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Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far

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This is Tip #14 of of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge. (See past tips.)

Today’s tip is to write down how much you’ve saved so far, AND how you would motivate others to save money. (Skip to the survey here.) If this doesn’t seem like an obvious savings tip, let me share an experiment that social psychologist Kurt Lewin did to change behavior.


In World War II, the United States was facing a serious shortage of meat. The Committee on Food Habits was charged with figuring out how to keep Americans healthy without the same meat they’d been accustomed to — and instead eating intestine and kidneys — so they asked Lewin to help.

Lewin’s approach was brilliant. As Eliot Aronson writes in Age of Propaganda, Lewin convened groups of housewives, who at that time were the chief decisionmakers about food. He then split them into two groups:

Group 1 received a 45-minute lecture, which “emphasized the importance of eating these meats for the war effort; it stressed the meats’ health and economic advantages…the lecture concluded with a testimonial from the speaker about her success in serving intestinal meats to her own family.” 3% of the attendees ended up serving intestinal meats to their families.

Group 2, by contrast, spent the same amount of time discussing the problem of a meat shortage, but in this experimental condition, Lewin did something extraordinarily clever: He asked them, “Do you think that housewives like yourselves could be persuaded to participate in the intestinal meat program?” The women then discussed how that might happen. In this group, “32% of the housewives who had engaged in self-persuasion served their families intestinal meats.”

That’s an astonishing difference, and I want to apply it here. Tell me how much you’ve saved, and how, together, we can persuade other people to save money. Please fill out the 3-minute survey here:

Click here: How much have you saved so far in the 30 Day Challenge?

As a thank-you, 10 random people who will out the survey will get to pick any book from the Giveaways section of my book site. I’ll ship it to you for free.

If you liked this tip, check out my Premium tips — one long, tactical tip per week. Save money or get a 100% refund.


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  1. I estimate that I’ve saved about $800 or so using these tips, although some of them I was already aware of.

    I’ll admit, that when I first heard of this challenge, I wasn’t sure if Ramit’s advice would be interesting or lame. So far, I think it’s been about 50/50 for me, but I’m a hyper frugalist… So this is kind of like asking basic trivia of a superfan…

    However, it’s good to get people motivated to save money and be a responsible consumer and American.

    Becoming The Marshmallow

  2. So far this month I’ve saved $760 in mostly cutbacks and basic frugality. I’m going to wait until the end of the month to show everything I did. One cool thing I found is that I had over 13000 points on my mastercard. That equals $125 in free gas cards!!!

  3. Please respond in the survey, not on this comment!

  4. I met my goal and with planning our vacation, we saved $852.25! Monthly savings look to be around $192.95.

    I enjoyed the survey Ramit and will keep on the challenge and see if we can save any more.

  5. I saved about $500 a month so far. Mostly from brown bagging my lunches instead of eating out. Just being more aware of my purchasing choices is leading to additional savings. Awareness is the key.

    I am going to try and sell something this week on Ebay. Wish me luck.

    Thanks Ramit!

  6. Wow. Reading all of these tips makes me think the average American pretty much makes a big pile of money and then sets FIRE to it.

    People are embarrassed to shop at TJ Maxx? You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s where I go when I want to splurge.

    I’m also gobsmacked that people go out to lunch every day of the week. It has to be a VERY special occasion at work for me to go out to lunch. When I forget lunch, I go to the grocery store and buy a can of soup. Problem solved.

    And I’m shocked that going one day without spending money is a big deal for most people.

    No, I’m not some wacky freegan or anything. I just spent several years living in Los Angeles on $20K/year. You’ll learn a LOT of ways to save money on that salary.

    Reading these tips makes me feel like I come from another planet. People really do these things? I don’t think of myself as a very frugal person (I’m certainly no Freegan!), and yet all of the tips I’ve seen so far would involve changing my habits to become MORE consumerist and spendy.

    Here’s my tips for you:
    1. Freecycle. Don’t want something? Offer it on Freecycle for others to take. Other people offer things as well. We got hundreds of dollars of audio equipment and plenty of other things from the list. It’s all high-quality. None of it is dirty or contaminated – just gently used.
    2. Clothing swaps. Bring all the clothes you don’t want. Your friends bring the clothes that they’re insane to give up. You get new-to-you-clothes, and so do they, and all the clothes no one wants goes to Goodwill.
    3. – discount tickets to lots of events, if you want to go out on the town without breaking the bank.
    4. get credits for filling out surveys. You can cash them in for magazine subscriptions, Borders Rewards credits, movie tickets, and a whole bunch of other things. I have more magazine subscriptions than I can read in a month, and I haven’t paid cash for a single one.

    Perhaps this will be helpful to someone out there.

  7. Grad Student - Vanderbilt, Nashville-TN Link to this comment

    I agree 100% with Nikki!

  8. So, I checked out e-rewards…Nikki if you come back here can you tell me how to get invited to be a member?

  9. Hi there!
    I love your topic and how you approach it. Right now I’m saving $800 each month. I haven’t had credit cards in 15 years. One of my issues is that I sometimes feel stress about spending money for vacations or other niceties. I’d like to have more peace about spending beyond necessities. I live a pretty much debt free life. Beyond cable, phone, car insurance, rent and internet I have one student loan payment of $100. Thanks for creating this blog. I’ll be back for valuable insights on what I might do for my own life and finances.

    The Motivation Mama!
    & founder, Words to Live By Tees

  10. I purchased all of my christmas gifts ahead of time and paid for my December vacation back in the summer. I have made November pretty much my party free/luxury free month. I haven’t done anything special this month, just school, work and hang out with my girlfriend. I have saved enough money to the point that I may go on a second vacation in March. Nothing beats escaping the Canadian winter.