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In this episode, one woman illustrates the relatable money mistakes she kept repeating in her 20s, and how she fixed them before turning 30. Click here to hear more about how your spending might change when you hit your 30s:

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an essay by Kate Moser Miller:

Video narration by Kyra Cornett

The Financial Diet site:

We've just begun a new decade, which I'm especially in my feelings about, as I'm personally starting a new era too, my 30s.

Given my birthday's proximity to the New Year, each year, I'm reminded of my own aging right around the time that people are setting their New Year's resolutions. Last year, as I turned 29, I realized I had one year left in my 20s to get right on a few levels.

That included investing in therapy and thinking critically about what I wanted the next 10 years of my career to look like. But perhaps the largest area I needed to set straight was my finances. After taking a critical look at my various accounts, I committed to changing these five habits before I turned 30, so I could start my new decade ready to conquer anything.

Number one, obsessively checking my bank account. Don't get me wrong. I still find it important to do a daily check-in to make sure no fraudulent charges have landed on my account and to stay on the lookout for bank fees.

But for most of my 20s, I have checked my online banking platform six to 10 times per day. Even worse is that I've historically checked my retirement accounts multiple times a week. Note to my younger self, if dividends accrued that quickly, we'd all be Beyonce.

The problem with this practice for me was that it allowed my finances to hold so much space in my mind. Signing into my online banking portal eight times a day wasn't fostering a healthy relationship with money. It was creating a scarcity mindset around it.

Today, I limit myself to one login per day. OK, maybe two. Number two, using my monthly budget as catharsis, but not as a tool for informing my spending.

I have kept a budget spreadsheet for years-- Virgo moon here, hello-- updating it after every purchase for a real-time calculation of the amount I have left in any given monthly category. Keeping a budget is crucial for good financial health. But for me, the practice was more about catharsis.

Phew, I spent way too much on drinks last night. But now it's in my budget. I have repented.

I can move on. I wasn't looking critically at the way I was spending. Instead, I should have been balancing out that high drink spend with a few more nights spent in.

Number three, not setting up automatic deposits for investment. I hemmed and hawed over whether to set up automatic deposits for years, mostly because I was overspending each month-- see point two-- and therefore, needed that investment money to pay off my monthly credit card bills. But two things eventually convinced me to set up auto deposits.

I realized how easy it was to set up recurring deposits in the online investment platform I use. And I read enough articles stressing the importance of investing early and often. I imagined my future self vacationing in Italy annually.

And the best way I could find to ensure that future was to set aside money each and every month, to be invested into my retirement fund. Number four, not creating a travel-specific savings bucket. I, like many people who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so, love to travel.

I've also historically had a debilitating case of FOMO. I can't bear the thought of missing Mardi Gras in New Orleans or a chance to take a girl's trip to Santa Fe. I recognize that to have the financial bandwidth to say yes to trips like these, without falling into financial ruin, is a huge privilege, one not everyone has.

Still, I had a habit of booking flights without thinking about where that flight would land on my budget. And even though I was traveling often, I still wasn't putting money aside in a travel fund to draw from each time I booked a ticket. It wasn't until this turning 30 challenge that I realized I was doing myself a disservice.

I created a separate savings account for travel. Under this new system, I no longer have to raid my other budget categories to pay for a plane ticket. Number five, not setting aside small amounts of savings.

For a long time, I thought my savings goals should be really high. Aim for the stars, right? But those sky-high savings goals were keeping me from saving much at all.

Like if I couldn't save hundreds a month, I shouldn't bother, right? Um, no. When I read about the 52-Week Challenge, I realized I needed to commit to it last year.

The idea behind it is that you put an amount of money each week into savings, starting with $1 on Week One, $2 on Week Two, and so on. I did mine a bit differently. I wrote numbers 1 through 52 in my planner and each week set aside and crossed off a number in the planner.

That gave me the flexibility to put 52 on one week when I was feeling flush and $1 on a week I was feeling broke. I put myself on track to save $1,378 for a year, in addition to what I put aside for retirement and regular savings. So what have I learned from breaking these bad habits?

After a year of working on breaking these bad habits, my biggest takeaway is this. Awareness and intentionality are the keys to financial well-being. Practice awareness of where my money is being spent and committing to reprioritizing where I spend moving forward will define my finances into my 30s and beyond.