How a book changed our finances and cleaned my house

Recently I read the book “The Latte Factor”, actually, I listened to it on audible. That is where I tend to get most of my book listening done, in the car, doing dishes, wherever I can multitask.

So this book is pretty short and to the point, I finished it in a few days during car rides to church and the grocery store. It was really attention-grabbing from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the narrator (you have no clue how many books I have returned to audible because I didn’t like the voice of the narrator).

After finishing this book, I was dumbstruck. How in the world did this short book change my outlook on finances and motivate me to clean and purge my house, and take away tons of stress from my shoulders?

The book follows a story of a girl named Zoe (also the name of my daughter), who is living a pretty normal paycheck-to-paycheck life. She meets a many in a coffee shop and by the end of the book basically has financial peace and is traveling the world. With a whole lot of things in the middle of those two things.

I can’t give away all the details, the book is like $10 on amazon, 1 credit on audible, which you can get for free using the link at the bottom of this post. Just grab it, rent it, borrow it, and soak in all the goodness for yourself. But I will tell you the basics on how this shifted my way of thinking in a really big way.

So basically in this book Zoe (the main character, not my one year old) has this vision for her life, it starts with this painting she wants but cannot “afford”. She is stressed about living paycheck-to-paycheck, not being able to afford more despite making a decent living. She is tired of living like this and thinking about taking a job that pays more but will require more of her time and a lot more stress. However she meets a guy in a coffee shop who breaks down finances for her and explains money in a way that I have never, EVER heard before.

So here are some lessons I learned from this book, I HIGHLY recommend reading it for yourself.

  1. Time = Money

So this one seems cliche, but hear me out. In this book, your job, your hourly pay, is broken down into time increments. This concept introduces an alternative to “budgeting”. Instead of trying to micromanage your finances, this concept allows you to truly to see what you CAN afford and what you should be trying to spend on each category. This changed the way I think about my finances, my job, and my time. Because most people, like the main character in this book, try to make more money to fit their budget instead of budgeting their time and fitting your budget to your current finances. It can be a never ending cycle trying to generate more income to create wiggle room in your budget, instead of creating wiggle room in the income you already generate.

How do you do that? By prioritizing WHAT you are spending money on. What are the little things you are spending money on without thinking about it. When you start to compare small things to big things, like your lattes=dream vacation…that is a huge mindset shift. This was one of the biggest shifts for me.

2. Priorities In Finances are IMPORTANT

So going a step further, this book really makes you realize what your priorities are because it asks the question “what do you really want in life?” It makes you lay out your priorities and what you truly want.

For me at least, when you start thinking about what you really, really want in life and how that plays into your finances it’s huge,

For us, we want to be debt free; to not be living paycheck-to-paycheck, to have freedom to have fun experiences together, and to give our daughter an amazing childhood with great experiences.

So when you start to make comparisons and choices like do I want $20 take out or do I want to pay debt off. Do I want to get my nails done or do I want to take my daughter to the museum. Do I want another phone case or do I want some wiggle room in our budget in case something comes up?

That obviously doesn’t mean we will never make those choices and get take out (we had Hardee’s tonight), but it’s such a mindset switch in the frequency and what we really want to be spending money on and what it means every time we make a purchase. It has been a game changer for us. Like just making the decision to only eat out a set amount of times per month. And making that decision with a PURPOSE. That if you don’t eat out a few times that can add up to $100 that you can put towards one of your main goals.

3. Quality Over Quantity

My last epiphany with this book is one I thought I already knew but reading this book was like pressing focus on a camera lens that was blurry.

I think we all know that having quality is better than having sheer quantity, but what does that really look like. To me it meant saving up for the nice eyeshadow palette instead of buying the crappier ones from the drugstore. But what if that could be applied to your whole life?

What if once you have your priorities together, you could make financial decisions ALL based on quality over quantity. Like skipping the morning coffee, pack a lunch, avoid amazon, skip the energy drink on your way home. Then buy the amazing dinner that comes with a side of sanity because you don’t have to cook or do dishes. 1 purchase that day, quality over quantity.

Or maybe you scale down the purchases across the board and put that money aside towards a vacation, instead of the mini vacations to the Sonic drive-thrus. Quality, over quantity.

This also is the epiphany that led me to clean my entire house and purge all the things. Because when I really became convicted by this quality over quantity thing in conjunction with the priorities for finances idea, I started thinking…my house is overly cluttered, it’s literally the epitome of QUANTITY over quality.

And I began thinking that our cluttered, messy house with every nook and cranny filled, makes me feel nuts. It feels crowded and makes me want a bigger house. So bringing in the fundamentals we learn in this book, I thought, “how can I create more wiggle room in the house I have instead of trying to find a bigger house and having to make more money to afford if?”

So just like with the budget, I cut out the extras that don’t compare to my real priorities. I cut the target dollar spot directions from 5 years ago that I really don’t love. I let go of every piece of clothing that I haven’t worn in the last year and the ones that don’t make me feel amazing.

I am still in the process of purging but y’all, I am loving the process. There’s more wiggle room in my house, and it didn’t cost me more money. I created wiggle room in the space instead of creating space for the wiggle room.

So why the cleaning? This may have just been a cleaning but I picked up, but I’m going to say this is linked too. I started cleaning and getting crazy because I realized that I’m a person who buys things to make my space look nicer (cue all the throw pillows and candles) but my house will never look nice if it looks like there’s a tornado path through it. So I took to cleaning, I cleaned out things I don’t really like and that we don’t need or use. And I’ve been cleaning and organizing, because the more I clean and organize and declutter, the better my home looks and feels.

The bottom line is that I want to make my life one of quality and stop worrying about the quantity of my things. I want to invest in things that last and enrich our lives. I want to hate beautiful experiences with my family; including the experience of not stressing over finances. That’s quality.

So that’s just a few of the things I have learned from this book. Next on my reading list is “Smart Couples Finish Rich” also by David Bach. I have no doubt it will be just as amazing as the first!

If you read either of them please let me know how you like them, drop me a comment below and let me know how you’re implementing the things you learn!