Let''s face it - who hasn''t been taken in by their desire for ''more,'' ''new,'' and ''better'' commodities? Now I should ask - how often have you tried desperately to save or pay off debt, and feel like you''ve failed miserably? Curbing your spending habits will help you create that savings and pay off debts. From our experiences, we would like to share with you some personal tips that have helped us save and get where we are today. It wasn''t easy at first. Bad habits can be hard to break. But with patience and perseverance, you can start that savings account, have the things you want, and get on top of that debt. It''s all about living within your means.

Setting a budget

Spend some time working out your weekly expenses. Remember to consider things like electricity bills, subscriptions to magazines/video rentals, transport and parking costs, loan repayments etc. Once you''ve considered how much money you need to spend on just your essentials, set yourself a limit. Distinguishing between your needs and wants can be challenging at first. Consider the items you could not live without - food, power, rent, petrol. Put aside your desires at this stage for unnecessary items. We''ll look at increasing your budget to allow for extra ''wants'' next.

Spending allowance

Using only cash prevents the temptation to go over your spending limit

Once you have your budget set, and you''re aware of how much money you need to set aside each week for these essential expenses, you can look at what leftover money you have to spend on those items you''d like to have. A good approach to keeping within your budget is to withdraw the amount for extra spending as cash. Using only cash prevents the temptation to go over your spending limit, and stops you feeling guilty as you spend this cash as you please.

Walk away from the temptation

If you''re ever in a store, something really catches your eye and you''re faced with the decision to buy or not to buy, head for the nearest exit! Allow half an hour or more to consider why you want it, if you need it, and whether you can actually afford it. If your spending allowance allows for it and you are still fixated on having it, go ahead and buy it.

List shopping

I''m a big believer in shopping lists. Whether grocery shopping or retail shopping, lists help you keep in check what it is you really need. It''s so easy to blow the budget on whimsical items you had never really given much thought to before they caught your eye in the store. Note down what it is you need and only shop for the items from that list. Whether it comes to your budget or your spending allowance, this tip helps you get the most out of your money. If there''s something you''ve wanted for some time, write it down. You''ll find you''re less tempted to fritter your spending allowance and more committed to saving as you shop.

Do your homework

Compare prices between other retail outlets, use the internet, look for sales or coupons before you buy. You''ll be surprised by how much you can save by doing some groundwork first.

At the end of the day, don''t deny yourself the things you really want. Otherwise, you''re likely to continue overspending and getting into further debt. It''s simple really. Spend within your means, set yourself a budget, and keep a spending allowance to use as you please. Any money over and beyond this can be put aside in a savings account. Before you know it, you''ll have a tidy sum kept away for any big purchases or investments you''d like to make in the future.