Write down EVERY penny you spend.
That's right - write it down. I kept a journal for one month. I wrote down everything. What I spent at the gas station, the fast food restaurant, and the mall. I even wrote down that $.50 toll. And even though I thought I was frugal, I discovered that I really wasn't. There was so much waste - everyday. And when I wrote it down, I had to face it. I could see how much those little $10 trips to the grocery store were adding up.
So why did I do this for a whole month? Well, when I decided to write down every expense, I figured I would do it for a week. You know, just to get an idea of where my money was going. And as I mentioned, I already thought I'd be pretty pleased with the result. I thought I was smart with my money. But I was wrong. And I noticed that within a few days. So, I just continued to write everything down. For weeks. And it became a game - to see how little I could spend. I loved writing $0 on any given day. And after a few weeks, those $0s were adding up.
My mind set was changing. Instead of having things, I had money. Which I liked more! Instead of thinking about all of the 'stuff' I didn't have, I was thinking about all of the money that would be adding up.
Holding myself accountable was really life changing. Every time I thought about spending money, I knew I was going to have to go home and write it down. And be reminded of it. It forced me to question every purchase. It also forced me to think before I spent. Which is something I had never done before.
This is how I became frugal. And I still use this tip today. Years later. I still pull out a piece of scrap paper and write down my expenses. Just to make sure I'm still thinking about my money. We work hard for it - we should work hard to keep it!