In the past couple of years, my income has doubled, and so has my desire to buy, buy, buy.
I am not opposed to treating myself to a new dress every once in awhile, but buying lunch at work is a pointless, money sucking venture that I've fallen victim to far too many times in the past.
I've found that by using a little reverse psychology and using some tricks on myself, I save money far more willingly than I would otherwise.
Leave it at Home
I don't mind the trips to Sephora, or a little shopping every once in awhile, but when it comes to where my problem spending lies, it's my day-to-day purchases.
I mean those lunches out because I'm too lazy to make something, and the coffee when I'm lagging, or the parking when it's raining and I don't want to pull out my umbrella.
If I know I have a full tank of gas and my iPhone is fully charged, I'll leave my methods of payment (debit, credit, and cash) at home to avoid falling into the vortex of daily spending.
If you can't leave it at home, find another way to prevent yourself from pulling out your cash. Lock it in your drawer at work and give a coworker the key so you can't access it until after a day is done. Don't make excuses - there is always a way.
Make it Uncomfortable
A few months ago, I got a new pair of pumps. I love them now, but the first few days (weeks, even) that I wore them were agony.
You know when you wear shoes that you're not used to, and they're new and stiff and rub on all the worng places because they haven't formed to your foot yet?
Yeah, that was these shoes. They looked great with my work outfits, but there was no way I was walking more than absolutely necessary in them (which was, essentially, to and from my car).
I found that the first day I wore them, I ate what I brought for lunch because my shoes hurt too much to walk down the stairs and go to the cafe across the street.
I wore them all that week, and I didn't buy lunch even once. No lunch, no coffee, no gum at the convenience store, no cookies at the bakery across the street. No nothing.
Obviously this is a very specific example, but if you make it uncomfortable somehow, or inconvenient to spend money, you won't do it as much.
Pretend You Have None
If you pretend you don't have any money, you won't have any money to spend.
If you have a problem with credit card purchases and buying things on credit when you don't have the money to pay it back, don't lie to yourself. The amount you are spending on interest far outweighs the amount that you are getting back in rewards from having a cash back or travel card, so cut up your card.
That way you won't be swiping it on unncessary purchases.
If you pretend you have no money for long enough, you may start to believe it. I like to see things in order to believe them, so all of the money left over in my chequing after my bills are paid gets transferred into an ING TFSA account or to my RRSP. It's completely separate from my chequing account, and I have an extreme reluctance to spend that money in my ING account. It's very hard to get out of the account, as it takes a few days and some transfers, so out of sight, out of mind.
Whatever it takes for you to pretend that you have no money, do it.
I that trying to trick yourself is the easiest way to save money without having willpower (haha). How about you? Do you ever pull some jedi mind tricks on yourself to save?