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This week: signs you're a spendthrift, guilty pleasures, your illusions about money, scandalous ways to score free stuff and exploring your financial weaknesses.

1. Scandalous (and Semi-Scandalous) Ways to Get Free Stuff

[And Then We Saved] “If you are extremely frugal, you are most likely ALWAYS trying to find new ways to get things completely free or totally cheap. After all, there’s no point in shelling out your hard-earned money for something you can get for free! While there are a variety of ways to score free goods, some of them may be borderline immoral or perhaps even illegal, so use your judgment.”

This posts lists nine ways to get free stuff, some of which are perfectly acceptable (grand openings and credit card rewards), while others are either bordering on illegal (dumpster diving) or flat out against the law (illegally downloading music and movies). Take a look at this post, then decide how far you’ll go to get something for nothing.

2. What’s Your Financial Weakness?

[Beating Broke] “We all have a financial weakness. That one area where we struggle to do the right thing. We might even struggle with deciding what the right thing is. If we remain unaware of our financial weakness, it can wreak havoc throughout our financial life, as my weakness did mine.”

The personal weakness the author refers to is being unwilling to tap the family emergency fund even when there’s an actual emergency. I can relate. Once I put money away, it practically takes an act of God to reclaim it, no matter the purpose.

Check out this article, then think about money weaknesses you might have.

3. My Biggest Guilty Pleasure I Spend on Is ______?

[Budgets Are Sexy] “The interesting thing I’m noticing, however, is that I’m slowly moving farther and farther away from these things I used to love splurging on. I still want the ability to buy them anytime I should choose, but amazingly enough I don’t really miss them much, and life continues to go on. In fact, I haven’t been this free from want in a while! I believe people call this having enough.”

This post arose when the author was asked to answer this question as a guest on a podcast. He finally did come up with one example of “guilty pleasure” spending: coins from the 1800s. But the list of things he used to blow money on, from lottery tickets to clothes, makes for interesting reading. You’ll probably relate.

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