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The Ms. Spent Money Guide: Get More of What You Want with What You Earn



The Ms. Spent Money Guide: Get More of What You Want with What You Earn

Deborah Knuckey

ISBN: 978-0-471-03844-3 February 2002 320 Pages

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Change your spending habits to achieve your personal andfinancial goals

The hardest part of personal finance for most people is livingwithin their means. Spreadsheets, budgets, and tables make moneymanagement seem like hard work. In The MsSpent MoneyGuide, readers are introduced to an innovative approachthat focuses spending habits to allow for everyday costs and futureexpenses while finding money for things you really enjoy.

MsSpent's bottom line is to help people have a more fulfillinglife by helping them clarify their financial goals as well asdevelop systems and habits that manage their spending. We are allunique and there is no single way to manage money. TheMsSpent Money Guide helps each individual discover a waythat will work for them. Readers of all ages will benefit fromMsSpent's message-if you are clear about your values, you will getmore of the life you want with the money you have.


Where Did It All Go?: The Unconscious Spending Trap.

Conscious Spending: Honoring Your Values.

Becoming Conscious: Getting More of What You Want.

The Excuse File: Why Unconscious Spending Tempts.


Security: Your Financial Foundation.

Shelter: Your Home, Sweet Home.

Sustenance: Feeding Your Body.

Self and Family: Everyday Expenses.

Social: Connecting with Others.

Society: Giving Back.

Soul: Expressing Your Higher Purpose.


Starting Out: Creating a Conscious Spending Plan.

Keeping Conscious: Designing a New Hip-Pocket Habit.

Iceberg Ahead: When You're Weighed Down by Debt.

The Big Squeeze: When Your Means Are Not Enough.


Conscious Spending: Next Steps.

There's no "right" way to spend, says Knuckey, a personal finance consultant who calls her system "coaching" not "counseling," since "you may never understand the details" of your feelings about money, but "you can still change your behavior." Happily, her behavior modification plan involves no penny-pinching, few rules and not much of that "b-word"(budgeting), which is about as much fun as dieting. The bottom line to Knuckey's system is her focus on "Conscious Spending," which means only buying what really makes you happy. While there are the obligatory passages on the trap of escalating wants and the ball-and-chain of debt, her main message is positive: focus on satisfying yourself, and you'll never lack motivation. Apart from such truisms, there are occasional mentions of more radical notions, like the idea that having enough is a very real concept for people who have come to the end of their "journey of self-expression." Knuckey's program is basically sensible and unthreatening, low on "shoulds" and sprinkled with humor. Her own persona] lifetime spending program, for instance, assumes "that I will die broke" - why support lazy heirs? And, she advises, don't play the lottery: "if you want to buy hope, buy a drink at a singles bar!" By the end of the book, a complex budgeting plan sneaks in anyway, but readers who've gotten that tar won't mind.

Forecast: While there's no dearth of personal finance self-help books on the market, Knuckey's down-to-earth tone should appeal to 20-somethings, especially considering her online presence, detailed in the book's final pages.
--Publisher's Weekly

In The Ms. Spent Money Guide, Deborah Knuckey wants everyone to be a conscious spender.
You know, someone who never buys things spontaneously and never purchases things they never use. (The kind of sensible person, in short, who is the opposite of the heroine in the funny best-selling novel, Confessions of a Shopaholic.)
No one makes you spend money, but experts spend a lot of time and money making it hard to resist. "Advertiser' and marketers' success depends on their ability to link their products with your wants, and increase the volume until you can make a purchase. Think you can pit your self-will against their sophisticated marketing? It's tough," she writes.
The way around this pressure: Be aware of what triggers you to spend so freely. That, of course, is a lot easier said than done. But she does have exercises to put you into a less lavish frame of mind. One exercise: Take 5 minutes to write down all the influences that put you into a shopping mode - when did you first hear of the product? Did friends or colleagues egg you on? Do you know someone who has something similar - are you keeping up with the Joneses? The problem with conscious spending is that it requires a delicate balance of today's wants and tomorrow's needs. Knuckey says it can be painless by following her spending model. This hierarchy places the soul at the top of the pyramid. The soul category encompasses travel, vacation home, cable, books, music, hobbies, sports, massages, manicures and jewelry, among other things. After that come expenses for things like food, shelter.
Security is the foundation of the pyramid, which includes insurance, retirement planning, emergency expense funds and debt management. A strong security base means you're less vulnerable to unexpected circumstances, such as illness, divorce, unemployment or business failure. Of course there is a hitch. Under this plan, you have to fulfill the security foundation before you can float to the top - and then buy the fun stuff.--Juliette Fairley, Special for USA TODAY, April 23, 2001