Your Money or Your Life: Assessing the Three Questions

YMOYLThis is the twelfth part of The Simple Dollar Book Club reading of Your Money or Your Life. Want to know more?

Yesterday, we took a look at three questions one should use in evaluating one’s spending for the month. What you’ll find, if you genuinely answer those questions, is that it identifies the portions of your spending that you’re uncomfortable with on some level and should seek to change.

It turns out that this entire exercise is meant to help a person find that key point of “enough” in their life. Remember the idea of the fulfillment curve earlier in the book, which indicates that there’s a certain point in spending where, once you go past that point, you get a greatly diminished value for each dollar you spend? This whole exercise is intended to help you find that point.

I find that this fulfillment curve often pops up for me in spending on video games. Let’s say, for instance, that there are fifteen games available that I would deeply like to play. If I just buy one of them, I often get a high level of enjoyment out of that single game and play it through to its conclusion. On the other hand, if I get greedy and buy five of them, my overall enjoyment might be slightly higher, but my fulfillment per game is much, much lower – I often don’t finish any of the games. The same is often true of book purchases – almost every time, I get far more enjoyment out of an individual book if I buy or check out just one and then don’t get any more until that one is finished (or I truly realize that I don’t want to finish it).

What happens when you do find that point of “enough” in your financial life? Generally, it leads to more time to do and enjoy the things that are truly fulfilling to you because you’ve eliminated much of the nonsense. For example, if you realize that you’re spending an uncomfortable amount on your house, you might choose to move to a more simple place. Suddenly, you’ll find more time and resources to devote to the things that really do matter to you.

For some, this section will be overshadowed by a pretty strong suggestion by the authors that a person will turn towards helping out their community once they discover an abundance of time, money, and energy. Although this is likely what I would do, I know human nature well enough to know that people would follow any number of endeavors that would enhance their spirit. For example, I know at least one person who would spend most of her days working on a great novel – and at least one other person who would be content to explore on his bicycle for years.

The real point here is that finding that magical point of “enough” means that you can engage yourself deeply in those things that truly fulfill you, whatever they are.

Tomorrow, we’ll jump into chapter five, “Seeing Progress,” and dig into it up to the heading “Getting Your Finances Out In The Open.” This section appears on pages 146 through 157 in my paperback version of the book.

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