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Reward Yourself for Frugal Behavior

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Today, on my way into work, I was listening to some morning radio show talk about how 47% of British men give up six months of sex for a 50″ plasma television. It sounds ridiculous (that’s why they did the study in the first place!) but the interesting part is what followed. Approximately 25% would give up smoking and 25% would give up chocolate for the 50″ plasma television. That’s when one of the hosts said that if you gave up smoking for six months you could buy the television.

So why not reward yourself for frugal behavior? If you’re a smoker and you want a new 50″ plasma television, why not give yourself an added incentive to quit? If you smoke one pack a day at around $5/pack (my guesstimate), it would take 268 days to save up the $1,339.98 for a Samsung HPT5064 50″ Plasma HDTV. That’s a little under nine months at $5 a day. If cigarettes are more expensive in your area or if you’re a heavier smoker, you can save up even faster (and that’s not even taking into account all the positive health benefits you get!).

Don’t smoke? Don’t want a 50″ plasma television? Replace smoking with another dirty little secret habit (mocha lattes?) and replace a plasma television with something you’ve always wanted (trip to Europe?). Having a goal always helps you be frugal.

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Reward Yourself for Frugal Behavior”

  1. Lily says:

    The men said they’d give up sex or smoking or chocolates for the TV. But if they had to follow through, would they actually be able to give up any of those things for 6 months?

    The same problem arises with saving for the TV by giving up a bad habit. How long before most people cave and blow their savings on a carton of cigarettes (or something else)?

    Hopefully, though, this strategy does work for some people. It’s always good to swap out something bad for something good. I quit smoking after a year or so of casual college puffery, and luckily it was easy. I didn’t have a specific goal to save for, but I’m a lot happier now that I don’t think to myself “Gee, cigarettes are really expensive” once a week.

  2. Danny Tsang says:

    I think its a great way to think. I like to reward myself every now and then as well. I live a fairly frugal lifestyle but I also remember to enjoy life to the fullest, even if it does mean spending some money every now and then. The smoking example is great because you get all the health benefits besides the money saved.

  3. MoneyNing says:

    Smoking is very expensive! I never understand why people smoke.

  4. 50″ Plasma and healthier lungs… sounds like a win win situation to me. I don’t smoke but you have me thinking about what I could quit so I can convince my wife that I need a new plasma!

  5. Bill says:

    The best thing to do is to start a pack-a-day habit, then quit. Not only will you feel accomplished that you quit smoking, you’ll be thrilled with the new TV.

  6. MonkeyMonk says:

    We have a similar system set up in our household. Whenever we do something especially frugal we split the difference — saving half and putting the other half into a reward account (which coincidentally is currently working towards buying a new HDTV and game console).

    For example, earlier this year I was able to reduce the cable bill by $30/month for a year so I was able to put $180 into my account. We also had a broken toilet that my wife was ready to call a plumber out to fix. Instead I took the time to research the problem, buy the replacement parts, and made the repair myself at an estimated savings of $120. Ka-ching . . . $60 towards the TV.

    There’s a few other ways money can get into the reward account (cash back on the credit card, etc.) and I’ve been amazed at how fast the money has been accumulating. If all goes according to plan I’ll be playing Metal Gear Solid 4 on a 50″ TV by the end of the year. :)

  7. The Frugalist says:

    Good Going, Money Monk!

    Twenty years ago, someone told me that a care is like owning a house, it drains you of your money: and it doesn’t appreciate in value. I decided that i would not own another one until it was easy to keep it up. I never got to that earning level, and have never owned a car since. Cars are a bad habit for me.


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