Longtime readers know I’m a big fan of “Your Money or Your Life,” a book by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin that forces you to think about whether you’re getting what you want from the money — and the time — you spend. I think about that book pretty much every time I’m stuck in traffic, and I continue to be inspired by the authors. In September, for example, I wrote about Vicki Robin’s 10-Mile Diet!

Today, I happily discovered a newish half-hour video interview with Vicki, created by Peak Moment TV (via Treehugger). Now, I know that to some, “Your Money or Your Life” sounds like a hippie-dippie read full of flowery and vague words about finding your true self by shunning capitalism. And honestly, the video interview kind of begs that stereotype, since you can almost smell the patchouli wafting from the screen when you see Vicki and the interviewer in front of a flourishing flower garden, wearing free-flowing, busily patterned clothes. And to be fair, the book and the video do encourage you to, well, find yourself and your desires.

But the book especially is an extremely practical guide to financial independence for both patchouli-wearing and libertarian types. In fact, a big chunk is devoted to cold hard numbers — like figuring out your true wage. Think that job that pays a few grand more a year but adds two hours to your commute every day is a step up for you? Maybe you should try calculating your hourly wage out first — making sure to put the extra commuting hours and the extra cost of gas into the equation.

The new year is a great time to read “Your Money or Your Life.” But in the meantime, watch the video. Vicki explores how she’s been able to find playful and creative responses to environmental and economic constraints — and how she’s been able to build her sense of community simply by asking for things she needed. After all, as Ben Franklin famously stated, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.”

MNN homepage photo: Ace_Create/iStockphoto

Build community by asking for help
The author of 'Your Money or Your Life' says asking for help from her neighbors helped build her community network.