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You don’t need to talk to a highly-educated financial advisor with a tie and mahogany desk to find out what one of the best ways to save money is:

Stop spending it.

Personal Finance Advice: Stop Spending, Start Saving Money

How many times have you found yourself wandering around a store, browsing at stuff you really shouldn’t be browsing at, trying to urge yourself away from the racks of clothing yet unable to resist the lure of the “10% Off” sign? Even if you walk away from the store with only having spent $20, that’s still $20 you could have saved if you had stayed away from there in the first place. Of course, you can’t avoid all stores all the time . . .a gal needs groceries after all, but you probably know what stores are “triggers” for you.  In other words, the stores trigger you to spend more money than you should have. For example, have you ever walked into a SuperTarget for some milk and bread and walked out with three shirts and an ice cream maker?

This is not to say that you shouldn’t spend money on the things you need, or even things you want as long as you have budgeted for them. Instead, stay away from the places you know wil prompt you to spend more than you really need to (or have budgeted for).  Sure, the gas station on the corner might charge fifty more cents for orange juice, but if it will stop you from being drawn toward sales racks of clothes, books, or whatever else your vice is then those extra fifty cents are a pretty good bargain.

If you’re trying to save money, think of spending as more of a necessity and less of a recreational sport.  Luckily you’re the one who gets to decide what your necessities are—and who is to say that a new belt every couple of weeks isn’t considered a necessity—but the point is to be deliberate in your spending.  Buy what you intend to buy, and avoid any other department of the store that might get you into trouble.

The next time you feel yourself oddly compelled toward a store that you always seem to go into and spend way beyond your budget, stop and go the other way.  Next month you can budget for a trip to that store, but for now you’re a Saver Extraordinaire.