I make a point of sharing my financial success stories with you — it’s only fair that I confess when I make mistakes. I’ve been doing so well for so long, that I’d forgotten what it’s like to “fall off the wagon”. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened since I returned from vacation.

On my first day back at work, Nick told me, “There’s a new set of Magic cards out.” During my bleakest financial period, I was addicted to Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game that is addictingly fun to play, but which is designed to part suckers like me from their money. I quit cold turkey a couple of years ago, around the same time I started to get my finances in order.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but Nick’s comment, which I would normally ignore, prompted me to purchase a box of Magic cards. That’s $95. By the end of the week, I’d spent an additional $66 to play Magic online. That’s right, folks: I’d reverted to an old, expensive habit, and I stayed with it for entire week.

This afternoon, I realized what I was doing. Not only had I spent $161 for a bit of fleeting escapism, I was also neglecting duties like yardwork and, more importantly, my writing. Today’s post was supposed to be a book review, not a guest post. I had to dig into reader-submitted stuff because I’d been negligent.

It’s situations like this that drive home the importance of knowing yourself. Each of us is different. We each have things that tempt us, and if we know what these things are, we can try to avoid them. There’s nothing wrong with spending money on something that brings you joy, so long as it’s money you can afford to spend. But I lost sight of my goal, forgot that I still have over $12,000 in debt that I’m working to eliminate. I also forgot how consumed I become by this game. I made a poor decision, and I admit it, but I’m ready to move on.

I’m smarter than this. And I’m not going to let a $161 mistake bring me down. I’m going to forget about it and get back on the path I’ve been following. I’ll just reach my destination a couple days later than I would have before…

I’m not the only personal finance blogger who’s spent a lot of money on Magic: The Gathering. Trent at The Simple Dollar also used to be under its spell.

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