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Who Wants to Play the Paper Bag Game?


I received a pretty neat tip from a reader the other day. Who would have thought a paper bag could help with your spending?

Thanks Tammara from Phishy-Pedia Guide for sharing this idea (she also has an interesting post about credit and debit card misconceptions on her site).

The Paper Bag Game:

For those who spend alot of pocket change, or money from their wallet for non-essentials, it would probably be a real wake-up call if the amount spent was added up. It’s easy to just spend it and not realize how much we can go through when it comes to spending cold hard cash. I learned this idea years ago from a co-worker, as she instructed her client to try it since they were living way beyond their means, and were buried in debt.

The husband and wife each carried a plain brown paper bag. (Sounds silly I realize, but for some this really works). They each tracked their own paper bag and then at the end of the week they compared their bags. What’s inside the brown paper bag? Not their lunch in this case!

Each time they would stop to buy an espresso, buy lunch, or purchase anything with cash the receipt for the item went into their bag. If they wanted to buy something like an espresso, but resisted and decided not to, then the amount of money they would have spent went into the paper bag.

At the end of the week the couple would compare their bags. They were both actually shocked at how much money they went through, and how much more they would have spent with the money they placed into the paper bag. The money saved in the paper bag went back toward their debt reduction, and they both changed their spending habits as a committment toward their debt reduction. The old paper bag game worked!

If a single person wants to do the paper bag game they should find a friend or family member in a similar economic status that would like to be the one they compare bags with.”

Thanks Tammara for sharing! 🙂


  • Reply Manu P. Nair |

    What we do here is when I get my salary we make a list of those things that can’t be avoided-like news paper bill, electricity, telephone, income tax etc. That amount we put it in a separate bank. Then that month’s savings we put in our regular bank. The rest we use, but everyday we both take only a stipulated amount, not more. So if one day we save some money, the next day only the balance money (balnce to make the stipulated amount) we need to take.

So, what do you think ?