Give yourself a waiting period
We all make impulse purchases from time to time. One minute you’re harmlessly surfing the internet, the next minute you’re looking at a $100 pocket-size flashlight and before you know it, it’s on your doorstep two days later. For you, “flashlight” may be something else, but you get what I’m saying. The best solution I’ve found for this problem is to give myself a mandatory 24-hour waiting period. Often, the purchase won’t seem like such a great idea the next day. I use this method online and in-store. If shopping on sites like Amazon is a problem, you should read this.
Eat at home
Cooking at home is probably easy for a lot of people, but personally, I’m not a lot of people. I feel like I excel on the grill and can make a mean pot of chili, but for anything else, I usually get take-out. I realize this is a problem, even though I feel like I keep some local restaurants in business. If you feel like you’re in the same boat, just track it for one week. Start on Sunday and keep track of all your restaurant receipts for the week. The following Sunday, go to the grocery store and buy enough for a week’s worth of meals. I guarantee you’ll see a huge difference. I’m still not perfect at this, but I’m doing a lot better.
Don’t go off list
I’m not much of a planner when it comes to meals but it definitely helps when you’re trying to spend less money. Figure out what you want to eat for the week, make a list of what you need to buy, (remember you can use some ingredients for multiple meals) and don’t buy anything you haven’t planned for. I’ll admit, I’m usually guilty of throwing a few extras in my mini-buggy.
Leave your credit card at home
You may be thinking it’s not responsible to leave your house without some sort of payment, in case of emergency. You’re right, so take your debit card or cash. If you need to buy something, you can use what I like to call “present money”, as opposed to using a credit card, which I call “future money”. You should have a good idea about the money you have, so hopefully this will keep you from spending more than you should.
Borrow before you buy
You can’t ever go wrong with borrowing stuff from friends and family. Just don’t go overboard. I wouldn’t ask your neighbor to borrow his lawnmower every weekend, all summer long. But if you brother has those Marvel Blu-rays you’ve been wanting, watch his copies and save the money.