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The people who issue credit cards are not stupid. They push them because they know that using plastic can distract you from how much money you're actually spending. You just whip out that little piece of plastic, no money changes hands, and that latte or book is yours. You may not think at all about the consequences of what you’ve done until your credit card statements start trickling in and you find that they’ve become huge. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Just pay cash for everything. Stop using your credit cards for some period of time. If you find there’s not enough money in your checking account to pay for a purchase then just don't make it.
Strategy 4: Take no money or credit cards to your “tempting” places
You may not have ever thought of this but there are certain places where you may be spending money on short-term desires. Typical of these “tempting” places are the bookstore, the coffee shop, the electronics store and the clothes store. Your first thought might be to just avoid your “tempting” places. But that doesn't really teach you anything. A better approach is to go to them sometimes but make sure you don't take either a credit card or any cash. This will help you learn how to resist temptation. And resisting temptation is the very basis of learning financial self-control.
Strategy 5: Avoid costly social engagements
Do your social engagements typically revolve around clubs or restaurants where you’re strongly encouraged to spend money? Suppose you meet friends at a restaurant for dinner, go to a movie and then to a bar for a nightcap? You may not realize it but you’ve probably just spent $100. Stay away from these kinds of social engagements. Try to do your socializing either at home or at a friend's house or someplace where you don't have to spend money as part of the experience. For example, you could schedule a picnic somewhere or you could play soccer with friends at a local park.
Strategy 6: Track and review your spending – very carefully
The biggest reason that most people lose track of their spending and let it get out of control is because they really don't know where their money is going. You should make a pledge to track all of your spending, carefully recording and categorizing every single cent you spend. There are tools such as Mint, Quicken and You Need A Budget that are easy to use and can help you do just this. You could even track and analyze your spending with a pocket notebook or a spreadsheet program. The important thing is to write down every cent you spend, divide it into categories and then review everything to see where you’re overspending. Doing this can be a real eye-opener. It's almost certain that you’ve spent far more on stuff than you thought you had so seeing a monthly total of how much you spent at the Google Play store, on Amazon or at the convenience store may actually shock you. And it's very likely that you could eliminate a lot of that spending so you'd have extra money to save or pay down your debt.
If you've never budgeted before, here's a video titled Budgeting for Beginners that shows how to develop a budget using nothing but pens and a calendar.