File photo of ReceiptsFor somebody who still has a lot of debt from college to manage, I like to think I’m good with money. Not great, but good. My wife always tells me she thinks I’m better at it, especially since I’m meticulous about keeping a written, balanced checkbook ledger.

I try very hard to be frugal. Sometimes I think I even come off as a cheapskate at times. I don’t mean to. Sometimes I just get into overdrive about saving, especially since I’m trying to pay down (as quickly as possible) what I can of my student loan debt and move toward a debt-free lifestyle for our family (a future post all in itself, I’m sure).

Then there are other times where I am, for whatever reason, completely careless and spend more than I intended, only to feel the sense of regret as I load the bags into the car or balance my checkbook. Take a recent trip to Target, for instance. I had run in with one particular goal in mind – purchase a hot pot or electric kettle for the office to make tea. We have a coffee maker there, but I feel like the accessibility of coffee being there all the time has made me to eager to drink it way too often. And I don’t like making tea in the microwave. They had one left for what I thought was the reasonable price of $12.99. Simple, no? Okay, I’ll spend $13.

This is where I always fall into the trap. Wait, we need creamer at the office. So I go, find some organic creamer (naturally a little more expensive than non-organic). So, there’s another $3.19.

You know what? I might as well stock up on some tea for my desk while I’m here. I’m buying the hot pot for coffee, after all. Okay. Green Tea and some black tea. ($3.59 and $2.29, respectively).

See what happened so very quickly? I just bumped the Subtotal of my bill up from $12.99 to $22.06. Throw in tax and now I’ve spent $23.20, roughly $10 more than I had agreed to spend in the beginning of this trip.

It’s an issue I really, really need to get better at. I can’t stand the sense of regret I feel when I get done, get home, or get in the car and realize “what just happened? why did I spend that?”

Discipline. I lack discipline sometimes.

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