If giving up pricey lattes at the coffee shop really worked, more of the millions of us who've lost jobs lately would be a lot wealthier. Lord knows, we've given up lattes and lots more to stretch our savings and reduced income as far as we can.
Actually, I always liked the latte factor idea that financial self help specialist David Bach created over at FinishRich.com. Little extravagances you indulge in really do count up in less time than you think. Here's a calculator Bach created to help you measure your damage.
But now that even senior discount half price coffee at McDonalds is a luxury - they pour a tasty Arabica blend - it's obvious that sterner stuff is needed. When you whack your budget, whack big, gaggles of gurus told Yahoo contributor Marcia Passos Duffy recently. Penny pinching may even be counter productive, says Jason Guthrie at Beancounterblog.com. Have a slurp to keep your morale up and make up the costs by cutting something you don't want, he writes.
But that debate suggests you have a choice. That may or may not be true, according to some mid 1990s research published by the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning and Education.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that your inclination to overspend or not more likely will depend on seemingly external conditions such as your age and whether you are married, own a home or have a job.
Cutting expenses is like dieting. The exotic stuff sounds intriguing, but in real life there aren't that many shortcuts.