Manage Your Money Week 3 – Death By 1000 Cuts

Welcome to week 3 of the Manage your Money Challenge! We’re half way through the month and I am excited to see how much these challenges seem to be helping you. We were down to only 9 participants last week but I am still so excited. Those 9 are really taking this budgeting stuff seriously, and the comments and openness have been so wonderful. Thank you so much for your participation!

Let’s get to it, shall we? πŸ™‚

This Weeks Prize Winners!

(via Random.org)

  1. Financial Peace University DVD Lesson: Relating With Money – Michelle
  2. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior – Kim
  3. iPhone β€œPay Off Debt” Debt Snowball App – Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
    Android β€œPay Off Debt” Debt Snowball App – Laura
  4. BONUS SURPRISE E-BOOK:Unautomate Your Finances” – Adam Baker. This week, Donna Korzun, was hand-picked for simply being so honest and forthright. Donna, you made a HUGE step forward last week, and I am personally proud of you. Thank you so much!

I am proud of you all!

PLEASE NOTICE: I moved the list of sponsors and prizes to a special page here on EOD. Please be sure to check out who made this first Manage Your Money challenge so very special!

Be sure to thank the sponsors!

Manage Your Money Challenge #3

Ever heard the phrase “death by 1000 cuts?” If you were to get cut 1000 times, you would die, and it would be slow and painful. Each cut by itself, would be completely harmless, but as they add up, they begin to have an effect. Impulse spending can be viewed in the same way. Each “little” transaction won’t ruin your budget by itself, but as they add up, you begin to feel the pain. In personal finance, that would translate into less money each month, less savings, and certainly less paying off debt.

The impulse can hit us at any time, and I myself, have my moments. I am far, FAR better than I used to be, but I would by lying if I said it never happened. I have resisted the impulse many times, by saying NO to myself to buying the iPhone. The temptation is so great, especially since I have such a crappy phone for internet use. I know the day is coming where Miss. iPhone and I will meet for the first time, and I am sure it will be love at first sight. But for now I am fighting it. I can get one for only $99 but I want to do better.

A little over two years ago she would of been mine, including all of the ‘necessary” accessories. Another thing I used to impulse on was video games. Before I sold my beloved XBOX 360 to get out of debt, I would have spent on average, about $300 a month on games. Let’s just say that impulse spending was definitely not one of my strong suits.

We have to be very careful to resist the temptation to buy every time the desire hits us. That’s not to say that you can’t put it in next months budget, or start a sinking fund to save for it. It just means that you sometimes have to tell yourself NO. We talked a little bit about telling our kids no in the last challenge, but we need to hold ourselves to the same standards. It’s hurtful whether it’s you spending money on your children, or you spending your money on yourself or others. Fight the urge!

Everywhere you turn you are being marketed to. Your buying habits are analyzed, and then turned into selling points. They know what you want, when you want it, and what’s likely to convince you to finally buy it. They know where to put it, right down to the very detail. Fight it! Fight them! Buy what you need, or even want, ON YOUR TERMS. Those terms should be easily found in your monthly budget.

Finally, if you do find yourself struggling and weak, call someone to help talk you down from the ledge. If you do end up buying “it”, put it in your trunk until the next day, and if you still want it tomorrow, so be it. Most times, we end up experiencing buyers remorse, and if your item is in the trunk then it will be that much easier to take it back to the store. Something to think about.

Get control of your spending habits and find out how you will have more money each month to spend, save, give, or pay off debt.

Good luck!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE

Today’s challenge will be fairly simple. Answer these questions to win prizes. (worth 1 entry)

  • What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?
  • When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?
  • How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely?

BONUS: (worth 5 entries) AVOID impulse spending all week long. Whenever you find yourself about to submit, quickly say NO to yourself. If it helps, slap yourself on the hand. (you might want to make sure no one is looking before you do though.) πŸ˜‰

There is NO TIME LIMIT this week or any other week from here on out. You have all week long to work on these questions. πŸ™‚

Be sure to visit the Sponsors page to learn more about the folks that were kind enough to offer such great prizes!!

OTHER MANAGE YOUR MONEY POSTS

  1. Manage Your Money Sign Up
  2. Manage Your Money Pre-Challenge Post: On Paper On Purpose
  3. I Love You…Like A Blogger!
  4. WEEK ONE CHALLENGE: Manage Your Money – Wants Versus Needs
  5. WEEK TWO CHALLENGE: Teamwork, Accountability, and Kids
  6. WEEK THREE CHALLENGE: Death By 1000 Cuts
  7. WEEK FOUR CHALLENGE: GET OUT OF DEBT!
  8. BONUS CHALLENGE: Think Ahead and Stay Determined
  9. FINAL POST: TBA April 1st

About Brad Chaffee

34 Responses to “Manage Your Money Week 3 – Death By 1000 Cuts”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Forest says:

    Do I literally have to answer the qestions? Or Do I need to be entered in the comp already….. I am a recent reader of yours so think I missed the start of this!

    Anyway the questions are fun to answer πŸ™‚

    * What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?
    For me it's efinitely the little things. A can of cola, a quick meal at a cool looking cafe / restaurant. Luckily I manage to stay away from the big spends…. Although i do have an xbox360 and I won't be selling it as it's one of my only vices (although it only gets played around once a month and I never buy games). This decision took me 6months to make and then i guess it was almost an impulse on the day I actually decided to do it!

    * When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?
    Yes always. I think about it like your explanation of the cuts. Each can of cola, that mango juice etc etc…..

    * How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely?
    I'd probably save around $50 or so I think, I am by no means the worst impulse spender.

    Thanks for a great post πŸ™‚

    Forest.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hi Forest! πŸ™‚

      No problem if you missed the start welcome aboard! Just make sure you are subscribed and have registered over at Pocketsmith to check our their budgeting tools.

      I miss my XBOX 360 for sure. It pained me to sell it! πŸ™ I do not, however, miss the debt we had so I don't regret it at all. for now my PS2 will do just fine. I used to blow some money on games for real! Sometimes I spent way more than the $300 listed above. I was bad.

      Yeah it sounds like your impulse spending is not the biggest problem. At least you should be able to set aside an amount to cover those kind of things each month so that at least you're still in control of your budget. πŸ™‚

  2. Donna says:

    Brad,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I will enjoy the e-book and look forward to instructions on how to receive it. When I decided to be part of this challenge I wanted to be honest with myself and that meant becoming completely open and honest. My way of dealing with money has not really worked up to this point and with my health challenges as of late it is vital that I challenge myself to be totally honest. Today you hit me in the head before I could do anymore damage! I am going shopping today for some necessities but I know I will be confronted with the demon called impulse purchase. I accept your challenge today and will be posting on it and the questions you asked later in the week. Please keep up the good work. This challenge is opening my eyes to the issues I have ignored and the power I have allowed money to exert over me. I do appreciate your hard work on this.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Donna it has been my pleasure and you can expect more like this in 2010. I realized that up till now I have just been writing articles, helpful or not. I decided that for something like this to work I needed to challenge my readers and engage a little bit more. I am so happy to hear comments like yours. Thank you!

  3. Jan B says:

    I'm in!

    * What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse? Things that are "needs" but not in the budget. Things that seem to generate a false sense of urgency. This past week I was pushed to buy rechargeable batteries, a backpack, shoes for the kid who ruins his shoes, candy at the shoe store, I bought a Dave Ramsey book that I could have gotten from the library and ink for the printer. All were not in the budget.

    * When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse? All the time. I look at my quicken file and just think – I blew it. Now what?

    * How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely? Probably $50-100 a week.

    I am up for the challenge. I have made my budget and I am sticking to it 100%. No impulse buying. Thanks for suggesting this because I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to do this on my own.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hi Jan, if you're a subscriber, are signed up for Pocketsmith's FREE budgeting software, you are in. I actually closed off sign up, but thought about it some more and decided why would I close the door for others to participate. Welcome aboard. Be sure to subscribe to be sure to be eligible for prizes next week. πŸ™‚

      That is awesome that you have been able to accept this challenge. Impulse shopping is probably one of the biggest reasons people bust their budget. Good luck and keep at it! πŸ™‚

      • Jan B says:

        Thank you, I subscribed to Pocketsmith, now I just have to work on seeing how that all works, it looks good.I have been looking for a free alternative to the debt calculator that I have currently through my expiring free membership to the TMMO site.

  4. harvestwages says:

    hey,
    Good title (death by 1000 cuts). Many don't relate this to their budgets. i think it's a deadly issue and must be taken into consideration. Since my under 20 of age, i always act before i think and almost never experience any remorse after spending. That's just one of my means of growing financially independent. i mostly spend on assets not commodities. impulse shopping is almost not my thing.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I got that reference from Dave Ramsey. I'm glad to hear that impulse shopping is not an issue for you. I bet that makes your handling your money a whole lot easier. Of course there are other things that people struggle with but this one is definitely a biggie! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

  5. Julie says:

    * What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?
    Oh man, you’ve hit me where it hurts! I tend to buy baby-related stuff on impulse all the time! (Hence the blow money) I can’t walk around Target without looking for baby stuff on clearance, and it’s super hard to resist buying it! I also have a problem with cookies and candy … for myself ;-;

    * When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?
    Definitely. I feel buyer’s remorse all the time, especially when I am done scarfing down all the cookies and candy.

    * How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely?
    This I’m not sure about. Probably about $200 a month!

    BONUS: (worth 5 entries) AVOID impulse spending all week long. Whenever you find yourself about to submit, quickly say NO to yourself. If it helps, slap yourself on the hand. (you might want to make sure no one is looking before you do though.) πŸ˜‰
    Too late. I just bought myself some bella bands for postpartum wear from babysteals.com *sigh* That is my worst weakness (woot.com and babysteals.com).

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Julie, I love your honesty! You blew it already on the impulse spending but don't let that keep you from trying it for the rest of the week. I know you can do it! πŸ™‚

  6. I'm excited about winning, but I don't have an I-Phone, so can I donate my prize back into the pool? Thanks though!

    For this week:

    What are some of the things you buy on impulse? Shirt Woot funny t-shirts, candy, and restaurant food with friends.

    When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse? Yes, I by no means need more shirts or candy, but I try not to beat myself up too much since I overthink everything.

    How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely? $40

    BONUS: I will not buy any candy or new funny shirts all week. I'll try to get my friends to come over this weekend for a potluck dinner instead of going out as well. This shouldn't be too hard if I just avoid Shirt Woot…

    I was a much worse impulse shopper in my teens, but watching my savings decrease makes me think twice now.

  7. Jan B says:

    Your challenge saved me $77 just today. I am taking an A+ certification course (free on the web) and was so tempted to buy RAM to upgrade my computer, just because they were saying how to do it. I was at the Paypal pay site and I remembered that I am in the challenge and I just closed the page.

    I feel like your site saved me today. The impulse was REALLY hard to resist, but now, just two hours later, I don't know how I got so worked up that I was ready to click "buy". I guess it was just easy and I had some money because I have been selling on ebay and thought — I need this. But I really don't.

    Thank you!!!

  8. Brad Chaffee says:

    Jan B., YOU ROCK!!! Your comment made my day! I've had some GREAT comments too so that wasn't an easy task. I love that my challenge here on itty-bitty EOD, caused you to resist temptation. What I love4 even more is that you have had time to realize how great this decision was. Many times people will say no, only temporarily, just to head out the next day. I hope you continue to ask yourself the hard questions and thank you so much for making my day AWESOME!

  9. Michele says:

    Yipee I won! Thanks so much!

    I do tend to buy a lot of things on impulse when I am buying household items from stores like Walmart, Target, K-mart. I have the idea to pick up a few things (costing about $40) and I end up spending about $200… Granted, they are things that I need (for the house) but some things could have waited. I like to stockpile on sale items (non perishable)

    WARNING: If I go into Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's I will lose my mind. I always spend hundreds of dollars.

    I now write out a list of things that I need from the store. I count up how much the items would cost and I try not to go over that amount. Sometimes I see things that I may need and if it is not over the budget or only a few dollars over I will pick it up.

    Bonus round: No impulse buying for the week…….. I rather take the 1000 slashes lol! Well so far it's Wednesday, I have been brown bagging it at work, so no impulse shopping so far….

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That sounds so familiar! We used to do that so many times. Super WalMart especially, but even Target.

      No impulse buying for the week! You can do it! rove to yourself, right here and right now that you would rather have control of your spending. If it wasn't true you wouldn't be here right? Don't listen to the old you, the you that says buy it, and buy it now. Listen to the new you, the you that wants freedom. I just know you can do it.

      Prove to yourself that you have what it takes to fight it. when you do that, you will have taken such a large step and it may even change your life in the process. Hmm….I know you can do it. πŸ™‚

  10. Jan B says:

    Sorry, I am back again. It is Wednesday night and I just had another "near impulse" moment. I wrote about it on my blog, so I won't go into it now, but it was "this" close. I can see that my problem is bigger than I thought. So far this week your challenge has saved me $159!

    And I mean it, I was ready to click to buy it, but I knew, KNEW in my heart that I want to succeed at conquering my impulse spending and I feel a commitment to this challenge.

    If it's not in my budget that I have prepared, printed and posted on my computer hutch door, than it's not happening.

    Thank you so much!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I love the running tally. For me to know that me, via this challenge, has saved you $160—that's HUGE! Way to go! I wonder what you will be up to by Sunday night. Let us know. πŸ™‚

  11. Donna says:

    Brad,

    So far I have not given in to any impulse purchases. Of course, it is hard, we are so conditioned now to instant gratification.

    The kind of stuff I buy on impulse is stuff on sale, you know, that "great" price for something I could "use". I am a sucker for books, magazines, coffees, and the snack that goes with the coffee!

    I almost always have buyers remorse. I promise not to do it again, but I do. I have begun to think it is almost a sickness that we have in America. We just have to spend, whether we need it or not. Save? That is boring to many people.

    How much could I save? More than I probably imagine. In the last two days it was $1 here and there, approximately $25 or so. I know that does not sound like a big number but multiply that by a few weeks and wow it is quite a sum.

    So, after reading your words today, I started thinking. How can I get what I want cheaper or free? Well, my public library! I stopped in and discovered inter-library loans for books, magazines and free coffee!!!!!!!!!!

    But more important Brad, is the mindset. If I truly want to honor God, and make the most of my money by directing it where I truly want it to go, I must master it and not let it control me. I cannot be mindless when handling money. I have found that to give to others is what is truly important. Thank you Brad. You have really reawakened me to money, I shall be mindless no more. Also, thanks for the gift. It has also opened up my mind. Donna

  12. Kim says:

    1) What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?

    Oh, without a doubt, I am most likely to buy on impulse fabric, yarn and other craft related items at the fabric shop. I love to sew and knit whenever I have some spare time (not often with 2 little boys to care for), and I have a difficult time passing up a beautiful piece of fabric or some good yarn when I go to the fabric shop. I've noticed that I have justified these purchases in the past by deciding to use the fabrics and yarns to make gifts for others, but I think that was just an excuse to buy.

    2) When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?

    Yes, every single time. Most of the time, impulse purchases seem completely unnecessary to me once I get home or a few weeks later. I realize I could have done without. I have also noticed that when I take a couple weeks or months to consider purchasing a particular item, I always feel really good about my ultimate decision – I'm either really relieved that I didn't buy it or satisfied that I have something useful and necessary.

    3) How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely?

    Well, my fabric/yarn impulse shops usually cost me about $20 or so per week. At one point, I was doing this just about every week. That's about $80/week, give or take. Wow!

    BONUS: (worth 5 entries) AVOID impulse spending all week long. Whenever you find yourself about to submit, quickly say NO to yourself. If it helps, slap yourself on the hand

    I am happy to say that when I started Dave Ramsey's money makeover program in January and started budgeting my family's money, I made a strong decision that I would not purchase any new fabric or yarn during 2010. I decided I would make things from the fabric/yarn stash that I have in my closet and use it all up. I am so happy to say that I have kept my word to myself and I have not made any impulse purchases for about two and a half months. Yeah! At first, I missed my trips to the store. Surprisingly, though, I no longer miss the impulse spending.

  13. Kathleen C says:

    * What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?

    Up until a couple of years ago, ANYTHING I wanted could have been bought on impulse, even higher ticket items like computers. Lately, it tends to be food or books or yarn.

    * When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?

    I have experienced buyer's remorse. I have tried to stop the impulse buying in recent months/the last couple of years, so I have been lucky that the remorse has been more limited in the recent past.

    * How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely?

    At this point, hmmm…. I would think around $100 on average. Some months more, some less and some of the impulses could be curtailed by planning food better which would halt some of the splurge/impulse buys, but it might cost a bit too. So, I'd say $100/mo average.

    BONUS: I do not deserve the bonus – impulse habits are SOOOOOOOO hard to break and those snack pies came home without thought again this week.
    This exercise is helping me be more aware of my habits and impulses. Hope to soon have them under control!

  14. Laura says:

    * What are some of the things you find yourself more likely to buy on impulse?
    Target… for random office supplies, or organizing things, or one time I decided to try eyeliner. Occasionally, I'll see a cute shirt or dress at Target or Old Navy. Oh and Taco Bell/McDonald's for a quick $1 thing! (Although now that I am gluten free that is much trickier and less likely)

    * When you impulse shop, do you ever experience buyers remorse?
    It's usually small things, and I have returned things before. I do feel a bit remorseful, but I usually start to feel it on the way to the check out so I can put some things back.

    * How much would you save each month if you were able to stop impulse shopping completely? Honestly, this is one area that I have really cute back on… some months it might save me $100… most months maybe $10-20 if that.

    BONUS: Thanks to some bank fraud, I did not have a credit card these past two weeks, and since I hate spending cash, there were NO impulse purchases!

  15. My impulse buys (now that I'm on a budget) tend to be little things. I think it's okay to buy them because it's only a few dollars or such a great deal. However, these add up even if it only $1.99 MP3s from Amazon (not feeling bitter or anything).

    My pledge is not to make a single impulse purchase the rest of the month. I appreciate your work Brad making m think and re-examine spending.

  16. Brad Chaffee says:

    In case you all are wondering, I am having some trouble with my internet connection and VERY VERY slow computer. It has caused me some delay and made even the smallest tasks take forever. Hopefully this will not last long.

    The fourth week challenge will be available tonight hopefully. Sorry about the delay! πŸ™‚

  17. Hi Brad,

    After talking to you the other day on the podcast, my husband and I did a challenge to eat for free so we cooked dinner one day and then made up the whole dinner the next from left overs and what we have in our pantry. It has been fun!

    When I had to go to the store yesterday, I didn’t buy anything other than picking up the one thing I needed.

    Your positive attitude rubbed off on me.

    Thanks,

    Nancy Anderson
    Host of Your Money Minute

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That’s great to hear Nancy!! One of the things that kills our budget the most is eating out. We went out and bought a George Foreman grill to make cooking at home easier. It has been great!! What we really want to get though is the NuWave oven. It costs a bit more though so we are going to save up to buy it. πŸ™‚

      It’s so nice to hear from you. I can’t wait until the podcast comes out. I loved talking with you! We’ll have to do it again real soon!

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