When will you be debt free?
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5. Always getting what you want
Living above your means and charging the difference is the financial equivalent of slow carbon monoxide poisoning. It makes pre-existing financial problems worse and can be the cause of headaches and shortness of breath until you address the source of your problem.
The solution: "Don't always keep buying what you want. It'll get you in trouble," certified financial planner Mari Adam said.
If you've built up a credit card balance, figure out the fastest way to pay it down. First consider whether it makes sense to transfer your balance to a lower rate card. (See the last slide.) Then figure out how long it will take you to pay off your debt under different scenarios. (For help, try CNNMoney.com's Debt Reduction Planner).You might also figure out where you can squeeze out some money from your current budget to make the highest payment possible. Then automate your payments so that they go straight from your bank account to the credit card provider to avoid late fees or missed payment penalties.