Twenty-two years ago I was working at a job that I didn’t like and that wasn’t a good fit for me. I had to work; my family needed the money, but I felt trapped.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I took a hard look at my life. I didn’t like what I discovered. I was working long hours at a job that didn’t fulfill me, and a nanny was raising my son. It felt as though I had missed the first two years of my son’s life, and I knew I didn’t want to miss another moment.
Around the same time, I picked up a copy of Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. The timing was perfect. In her book, Robin asks all of the right questions. First, she recommends readers add up the money spent on work clothes, dry cleaning, lunches out, and child care. The next step is to figure out the number of hours spent on the job, including the commute. Upon completing these exercises, my calculations came as a real shock. I discovered that after expenses, my fancy high-paying job that was keeping me away from my son paid about the same as minimum wage!
Robin teaches that for every dollar we spend, we are trading a bit of our life energy. For example, I saw a gorgeous couch that I thought I wanted. I did the math and found that I would have to work two weeks to pay for it. For me, a couch wasn’t worth two weeks of my life. Instead, I bought a perfectly good used couch that only cost me a couple of hours of my life. On the other hand, when an opportunity came up for an incredible family vacation, I ran the numbers and saw that I would have to work three weeks to pay for the trip. That seemed like money and time well spent. I may not care about clothing or furniture, but travel is something I’m happy to invest in.
Reading Your Money or Your Life convinced me to begin tracking every penny that I spent. In doing so, I managed to cut our expenses to the bone. Whenever I wanted something, I would ask myself, “Rebecca, is this worth X hours of your life?”
Through mindful budgeting and new lifestyle choices, I achieved my goal; I was able to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom. I felt free. From this liberated place, I developed the business plan for Homeschool.com — a company with a mission I care deeply about and that I can run from my home. Reading Your Money or Your Life and taking its author’s advice gave me the inspiration and courage I needed to make my dream happen.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence is one of those books that is so powerful and so transformative, I want to share a copy with everyone I care about. I highly recommend it.