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The bumpy road to financial independence. . . .

 

Friday, February 22, 2008

Taming the beast. . . . .

Good news: both my state and my federal tax refunds have been deposited into my checking account!

Bad news: I've already spent almost $100 on totally unplanned, frivolous, non-necessities!

My original plan was to dump the majority (if not all) of my refunds onto my credit card debt, effectively wiping out two credit cards (at $190 and $794, respectively) and then dropping the rest onto my third (and last!) credit card. But there was something about seeing all that cash in my usually anemic checking account that made me go a little crazy!

Before I stopped, I had purchased a pair of shoes (on sale), a sweater (on sale) and a new spring top (also on sale). Do you like how I justified my purchases with the fact that they were on sale? I must have "saved" about $80 on my almost $100 worth of purchases! The guilt set in when I got home, and realized that by shopping for things I didn't need (but craved) I was sabotaging my own plans for financial independence. And that the pattern of letting money disappear from my life so quickly and for such trivial reasons is how I got so far into debt in the first place.

So, how did I tame the beast? This morning, I logged in to my checking account and started putting my money to work---on debt reduction. I paid off the two credit cards, and will put another $500 on my third card. If the money is literally gone from my account, then I won't be tempted to spend it on small, trivial things, as I have in the past.

My spending spree was a good reminder that my shopping beast is still alive and well, just waiting for an opportunity to rear its ugly head. It was also a good learning experience---in the past, I would have waited until the very last minute to pay the "boring" bills with my refund, by which time most of the money would be spent. This time, I learned to pay the bills early, to avoid the danger of spending my refund on things that won't contribute at all to my future financial security.

3 comments:

Angelo said...

Congrats!

I like seeing someone progressing on their goals to FI it motivates me:)

Finally Frugal said...

Thanks, Angelo! Hopefully I can keep it up---or at least keep myself from sliding back into 'retail therapy' mode and cranking up the credit card debt again. . . .

Cassie said...

I've had to do the same thing. As soon as I get paid money automatically goes to bills, savings, etc... or else I spend it. Between that and keeping my credit card on ice I've managed to do reasonably well. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your posts :)

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