I am not a miser at heart. I am still tempted to buy the brand name cream of chicken soup at the store.
My husband and I have just made it through three degree programs, four children and a teacher's salary- and we've made it out debt free. Maybe you too are living lean by choice (or not by choice.) Here are some practices that have saved me financially and emotionally. These strategies have kept me honest, "acting my wage," and staying loyal to the budget and financial goals of my marriage.
1. Walk away from any unplanned purchase. It will be there tomorrow. Many purchases are emotional, and walking away, even for one hour, will diffuse the "buyer's high."
2. Count how much money you have saved by walking away. "I saved our family $200 today, honey! Look what I DIDN'T buy at Sephora, off of Amazon or at Gymboree!"
3. Meticulously scrub anything you are tempted to replace. Sick of your car? Your couch? Your gross, banged up, scratched and embarrassing kitchen table? (True story.) Clean every nook, use the right cleansers, and get it ready as if you were going to sell it. By caring for our things, we gain patience and a new perspective on our possessions.
4. Be constantly grateful. Continually fill your mind with thankfulness; get detailed. Start with your family, your health and abilities, your opportunities, your past, your possessions and even your trials. Serving others will take away the tasties to buy things- you will see your own blessings and be truly content with what you have.
5. If you need a shopping fix, go shopping at the library! Go alone to especially indulge yourself. Pick books on any topic and check out back issues of magazines. This really quenches your thirst for new things and starts to actually fill you with real riches- knowledge.
One last piece of advice: start talking and stalking. Tell people (brag) about the deals you find, the sacrifices your making and the goals you've met. "Yeah, I got this Victoria's Secret bra for $2 because it had a shoe print on it from the half-yearly sale. Cool, huh?!" Also, interview, haunt and hang out with people you admire financially. Learn from them and let them rub off on you, and you in turn will help others gain self control and peace from your example.