Are you lying to yourself about money?

We all lie to ourselves sometimes when it comes to money. We justify purchasing things we don't need because it's a "good deal." But that lime green shirt isn't such a good deal if you're never going to wear it because you hate the color. We think we "need" things that we really don't. If you want it, just admit that you want it. Don't pretend that you need it, when you don't. We decide that we deserve to "treat" ourselves to something nice. Don't create a reward system for yourself when you decide you want to buy something, just admit that you want it.

We justify a purchase by figuring out how much our credit card payment will go up each month. You might be able to afford "only" an extra $100 a month now, but what if you lose your job or have an unexpected illness? We rationalize buying something because we'll "pay it off" when we get that bonus or raise we're expecting. And what happens when that money never materializes?

Part of becoming a better money manager is being honest with yourself about your spending. It's not wrong to buy things you want, so long as you do it responsibly and do it after your other bills are paid. Quit lying to yourself about why you're spending money. By being honest with yourself, you can start on the road to financial recovery.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.