The first step in recovery is recognition you have a problem. I found the rabbit hole of the financial independence community and became inspired by those getting off the hamster wheel. But many of the stories involved people who were born savers, frugal to the point where they suddenly found themselves able to work a few more years and then retiring.
But that was not me. I did everything wrong. Bought the “dream” house straight out of residency, bought two cars brand new. My giant student loans seemed so big I just figured I would pay them off while I was working until 70. Then I found myself unhappy and unfulfilled. Do I really want to do this until I am 70?
The emphatic answer was No! So what was I going to do different? I needed to become frugal-the other f-word.
As I focused on what was most important to me, my time and freedom, I was able to see a bigger picture and realign my actions with my values. For me being frugal was not going to be biking 20 miles to work or living with roommates. For me it was going to start with baby steps of eliminating what was not truly adding to my quality of life.
ACTION STEP: Write down what is most important to you. Consider using font/writing size to display the gravity of it. Are your daily, weekly, monthly actions/spending in align with your values?