There is a very cool article over at the Motley Fool that talks about “soft addictions” and ways to overcome them. (article here) Like many articles I’ve seen, this 0ne also asks you to review and add up the cost of your premium cable and your daily trip to the coffee shop to save money. Of course, reviewing your expenses is a great way to cut out the fluff, but it is only part of reality.
This is where the article is a little bit different. When they asked you to write down your expenses every day, they added one key step; go back an hour later and describe how that purchase made you feel. This I think is really the key to finding soft addictions as a lot of the fluff expenses are emotional. You buy a latte because you have nervous energy or you shop when you are feeling lonely. Once you understand the patterns, you can take action to avoid spending money. When you feel lonely, go to the library or take a walk in the park. If nervous energy is making you have too much coffee, focus you energy on a new hobby. In essence, take control, shun consumerism and get out of debt!
While you are at the Motley Fool, take some time to check out other parts of their website. They have tons of great information on investing, savings, and money tips.