Attention whiny complainers: Why you STILL aren’t saving money

How to make more money by addressing the psychological barriers keeping you from saving and earning more & make thousands more ever month.

Ramit Sethi

Earlier this week, I announced that 2010 is the year where I want to help you earn more money. This is the “E” part of my CEO Model: Cutting costs, Earning more, and Optimizing spending.

I was really surprised with how much this struck a chord. You’ll notice 150+ comments asking for specific areas you want me to cover. Read closely: It’s not just tactics you want. Lots of you asked for help crushing your own psychological barriers.

I know you want me to jump right into the ways to earn extra money — how to turn your idea into extra income, negotiate higher rates, and scale your earnings — but I’m not going to yet. That’s because it’s critically important to understand your implicit barriers before you start tackling action steps.

And that’s what I want to cover today: Whiny people who don’t think they can save (and make more money).

Let’s start by examining what happened about 1 year ago.

* * *

“I’m offended you’re showing me how to save money”

In late 2008, when the market was crashing, people stopped caring about investing and negotiation and just wanted to hunker down and save money. As a result, I launched something called the “Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge,” where I showed people tactical ways to save money using fresh psychological techniques. Thousands of people joined in and worked to save thousands and thousands of dollars.

Except a few people.

While most people were supportive, I was surprised by how many people were actually offended by the very concept of a “Save $1,000 in 30 days challenge” because they didn’t even earn that much each month, or they found my recommendations to be “too obvious” — even though I defined “saving” as cutting costs, earning more, and optimize spending.

Here are some examples of their complaints, which I’ve categorized for easy reading:

Whiny complaint #1: “I don’t make enough money”:



Whiny complaint #2: “This is so obvious”




Whiny complaint #3: “You’re just doing this to make money”


Analysis: Stop the whining

These whiners miss the point.

  • Saving $1,000 in a month was eminently reasonable, but it was also an aspirational goal. If you couldn’t save $1,000, what about $500? $200?
  • More likely, the whiners expected personalized information to be spoon-fed to them.
  • The people who complained a year ago are probably still complaining about money, while many of the people who took the challenge saved hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

No more excuses, please. We all know friends who complain and complain about money, but do nothing to change their situations. Yes, of course luck and other factors are involved in saving money, but 90% of people could easily save — cut costs, earn more, and optimize their spending — with some effort. Maybe not $1,000, but certainly $100, $200, or maybe even $800.

Even worse, these commenters chose to complain about the tips not being specifically relevant to their own situations instead of saying, “Hey, how can I apply these to my life and save more money?”

Let’s break down the complaints because they happen over and over again when it comes to doing something entrepreneurial — whether saving money or earning more money.

Myth #1: “I don’t earn enough to save $1,000”
With the Save $1,000 Challenge, the goal was clear, but you could just as easily decide to save a different amount. $100, $200, $500 — it doesn’t matter. In fact, even if you just saved $100, you’d be better off than doing nothing. And remember, you can save even if you don’t earn a lot. They could “save” by cutting costs, earning more, or optimizing the spending they’re already doing. But it’s easier to complain, isn’t it?

What’s also likely is that these readers were not regular iwillteachyoutoberich readers with above-average incomes and a propensity for taking action. In fact, I had a huge influx of traffic from sites like MSN Money and Lifehacker, which have very different audiences.

Myth #2: “These tips are obvious”

This is the oldest complaint in the book from useless people looking for novel tips instead of actually doing something.

Yes, most personal-finance tips are obvious (just like losing weight is simple: Eat less and exercise more). The magic comes in getting you to actually take action. But we love to debate minutiae and complain about the economy, even though saving money fundamentally involves earning more and spending less. These commenters were looking for “secret” tips and silver bullets, custom-written for their situation. That’s ridiculous. If the tip on hedging your fuel costs doesn’t apply to your situation because you don’t have a car, a smart person would say, “Hmm, how can I apply that general technique to the rest of my life?”

I’ve written about the Manifest Destiny Fallacy before:

“Have you noticed how lots of people always want more and more information, but rarely implement what they already have? A couple years ago, I started realizing how lots of personal-finance readers were constantly asking for more and more information — more blog posts, more book reviews, more financial magazines — but would often just READ, not take action.

To put it bluntly, I have lots of friends who read blog post after blog post, but have STILL not automated their money, started investing, or even put together an aggressive plan to pay off debt.”

Action is more important than reading tip after tip.

Myth #3: You’re just doing this to earn money

I always laugh when I hear people say, “Hey, I have a good way to save $10…just don’t buy his book! Ha Ha Ha!!” Yes, good one.

Many people hate the idea of other people making money, even if it helps them make more money. I find this totally absurd. Last year, I paid thousands and thousands of dollars on personal development materials (books, courses, travel to meet people) and made a lot more. Yesterday alone, I bought a $197 marketing course because it had one piece of training that I wanted.

So notice when people talk about investing in training, books, courses, or anything that could potentially improve their careers or lifestyles. You’ll notice this funny phenomenon of ‘nobody better take my money,’ which is the typical complaint of friends who adopt the fixed-pie mentality. They think that there’s a fixed amount of money in the world and “Nobody else better make money because if they do, somehow I’m losing it.”

You know friends like this: They’re fiercely combative about their money, they generally don’t believe in spending money to make money (e.g., they would never spend $20 to take someone out and get their advice) because the other person would be “winning” and they would be losing money. They invest conservatively, if at all, and if they lose money over any time period, they blame someone else.

Pay for value. You can’t out-frugal your way to being rich.

See people who TOOK ACTION

Compare the above negative comments to these readers below, who decided to make a change with their personal finances.

Jenni at Astronaut-In-Training breaks down exactly how much she saved from each tip. The conclusion?

“Final savings through the 30 Day Challenge is ……….


I seriously didn’t add this up until I was done writing everything. Wow. Granted, many of this tips are things I already do, but some of them I just recently implemented, and will continue to save me money if I continue to do them. Most importantly, I view my money in a different light. In college, if money came my way, I just spent it.

That’s what it was there for, right? I didn’t have a real budget, and didn’t track anything. Now I have a monthly budget, I track every penny, I have an emergency fund, I’m paying off my debt faster, and this year I plan to start investing. I only wish I had developed this drive to protect and cherish my money sooner.”

From Tip #5: Optimize your cellphone bill, Rachel writes:

“I just did this, and the fifteen minute conversation with AT&T has just saved me $20.00/month, or $240.00 per YEAR. That is huge.”

From Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit card, car insurance, and workplace, Jenni says:

“I JUST did this over the weekend: my BoA Visa gets reward points ($1 = 1 point), which I haven’t used since I got the credit card. I purchased my Christmas travel home through the rewards website, and instead of a $555 flight on Southwest, I paid $175.75 plus all my accumlated points for a similar US Air flight!

Savings this tip: $379.25″

Let’s be aware of one thing: Some people insist that everyone can simply earn more and save more money, regardless of their life situations. I’m not one of those people (read Nickel and Dimed to see why it’s not as easy as saying, “just try to earn more”). But if you’re reading a blog and leaving comments in the middle of the day, I start to get the sense that it’s not your situation — it’s just a negative attitude and a sense of entitlement that any tips should be specifically geared towards you.

Underlying every single tip, tactic, and strategy I recommend is the need to take action. Without action, you sit in your room, leaving negative blog posts and convincing yourself that you can’t save $1,000, or make an extra $500 or $5,000 per month. You can. But you need to get started.

* * *

How this relates to earning more money in 2010

I’m about to unveil a 3-week series on earning money, and then more material afterwards. There will inevitably be people who complain that earning more money is impossible. I’m guessing the excuses will be things like:

  • “I don’t have enough time”
  • “That might work if you have an Ivy League education but I’m just a humble [occupation]…”
  • “Maybe if you live in SF or NYC…”
  • “Maybe if you’re a single guy, but I have a family…”

All of those are reasonable excuses. And some might be legitimate. But if those are going to hold you back, just go away. In the next few weeks I have case studies of people who earn thousands in extra income as parents who live in podunkville. I have a case study of a person who started a side job while working at one of the most prestigious/time-consuming jobs in the world. And people who earn  a great side income with ordinary jobs and incomes…all because they took the initiative to do it.

It can be done.

Let’s work through it together.

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  1. scott

    Glad you responded to some of the naysayers but just so you know… I’m sold I think you present some very relevant info for us younger folks..

  2. Ryan


    Very much enjoyed this post.

    I appreciate how you are starting with the psychological barriers to earning more. Until recently, I have to sadly say, that I never even considered earning more as a means to financial security. All of my methods have always focused on tedious budgetting (that usually fails), and cutting back on things I enjoy, which again, doesn’t work for long.

    It is weird, but I find there can actually be a fear associated with trying to earn more money.

    I’ll be following closely for the next three weeks.



  3. Muhammad U

    So true, people have tons of excuses.

    I personally didn’t save 1,000 b/c i don’t even make that much but reading through those posts helped me a lot. I started to reconsider what I spent most of my money on.

    If it wasn’t for your blog, I wouldn’t be taking this much action.

    Thanks Ramit!

  4. Leif David

    Because of this site I made it a goal to pay off my student loan, which I did last year. I was also able to save over 10% this year, and I’m looking to increase that to over 15% next year. I also created my first ‘product’ that’s a unique marketing tool for businesses.

  5. sudhir khanger

    As a student i can save $100 per month. How can i start earning from 100 bucks? WAITING for your future articles.

  6. Baker

    Sometimes the vocal minority can drown out the silent majority.

    Please, please, don’t hold back. I’ll gladly pay you money if you can set me up to make even the exact same amount back!

    Why? Because I can then turn up the dial. I’ll have the skills, the foundation, the mindset to be able to exponentially gain over time.

    I love article on saving too, though. Especially, permanent skills such as negotiating and outsourcing.

    Funny thing is these skills that allow to to save effectively, also help provide a base for you to earn more too!

    Screw the trolls.

  7. M

    Many people hate the idea of other people making money, even if it helps them make more money.

    Haha, I used to be one of these. Not in the field of making money, but when it came to acquiring certain skillsets that I valued. It was partly an ego issue, and took some time to overcome.

  8. suv

    hahahahaa!!!! phew! the title of tht one!!!

  9. Steve Kinney

    I totally agree, especially in regards to the “I don’t even make $1000 a month” excuse. Basically, these people are expecting that you consistently play down to the lowest common denominator. By that logic, you’d have to reduce the tips all the way down the unemployed single mother of three—and then you’d have people at the other end of the spectrum.

    People who bitch and whine that a given tidbit of advice isn’t custom tailored to them clearly never developed a full sense of object constancy and an awareness of the fact that there are other people in the world besides them. These are also the people who most likely would pay or do free work for someone in order to get that personalized advice—but that’s a different story.

    Regarding the fixed pie issue and taking action: I used to get discouraged when I read books like the The Four Hour Workweek because I figured, “Well, this book is a best-seller, therefore everyone is reading it and these tactics are going to be worthless.” It’s important to remember that even if a book is a best-seller, only one percent of the population actually bought it—and not all of them read it. Even then, only a small fraction will take action.

    If you really need to make yourself feel better about your prospects for starting a business, go to the mall and take a look around. There are literally thousands of people who don’t know what you know and have no intention of taking action. If you’re the only person in that mall that takes action toward achieving your goals—even if it fails—you’ll instantly be in the top 0.1% of that group.


    I find that once you start focusing on earning more money, you simply keep earning more money. By putting your self in that frame of mind, you uncover opportunities that previously would have overlooked.

  11. Annie

    Hey Ramit!

    As one of those that read, read, but don’t do a thing (I really don’t have time because of uni and other non-paid extra-curricular activities that are making my CV pretty good), I have to say that I loved this post!

    Soon, I’ll finish my degree, I’ll earn my own money and live by myself… I promise I’ll apply all your advices (ok… some…)!

    It won’t be that hard, as you know, education counts a lot, and my mom already uses most of your tips (in saving, not in earning more… but it’s a start)

    So keep up the good posts!

    Thank you

  12. Tammy Lenski

    Ramit, I love the directness and clarity with which you approached the whining. In the work I do, we talk about internal vs external locus of control folks — internal locus of control people (like you and me) believe they have more control over their circumstances than circumstances have over them. External locus of control people tend toward the opposite thinking. It’s our and their way of being in the world and probably a lifetime habit (though I do believe people can and do change even major emotional and other habits).

    Your post also reminded me of a great Scoring Guide for Whining developed by Joseph Braun, a professor at Illinois State University as a tongue-in-cheek response to students who wined. You can find it on his page here:

  13. Charlie

    This is a bad post. It doesn’t accurately describe me or my situation, plus you didn’t even teach me how to make money.

    I would leave an intelligent comment, but I’m just a humble state school grad in Podunkville. Sorry for having an opinion, Mr. Stanford!

  14. Sa W


    but ramit,
    could you stop asking for my email.
    I’ve got your whole book and every chapter in it already. Its quite annoying =|

  15. Elle

    I’ve done your $1k challenged and saved money. I think some of the tips work so well because many people don’t actually do it -negotiate with your cell phone and cable company for a better rate. That’s fine for me, because by going an extra mile, I’m able to get better deals.

    People miss the goal of your tactics. You either can adopt or adapt them to your situation. Adapting does take some effort and thought, but if you can improve your situation (financial or otherwise), why not?

  16. Katrina

    Not to be curt or trite, Sudhir, but have you tried googling “Businesses for $100”? There is a ton of stuff there. I’d like to especially highlight online businesses, as you can easily get set up for under $100 and they tend to have lower overhead costs. Online businesses are so easy to set up that I’d say the only thing stopping a would-be digital entrepreneur is themselves.

  17. Web CPA

    You’re right that some of the best money saving tips are obvious but still so many don’t do them. I definitely picked up some new ones that saved me cash. Sa W has a point, I too have the book and you have my email (nice chatting with you).

  18. Jon

    In the past few months, I’ve saved some decent dough by sharing a car instead of buying one, using someone else’s frequent flyer miles to save me $600 flying to South America, and using to follow my progress. Have a 50k loan (plus interest) but I’m hoping to pay that back this year God-willing… preciate your tips and don’t bother with the naysayers.

  19. Michael

    Love your “fixed-pie” comment. I worked for a company that spent 8+ years building a market consensus, creating and helping others implement standards, and putting other companies in business – for those frustrating 8 years, their revenue was fixed – but in the 10 years that followed, their revenue grew 20-fold. The “pie” changed from a few million dollars per year to over $6B/yr, and their early efforts at building the market helped them be the biggest player, by far, in that market. Partnership for profit is a better rule to follow than “It’s all mine!”

    ,,,but then you pointed out that i was reading a blog in the middle of the day… Gotta go! Got work to do! ;-D

  20. Daniel


    I began reading your blog in December of 2008. Often times feeling exactly like the whiners did. You were offering obvious tips, problem was I was not implementing any of them. I set a goal for 2009 to save $10,000 and pay off $5,000 in CC debt. I was able to achieve the debt reduction but fell $3,000 short of the $10k. I probably would have easily achieved my goal, but life happens. The economy forced me to take a 15% pay cut, and my wife was out of work for three months during the summer. Bottom line, I am way better off than I was last year, and am looking forward to 2010 where I have increased my savings goal (based on my current income) and plan to implement more strategies outlined in your blog. Next step, earn more income.

  21. ZFarls

    Boom, Great Post. The best part last year I paid of 20K in student loans in 9 months and I make dick as a 22 yr old. BUT, I busted my ass instead of reading and reading PF blogs every day.

    Got a plan, Got fired up and took care of bidness. I love that you address the haters because it seems like you specifically get hated on more than other bloggers out there. You do challenge people to be better and some get scared.

    Why did people look at me like I was retarded when I paid of my loan? Not sure but some may even have been jealous, I was proud and glad that my 2010 resolution was taken care of in 09.

  22. Rich

    Great post Ramit, looking forward to reading the case studies

  23. Chicago PHP Developer

    I am looking forward to the new year and your new series. I have followed many things that you have discussed and was able to start my own consulting business this year. I hope that some of your new tips will help me earn more in 2010.


  24. Christina @ Northern Cheapskate

    EXCELLENT post! I hear this from family and friends…. my own mother-in-law said she couldn’t afford to invest any money because she was too busy investing in the phone and electric company.

    The truth is that we all make choices. And you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

    I’m a true believer in the idea that the small things do add up. It frustrates me when people waste so much time putting up their own barriers instead of taking a little time to work toward their goals.

  25. AD

    I get really annoyed by whiney complainers, and I have to remind myself that it’s *their* issue, not mine, and ignore their comments so I can continue on my merry way.

    I know people who attribute every single positive thing about others to a particular situation and conveniently ignore the work that went into it. One that I hear A LOT:

    “I can’t lose weight/start a business/travel/dress nicely because I have kids.”

    Yet I can point out examples of people with children who do all of those things. Everyone’s situation is different, but rather than saying I can’t do A because of B, I choose to find examples and stories about people who have done A despite B, and learn from them. If I had listened to three whiney complainers I know, I wouldn’t have increased my income by almost 50 percent with freelance work last year.

  26. xeniah

    “$197 marketing course” – could you let us know which one? Looking for a good marketing course, and $197 seems pretty affordable…

  27. LP

    Hi Ramit – Please post the transcript from last night’s chat – this is a topic I’m interested in, but I have evening commitments and wasn’t able to view the chat live. I’m sure I’m not the only one of your readers with family or other obligations in the evening. =) Thanks!

  28. Patrenia

    YEAH, Ramit!!! Awesome write up! I think most people are really confused. If they want to remain in their current “woe is me” position, why are they reading your blog? I guess there will always be naysayers though, no matter what.

  29. Matt

    Knowledge and information without action is useless. Action may cause you to confront some of your fears but when it comes down to it if you want change there needs to be some action involved.

    Great post Ramit

  30. Its_All_In_my_Mind

    Some things I did to save 200-1000 month (I was a whiner too – I was blaming everyone else for my financial mess but me) So far I saved $5000 cash.
    1. Sold the new car I bought after two years of payment. (saved $350-450)
    2. I paid myself every paycheck literally using bill-pay to transfer money to my brokerage account.
    3. I bike, carpool, use public transportation to work. (lost 25 pounds)
    4. I skip one meal randomly.
    5. I haven’t used a credit card for 2 years now.
    One worry I might have in the future is the possibility of high inflation that will make saving paper money futile. How can we guard ourselves from this? Buy GOLD??

  31. Aleriel

    It’s interesting to see how many people seem to read “Save $1000 in 30 days” as “Save $1000 per month” when they aren’t at all the same thing.

  32. BiblioBabe

    You tell ’em Ramit!

    Is there a way to highlight whiny comments with a color (like yours is green) to shame them into submission?!

    Looking forward to the E part of CEO.

    @Its_All_In_my_Mind: Inflation that out of control is an apocalyptic scenario…keep hedging against the likely scenarios (that you will need money for emergency, house, wedding, etc) just like you are, and you will do better than having Gold Bullion Bars in your basement. 🙂 The best long term inflation hedge is equities, which absorb the inflationary trends as the companies do business.

  33. A-ron

    Sometimes I think you get too offended by people who just sit in the corner and complain about the great, free information they receive from you. And yes, this is a complaint 🙂

    Although I think it’s good to be aware of the excuses we make, instead of trying to convert the few that cower in fear, why not focus ALL your efforts on the majority of us who are out implementing your ideas and trying out some of our own. It really does no good to point the finger at the weak and say “don’t be like them.” It’s much more effective to let those who choose to follow, follow, and leave the rest behind.

    Good mornin’ to ya!

  34. CC

    Awesome post Ramit.

    You know what I think? Most people LOVE to whine. It’s just so easy and it feels good (at least for a few seconds). At the end of the day, they still haven’t done anything and are ready to whine some more.

    If you want to be different from everyone who does poorly with their money, you have to take action now. Today. Go. Do it. Taking small incremental steps is the way to go!

    Thanks again Ramit for shaking ppl up. They need it.

  35. Minority Fortune

    It’s amazing, but this post goes to show that there are people out there who have no adaptability skills. These people will never become rich until they stop making excuses or dumping the blame on outsiders. If this site doesn’t address their needs, they can go find the countless other blogs and sites with information that may work for them. Alas, it’s simply easier to sit and complain, whilst not doing a darn thing about their finances. Natural selection at its finest.

    Those who want to attain wealth will move heaven and hell to get the resources they need and implement them. It’s good that you recognize the dead weight but still continue doing what you do best. Great job!

  36. April B

    Can’t wait to keep reading more on this topic. I used to be one of the complainers (to myself, not on here), saying that I just didn’t make enough money. That was a total excuse! Everyone can find somewhere to start.

  37. Scott

    Ramit, although I didn’t do the $1000 in 30 days challenge, I did manage to save $1000 in 2 1/2 months by setting up an automatic transfer of $200 each paycheck into a separate savings account. I also managed to pay off my credit card again after I had to put $1500 worth of car repairs on it. Now I can increase the transfer amount to $300 or more if I want, since I don’t have any credit card payments to make. It feels good to have some money saved up AND to have no credit card debt. Thanks for your website! I’m also very interested in hearing about earning more money. I used to make some money on the side teaching chess when I was in college……maybe I could get back into doing that. Who knows?

  38. JimE

    I liked it, there was a priest who had a good “story” that he liked to share about people that got into moving up and not recognizing the scales of their own economies.
    There was a young immigrant that started coming to the congregation when he was new to the US. When they passed the offering plate around he thought “I make 50 a week, I can afford to give $5”. Soon because he was a hard worker he managed to get some raises and more responsibility and was making $500 a week. He still attended church and when the offering plate came around he would say to himself “I make 500 a week, but 50 is a lot of money” still he would give as the church had been very good to him and his family. Eventually he started his own business and was soon making $5000 a week. When it came time for the offering plate he couldn’t bear to put in $500 so he only put in 50. It ate at him all day so he went to talk to the priest about it.
    He says father, the church has been very good to me, when all I made was $50 a week I was happy to give you my 5 dollars, then when I made 500 a week I had trepidation of giving you 50, now that I make 5000 I don’t think I can afford 500. What can you do?
    The father looked at him and said, “To ease your conscience we can pray to the lord that you only make 50 a week”

  39. Its_All_In_my_Mind

    Reply to Aleriel:
    “It’s interesting to see how many people seem to read “Save $1000 in 30 days” as “Save $1000 per month” when they aren’t at all the same thing.”

    It is more interesting to be smart enough to point this out.
    I agree with the “smart” comment:

    Time to save $1,000 in 30 days (non consecutive days)
    if saving $33.33 once only every month. = 30 months
    (it is still 30 days..hahaha)

    Time to save $1,000 in a month = 1 month

    so you are right it is different. Is this your point?

  40. Rahul Dubey

    I don’t agree with this post since there is an equal chance that people are not making money off your “tips.” I’ve been reading your tips for over 5 months now and I think it’s nothing but a propaganda for your site and your partner affiliates. In all honesty, you did a fabulous job a couple of years back, by being am entrepreneur and a part time blogger, and yes — writing a book. The moment your turned this site into a “money-making” advertising machine, I, and I’m sure thousands of others — who you call whiners — lost trust in you, Ramit.

  41. Its_All_In_my_Mind


    How about Long term treasury bonds? Is that indexed to match inflation. I noticed the yield curve spread is increasing.

    @Ramit – thanks for the blog posts – helped me and others save, do you have any suggestions on inflation to protect our savings?

  42. BiblioBabe

    @Its_All_In_my_Mind LT treasury bonds aren’t indexed to inflation automatically, but there are other investment vehicles that are. In fact, if you are investing for the long term, but you think we will have wild inflation (rates up), you do NOT want to do bonds because you are locked into a low rate. Can’t recommend on your specific situation, but, I’m afraid we are veering into academic minutiae here…stock based mutual funds are your best bet for long term fight vs. inflation (not bonds). Look Into lifecycle funds (which have both stock and bond components to play different roles in your portfolio) according to your age if you are just starting out investing, as Ramit recommends. Gold is not the big win for you here. Focus on your automatic saving and investing in a balanced and diversified way – Start with your 401k or Roth IRA…what is it Ramit says- 80% of results is just getting started? 🙂

  43. Diane

    Until I found your book, and subsequently your Blog, my husband and I were in debt, lots of it, and seriously stressing ourselves out over it. We were working on paying off it all off with every extra penny that came in, using Dave Ramsey’s Snowball method. While this was great and working, it wasn’t enough. I started 2009 with $24,339 in credit card debt (not to mention the student loans & mortgage).

    We read your book, and participated in the 30 Day Challenge. Spending $12, and a few hours, we saved $918. These changes were made by calling our insurance company for our home & cars and asking to be reevaluated. That call saved me $348. (We live in NJ, it’s ridiculously expensive to insure 2 cars that are each over 7 years old) Next call was to Verizon, with whom we had a prepackaged bundle for TV, Internet & Phone, but once the year was up, the price went through the roof. We wound up parting ways for our home phone and switching to Vonage. Those 2 calls saved $420 for the year. Next we canceled our Sunday paper for a savings of $102. Last, I went online and changed our Netflix plan to have 1 less DVD per month – saved approximately $48.

    Not too shabby for $12 and a few hours of my time. All that extra cash went towards debt, and we ended 2009 with $18,886 left to go. So we paid off $5,453 in credit card debt alone!

    But I wasn’t done. I decided I was asking for a raise at work. Before I asked, I did my homework and knew what I was worth. I work in Hotel Sales in NJ. I actually decided to apply for a few jobs just to see what was out there. 3 months, 4 interviews and 1 job offer later, I approached my team and asked for a raise. I was denied. I then accepted the other offer for a raise of $13,000 and a $5,000 sign on bonus.

    These changes have made it possible for us to really kill this debt once and for all. We are on track to be done with credit card debt in November of 2010. Then it’s on to student loans & the mortgage, but as they have tax benefits, we’ll deal with it when we get there.

    Now, just for the record, I did not go to an Ivy league school, nor was I anywhere near top of my class. I’m an average woman, married to an average guy. Do we make twice what the average family makes in this country,? Yes, but in being in the Northeast, that’s almost expected. The difference between me and average Joe? I am determined to kick debt’s ass, and I actually took the time to figure out how to get what I want, which is to be done with consumer debt.

  44. otc

    “If the tip on hedging your fuel costs doesn’t apply to your situation because you don’t have a car, a smart person would say, “Hmm, how can I apply that general technique to the rest of my life?””

    I don’t own a car but I still have a few ways I could do this (though to be honest I did this before I started reading this blog so I can’t actually say I took your idea and applied it elsewhere). I made a sort of fare-hedge during a summer internship a while ago. I usually took the bus or train to work but sometimes I would commute by bike. When I started a new internship,I started making a transfer of the $4-$4.5 in fares I was saving by riding to work into another account. I planned to use this account both for any unexpected breakdowns and for new bike parts because…well…high end bike parts can get expensive (although not compared to cars…You can buy quite a nice road bike for the price of a blown tranny in your commuter car).

    It actually ended up not working as well as I had hoped (I didn’t ride as often due to a combination of overly hot summer and stricter dress requirements than my previous job) but it still put a visible amount of money into a savings account. I am thinking about restarting it again as I have started racing and my bike parts expenses have increased (although now that I am on company subsidized monthly transit passes, I guess I will be hedging with phantom money)

  45. Analogous

    It’s like getting back into shape, I whine a lot at first of how hard it is to take the first steps but as I soon as I finally got over the whining and signed up for the gym and actually go soon as I know it..after 6 months I lost a lot of fat and gained muscle. Losing fat = less spending and gaining muscle = making or saving more money
    Also I realized I need someone who is STRONGER than me to be my spotter at the bench press. So in financial terms I want to listen to someone who is definitely SMARTER than me about money. My 2 cents.

  46. RJ Weiss

    Very nicely done. I got a lot out of the challenge. I didn’t save $1,000 but I did save. Wasn’t that the point?

    I’m looking forward to what you have to say about making money online.

  47. Solomon

    I can’t really criticize the people that complain as I was one myself. But with a little shove into the 30 Day Challenge from a friend, I finally opened my Roth IRA and know any time investment I made will be worth at least $80k more when I retire even if I don’t add money into it after this year. If they want to complain about a $10 book, tell them to put it on their Amazon wishlist, that’s what I did and got it FREE :)~!

  48. Matty C

    Ramit –

    I can’t read all these posts due to a low information diet I’m trying to cultivate here, but I say let the whiners whine keep the information coming.

    Last year when I read your book, I had ZERO savings on a 65K/year salary living just outside of NYC. I ended up with a new job in the city for 75K (and I actually net LESS by being employed in New York while living in New Jersey). Anyway, I finally got over being a whiner and took action. The results:

    1. I negotiated a lower rent on my music studio, and I’m trying to pick up a few students to teach drums to.

    2. I moved into a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates and reduced my monthly rent from $825 to $666.

    3. I stopped going out and getting wasted every single weekend.

    4. I joined a pro band that makes me a up to 200 bucks a weekend playing shows at the Jersey Shore (fist pump).

    5. I set up accounts at ING and have been automatically saving $1000+ a month. (Current balance is close to 7000.)

    6. I just got hooked up with a company car, so I’m preparing to sell my 2005 Accord – anyone in the New York metro area reading this and looking for a car ;)?

    While my accomplishments thus far may seem pretty good to some, but I know I can do better. Keep talking about saving because we all need some inspiration once in a while to keep it going – I know I still do!

  49. Stacy McKenna Seip

    Just want to second LP’s request for transcripts on things. I find real-time chats and even just video to be a significant barrier.

  50. Luci

    This is probably one of the most important posts you’ve done, Ramit! I would venture to guess that those of us who do find what you provide useful…even when it may not be directly applicable…catch ourselves saying why we can’t do something you suggest.

    There’s an old saw that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but I say fie, fie on that. I noticed your book at my local book store and even though I didn’t fit your target demographic (I’m 67!!!), I loved your in-your-face writing style so I bought it to give to one of my young friends…who is a master whiner. (She still hasn’t taken action yet, dammit.)

    Lo and behold, I couldn’t put it down and used many of the your tips to automate my finances, save enough in 6 months to pay off a $2,000+ balance on a car loan, and am now working on the LAST of the credit card debt!!!

    So keep up the good work. And keep your blood pressure down when you get riled up w/those nay-sayers and use the mantra one of my fishing guides would whisper to himself when someone whined that they were just too cold and wet to land their own catch: “F**k ’em, and feed ’em to the fishes!”

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  52. HollyS

    Whiny complaint #3 is my favorite. How dare you make money! If you really cared your book would be free! Because everybody wants to take advice about turning a side project into a secondary revenue stream form somebody who’s never done that..

  53. ReadyForFinancialFreedom

    Hey Ramit. Great post. I am looking forward to using more of your methods to save money this month. I will be sure to let you know how much I save. The first step will be requesting a reduction in interest rates on my credit cards, automating my finances, choosing a cheaper phone plan, temporarily adopting a cash only lifestyle to track my spending…i have already signed up for to see where my big spends are. Thanks to you I am well on my way to financial freedom.

  54. Karl

    Hey Ramit,
    Thanks for the excellent advice! There will always be people who just complain and do nothing. For some, it might be that they are afraid to fail so to avoid that possibility; they never try to do anything. I have used your tips on negotiating with mixed results. But even on those times when I fail, I usually learn something about negotiation, and I try to apply that the next time I talk to another representative. I feel that I am getting better at negotiating. I was able to get $50 (not much) by asking a CSR to apply an introductory coupon for a mobile internet plan even though I was already signed up for more than a month. Still having no luck with AT&T though. Ah well, tomorrow is another day and another chance to try to convince someone to “give me a break since times are so tough right now”.

  55. Zerostriper

    My advice to Ramit is to not whine about whiners.

  56. Jenni

    WOW! I was quoted twice in Ramit’s post! Ramit, you totally just made my month!

    Take that all you naysayers. I didn’t think I could save $1000 during that challenge, but I figured ANY amount would be worth it. And in the end, I DID save that much!

  57. Angel

    Hi Ramit.
    a while ago i ended up in your blog, didnt pay much atention at the beginning, until i day i read one of your advice “spend money to save money” my car was about to broke down, and i was being cheap not to fix it around 30 dls used it a while and finally broke down having to pay around 150 dls. I could save 100 dls just for not being lazy!!! i was so angry to myself. so i decided to start focusing on your advices. ill be honest I dont maje more than 1,000 dls but i have saved more money than i could though. i bought your book and im reading it. thanks for the advices

  58. emily

    Just by automating was I able to save. the “outta sight, outta mind” technique really works! all i have to worry about now is sticking to my weekly budget. and even that i play games and see if i can have money left over each week. Ramit’s system took out the guesswork and it works. Naysayers can go home!

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  60. Rachel

    Score! I got mentioned in a post! 🙂 Acting on your suggestion to negotiate on my phone bill really did save me some serious cash. Thanks again, Ramit!

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  62. Gina

    Well said Ramit!

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  65. Marcey

    Ramit – while I am probably a little older than your demographic, I do enjoy your posts. As a health care worker, I see all too often the mindset that if one can’t do something perfectly all the time, then it’s pointless to do anything. Small steps become great strides. No one should (or will) care more about your health or finances more than you. I also note that health and finances are inextricably intertwined. Young people particularly should consider the significant financial costs of poor health decisions in the short and long term. If you doubt that, ask your middle-aged and up parents about their health costs, medications, and general well-being and how it negatively affects their ability to be their best. Exercise, decrease or eliminate your alcohol intake, eat less crap, drink more water, take time to de-stress in a way that isn’t getting drunk and eating crap.

  66. Michael E.

    When you’ve barely opened your mouth and the other party asks, “How much does this cost?” you know you’ve got a “fixed pie” person who resents that others will make money even if what they deliver is of value, or someone who is looking for excuses to not take action and, “It costs too much,” has been their tried and true whiny friend.

    Sometimes it’s best to just politely excuse yourself and move on.

  67. Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas

    No whining from me… Looking forward to the course!

  68. Christopher Forkner

    I love reading your posts, Ramit. I would love to find out ways to earn more money however, I am running into a serious time constraint. I have three things in my life that I am trying to balance, maybe four. I am working full time enlisted in the Marine Corps (government jobs don’t pay much), attending 12 credit hours of college, while trying to be a good husband and father for my two boys. What recommendations can you, or anyone else for that matter, give to me, a very busy man, in earning more. Thanks in advance for anyone who helps me with their comment.

    Christopher D Forkner

  69. Barbara Saunders

    I had to laugh (with you) on the “fixed pie mentality” comment. I recently got a contract job making literally 3 times what I had been making previously. So, I moved out of the trashed apartment with 5 roommates into a place that cost twice as much rent – but where I could entertain clients (no stoned, drunk roommates to potentially embarrass me) and set up a space far more conducive to greater productivity.

    I can’t tell you how many friends jumped on me for not banking all of the “extra.” After considering writing off some of the cost, food not stolen by the roommates, the fact that a single client per month entertained in the new, respectable office could pay the difference AND the much higher salary, my upgrade was a no-brainer … except to people with “fixed pie mentality.”

  70. Joy

    We have been using the credit card points on two cards – my husband and I have the Continental Mastercard and the Hilton AmEx. We read your tips, and decided – fees or not, we like traveling for leisure one card is $85 a year, the other is $75 but we took a $5000 vacation in December for the booking fee ($30 a ticket). We just use the cards for everything and pay them off every month. It’s easy, and allows us to travel for funand only worry about food costs. Awesome!

  71. Torley

    Ramit, thanks for amplifying the awesome and rebuking the whiners with clarity.

    Chop the slop, amplify the awesome!

  72. Kate Nelson

    Ramit, saving $1,000 a mth does work! It’s a mentality most people have to work to adapt to and I am so glad I did! I am now trying to convince my two younger brothers (who have no children) to follow your advice. I am a full time working mother who is probably a bit older than your audience (35) and I wish I had become more money savvy 15 years ago! But it’s never to late.

    Thanks to the tips you posted for saving $1,000 a mth, I now have a T Rowe Price account (for my son’s college education, he’s almost 5), my ING account is increasing steadily, and I am paying more on my two credit cards. And I still enjoy my $3 lattes! I am slowly crawling out of cc debt and making great progress thanks to your book and other pieces of advice you regularly give. Your book should be a required high school graduation gift!!

  73. Steve Kagan

    Ramit —

    Keep up the good work! I,too, fall outside of your 25-35 demographic range; but, this old dog is learning new tricks from you.

    It’s time to use the solid financial foundation I have created for myself and my family to propel myself to new heights.

    Thanks for your inspiration.

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  75. Jarrod W.

    I am totally on board with the anti-whiner/complainer ideology. Step up to the plate and start making decisions that empower you. Stop defeating yourself before you even take a single step to succeed!

    Ramit, this is great.

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  79. Biggus Dickus

    I sell drugs and pimp out a few hoes. Business is good!