If you are rigorous, you can have a six-month cushion in the bank in no time -- but you have to take the first step, which in many cases is a non-step. Leave the items on the shelf (virtual or otherwise) and keep your wallet in your pocket.
As a younger man, I spent to feel better about myself. I spent to keep up with my friends. I spent to have the things I felt that I deserved. Now good habits are ingrained -- I find it difficult to go shopping, even when I need to.