Responsible money management is a skill I learned relatively late in life. While I’ve never completely missed an obligation I have been late on occasion. My issue with money stemmed from my sense of entitlement. “I’ve worked HARD, I DESERVE whatever it is I’m whipping the credit card out for. At one point I was 5-figures in credit card debt. That was a long time ago and with help I was able to clear that debt but I still hadn’t really grasped the concept of responsible money management until fairly recently. While I was no longer living beyond my means I was still very self-indulgent and wasteful with my money. I soon found I had to dig myself out from yet another mountain of debt. I decided one day I had been in this situation for the very last time…My husband’s impending retirement was the biggest catalyst in my change of attitude. If he was going to retire successfully we HAD to get a handle on our spending habits. I took a good, hard look at what I had been spending and decided enough was enough. I started working at it with intention and cut the wasteful spending out of my budget. That is, once I FINALLY had a written budget!! I was a bit ruthless-as my husband would say I was like, “Sherman going through Atlanta!” I fired my housekeeper!! I cancelled my spa membership. I cancelled my magazine subscriptions and started going to the library more. I stopped calling the pizza guy on nights I didn’t feel like cooking. Within 9 months the consumer debt was all paid off. The feeling of both relief and accomplishment I had when I made the very last payment was pretty overwhelming and I carry that feeling with me whenever I’m tempted to fall back into old, bad habits.
So the moral of the story is this: I learned late, but I learned. It is never too late to develop good money habits that will serve you well in years to come.