Your Money or Your Life

I’m just curious if anyone else here has read and is applying the principles found in “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez? I’ve read it and have started making edits to my Tiller fed workbook to incorporate some of those principles (e.g., “real” hourly wage, cost in life energy, etc.) and am happy to share if anyone is interested!

1 Like

Great question! One thing we hope to move into the community soon is this “hours to earn” concept, which I think sort of gets at the “cost in life energy” piece, but am curious what you’ve put together.

Curious on others’ thoughts.

We’re also working on some tools that will make it easier to share stuff here without having to share your personal data. Stay tuned!

What I’ve come up with so far is pretty simplistic. I started by creating a worksheet called RealWage.

One of the fundamental concepts in the book is this idea of “real hourly wage.” The authors argue that when you factor in all the hours and money spent on your job and job-related activities and/or things you wouldn’t necessarily do if you didn’t have the job, is quite a bit higher than the standard “40 hours a week.” They factor in the time and money it takes to commute, get ready/appear presentable (costuming), decompress after work, etc.

So, the RealWage sheet calculates your real hourly wage by factoring in your (base salary - (taxes + additional expenses))/actual number of hours to come up with a real hourly wage then divides 60 by that number to come up with the number of minutes (life energy) each dollar costs.

I’ve also created a sheet I’m calling “Ledger” which is just a query of the entire transactions sheet with rows added to the end to return/calculate values not present on the transactions sheet. One of those values “Type” (e.g., income or expense) and another is “Cost in Life Energy” which uses the following formula:


The formula is set up to calculate the cost in life energy by multiplying the amount of the transaction (D) by the number of minutes per dollar from the RealWage sheet. This would return a negative value so the product is then multiplied by -1 to generate a positive product. It is also designed to only calculate the cost in life energy if the line item is an expense as determined by column V.


Thanks for sharing @mgodwin. I’m a big fan of Your Money or Your Life. I think there are a number of principles from her book that can be built into a great spreadsheet, including the wall chart. image

Agreed. I’ve set up something similar to the wall chart in my spreadsheet by setting up a query of all regular income, expenses, and investment income and creating a chart from that data.Once the team gets the tools @heather mentioned up and running, I’ll be happy to share more of what I’ve come up with. Right now I’m basically creating demo sheets of what I have which is kind of a pain but can share if someone really wants to see it.

This chart might make for a good Tiller sheet !

@jono, I’ve created this using the previously described “Ledger” sheet and the following formulas:


=QUERY(Ledger!$A:AG, " Select K, SUM(D) Where K >= DATE '2018-11-1' AND P LIKE 'Income' Group By K Label SUM(D) 'Income' Format K 'yyyy-MMM', SUM(D) '#,##0.00’ ")


=QUERY(Ledger!$A:AG, " Select -1 * SUM(D) Where K >= DATE '2018-11-1' AND P LIKE 'Expense' Group By K Label -1 * SUM(D) 'Expenses' Format -1 * SUM(D) '#,##0.00’ ")

Investment Income

=QUERY(Ledger!$A:AG, " Select SUM(D) Where K >= DATE '2018-11-1' AND C LIKE 'Investment Income' Group By K Label SUM(D) 'Investment Income' Format SUM(D) '#,##0.00’ ")

November 11, 2018 is the time I decided to use to start tracking this info and it can be changed to any starting date you wish. The relevant columns referenced are D = Amount, K = Month, P = Type, and C = Category. So, you can change the columns in the formulas to match the correct column in your reference sheet.

I’m happy to help you troubleshoot or make changes to the formulas so it works for your sheet(s) if you need it.


@mgodwin, thanks for sharing your solution. I did some thinking about this and also came up with a way to generate that chart using my Tiller data. It would take a bit of time to make it work for everyone if there is interest. Add a vote if this is something you want:

  • I would like my own “Crossover Point” line graph in a Google Sheet
  • Not interested

0 voters

The workflow could be:

  1. Define which categories should be used to calculate Investment Income.
  2. Define if any Income categories, other than Investment categories, should be excluded in the chart when calculating total income.
  3. Define if any Expense categories should be excluded in the chart when calculating total expenses.
  4. Select the interval, perhaps monthly or quarterly, to do the sums.
  5. Do all the calculations and generate the line graph.
  6. Optional. Generate the trend lines of income and expenses into the future to determine Crossover point.
1 Like

I like this concept, @jono. I’m excited to see where the poll leads you.

Along the lines of this concept, @peter made a simple “Hours to Earn” formula for Tiller-powered Google Sheet that you can see here: Visualize Spending as Hours of Work With This Free Google Sheet

“But when you can easily visualize the cost of everything you buy as hours of life paid, spending takes on a whole new dimension.”

I’d love to have a chart like this in my Tiller spreadsheet. Did this idea move forward by any chance?

You are resuscitating the deep cuts, @danielz.

1 Like

Hi @danielz,
We didn’t create a sheet exactly as described above.
But you might want to check out the Cash Flow Forecast sheet, which covers some of it.

1 Like