Do you have a confession to make about a purchase you shouldn't have made?
Whether it's the $600 treadmill you bought on a credit card, then used as a really expensive clothes hanger, or that collection of pricey handbags you just had to have, Spendster.org is the place to bare your frivolous soul.
A new site from the National Endowment for Financial Education, a nonprofit that aims to help people learn about handling money, Spendster.org is intended to give people a place where they can admit their poor spending habits as a step toward developing better ones.
Posted videos range from walks with a shaky handheld camera through an apartment loaded with unused appliances and sporting equipment, to a slickly produced visit with a woman whose penchant for buying new shoes threatens her dream trip to Italy. It's subtitled, "The sad tale of a girl who traded what she wanted most for what she wanted at the moment."
The videos have many similar punchlines. "Everything was on sale," says one woman at the end of a film of her shopping her heart out. "I went over my budget, but it was all on sale." Another features a woman who admits her habit of buying multiple large cups of Diet Coke each day at a local convenience store, which she quickly calculates equals about $90 a month, or $1,080 per year, or $10,800 over 10 years. "Gee, that's a lot of money down the drain," she concludes.
Beyond the entertainment of sharing in other people's spending mistakes, Spendster.org offers users a chance to calculate how much they spent on their own junk. But more importantly they can compare how much it would have cost if they put it on a credit card, versus how much they could have earned if the money was invested or put in a savings account. There's a page that offers advice for shoppers before they head out to the store and a space to enter comments about your personal revelations regarding wasteful spending.
It's all aimed at getting people to think more about their spending. As the site's advice page "More Stuff" notes, "Sometimes, after you've thought about it more, you realize you really don't want to spend that money."