the 3-step financial challenge

As a follow-up to the post below, I actually went online yesterday and demanded that my DVR record Oprah for the Suze Orman episode. (Thank you DirecTV technology!) I sat down to watch it last night, and while I have to admit I was expecting shock and awe from Suze, but still she successfully presented another two amazing case studies of spending gone awry that made me shudder. I still am unaware how you get $92k in debt without knowing it… but it’s a great lesson in, “this too could be you!” care of Ms. Oprah and friends. In fact, the average credit card debt held by members of the audience was $10,000! Needless to say, Suze has a good reason to keep writing books and helping people navigate towards financial responsibility.

At the end of the show, Suze posed a challenge to the audience, and only a few people raised their hands to pledge support. The challenge was this:

1. Do not spend money for one day
2. Do not use any credit card for one week
3. Do not eat out in a restaurant for one month

And the reason behind this challenge: “The important thing is to feel wealthy, rather than to show other people you’re wealthy.”

I could do #1, #2 would be difficult but I’d make sure I had cash and all would be good, but #3 would be very hard to complete. That seemed to be the sense that the audience held as well, which shows you just how much we all lean on the fast food/restaurant industry to feed us on a daily basis. :)

So, my friends, I ask you anonymously, what do you think?

[poll id=”6″]


  • talda

    i didn’t vote because i actually do this most of the time! to be honest, it’s harder to convince me to spend money than not spend it. even bringing my lunch to work has saved me a lot of cash [i work in sf and you know how spendy it gets here!] and even though i weaned myself off my daily can of soda after completing a fast with my church, i’m happy to see the small savings i’m getting from drinking water instead. more cash in my pocket and a healthier body. it doesn’t get any better than that!

    it’s not so hard once you get in the habit. granted now that i’m in grad school i started buying dinners on campus so maybe i can try to bring a second sandwich along with me to work on class nights. hmm.

    good luck to anyone trying this out!

  • mhb

    I have habitually done #1, #2 is a cinch because I haven’t used a credit card at all in over a year (and haven’t carried a balance for over 2 years), but #3? Sorry. Weekly date nights with the hubs are worth more to me than that… and we pay cash at reasonable restaurants, so it’s low-guilt!

  • Jenna Andersen

    #2 is actually the toughest for me because Hubs doesn’t allow me to use cash. He uses credit cards EVERYWHRE to earn points and to keep track of spending (he isn’t in debt and never will be so Suze’s words don’t apply to him). If he didn’t make me do the same I think I could do this challenge twice a month or more! We only eat out once a month if we can help it, and that’s when we go big or go home and really splurge.

  • rksquared

    I could do #1 no problem; #2 I could do if my VISA check card wasn’t counted as a “credit” card; #3 would be tough…not because of fast food, but because it’s just nice to eat out now and then.

  • Cathleya

    Cooking at home does not make us richer. The (fresh and edible) food around these parts cost a fortune (damn hippies) and honestly, cooking for 2 is just like cooking for 4. Sure, we could eat Hot Pockets and bag salad and frozen pizza constantly to save a buck, but if we’re actually COOKING, say, a decent piece of chicken, beef or fish, with a nice grilled side dish or two… I mean… going out for a $20 meal is just the same, and sometimes actually cheaper. Depending on the cut of meat of course… and OF COURSE the cheaper cuts of meat call for more seasoning (marinade, etc) which means more produce, which means… You guessed it… more money.

    I’m sure by “restaurant” she means the $50 meal for 2, but for us, restaurants often mean a $20-$30 bill… and sadly, sometimes home cooked meals cost the same.

    I guess we eat friggin expensive stuff. Annoying.

  • Julie

    Oddly, #3 would be, by far, the easiest for me to do, unlike a lot of commenters. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time we ate out — we often go 3-4 months without eating out or taking food in (or even buying pre-prepared food from the supermarket). I cook, every night, and pack our lunches.

    #1 is a breeze for me as well. One of my 101 in 1001 is to have at least 15 no-spend days/month. I’ve realizes this will be a cinch — I’m much closer without trying to 20 no-spend days/month.

    #2 would be a challenge, just because I go grocery shopping once per week, and like Jenna, we charge everything to the AmEx, but since I got my first credit card at 16, I have always paid off the entire balance in full each month. I prefer charging things — I’m far more aware of where the $$ goes if I can see it on my card statement, we get cash back, and I like the security of carrying a credit card — I can call and cancel the card if it is stolen, but if I’m carrying $120 in cash to go grocery shopping and it’s stolen, then I’m shit out of luck.

  • Kimberly B.....

    Thanks for the link to the Suze Orman book. I am an impulse shopper and get in trouble with things marked on sale. So I just avoid going to the malls now and will only go for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas.

    On your survey:
    1. Do not spend money for one day
    check, I’ve done this before.
    2. Do not use any credit card for one week
    really hard for me, i like the convenience of credit cards especially with getting gas
    3. Do not eat out in a restaurant for one month
    really hard for me, sometimes it’s cheaper to order take out than to cook.
    this works if you are willing to eat left overs or pack it for lunch.

  • Aunt Terry

    Hi Kim (and Chris) I’m sorry you are having such cold weather in FL. We are having the same in NC. BRR.
    Kim, great blog. I have one of my own too- a little more business oriented, but when you get a chance- check it out.

    (This name is a slant on my company name of Quicksilver Business Solutions).
    Was good to catch pics of your new home on line. I haven’t done any pictures on my blog- but I will get better at that (hopefully).