards financial independence.

Being frugal does not mean you are learning to live without the things you want. It means maximizing the fulfillment of everything.

To be frugal means to have a high joy-to-stuff ratio.

YMYL wants to free us from the shackles of pleasing others. If we can’t get away from that, focus on impressing people with how much you’ve saved, or your DIY projects. By not trying to impress people, we can save a crap ton of money. Do we care more about being fulfilled, or that we have a bunch of stuff other people want?

We can limit temptations to buy things we don’t need by avoiding shopping. If we need something specific, go and buy it. But avoid “browsing” the store for no reason. Training our minds to not require consumption for happiness will help us in the long term.

Is sacrificing your life worth a bunch of stuff? Can happiness be bought? YMYL makes it clear why these things are not worth it. The authors argue that we, as humans, have not done a good job in handling excess wisely. We should try to replace things less, and use the crap out of what we have as much as possible.

The key is remembering that anything you buy and don’t use, anything you throw away, anything you consume and don’t enjoy is money down the drain, wasting your life energy and wasting the finite resources of the planet.

Learn to choose quality of life over standard of living.

Life Energy

Separating work from wages reminds us to work with focus while at work and focus fully on our chosen activities when our time is our own.

YMYL talks about measuring what your life energy is worth. We all have a set amount of life energy we can give, and we need to focus on making sure we are spending that life energy on what we want out of life, which includes pursuing our goals.

The goal of having a job is to make money, whether you love or hate that job. So it is logical that we try to earn as much money as possible while working at our job. But how much we are actually making for all the required time and energy to keep that job, might be a less than we think. The YMYL website has a Life Energy Calculator that is useful in calculating how much you make per hour.


I found YMYL to be life-changing. I want to get the most out of life, including how I spend money, and I want to teach my kids how to do the same thing. Life can be much simpler when we are not spending money on things we don’t want. You can purchase Your Money or Your Life with this affiliate link.

Our financial future depends on figuring out what we truly want out of life.

Have you read YMYL? What did you think?

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