You’ll notice that I haven’t written a lot about frugality on this site.
That’s because Americans suck at frugality. We spend more than we make. We’re terrible at deferring our immediate wants and investing for the long term. We go into debt. And we blame everyone but ourselves.
Remember, fundamentally, there are two ways to have more money. You can earn more money or cut costs. If you’ve been reading this site for a long time, you’ll notice that I’d much rather focus on increasing your earning potential, whether through investments or entrepreneurship. I hate talking about frugality because, for most people in America, frugality is hopeless.
That all changed a couple weeks ago.
I read this article, which explained that “As many as 80 percent of Americans are stressed about their personal finances and the economy.” I found that astonishing. Although people’s behaviors don’t change overnight, nearly everyone I’ve been talking to has been worrying about their money.
Right now, people don’t care about proper asset allocation or understanding average stock market returns. The people I’ve talked to want to know how to save money right now.
That’s why tomorrow, I’m launching the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge.
How to save $1,000 using the CEO Model
Here’s how it works: Each day in November, I’ll post one suggestion to cut your spending. If you spend time each day working on the day’s post, the vast majority of you will save over $1,000 each month. Even if you don’t, saving $700 is sure better than nothing. I’ll post tips for the first 15 days. For the last 15 days, I’ll turn to I Will Teach You To Be Rich readers to submit your best frugality tips.
We’ll work through some of the tips from this woman, who paid off $14,330 in 20 months. Like I wrote earlier, there are no secrets to getting rich. You can sit here and read every tip and feel good about yourself. But only the people who spend time implementing will save any money.
I promise: No stupid frugality tips
As I mentioned, I hate frugality and all the frugality sites that waste my time focusing on saving money on frozen orange juice and rice cakes so I can save $1 per week. $1? I find that much money in my shoe every day.
I’m not trying to save $1 or even $10 per week, because it’s not worth changing your behavior for that kind of money. Guys, we’re aiming to save $1,000 in 30 days. That’s why this series will not include retarded suggestions like “Start a garden” or “Buy day-old food from bakeries.” I certainly won’t tell you to cut your rent or move to a cheaper place, because NOBODY WILL DO IT! Does anyone ever follow those stupid tips? No, but it sure makes other personal-finance authors feel good about themselves for coming up with a suggestion that theoretically, maybe, somehow could save money for the moron who would do it. Not here.
Only join if you’re serious
But I will ask you to cut back on some things – sometimes radically. For example, if you get your nails done or eat out every day, that’s gone this month. If you were planning to buy a big-screen TV, you can forget about it in November. You can pick it up next month, but I bet you’ll think twice once you save $1,000.
While it’s fun to read stuff like The Money Diaries because you get to laugh at other people’s spending, the 30 Day Challenge is different because it’s intimately personal. It means you have to look at your spending.
This is a 30-Day Challenge. Everything should be able to be accomplished within 30 days, but you have to commit to doing it. In other words, I’ll make most of my advice completely practical and sustainable. Because Americans suck at stopping consumption, we’re all going to have just sack up and stop certain things – which will feel incredibly painful – this month. Some of my tips will simply involve you physically going to a place where you cannot spend money to save yourself from your own spending behavior. It won’t feel good. Have you sat in a library on a Saturday afternoon and read books? Probably not (unless you’re Asian). You will this month.
Would you be willing to cancel your cable? Or pick one habit and drop it cold-turkey? Would you be willing to see how far you can push yourself to save money for 30 days?
Earlier this month, I asked iwillteachyoutoberich readers how much time they’d be willing to spend saving $1,000 in a month.
Good news: If you spend 1 hour per day on the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge, you’ll easily save hundreds, if not the entire $1,000.
Hopefully I will, too. That’s because I will be participating in the Challenge, and I’ll chronicle my savings along with everyone else.
This starts tomorrow, Saturday, November 1st. Check back to http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com every day for the newest tip.
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Full list of tips
Tip #1: Pack lunches for the rest of the week
Tip #2: Turn your thermostat down 3 degrees
Tip #3: Sell something on eBay today
Tip #4: Involve your friends in your savings challenge
Tip #5: Optimize your cellphone bill
Tip #6: Use gas prices to become your own hedge fund
Tip #7: Create a “No Spending” day once a week
Tip #8: Implement the A La Carte Method
Tip #9: Only buy new things when replacing something old
Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit card, car insurance, and workplace
Tip #11: Never pay full retail price for clothes or eyeglasses again
Tip #12: How I’m saving $2,000+ on eating out in 2009
Tip #13: How to negotiate your car insurance
Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far
Tip #15: Forget going to a bar — ask people over for dinner
Tip #16: Cancel any large purchase this month
Tip #17: Buy generic for the stuff you don’t care about
Tip #18: No Christmas gifts this year
Tip #19: Save Money, Eat Well and Look Hot in Less Than an Hour
Tip #20: Change the date of Christmas
Tip #21: Save thousands by pre-paying your debt
Tip #22: Analyze your progress in the 30 Day Challenge (plus, see how I’m doing)
Tip #23: Go cash only for 15 to 30 days
Tip #24: Cut your commute expenses by 40%
Tip #25: Earn more money using your God-given skills
Tip #26: Gardender? Cleaning lady? DIY instead
Tip #27: Use barriers to prevent yourself from spending money
Tip #28: Use price-protection guarantees to always get the lowest price (travel, retail)
Tip #29: Stop being a loser and spend money to save money
Tip #30: How I’m saving $25,000+ in 2009
If you liked this, check out my Premium tips — one long, tactical tip per week. Save money or get a 100% refund.