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Exercise: Getting out of your own way

Take 5 minutes to make a list of all the influences on your financial life that you are most aware of. Think of where you are, whom you are with, and what you are doing when you start to want something. Remember some of the unnecessary purchases you have made recently. What prompted them? How did you decide on that purchase versus everything else on your list? Where did you first hear about the product you bought? Did you make the decision alone, with other members of your household, or with the support of friends or colleagues? Do you know someone who has something similar?

Over the next few weeks, begin to watch for the triggers that start the process of wanting. What do you see and hear that impacts what you want? Who do you compare yourself to? Where is your danger zone: in front of the TV, in a mall, reading magazines, talking with friends? As you begin to understand your behavior patterns better, make some decisions that will help you become a Conscious Spender. Are there friends with whom you are better off not shopping? Are there catalogs or cable channels that lead you into temptation?

Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. from The Ms. Spent Money Guide: Get More of What You Want with What You Earn by Deborah Knuckey. Copyright © 2001 by Deborah Knuckey. This book is available at all bookstores, online booksellers and from the Wiley web site at or 1-800-CALL WILEY.



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