If you are in bad debt, ask yourself why you kept purchasing stuff you couldn't afford? If you aren't in bad debt, but always seem to be living paycheck to paycheck, you need to figure out why you don't want to save. What does "Retail Therapy" give you that you couldn't get somewhere else? I know for me after a bad day a pretty skirt or some shinny new shoes make me forget all of my troubles. Sometimes I think it has to do with the ability to make a choice and have it DO something (it's a time when us Chicks can say "I want that" and no one thinks we are being bossy).
The entirety of our personal experiences with money has taught us "money myths". Everyone has their own set. These could be memories, personal vows, or experiences. Maybe you feel like you have to treat yourself to make yourself feel better. Maybe you are trying to fill a void. Maybe you feel like you NEED some item to get through through a difficult day. Maybe you just don't know the difference between a need (dinner) and a want (take-out). Just think about it and think about what exactly we are working with when it comes to why you think you need what you think you need.
Everyone has heard of the phrase "Money is the root of all evil." In popular culture we see all the troubles of the prosta-tots, and Hollywood people. Rich Scrooges without friends or loved ones dominate many children's books. In contrast, the Waltons seem so happy. Unfortunately, many people failed to take home the correct point (you don't need money to be happy) and absorbed the reverse (money makes you unhappy).
Try to think back to your earliest experiences with money. In our culture, money is a taboo topic. Money becomes a dirty thing. Our family didn't talk about it because we were taught that money is an emotional topic and something that you don't talk about. I was pretty lucky that they made us start a savings account and encouraged us to save our allowance for bigger ticket items. But I never heard them talk about their money or budget and was taught to not ask.
What about your experiences? Did your parents ever talk about money? Did they ever fight about it? What did they spend their money on? What did you want to spend your money on? Have your feelings about money changed over the years or do you still feel pretty well the same?
What does money mean to you? Make an effort to notice how you interact with money and what emotions and attitudes you have tied to money.