I stopped at the ATM on Sunday and was shocked when my receipt printed. Where had all my money gone? As I drove I thought about what I had spent money on in the last month. Bills, groceries and gas. Essentials. But what else?

When I got home I logged on to my account and was hit with reality. I’ve been spending my hard earned money on crap. Mostly lunches with coworkers, weekends out and random stops at CVS, Starbucks and Marshalls. Almost as quickly as it was coming in, my money was flying right back out.

I started to go through all the stages: shock, denial, anger and finally, acceptance. I knew it was time to make a change.

I do save. I have a savings account with a good amount of money in it that I never touch and a 401k that is slowly building. But I know it has to be more than that. So today I begin the challenge of actually really saving. Beginning with a trip to Human Resources to ensure that a majority of my paycheck goes right into savings instead of my checking account. If it’s not at my fingertips, I’m not going to spend it.

Other goals include packing my lunch more often and not buying random stuff I don’t really need. Things like new hair products that promise volume! volume! volume! (they never live up to their claims anyway), trashy magazines and yet another item from HomeGoods. 

I have to work on changing the mentality that just because I have money now, I can spend it. I went from being a poor college student who struggled to pay the bills to gaining the freedom that comes with being employed at a real job with a real paycheck. I’ve taken advantage of it and spent without consequence. But it’s time to stop.

It’s time to be a grownup.

Wish me luck.