spend less money

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Convert the Cost Into Ramens
We love this tactic described by finance blogger Emily Guy Birken at MoneyNing.com. Keep your spending in line with your budget by converting the cost of an item into units you know well. In Birken's example, this was Ramen noodles, which cost $.25 per packet. While a shirt that's on sale for $50 might seem like a bargain in its context, it costs 200 Ramens—a price that might make a dedicated noodle-eater think twice. Make up your own (personally meaningful) unit of currency—Hot Dogs, Rieslings, Interest Payments, anything—and divide the cost of an item by it. One jacket or one month's interest payment? Still a good deal?

Bonus: The mere thought of cost, currencies, budgets or any other money-oriented words could be enough to curb overspending. A study at Bates University in Maine found that calling to mind financial concepts strengthens self-control.

Next: 5 ways you think you're saving money but aren't