Monday, March 17, 2008

Sticking With Goals

Help me out.

Saving money isn't a big problem for me. Being a teacher, making money is a bit hard for me, but given my background I don't have any difficulty stashing a few dollars away each month.

I was reading this article about tips for saving money, and I came across this section:

Wield a stick
You may be one of those people who respond more to the fear of punishment than the promise of a prize. Well, you can make a threat work for you too.

Outline a savings regimen - say, investing $500 a month - with the condition that you'll incur a penalty each time you don't follow it. Maybe you can't watch your favorite TV shows for a month or you have to forgo eating out. Your spouse or a friend can be the enforcer.

Or up the ante even further and make the penalty cold hard cash. A new website called, created by a Yale economics professor and two colleagues, allows you to create "commitment contracts" for resolutions ranging from losing weight to saving more dough. If you don't hold up your end of the deal (as verified by a designated "referee"), you pay an amount that you've agreed to in advance - $100, $1,000, whatever.

The idea is that you'll be more likely to stay the course if you stand to lose real bucks (or suffer in other ways) for breaking your resolution. This money can go to a friend or a charity or, in a clever twist, you can stipulate that the payment go to a nonprofit whose goals aren't simpatico with yours. So, for example, if you're an advocate of gun control, the National Rifle Association Foundation might get a donation each time you lapse.

I wouldn't mind dropping a few poundskis, so let's have fun. To which organizations should I give such money? NPR? Clinton's election campaign?

Suggest some in the comments. Be creative!


Anonymous said...

Support the underdog! Mike Gravel or Ron Paul!

Ellen K said...

How about anything to do with AlGore or Global "Change"......

Anonymous said...

GLAAD? The Rainbow Coalition and Jesse Jackson?

I gave my car to NPR this past January - that way I don't feel guilty when I listen to Car Talk :)

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at how many teachers who do not invest in the wonderful 403B's available to them.
They are great (pre-taxed) products which are only offered to educators.
I have been investing in a 403B for over 6 years and I have quite a nice nest egg accrued which I borrow from whenever I need to.
Contact your benefits office and check it out.

Anonymous said...


-Mark Roulo

Erica said...

Code Pink!