When you're living paycheck to paycheck and paying down debts, the conventional advice for saving money only gets you so far. Sometimes, more extreme measures need to be taken.
Choose Paper Over Plastic
Just as choosing paper over plastic at the grocery store is better for the environment, choosing cash over credit cards is a safer bet when you go out—especially anywhere you're likely to impulse buy. Do some research ahead of time about where you'll be spending money to eliminate stress and temptation, then choose your cash budget accordingly. If you only bring along $20 for a casual outing for cheap drinks and tips (and leave the plastic debit and credit cards at home), you'll be forcing yourself to stick to a frugal budget.
Remove Saved Payment Information and Tempting Apps
Use laziness to your advantage, and make online shopping difficult by removing your saved payment information from websites and apps. (Or even go a step further and remove these apps altogether!) Instead of that Amazon impulse buy being one click away, when you remove your payment details, you'll have to grab your wallet and enter your info—it might be just enough time and effort to let you second-guess a purchase you don't really need.
Freeze Your Spending, Literally
Having revolving and open accounts on your credit report is better than canceling or cutting up those credit cards. So when temptation is hard to beat, what do you do? Literally freeze your cards in a block of ice. Seal them in a freezer bag, and put your credit cards on ice. If you truly need your credit card for an emergency, it's there, one thaw away... you just have to really need it. It's wacky enough to work.
When You Do Impulse Spend, Round Up Odd Purchases to Save
We all have moments of weakness. When you've had a bad day (week?) and succumb to the call of a Starbucks coffee or Chinese takeout, you can still follow that setback with a tiny step forward. Use an app like Qaptial to round up your purchases and have the extra change go straight into savings.
Who cares if these savings strategies are unconventional? You do what you have to do to protect your financial future.