This is what gets us into trouble. Too often we confuse what we need with what we want and before long, we have copious amounts of stuff and no money.
Before spending money on things you don't need, figure out what your necessities are. These are usually groceries, gas, clothing, electricity, Internet, etc... You see where I'm going with this. If you have a perfectly good pair of winter boots, you don't need another pair. You don't need that chocolate bar. You don't need a brand new car when the one you currently drive is only a few years old and still in good condition. You don't need that new Hello Kitty doll to add to your already massive collection.
Stores are designed to tempt you to make frivolous purchases and spend more than you intended. Here are a few ways they do this:
So how do you combat this? First, get on a budget. Decide on an amount based on your spending habits and stick to that number! Second, write a list. If an item isn't on your list, you don't purchase it! Third, check the paper for sales so you'll know ahead of time what to expect. If there is something that you need that's on sale, add it to the list. If not, keep it moving.
When in doubt, always question your motives. Don't ask yourself, "Is this something I need?" because we often talk ourselves into believing that we do. Instead ask, "Is this on the list?" "Is this in the budget?" "Is this going to help me better myself financially?
It can be tough, but once you get into the habit, you'll realize that all of your stuff isn't all that important. Focus on the needs and treat yourself (within the budget) to what you want when you've earned it.