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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 17th Jul 07, 7:08 PM
    • 8,116Posts
    • 42,310Thanks
    MSE Martin
    The Great "Self Discipline" Hunt
    • #1
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:08 PM
    The Great "Self Discipline" Hunt 17th Jul 07 at 7:08 PM
    What's it all about?

    Learning to spend within your budget is an important part of life, whether you're in debt or just trying to avoid it. Yet that doesn't make it easy or fun most of the time.

    So, this week I'd like your top tips on controlling your spending. When there's something you really want, but you know you shouldn't buy, what do you do to keep the urge at bay?

    My starter for ten

    As I often write I have two MoneySaving mantras that you should say to yourself before buying it. Which one to use depends on whether you're skint or not.


    Do I need it?
    Can I afford it?
    Can I find it cheaper anywhere else


    Will I use it?
    Is it worth it?
    Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 17-07-2007 at 7:45 PM.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • Kaz2904
    • By Kaz2904 17th Jul 07, 7:11 PM
    • 5,791 Posts
    • 37,638 Thanks
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:11 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:11 PM
    Is it 1: Useful or 2: Beautiful?
    Debt: 16/04/2007:TOTAL DEBT 92727.75 49395.47 43332.28 repaid 100.77% of 43000 target.
    MFiT T2: Debt 52856.59 6316.14 46540.45 repaid 101.17% of 46000 target.

    2013 Target: completely clear my 6316.14 0 mortgage debt. 6316.14 100% repaid.
  • hypno06
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:13 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:13 PM
    I have stopped having the ability to pay - leave all debit/credit cards at home. Only take the cash you absolutely need with you and don't have a cash card with you to take extra out of the hole in the wall. That way, however tempted you are, you have to walk away in the end.
    Successful women can still have their feet on the ground. They just wear better shoes. (Maud Van de Venne)
    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone (Neale Donald Walsch)
    • mrsmortenharket
    • By mrsmortenharket 17th Jul 07, 7:15 PM
    • 2,097 Posts
    • 20,893 Thanks
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:15 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:15 PM
    One good tip regarding a potential purchase, work out how long you'd have to work to pay for the purchase.

    • Sailorgirl
    • By Sailorgirl 17th Jul 07, 7:21 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 256 Thanks
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:21 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:21 PM
    Don't go to the shops.
    Window shopping is dangerous and must be stopped! Avoid temptation!
  • missylou
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:24 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:24 PM
    If am being totally honest I still apply a technique that is a bit of a hangover from my student days...Is it in the sale?...If yes then I will probably buy it if it is reduced enough for my liking....if no, then I wait for it to be in the sale!!!
    • catshark88
    • By catshark88 17th Jul 07, 7:28 PM
    • 1,059 Posts
    • 8,883 Thanks
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:28 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:28 PM
    Focus, focus, focus on what you are trying to pay off or save for. Your purchase will seem less tempting when compared against what you REALLY want!
    • whitewing
    • By whitewing 17th Jul 07, 7:37 PM
    • 11,540 Posts
    • 48,331 Thanks
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:37 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 07, 7:37 PM
    We - partner, son & myself - really love celebrating birthdays and Christmas with lots of 'little' presents wrapped individually as surprises. But by the time we'd trailed round the shops buying loads of stuff over a period of time, we used to find piles of stuff in the cupboard that we'd forgotten we'd bought. And most of it was tat anyway. So now we have a 'wish box' each. Throughout the year, we write down things we want and put it in the box as and when (eg book review from a magazine). Sometimes very specific and sometimes more general. Then two or three weeks before the birthday, or mid_nov for Xmas, we open the relevant wish box and see what's listed. (To keep the element of surprise, we don't look at our own wishes, and we are allowed to put wishes in other people's boxes). Then we get a selection of the items on the list according to what's available and the budget. We also can get ideas for freebies - last year one of son's suggestions for himself was a day without any household chores! It's great because:
    a) we can ban son from talking about his birthday (has to be in his box) until mid Oct - not until Nov but wants to talk about it daily from about Easter
    b) my memory is really bad so it's always a surprise because I'd forgotten about it
    c) if you change you mind, just write in another note saying 'I don't want xxx after all'

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 24-07-2007 at 6:37 PM.
    • whitewing
    • By whitewing 17th Jul 07, 8:03 PM
    • 11,540 Posts
    • 48,331 Thanks
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 07, 8:03 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 07, 8:03 PM
    Now, I also:
    a) aim to go supermarket shopping just once a month (I used to go Fridays after work so always spontaneously bought alcohol and Tesco Finest because I deserved it, and a book because at their prices it was better value than a magazine!). Buy just bread and milk in between. Working so far but only our second month
    b) set a budget, take a calculator and add it up as I go along. Yes I am that sad!
    Used to spend 100 a week. Now approx 120 a month + extra bread/milk, but will adjust this as we get used to this process. This alone has had the biggest impact on my spending for years and years.
  • hypno06
    The snowball calculator at has a "treats" calculator. If you put the amount of the treat you want in the calculator, it will tell you how much extra it is going to cost you in interest payments by not using that money to pay off your debts instead!!

    Makes you think twice about spending!

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 24-07-2007 at 6:38 PM.
    Successful women can still have their feet on the ground. They just wear better shoes. (Maud Van de Venne)
    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone (Neale Donald Walsch)
  • stevesless
    Everytime i open my wallet i have a list of my debts listed next to the money compartment. Once i see how much i owe, the wallet is swiftly shut!
    • newleaf
    • By newleaf 17th Jul 07, 8:21 PM
    • 3,009 Posts
    • 3,451 Thanks
    I sleep on it. If I still want it, I get it. But I do find I have managed to talk myself out of most things by the next day.
    Official DFW Nerd No 096 - Proud to have dealt with my debt!
  • rog2
    My tip is simple - Join in the PaP/Moozie 'What will you spend today and weekly spends challenge'.
    For me it has been one of the major factors in limiting my daily spends, since I know I'll have to account to the whole forum for any overspends.
    That's all the discipline I need.
    Last edited by rog2; 17-07-2007 at 8:49 PM.
    I am NOT, nor do I profess to be, a Qualified Debt Adviser. I have made MANY mistakes and have OFTEN been the unwitting victim of the the shamefull tactics of the Financial Industry.
    If any of my experiences, or the knowledge that I have gained from those experiences, can help anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances, then my experiences have not been in vain.

    HMRC Bankruptcy Statistic - 26th October 2006 - 23rd April 2007 BCSC Member No. 7

    • skint_spice
    • By skint_spice 17th Jul 07, 9:22 PM
    • 11,229 Posts
    • 23,654 Thanks
    I focus on my end goal - moving away from my awful neighbours! no amount of pretty clothes or cds would mean as much as being able to sell up and move somewhere better but given my debts at the mo a bigger mortgage would be mad (and probably unavailable)!
    5000 by December 2018 721/5000
  • dubgirl
    If I see something in a shop then I walk away and go back several days later to see if I really want it - give myself several days to ponder on the potential purchase and whether it is absolute necessary - I use this technique particularly when thinking about shoes and handbags.
    debt as at 1.11.2008 - 39,009.27
    dfd - somewhere over the rainbow!
    Nerd no. 262 - wear your number with pride
    Long Hauler 113
    • angelavdavis
    • By angelavdavis 17th Jul 07, 9:31 PM
    • 4,705 Posts
    • 7,325 Thanks
    1) Leave the cards at home
    2) Only keep an emergency tenner in your pocket for real emergencies
    3) Concentrate on something you really like - my example would be diving holidays(!) When I want a big pressie, I actually measure it by what I wouldn't be able to afford - so think "well, that is equivalent to a days diving in Red Sea" or "My goodness, I have saved £20 per month on insurance that's half a diving holiday over a year"!
    4) As well as Martin's points about buying generally, I would add "and can I get points or discount?"
    5) Don't change your pin numbers to numbers you will remember!
    Thanks to MSE, I am mortgage free!
  • alant1000
    my bad habit actually did me favors
    i remember when i was about 21 i spent sooooooo much money and was always sooooo overdrawn or ended up with suchhhhh a small amount of money at the end of the month that eventually i was too scared to look at my balance.

    i got to the point where i was used to being totally skint, and even on payday told myself i was still skint.

    Anyway i did this for about 3 years out of habit - never opened bank statements, never looked at my balance, made my tenners last as long as possible, and just acted poor. Anyway i had no choice but to check my balance one day as i changed banks..... and had AMASSED 2100 in savings that i just was NOT expecting to be there . I was well pleased. Even now i hate looking at my bank balance, i roughly know how much i have free to soend each month after bills, but that little bit of paranoia has helped me spend less.

    • chevalier
    • By chevalier 17th Jul 07, 9:48 PM
    • 7,761 Posts
    • 18,056 Thanks
    Because I see clothes as something to keep me warm/dry, I don't buy them very often. Indeed this has been an expensive year as several pairs of trousers gave up the ghost at the same time:rolleyes: !

    But because I don't buy often I tend to buy things that don't date, ie classic cut things that can be worn any year (well I think so anyway!). Keeping up with fashion is a mugs game. I also rarely buy clothes full price, it is either in the sale, off ebay or a charity shopt.

    Perhaps my biggest tip is DON'T BE PROUD. Ie
    New baby? Being offered lots of clothes - big smile and think how many 100's you just saved.
    Sofa packed up. Get one off freecycle - big smile and think that another x 's towards my debt.

    That sort of thing. People seem to have this obsession with having things new, which often means on credit and at full price. There is no concept of delayed gratification now, ie wait to see if it gets reduced and THEN buy.

    Sorry turned into a bit of an essay, I'll get my coat.....(just bought a new coat, but my last one lasted me 20 years !)
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
  • alant1000
    ebay spending
    oh yeah and another one that i do is only buy stuff on ebay using my paypal account with stuff i have also sold, so its like my own stash of cash for pressies for myself and luxuries that dont hit the "real world" money from my pay slip. I dont feel so bad treating myself then. Its amazing how much cash i make on ebay through some real tat, a watch i only wore once is 44 with 3 days to go! Vinyl records, clothes, old phones, CD's, books, go through the shed and garage for tools, its amazing...

    ..and the final tip for ebay is to use the auctionsniper site, since using that i am definitely geting items cheaper.
    • alanaplin
    • By alanaplin 17th Jul 07, 9:53 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    Before buying anything I ask myself do I REALLY need the item. If I don't then I don't buy it. This is except for holidays which I can afford by not spending money on things I think I would like.
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