This is what I feel like I've been doing with money lately. Money can never make it to the piggy bank because I burn it on a new kitchen. A trip to Williamburg. A trip to Spain. Meals out. Trinkets on the internet.
Yes, the kitchen's gorgeous and was ultimately worth the expense. It took up a lot of time and kept me from feeling bored or depressed. Going to Spain was also another expensive distraction. Williamsburg was a trip to lift my mood (and reconnect with good family).
In Spain I lived for three weeks with a wonderful, wonderful 76 year-old lady. This woman had her life figured out. She was extremely wealthy but didn't live like it. She took students because they were interesting, not because she needed the moolah. She lived off the interest of her many assets and mostly spent money on two things:
Quality time with family and friends. She'd visit her daughter and grandson weekly. Each day at 10 AM she'd go take a walk and meet friends for a $2 coffee, then chat away the morning. Her adult son stopped by each day for lunch (this is normal in Spain).
I didn't see her spend money on anything else except medicine, rent and utilities. She cleaned the house daily and it was immaculate and a joy to stay there. And in spite of being a widow she was one of the happiest people I've ever met. I don't think my home needs to be immaculate but I do think that a clean, decluttered home makes you want to stay and relax there and not need so many distractions.
What to take from this? If my goal is to stop shopping to fill an emotional void, I want to try to attack that emotional void like a Spaniard.
1. Focus more on preparing really, really good food.
2. Spend more time with friends
3. Clean the house a bit every day.
4. Walking every day.
These things should make me happy and take up quite a bit of time. I'll be less bored, healthier, and happier, I hope. Maybe less in debt in the end. It's an experiment. Let's see how it goes!