Recently a colleague told me about the Spendster.org website and since she found it interesting, I wanted to check it out. With so many websites on the Internet, it is easy to get lost in the choices and the fancy html designs and I admit that I was a bit skeptical about its utility before I went to look.
The first page greets you with a video clip of a contest the website is running called the Reality Check Challenge. Contestants post video clips of what they have wasted money on, with the winner getting $1,000. Visitors to the site vote on their favorites, which encourages contestants to get the word out about the website. It’s a great way to really SEE what you spend money on. Looking at spreadsheets of expenditures is useful, but it is much more visually striking to see the objects themselves.
The various tabs at the top of the homepage give links to online discussions, useful documents about the “real” value of what you’re spending money on and software to track your expenses and help you to become more financially savvy.
When I saw there was a “Top 10 List” I experienced a wave of concern, since competition can often lead people to greater amounts of overspending, but thankfully the site is not set up in a way that would favor that kind of unhealthy competition.
I found the site to be a helpful gateway for people who spend more than they should. It provides a means for them to get help and join a community of others who face the same problem – a problem that is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Justin Tausig, MHC