9. Sleeve your credit card with what you really want.
8. Set up a waiting rule for flashy purchases.
7. Round up purchases, bank the change.
6. Freeze your credit card for serious spending stoppage.
5. Always bank your savings and discounts.
4. Use a high-interest online account to motivate yourself.
To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, greed, for lack of a better word, is a great motivator to get things done. If you’re putting money away into a higher-interest, online-only savings account, find out where it tells you how much interest you’ve earned for the year and keep it in front of your eyes. Doing so is a great motivation to stash more cash in there—think of it as a kind of progress bar until your next financial Level Up.
3. Let Firefox find your deals for you.
2. Defer dumb purchases with a “Crap I Just Don’t Need” list.
This isn’t so much self-trickery as self-realisation, but it’s a great way to see how fleeting and utterly unnecessary most of our Must. Have. Now. urges are. Every time you feel the need to buy something that’s not a real necessity, write it down on a list (pocket notebook, PDA, wiki, or wherever). Eventually, you’ll start noticing how long the list is, and how well you’ve gotten along without any of it. Bonus: Making a pseudo-wi
sh list of your consumerist desires can help you get them out of your system. This aversion therapy hack comes from Merlin Mann, who notes that it doesn’t cost a thing to try out. Photo by .Gladius.
1. Set up an Automatic Savings Plan for set-it-and-forget-it saving.
As shown above, you can play all kinds of mental games with yourself to keep your worst impulses away from your money, but the real meta-hack is to have the right amount of money earned moved auto-magically into a savings account, or a “buffer” account for unexpected costs, or investments—anywhere but your walking-around stash. Gina’s walked us through automating your finances in thorough fashion, and The Simple Dollar has also posted a front-to-back demonstration using ING Direct. If you’re not using a bank that offers easy tools for automation, you might want to rethink where you keep your money.
Everyone’s mind works a little differently, of course, so our crafty commenters will probably have a few mental overrides of their own to cut useless spending and shuttle away more savings. Let’s hear about them—how do you keep your money away from your irresponsible alter-ego? What tech or real-world tools do you use to keep your money in its place? Let’s hear about it all in the comments.