1. Use online savings. I use emigrant directr, but ing direct is also popular, as are a bunch of other online banks. Not only do you earn like twice the interest of a normal bank savings account, but if you don’t get the ATM account it’s not as easy to withdraw money … making it less likely that you’ll get money out on an impulse.
2. Try gift giving. Giving people gifts is one of the most wonderful traditions, as it shows generosity and caring. Until it becomes commercialized. Then it’s just really really expensive. Instead, try giving the gift of spending time with someone. Try giving them something you baked or made yourself. Try giving them services they’d appreciate. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to be generous.
3. Teach your kids about advertising, saving, earning, and gift-giving. If you have kids, educating them about money will save you a lot of money in the long run. If they know about how advertising influences them in tricky ways, they’ll be less likely to demand (OK, beg and plead for) the latest fad toys. If they know about saving and earning money, they’ll respect the money that you earn, and that you are trying to save. If they know that gift-giving doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money (see above), they won’t necessarily want expensive stuff.
4. Find happiness in life, not spending. Many times people buy stuff because they think (subconsciously perhaps) that it will bring them happiness. They just HAVE to have the latest gadget or shoes or cars. It’s so fun! And yet, you buy that stuff, and you’re only happy for a day or two at most. Then you just need to buy more. It’s a never-ending cycle. Instead, learn to love life. Find joy in nature! In the people around you! In doing something you love! In exercise and meditation! There’s so much in life to make us happy, there’s no need to find it in spending.
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” - Pablo Picasso