Review of “The Art of Money” by Bari Tessler

Review of The Art of MoneyPin
Review of The Art of Money

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The Art of Money

I recently finished reading The Art of Money by Bari Tessler. If you find standard financial planning and budgeting books too dry and lifeless, then this book is for you. If whenever you think about paying bills, you feel anxious or want to do anything but deal with it, this book is definitely for you!

Bari takes the cold world of facts, figures, banking, investments, budgets, and planning for the future, and somehow turns it into a manageable step-by-gentle-step process. 

Three Phases

#1 Money Healing Phase

First, Bari’s book is divided into three phases. The first is called Money Healing. In this section she focuses on dealing with all the complicated emotions and beliefs that we have concerning our relationship with money.

I loved her description of money as the “elephant in the room.” Most of us were not taught how to think about money or talk about it. Since, I had recently colored a picture of an elephant, I used it to represent my money “elephant.”

My Money Elephant In The RoomPin
My Money Elephant In The Room

In this phase, Bari, devotes what may feel like way too much time to getting in touch with our feelings and unconscious beliefs about money. She describes it this way:

“This is the emotional work of creating an honest, mature relationship with money. Here, we dissolve shame. We get clear on the ‘Money Story’ we’ve accumulated over the course of a lifetime… identify and unwind patterns that no longer serve us… learn emotional and body-based practices to support our journey, and ensure we are working with self-care, acceptance, and love along the way.”

She teaches us how to do body check-ins as we think about, and journal our Money Stories. She also teaches us to do a body check-in every time we do anything with finances. For example, before we get to the cash register, when paying bills, and/or during money discussions with a spouse or significant other.

She introduces the idea of Money Dates. Setting up regular times to focus on paying bills, doing our taxes, discussing a major purchase or job decision. For these dates she encourages us to be creative, and make them playful and full of self-care. She sips hot tea and nibbles dark chocolate in her money dates! Sounds good to me!

#2 Money Practices

Secondly, in this section, Bari discusses ways to make budgeting, and tracking our finances truly meet our individual needs, preferences, and values. With many examples, she shows how to do a money date, and discusses different ways of bookkeeping and tracking our money.

One of my favorite ideas in this section was to rename budget categories if that helps us more accurately value them. For example, “education loans” can be renamed “education investment.” “Mortgage” can be renamed “Home Sweet Home.” This renaming of budget categories can help us more accurately see what our funds are paying for. It shifts our perspective.

#3 Money Maps

Thirdly, in this section, Bari covers:

  • Money Maps,
  • Dancing with your Money Map,
  • A process for making financial decisions
  • How to work through money dilemmas
  • Money Legacy.

Money mapping “is about giving attention and loving intention to our finances so that we can harness the power of money to help us shape our lifestyle over time.” Her money map has three tiers.

  • The Basic Needs Level
  • The Comfortable Lifestyle Level
  • The Ultimate Lifestyle Level

What’s special about this process, is it’s not just about numbers. Only each person can decide what they need or want for each level of comfort. Partners may find that they want/need different things to be in their basic, comfortable, or ultimate lifestyles. She has people free write about how life would feel in each level and only then add figures to it.

This works really well for budgeting, because without knowing what level we’re in, and where we want to head, it’s very hard to stick with a budget. When we see the big picture it’s so much easier to set goals, and make progress towards them.

Then, Dancing with your Money Map means making adjustments based on life changes. For example, when a birth or death occurs, a job changes, a health crisis occurs, etc.

Most noteworthy, her chapter on making good financial decisions is awesome! Read it!

Finally, she ends with a chapter on our money legacy. This includes what values and skills we pass on to others about managing finances. I’ve never thought of what money legacy I was passing on to my children. Have you?


In summary, The Art of Money is a thought provoking and encouraging book. The author asks many questions and encourages us to find our own answers. I will be coming back to it over and over again as it is full of wisdom. It has helped me to see my relationship with money in a much clearer way. I definitely think this book is worth reading and mulling over.

For more money managing resources check out this post

I’m so glad you stopped by to read this post. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Till next time, Kathy


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By Kathryn

I'm a writer, disabled registered nurse, and former home school parent of 6 children ages 19 to 32. I'm also a domestic abuse survivor.


  1. That sounds interesting. I will have to check it out. It’s always an area that can use some organization and planning.

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