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When we make mistakes, or rather while we are making them, often we don’t realize that they are mistakes. My excuse was always, “Oh, I’ll find a way around this,” or “Just this one time.”

I found out though that the more slack I gave myself, the more I repeated the behaviors, and then I beat myself up for not learning from my mistakes.

It is a big thing for me personally to be able to say that I have learned from my mistakes. It took time, effort, and a lot of tears.

Here is my personal list of lessons learned. I have a copy on my fridge so I never forget.

1. Be honest about what you need and what you think you need.

2. Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing where you stand financially, can ruin you.

3. Don’t buy unless you pay off your debts. No shoes, clothes, jewelry, spas, lattes.

4. Stay on top of your bills every month. Pick a date and go through your bank accounts, bills, and payments.

5. Run your home like you are the CEO of a huge corporation.

6. Don’t “invest” in get-rich-quick schemes. You will only wind up spending more money. When something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is just that: Too good to be true.

7. Be happy with every small victory. Every payment that you make toward your debt brings you closer to freedom.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone in this journey.

9. Don’t be ashamed of your situation. MOST of us have been exactly where you are at some point in our lives.

10. And last but not least, SMILE. Life is going by too fast. Smile; you’re doing the right thing. Every small step is a step closer toward achieving your goals.