1. Go Cash-Only
Credit cards make it easy to overspend, but you can't use them if you don't have them with you. Leave your credit cards at home, and stick to cash or debit for all of your purchases.
2. Set Long-term Goals
Find yourself blowing big bucks on small purchases like coffee and vending machine snacks? Here's a simple way to crush the habit: Pick something that you really want a vacation, a fat emergency fund, to get out of debt and remind yourself of this goal each time you feel tempted to blow money on a non-essential. Then, take the money you would have blown, and put it towards your goal. Before long you'll be sunning yourself on a tropical shore or sitting on top of a mound of money. Who knew breaking bad habits could be so rewarding?
3. Distinguish Between Needs and WantsDo you need those new shoes or do you just want them? Ask yourself this question each time you find yourself contemplating a purchase. If it's a need (and it fits within your budget), go ahead and buy them. If it's a want, spend some time weighing the impact of your purchase. What will these shoes do for you? Will they make you happy? Fill a hole in your wardrobe? Can you afford to buy them? Is there something else that you want more? Be honest about how your purchase will impact your life, and then decide if that "want" is really worth the asking price.
4. Shop with a ListEver gone into a store for a few items, and emerged with bags and bags of stuff? Yeah, we all have. Fortunately, there's an easy fix for this common spending trap: shop with a list. Jot down everything that you need from the store, then only shop for the items that are on your list. Tempted by something extra? Then, make a note to add it to your next shopping list.
5. Give Yourself an Allowance
Look over your budget, and decide how much money you can afford to blow each week. Then, withdraw this amount from your checking account at the beginning of the week, and spend guilt-free. Just remember: When the money's gone, the spending stops no exceptions.