Full Reviews

Valuable consumer insights…

Alan Rach, Journalist

In an age of rampant marketing and instant access to credit, Laurana Rayne’s Conscious Spending, Conscious Life is a refreshing perspective on how to navigate the labyrinthian pathways of today’s consumer culture. While offering useful consumer advice and explaining clearly how to differentiate between good and bad debt, Rayne’s principal focus is on financial sustainability: not just managing your money but managing yourself.

Written in clear, concise language for a broad audience, Rayne meticulously explains the complexities of our consumer culture, and presents thought-provoking choices to achieve sound, common-sense practices in our daily lives.

An important and useful book for anyone who wants to gain control of their personal finances in an increasingly complex consumer world.


A thoroughly reader-friendly commentary on living successfully in the modern era…

Mary Cowper, Midwest Book Review

We live in an economy dependent on a consumer culture, yet our public schools and colleges all too often lack effective curriculums on handling personal finances and dealing with the challenges specific to that consumer culture. In Conscious Spending. Conscious Life.: An uncommon guide to navigating the consumer culture, author Laurana Rayne draws upon her twenty-seven years of experience and expertise teaching consumer issues to college students to explain how to meet the fiscal challenges of surviving and thriving in a consumer culture.

This 410-page compendium is deftly organized into four major sections: Economics, Illusions & the Consumer Culture; Fraud, Ethics & Justice in Our Transactions; Money, Power & Making a Life; Health, Safety & Integrity of the Future. Of special note are the chapters on ‘Looking After Yourself in the Marketplace’ and ‘Spending Consciously’. Enhanced two articles (‘Strategies & Principles to Live By’ and ‘The Complexities of Health and Safety’); copious endnotes; a substantial bibliography; ‘Authors Whose Work Inspires Me’; ‘Your Personal Index’, and ‘Why a spiral?, Conscious Spending. Conscious Life.: An uncommon guide to navigating the consumer culture is a complete course of thoroughly ‘reader friendly’ commentary, real life examples, advice, strategies, and techniques that will enable anyone seeking to avoid common mistakes and succeed to create a solvent and successful life for themselves in the modern era.


I’m thinking differently…

Kathryn Perkins, Reader

I have your book. I’ve learned new things and am thinking differently about how I manage my money and how I think of my money with regard to how I live my life. It has given me valuable new ideas. Thank you!


Invaluable for debtors and the young people we love …

Megan McPherson, Certified Insolvency Counsellor

I just finished reading Conscious Spending, Conscious Life. And I must say, after having worked in the world of insolvency for many years, the tips and information provided by Laurana Rayne are invaluable and the book should be made available to all of our debtors and the young people we love!


Down-to-earth book…

Karen Gowans, Reader

Conscious Spending, Conscious Life is a great “bible” for managing myself.  I am sure I will be turning to it on a regular basis as I reflect on financial matters during the years ahead. The fact that you encourage readers to reflect on questions adds to the timeless nature of the book. The “think-abouts” are great. I like the way you quoted people from such diverse communities (religious, entertainment, philosophical, entrepreneurial ,athletic, political, etc.). You have written a very down-to-earth book that a wide variety of readers will be able to relate to.


Like a conversation with a wise and caring friend…

Fran Genereux, Professional Home Economist, Teacher, and Guidance Counsellor

Conscious Spending, Conscious Life is a manual for developing financial understanding and financial responsibility. In the author’s words, “Conscious spending is about engaging mindfully with the consumer culture, rather than reacting in a knee-jerk fashion. It comes from the viewpoint of win/win rather than one of succeeding to the detriment of others. And it is based on the concept of enough.”—an approach that challenges traditional supply and demand economics.

Originally developed for a college-level consumer economics course, the content provides a basic guide for understanding money management principles and an examination of philosophical issues of consumerism. It is both practical and thought-provoking. The author claims that this is an uncommon guide because her goals are to provide tools to enable the reader to make informed decisions, to raise issues, and to encourage the reader to ask questions in order to develop a personal and meaningful attitude toward consumerism—to move from unconscious consumption to conscious spending.

Consumerism is discussed as a fairly recent phenomenon. Before the 1970s, credit cards and debit cards were uncommon and of limited use. In the past 40 years, however, easy access to borrowed money has altered attitudes toward spending and consumption. Current generations have never been required to live without the money that is so available through credit, or to save before spending. The result is an ever-increasing consumer debt load which underscores the need for reliable money management information.

Consumers develop attitudes and habits toward money, some more healthy than others. Six common issues in a relationship with money, including ”letting money disappear,” “never getting ahead,” and/or “being driven by subconscious attitudes and beliefs” are introduced with ideas for creating new behaviours and taking steps toward change. The importance of being willing to change is presented before moving to a comprehensive discussion of strategies for managing money and for avoiding financial pitfalls.  These practical strategies form a large portion of the text.  Included are methods for managing money like record keeping and saving plans, costs of credit, and an overview of investing, insurance, and retirement planning.  For example, comparisons are made showing the different costs of a personal loan, a line of credit, and a payday loan. The impact of simple interest vs. compound interest for an investment is charted. Questions like “How is credit card interest calculated?” or “What is the advantage of paying off a mortgage early?” are answered.  The information is presented clearly and concisely, and always with a recommendation to readers to examine their personal beliefs and draw their own conclusions.

But the book goes beyond the tools of money management to discuss finances from a philosophical perspective. Ethical issues in the marketplace and the concept of social justice are examined. Conscious spending is based on the intention to meet our needs without causing harm to other people or the environment. Laurana Rayne believes that we cannot isolate ourselves from the conditions under which consumer goods are produced, or the wages paid to producers in developing countries.  Technology as a consumer challenge forces us to look at issues of organ transplants, reproductive health, genetic modification of food, plastics and pesticides, etc. Her ideas are based on holistic thinking, recognizing connections and interconnections. She urges readers to ask “What can I do?” and to follow through with personal research and common sense to achieve personal and financial health. This personal research would be aided by the glossary of terms and acronyms, and the extensive bibliography at the end of the book or by visiting the author’s website www.TheUncommonGuides.com.

In the final section, “Strategies and Principles to Live By,” the author reminds the reader of key ideas—“a conscious spender knows these are good habits to develop”—“conflicting expert opinion is a fact of life”—“release unconscious motivators.” She encourages the reader to review, revisit, and reconcile.

Laurana Rayne has added an important and useful book to the field of financial literacy. I would highly recommend it for young adults moving toward personal and financial independence, but also for anyone with limited financial understanding or looking to have financial basics reviewed and terms defined. This book clearly and logically covers a wide range of concepts in an informative and easy-to-read style which is sprinkled with interesting personal anecdotes and stories. This is not an advanced economics text and does not have the tone of a lecture. It is like a conversation with a wise and caring friend who challenges you as a consumer to look at more than the price tag and examine your beliefs, your values, and your actions. Readers will find lots to think about.