I started reading a lot of personal finance blogs back when I set my big credit card payoff goal, and I read something recently about how hard it is to transition from paying off debt to building savings. Psychologically, once your card balances are zero, it feels kinda like you have a zillion skillion dollars more every month and you want to start buying all the dumb crap you've been denying yourself. This is bad. This is how you can go back in the hole.
For example, I loves me some Target, just like everyone else. Sometimes I stop there on my walk home and just wander aimlessly around the end caps. (Turns out that there's a science to this. I clearly live an exciting life when end cap browsing at Target is one of my favorite activites.) When I was flat broke, I was really good at browsing and telling myself "no." I bought food and shampoo and not much else. And it turned out to not be so terrible, because I actually had most of the stuff that caught my eye; Target just had it in a newer cuter version. I got very good at distinguishing between wants and needs. But last night, my internal dialogue went like this:
Spendthrift Kate: Ohmygod, cute cereal bowls, I'ma get two!
Skinflint Kate: But Kate, you already have bowls. You have many, many bowls.
Spendthrift Kate: But! These ones have MONKEYS ON THEM! UUURRRGGHHH WANT IT BAD!!!
I didn't buy the monkey bowls. I did buy a shower curtain and bathmat, but they were both on clearance and they matched my hard-to-match bathroom tile. So. I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
Seriously, though. It is hard to say no to monkey bowls.