What is money?

Jeesh. You’d think we’d know by now. There’s a Your Money or Your Life answer that returns to us the power we’ve vested in money as the gatekeeper for all value in our lives. To wit: Money is Life Energy. It’s the time we invest of our lives to put money in our wallets or to pay in the future for our purchases now. That unasks the question of what the culture thinks money is. Phooey on them. But the more I understand about the monetary system and the more I participate in my local currency, the more my personal relationship with money transforms. Continue reading


Funny money? Or the sane-est money around?

Two weeks ago on my island we launched a new money called the Terra. It’s an online and face to face trading system and the Terra is the unit of trade. Think of it like ebay or Craigslist with a different means of exchange. But that’s just analogy. The system has a very different feel – because it’s community currency.

I’ve been teaching about money for years but folks, this Terra is opening my eyes and expanding my horizons in the most amazing ways. Continue reading

Wholeness, Slices and Slivers

My new favorite questions are:

How much is enough … of anything? How do you know you have enough? Once you know you have enough, what happens next?

I’ll be doing tele-classes on the topic, giving lectures and workshops and blogging, blogging, blogging.

Why? Because “enough” isn’t just a about money and stuff. It’s that place of optimal happiness for anything: time, appointments, friends, food, TV viewing. It’s that Goldilocks place of “not too hot, not too cold, but just right.”

Recently I explained it this way:

Continue reading

YMoYL: A Great Tool for The New Economy

The U.S. economy grew at an unprecedented pace over the past several decades until the recession hit last year.  Many Americans made significant shifts in their lifestyles to accommodate the downturn and are waiting now for the economy to rally again.  Yet the U.S. economy has permanently changed in ways that the average American may not realize.  Just one generation ago, Continue reading

The Art of Price Reduction Even at Major Chain Stores

When I first started to haggle years ago, I only did it at independently owned stores.  One of my favorite stories included how I secured drastically reduced prices at hotels during a six-week trip out West after college.  My technique?  I would always show up around 9pm knowing it was unlikely that the hotel would be able to rent many more rooms at that late hour.  I’d casually mention that I would be more than happy to camp out that night if I didn’t get the deal I wanted (which was true), but I can remember only once or twice actually rolling out my sleeping bag.  My other favorite story is Continue reading

The magic of compound interest

When my parents took me down to the bank to open my first account, I was also given my first lecture on the “magic of compound interest.” Back then the interest on my little account was probably 3.5%. I was told that if I kept that $10 in my savings account, I’d have $20 by the time I graduated from high school. “Where does the extra money come from?” I asked. No good answer came, other than “the magic of compound interest.” Continue reading

Frugality and the homeless

On my walk home tonight, a homeless man asked me for a handout. I asked if he was hungry and he said yes.  But when I told him that I had homemade food at home that I’d be glad to bring to him, he politely declined. I’ve found that this is a common response. Yet many of us don’t want to give money to the homeless because we fear that it might be used for alcohol or drugs or something else unsavory. We feel conflicted, guilty … and often just hand over some bills. Yet is there a better response? I have struggled for years as to how to handle this situation and have come up with a solution that feels good to me: I Continue reading

Fun hobbies can include grocery shopping

I just got back from a trip to my local grocery store where I saved 74% off my total bill. This is a new personal high for me and one that I thoroughly savored. Some people might be quick to dismiss such financial acrobatics but I really had a good time. My six-year-old was with me and she helped with the coupons and did all the bagging which made it fun for both of us. After 17 years of following the “Your Money or Your Life” program, I’ve observed that the activities I really enjoy doing often save me money too. I like cutting my family’s hair, gardening, refinishing furniture, cooking — and yes, even grocery shopping. I have added an element of fun to each of these household tasks by Continue reading

Our personal GDP and our personal new economy

Fourteen percent of the US Labor Force is unemployed or underemployed – perhaps more if you include not only people out of work and looking for work but those who have given up and hunkering down somewhere until the storm blows over.

This tide of misfortune is rising high enough that many who thought they were secure are worried. (As I’ll say later, I was among the worried myself.) Continue reading