The Winner of the October Fall Progress Money Challenge!

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jessicaIn October, we tasked our readers with sharing their best tips for making sure their autumn budgets don’t “fall” back.

We received a ton of great responses—from taking advantage of the colder weather by cooking up some budget-friendly soups, to setting up an extra savings account to get on track for the holiday season. With almost 300 readers writing in to divulge their money-saving secrets (you can check them all out here), there was plenty of great advice all around. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

We’d also like to congratulate the winner of the October money challenge: Jessica Valdez, 26, a graduate student in Buckeye, Ariz. She’ll receive $250 to put toward her financial goals. Below, check out Jessica’s clever budget-saving tip:

“In order to deter myself from making purchases that I don’t need, I add $35 to the price of an impulse buy. For example, if I’m tempted to buy lunch for $6, then I consider the price as $41—with the extra $35 headed straight to my savings account. I haven’t been able to bring myself to spend $41 on a small fast-food meal! This system has really helped me in my mission of fending off impulsive buys—and boosting my savings.

Of course, I don’t use this trick with buys that I consider to be needs—like groceries and household items—but I have waved goodbye to bi-weekly pedicures and nonessential clothes. And when I do allow myself a splurge, I’m always sure to add that $35 into my savings.

RELATED: ‘My Phrase to Save’: How Real Readers Reach Their Goals

The reason I chose $35 as my number is because back when I was credit-crazy during my early 20s, I would get hit with a $35 overage fee every time I maxed out my card. I ended up with so many overage fees that my interest rate was actually raised because of it! So, to remind myself of the bad choices I made in the past, I keep that number active in my life.

I am proud to say that I’ve really pulled my finances together; I haven’t experienced any overage fees in years. And with my $35 trick, I’ve literally saved thousands of dollars by not indulging in impulsive purchases.”

Thank you for sharing, Jessica!

Do you have a family tradition that has shaped the way you approach your finances? If so, take our new November Family Money Traditions Challenge—you’ll be entered to win $250!

  • Ricky

    what if the purchase is over 35$ e.g. i tend to buy electronics which i don’t use like camera lenses that cost me 300$. 35$ into savings is not a deterrent. appreciate any input on such buys. :)