In Getting a Grip on Your Money, I emphasize the importance of quick exercises to help you get control over your budget. Some involve looking at a previous month’s
expenditure, but here’s something even quicker: Ask yourself what has happened to the ratio of groceries to information in your budget.

That is, how much are you spending on food to prepare at home, and how much are you spending on “information” of all kinds? In the Information Age, “information” can include regular phone, wireless phone, long distance, Internet access and cable or satellite TV.

My experience is that people have more hassled and less satisfying lives if they let the groceries to information ratio get too low. How does it happen? They get in a hurry and go for fast food instead of cooking more often; they spend a lot of time talking on wireless phones or watching TV. And the cure? Turn off all the information, cook something and enjoy it with friends and family, and resolve that you’ll start cutting back on the amount of unnecessary “information” that you bring into your life.

Try it one day and see whether it makes a difference for you!