Once you see how much you can save when you spend only on needs rather than wants, you may never go back to frivolous shopping.
Step 1: Eat what you have With the exception of fresh produce and dairy, try not to buy any food. Many of us have enough stuff in our refrigerator and cupboards to last more than a month. Not sure what to make out of your odds and ends? Type a few ingredients into a search engine along with the word "recipe" and you're sure to come up with something.
TIP: Invite yourself to loved ones' homes for dinner so you can stretch out your food supplies!
Step 2: Find free entertainment Find free ways to entertain yourself: Call your local tourist office or chamber of commerce about events in your area; borrow books, movies, and your favorite magazines from the library; see if any local gyms offer trial memberships; hit a tasting at a wine store.
Step 3: Walk or bike everywhere Walk or bike everywhere. Hitch a ride with friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives for anyplace that's not within walking or biking distance.
TIP: Don't have a bike? Look for one on web sites like freecycle.org.
Step 4: Barter your services Barter your services whenever possible. Even if you don't have any particular expertise, you can always trade your physical labor.
Step 5: Clean out your closets Clean out your closets. You've probably forgotten half the stuff in there; rediscovering it can give you the same rush as buying something new. Plus, getting organized may discourage you from re-cluttering the place.
Step 6: Make some money! Root around your home for items you no longer want that can be spruced up and re-sold. Even if you don't make much money, it will help keep your mind off spending it!
FACT: At least 80 percent of the world's 6 billion people lives on less than $10 a day.