I thought I was good at managing my money... until I woke up. I hate to admit it, but the truth is I have the tendency to spend emotionally. We all know that, $5 here, $10 there adds up FAST. Shopping may be therapeutic, but it's not the best thing for my wallet right now. After carefully observing my behavior in my favorite department stores, and after several difficult self-talks about not needing new clothes, or accessories, I made the radical decision to stop shopping. So instead of walking into stores, thinking I can resist the temptation to spend, I stopped going altogether. In the event that I really need something, I bring in the exact amount of cash, talk to myself out loud in the car before going in the store, set a timer on how long I will be there, tell someone that I will be right out, or a combination of these.
In the spirit of managing my money wisely, I took this a step further and started tracking my money, down to the very last penny. I have a diary that I take everywhere. The habit of writing down where every dollar goes, conditions me to spend less, and save more.
Today, I celebrate having successfully paid off my Graduate Plus Loan prior to receiving the first billing statement!