Your brain goes into autopilot. Unfortunately, this also means it becomes hard to make changes.I think the key is to be selective about where to make the cuts. Where are the places where you can change the habits and actually improve your life? The $4 latte may be worth it to you if that's how you get yourself out of the house and into a public place where you encounter other people and moderate loneliness into manageable solitude. A month of daily lattes might correspond to one item of clothing that gives you a moment of manic elation but then gets lost in your closet amongst scarcely dissimilar items.
But different habits, while being equally effortless, tend to add up in a good way over time. If you have a $50,000 take-home pay but are in the habit of living on $25,000 and investing the rest, that will put you ahead by about $350,000 every 10 years after compounding. A habit of biking instead of driving can keep you lively and fit into your 80s while saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.
The key thing to remember is once you establish the habit, it becomes effortless and even pleasant to stay in the groove — even while your friends think you are some kind of unimaginably frugal bike-riding superhero.
Also, I'd say: Wake up and pay attention. I love normal, routine days, but the pleasure of ordinary days is lost if routine equals "a collection of unconscious habits." Be conscious and notice the experience of the things you do habitually. Live. If you do that, you should notice the components of your routine that aren't worth having. Where are you spending money out of proportion to the good it does for you personally?
The linked article is about a personal finance blogger ("Mr. Money Mustache") who "retired" at age 30. What does "retirement" mean"?
According to me, retirement means you no longer have to work for money. You then proceed to do whatever you like, without regard for whether or not it earns you money.Some of what you do can be called "work," but the point is, you're not doing it for the money — and that kind of work is especially satisfying. You know you're doing it for its intrinsic value.
So where will you cut back? It seems to me (and to Mr. Mustache) that eating out and traveling are highly questionable activities. Like us, he largely eschews restaurants and does big American road trips for vacationing.