A list of scary things I used to be addicted to (!)

by J. Money -

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Found this in my journal the other night and had a good laugh:

addicted to

Funny how much we can change over the years!

Literally not one of them is in my daily life anymore, but I distinctly remember how each of them once made me *feel* :)

  • Diet Coke – ENERGETIC!!
  • Bottled Water – HYDRATED!
  • iPhone – CONNECTED!
  • Lottery Tickets – THRILLING!
  • Domain Buying – THRILLING! Haha…

(Domains = website names, for those not in the internet game… Where we snap up as many as we can when “big ideas” hit, full well knowing we’ll never actually get to them, haha… (And then go on to renew them every year costing us even more fun tickets!!)

That was around 2009, and eventually I realized that you can still get most of these feelings we all so crave, but in much cheaper, and sometimes healthier, ways.

For example, what I wanted out of the iPhone I could still get from other smart phones at a fraction of the price – eventually saving us over $100/mo with no downgrade in quality of life whatsoever. And then instead of lottery tickets and domain buying I could still get my cheap thrills through *books* or blogs or other things that are as equally as exciting to me (and provide much more *value* in the end!). And while it took me a while to stop buying bottled water like a hoarder (it was the only way I could get myself to drink water at the time!), I eventually caught on there too and now drink tap water exclusively after some good insight from James Clear. (Hint: keep water in front of you so you always remember to drink it!)

I’ve formed other bad habits since 2009 too which are listed below, but so far I’m finding the more you step back and *challenge* some of your beliefs on what you “must have” and why, you’ll see you can be equally as happy with alternatives if you really tried hard enough. Most of the things we’re addicted to weren’t even *invented* just a handful of years ago! ;)

Here’s a list of other things that could have gone into my diary just as well that’s since been cut out:

  • Shopping – I used to go shopping every other day when I was bored – then I took a 40 day “shopping ban” and it completely changed my view and my savings! (By about $200/mo!)
  • Cable – 4 years and 2 months now and don’t miss a thing! Well okay, I do actually miss some things – but again, the return on $$$/value makes it all worth it in the end. (How I did it: told myself it’s “only a trial” and can go back any time! Which was both true and sneaky!)
  • Complaining – Another habit I had no idea how bad I was at doing until I took a 40 day ban (in the spirit of Lent, for all my fellow Catholics out there – woop woop!). Though I must admit: there is a downside to this one in that it makes everyone else’s complaints around you that much MORE noticeable, haha…
  • Cursing – Again: 40 day ban! It solves everything!! ;)
  • And then probably my favorite –> Hustling 24/7 – I used to pride myself in working 20 hour work days, and now I pride myself in seeing if I can get away with *2* hour work days, haha… Something I’ve managed to do by first figuring out what was truly essential in my work and what wasn’t (and then cutting it), then incorporating new rules on *when* I’m allowed to even work (ie, no more nights and weekends!!), and then finally tackling the much harder 9-5 basic schedule… Which, admittedly doesn’t work for all professions out there, but you’d be amazed at what a little creativity and focus can do if you want it bad enough.

I can probably add a few more to the list here, but I think you get the point…

Just because you’re doing it now doesn’t mean you need to be doing it later! And in fact, you might not even know you’re doing it because it’s become such a habit over time! (See: cursing, complaining, shopping – anything off that list really).

For a good challenge the next few days, make a list of all the things you catch yourself doing – whether personally, professionally, or financially – and then see if any surprises stand out.

You don’t have to change anything yet if you’re not ready to, but I guarantee you’ll find something you don’t like. And really, simply *being more aware* of your actions in itself is a fantastic habit to form.

Or if you’re a fellow diarist like me, just page through the last few days of notes and see if any patterns emerge! The whole reason we track it in the first place is to be able to reflect on it later, right? ;)

Would love to hear what you find out if you give it a try…

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate October 31, 2019 at 7:51 am

I’m a bit of a Coke Zero addict. But… I did give up alcohol and cigarettes (two of the biggest wasters of time, energy, and MONEY known to man!) so figure it’s not TOO bad. I struggle with sugar too. I’ve never ever been able to have “just one” candy or cookie.
The habitual addictions are even harder to identify and break I find. Am I complaining or communicating my needs? And I nagging or providing a helpful reminder? And gossipping can be so juicy and fun!
Sometimes I wish I were a dog. Eat two bowls of the food in my bowl a day: nothing more, nothing less, get ample rest and exercise, and partake in cuddles not complaints!

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2 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 9:33 am

Haha… it does sound nice when put that way ;)

But HUGE congrats on killing alcohol and cigs!! Massive success right there – well done!

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3 Debt Free in RVA October 31, 2019 at 10:11 am

Kudos to you Kate! I gave up cigarettes, but can’t yet give up my one beer a night. I cut out high alcohol content but that one beer is needed. actually, probably not needed but i like it :-)

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4 Kate November 1, 2019 at 8:24 am

Nothing wrong with just the one! I need to have no beer or else I have ALL the beers!

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5 Joe October 31, 2019 at 9:24 am

Hustling is a good one. As I get older, I want to cut back more. This year, I cut back 50% on blogging in Q3 and Q4. It’s great. Eventually, I plan to work 10-15 hours/week year-round.
Other addictions? Afternoon nap. :)

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6 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

HAH! Naps were one of the very first things I accidentally stared taking up again when I cut back my hours on the weekend! I’d just be laying on the couch cracking up a (physical) book, and then next thing I know I’m passed out! Probably after decades of going full throttle all the time, haha… And in fact, the no working on weekends also led me to *reading* a lot more in itself – something I also didn’t have much time to do anymore outside of online $$$ reading…

So not only did I kill one bad habit, but I gained two *good* ones! :)

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7 Adam October 31, 2019 at 9:42 am

“(Hint: keep water in front of you so you always remember to drink it!)”

…like a trained rat, my eyes immediately went to the fancy Hydro Flask tumbler on my desk, and I downed the last of the water in it before even going on to the next paragraph. :D

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8 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 10:08 am

THERE WE GO!!!

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9 Carol in Mpls October 31, 2019 at 9:47 am

January 1, 2012. Decided to give up the Diet Coke. I was never a big consumer, maybe just a can a day. Three or four months later I sipped some from my father’s glass, and almost spit it out. I realized that I liked the fizzy part, not the cola part. Did have a few more sips, and I was done. I was always a big water drinker, and I think that’s what made the transition easy for me. Can’t say I miss it, and try not to be self-righteous about it either. My issue, my action.

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10 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 10:10 am

Yeah, stuff like that is super nasty once you’ve gone away from it a bit, haha… Same thing happened with me when I went over 1,000 days in a row not eating at McDonalds and then had m first burger. I was like “WHAT??? HOW COULD YOU EAT THIS???” haha… I still go back once a month or two since every kid in he world loves them, but the cravings have never came back which I’m thankful for :)

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11 Debt Free in RVA October 31, 2019 at 10:09 am

Great article!

Interestingly Diet Coke and diet sugars can cause weight gain or prohibit the ability to lose weight. So glad I never got into them! BUT I do love coffee :-)

You cut me to heart about complaining. I am Greek Orthodox so we are similar to Catholics, and I probably need to do a Lent on that!

Can I live life without my iphone??? I’m scared to try!

OK, regarding cable TV my wife and I cut the cord around the same time you did. Both of our baby boomer parents still have cable and pay $ 120 a month for it. I told BOTH of them WHY?? I truly do not understand the addiction to cable. I love Netflix, Amazon PRIME TV, and borrowing from library. Also, with my current TV antenna in Richmond, VA I can get TONS of channels. I am swimming in TV content at a fraction of cable TV cost.

One other thing during march madness you can pay $ 15 a month for SLING TV to watch all the basketball in the world, Chomecast it to your TV and then cancel after one month. OK, that was a bit of a rant, but I just don’t get why people watch cable TV.

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12 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 11:49 am

Haha yeah – the *sports* part is the biggest con I see from most, which thankfully I’m not too obsessed with so it’s not a game changer for me :) Although it does suck that our antenna no longer works as well as it used to pre-move… Gonna have to try and find a better one for the extra channels, or maybe not? Since it’s already been 5 or so months and we’re just fine?

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13 Caroline Carlson October 31, 2019 at 11:02 am

Store credit cards- the feeling, I remember getting that Jordan Marsh card and buying a pair of Calvin Klein jeans and a pink button down Ralph Lauren shirt- high school Sr. I could have paid cash, flush with summer job money that I was! As Oprah says, “When you know better you do better”

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14 J. Money October 31, 2019 at 11:50 am

Tell me you still have the outfit??? :)

Would be a fun one to rock on a Throwback Thursday or something, haha….

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15 Caroline Carlson November 1, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Don’t have that but I do have a black and green pattern Benetton sweater from that same era-
Amazed at the crap I hung onto!

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16 Elise @ Financial Fitness Fanatic October 31, 2019 at 2:43 pm

I have definitely been addicted to many things on your list in the past. My worst one, and I can’t even believe I’m admitting to this, was that I was totally addicted to Milk Duds in my senior year of college. Of all things! Thankfully I’ve managed to boot that and most sugar out of my life.

I like that you raise some non-conventional addiction habits here. I am totally addicted to the hustle and the feeling of an entirely productive day. Working on letting that go and being more accepting of just existing and being present.

Fun read, J!

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17 J. Money November 1, 2019 at 7:41 am

Thanks Elise!

Please do let me know if you find out any other tricks on the productivity/feeling okay about things part :) There are def. still times where I feel lazy when I’m supposed to be relaxing and soaking it up, haha…

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18 Julie October 31, 2019 at 3:59 pm

I have been following your site for about 4 years now but have never commented! This site is what got me interested in saving and actually caring about my finances so thank you!
Just had to give a shout out to the Catholic comment! I am also Catholic and my faith has definitely been the source of breaking some of these addictions for me as well (#Jesus) :)
God Bless!

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19 J. Money November 1, 2019 at 7:43 am

Heyyyy, very cool!!!

Thanks for popping over and saying hi! Nice to officially meet you :) Good job sticking with it for so long too!! The savings/caring part that is, haha… although equally as impressive that I haven’t scared you away yet ;)

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20 Arin joan November 1, 2019 at 12:38 am

Great use of the Lenten season! I’m trying to go 21 days without complaining… I think my record is now 4 whole days. Tomorrow is a new day for a new life with a new beginning

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21 J. Money November 1, 2019 at 7:44 am

Amen to that!

Keep going!

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22 Deanna @ Recovering Women Wealth November 1, 2019 at 7:48 am

Love the 40 day ban! I find accountability helps me in giving stuff up. If I tell people, I feel this huge sense of obligation to honor to my commitment. Plus others call me out on it.

Happy Halloween & I must ask, did you pass out books instead of candy?!?

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23 J. Money November 1, 2019 at 9:39 am

I did not :(

Completely forgot that we’re *not at home* on Halloween night because WE’RE OUT TRICK-OR-TREATING! Which makes it pretty hard to pass out books, haha…

I did think about leaving them on the step for them to choose from, but didn’t want to risk it yet without first testing out face-to-face ;)

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24 Kel November 3, 2019 at 6:14 am

I didn’t know you are Catholic! We are as well.

Great tie into Lent and I am already thinking of what I can give up this coming year! ;)

I have a iced tea addiction which I know the sugar isn’t so great or the bottled water. I am going to try and use my good old tap more lol.
The other thing is home decor. I have to stay out of Hobby Lobby and Target or I just want it all! Luckily our last debt is our mortgage but sometimes I overspend on home decor when I rationalize we don’t have car payments etc. Lately I have been sorting through and only allowing myself one bin per season and Christmas 2. It seems to be helping :)

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25 J. Money November 4, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Haha that’s a good start!

You can also try selling some of the stuff you no longer *love* anymore (or even donating ’em) to help you feel better about at least breaking even with “stuff” :) Sometimes that helps me feel better about my book hoarding, lol…

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26 Kellie @ Big Style Finance November 6, 2019 at 3:16 am

I’m a recovering Diet Coke addict, 4 months and counting. I’m glad to be saving the money, and I know it wasn’t good for me … but there are days when I’d sell my own grandmother for an icy can!

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27 J. Money November 6, 2019 at 5:48 am

Stop, haha…

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