StickK: A recession spender's best friend!

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When it came time to quit smoking, I enlisted my wife's help. I knew that, no matter how much Zyban I ingested, how many rubber bands I put on my wrist or gum I put in my mouth, nothing would be as helpful as my wife's nose. Although she always possessed a keen sense of smell, pregnancy heightened her senses to near-Spider Man level, and if I so much as walked through a bar, she could detect the smoke clinging to my clothes. Now that I had decided to quit, I realized that her super-nose would be my best defense against the demon cancer sticks: if she smelled it on me, I was going to hear about it.

When it comes to a serious life change, like quitting smoking, losing weight, or cutting down spending, I find that there are few things more helpful than having a buddy or two to watch over my shoulder. I wouldn't call myself weak-willed, but it's a lot easier to cave in when the only person that I'm going to disappoint is myself. On the other hand, when a bunch of friends and family are also rooting for me to succeed, I'm a lot less likely to give in to temptation.

With that in mind, I found stickK.com to be a particularly interesting site. While things like smoking or dieting are easy for your friends to police, goals like cutting 10% of discretionary spending, packing lunches, or otherwise cutting down on personal expenditures don't really lend themselves to community involvement. In cases like this, while a buddy might be useful, a reward is almost a necessity.

That's where stickK comes in. Before you begin your life-changing routine, you put money in your StickK account and appoint a referee to sign off on your progress. Over the period of your bet, you track your progress on the site and ask your friends to encourage you. At the end of your bet, one of two things happens: either you win and keep the money that you put up, or you lose and the money goes to a friend that you designated or a charity of your choice. Regardless, stickK doesn't keep any of your funds.

If you're looking for something to keep you on track for changing your life and realizing your goals, this might just be the way to go!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. Although his wife has lost her sense of super smell, he's pretty sure she could sniff a cigarette at twenty yards. He has no intention of testing that theory.
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