Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thoughts From Your Money or Your Life

I've just started reading the most recent pile of books. Here are my current "A-ha" moments from Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

"To Buy is Right" around page 18 in this edition. "Even the language of modern economics promotes consumerism. What else would we do with 'disposable income' besides dispose of it..." 

Hmm. I never really thought about this before. I don't have a "disposable income" label on my Open Office but when I label it mentally, that's what I put on it.

Disposable income. We have the ability to dispose of it.

What if instead of "disposable" income it was "save-able" income. Or "improvement income". Maybe I should say to myself, "this income is earmarked to improve our life in the long-run. Whether that means making the house more energy efficient, paying off a debt, or increasing my emergency fund." Could simply changing the way I think about this money change the way I spend (or not spend) it?

Another interesting point: A progress report in 1929 by the Herbert Hoover Committee on Recent Economic Changes came up with a strategy that was new. A survey had been conducted and showed that "wants are almost insatiable; that one want satisfied makes way for another. The conclusion is that economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied."

The beginning of the book also cites other studies that showed people of the income ranges studied were no happier at the top of the scale (over $4k/month income) than at the bottom of the scale ($1k/month income). Also with the giant leap in conveniences (dishwashers, A/C, two cars, etc.) Americans weren't any happier than before they had all the gadgetry. More is not better.

I've been thinking about this in my own way for a long time. It seems as though every time I get some long-awaited for object I suddenly find something else to save for and research. My favorite author just came out with a new book in the series that I love. I read it and now am jonesing for something else. We just harvested 3 lbs of tomatoes from our container garden; I'm already mentally moving on to "when are the rest of my plants going to produce?"

My father once said about my sister, "She used to drive me nuts. We'd be standing in line at the county fair and she'd already be picking out the next ride and would be getting anxious to move on to the next thing before we even went on the ride we were standing in line for."

That statement hurt me because I recognized that was true for me as well. I see that in myself and many of my friends.

I'm excited to see what other little gems are hidden in these pages.

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