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Everyday Cheapskate: You can be your own powerful personal finance tool

The most powerful financial tool you have at your disposal is your ability to control your thoughts and the circumstance in your life. Your attitude is the only thing in your life over which you have complete control.

Your attitude is more important than anything -- more important than education or experience. It is more important than how much money you have, how much you owe, what you would like to do or where you want to go.

You cannot design the circumstances of your life. But you can tailor your attitude in response to those situations. The way you choose to respond to your circumstances from the mundane to the major has the potential to change the course of your life.

Here are some ideas for how you can put your attitude to work for you.

GET ANGRY. Debt is the pits. It eliminates your options, keeps you awake at night, can make you lie to your creditors -- even lie to your spouse. I know. I've been in horrible debt. So what are you going to do about it? You can continue to whine and complain. Or I have a better idea. Get mad!

Decide once and for all that you will no longer sell your soul to creditors. Not one more day, not one more purchase. Get indignant at the very idea.

CAMPAIGN. Think of your attitude as your personal ad agency, public relations firm and marketing organization all rolled into one. Flood your mind with so many compelling messages of hope and encouragement that no space remains for doubt and discouragement.

CONTENTMENT. Choosing to be content doesn't mean you toss out your goals and dreams. Contentment is not complacency. It is deciding to want what you have. Contentment is the way to deal with self-pity and other destructive behaviors.

GRATITUDE. The simple act of choosing to be grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what you don't have is powerful beyond words. Sounds cheesy perhaps, but once you experience the power of a grateful heart, you will understand what a powerful antidote it is for negative attitudes.

SELF TALK. Taking a few moments to have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself is an effective way to stop mindless spending. Ask yourself:

Do I need this?

Don't I have something already that will do just as well?

Do I have the cash to pay for it?

Could I delay the purchase for a few weeks?

Am I willing to sit on my decision for 48 hours?

When I run across something I think I have to own, I just wait a little while. More often than not, I don't go back to buy it because I've either forgotten all about it or simply changed my mind.

Mary Hunt is founder of

You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.


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