Growing inflation combined with plummeting housing prices and tighter credit have forced millions of Americans into deeper debt. The current total on revolving debt for consumers in the US, which is comprised mostly of credit card debt, stood at 957 billion dollars for the month of April. That's up a staggering 800 billion dollars from four years ago. Financial journalist Stacey Tisdale says ironically many of our money problems have very little to do with money. They start far before we swipe the card through the machine. Stacey says there are three primary influences on our spending habits. The first influence is the lessons we learn as children. Anotherwords, if you grew up in a home where credit card debt was ok or a budget was an after thought then your money behaviour in your adulthood will be much the same. Stacey also says social influences, particularly here in southwestern Connectictut drive us to make money decisions that often put us at financial risk. For example, you must live in neighborhood X, or drive car Y to be accepted, even if you can't afford the lifestyle. And finally Stacey says the way we perceive ourselves is a tremendous influence on our spending habits. If you tell yourself, "Saving isn't my style," or, "I'll never have enough to retire," then chances are you'll pattern your behaviour after that expectation. Stacey says the way to get back on track financially is the next time you go to buy a new "toy" ask yourself, "Why am I buying this? Do I need it and can I afford it?" If you're brutally honest with yourself, she says, you may be surprised at the answer.