1. Avoid unncessary temptation to spend money. If you know you are having a "lean" month due to exceptionally high utility bills or other reasons, avoid unnecessary temptation. Avoid shopping malls, catalog, internet or email ads, movie theatres, and the candy aisle at the grocery store, etc. Oh, and don't take other people with you to the grocery store. They will only add stuff to the cart you don't need.
2. Once a week, get some "mad money" from the atm or your bank. This money could be for the occasional snack, coffee, etc. I do this and it helps to avoid those mystery debits that I forget to write down in my check register. Best of all, when it's all gone, it's gone until I go to the atm again on Saturday.
3. Improve your health. I have decided to gradually give up drinking colas both for my health and my pocketbook. This amounts to probably around $2.00 or so a day, but added up over a whole year, it amounts to a lot of money I could use to pay off debt or save for the future. So far, I am down to drinking about 12 oz. of soda a day. I bought myself a mug today so that I can drink tea or water at work. Besides the dollar or two this costs us daily, I figure there are other hidden costs too, like being sick more.
4. If you know you want to do something that will cost money that you cannot come up with right away, first figure out what you want to do and when you want to do it. Find out how much you think it will cost and then create a plan for doing it. I did this last year when I wanted to go to a conference for work. Instead of adding to credit card debt, I set aside money for the trip for months and also cashed in survey points for check and gift cards for food. I also do this with property taxes. I have a Christmas Club account to which I add a certain amount every month. When the taxes come due, I just transfer the money and write the check. No sweat.
5. Mrrebate.com is my friend. Anytime I want to order something online, I check this website to see if the company is listed there or if there is another company there that has the product I need. Signing into mrrebate.com and then clicking on the company website frequently nets me a rebate or coupon code I did not know about. Once your rebates build up to a certain amount (I think it's $25.00), you can request a check.
6. If mrrebate.com (above) does not work, I go to Google and type in the name of the product and coupon code. If a coupon code is available, usually I will get a few websites that tell me what it is. This has saved me hundreds of dollars at least.
7. I do lots of surveys, which net me $5.00 to $10.00 here and there. When I get a survey check in the mail or by Paypal, I look around and see if there any bills that need to be paid and pay them with it. If not, it goes right to the credit card. When it gets paid off, it will go to savings.
Oh, and I really love this quote by Michael J. Fox.