impulsive spendingLast month at Lifehacker, readers joined our February Money Challenge, which was to haggle your bills. I saved about $131 negotiating my web hosting and Internet. Not bad, right? But our readers put me to shame. They saved several hundred, and in some cases, several THOUSAND dollars for the year. One reader negotiated a better Internet deal AND a credit after finding a bill error. Another reader knocked $100 off their car insurance just by asking the carrier to match competitor prices. One reader even haggled a $160/month discount on rent!

    Encouraging stuff. I pitched the Ultimate Money Challenge because we share so much solid advice for saving, earning, and managing money at Lifehacker, and I wanted to put that advice into action. It’s nice to see just how much it pays to take action:

    And we just announced March’s challenge: Curb Impulsive Spending. Broad, I know, but we all waste money on different things. The goal with this challenge is to get readers to spend more mindfully. That doesn’t mean cutting out all of the fun stuff, either! The goal here is to tackle the impulsive, emotional spending that trips you up, destroys your budget, and detracts from your goals. It’s the spending you usually regret later for those reasons.   

    In the above video, I discuss how to curb this kind of spending. There are a lot of tricks and hacks out there–freeze your credit cards, pay with cash only–and those practical tips can be really helpful. The video, however, focuses more on why we spend impulsively and how to recognize it and nip our triggers in the bud.

    This month, I’m focusing on my biggest spending vice: clothes. I can be spendy in other areas, too, but this is probably the most emotional and wasteful category for me. I sure as hell don’t need new clothes (they usually end up in the back of my closet), yet somehow I still end up spending $200 a month on them. It may not be an easy challenge, but hopefully, those who join will save some cash and learn to be more mindful about spending in the process.