Need To Lose Some Weight? Put Some Money On It!

By Xin Lu on 3 June 2008 15 comments
Photo: Fat Boy

Recently I wrote about the incentive my husband gave me to lose some weight . Basically he is willing to forgo half of his entertainment budget if I lose the fat I gained post college. A commenter pointed me at a website called which lets you put money on your goals, and I thought it was a pretty interesting concept.

Basically, lets you draft up a Commitment Contract with yourself and put money on it. If you fulfill your part of the deal, then the money is returned to you. However, if you fail to deliver on the contract then the money is forfeited to an organization or a person of your choice.

To make things more interesting, you can designate the money to a person or an organization you hate with a passion. So if you do not reach your personal goals your foes will benefit. I think this may be more motivating than receiving money.

To keep yourself accountable, you could also designate a referee to monitor your progress. If your referee reports that you failed, then your money is forfeited. A good referee would be someone that knows you personally.

For example, I could make a contract with myself to lose 15 pounds by the end of the year and stake $1000 on it. Then I could designate the money to my husband's entertainment fund in case I fail. In order to avoid losing all the money to a gleeful shopping spree for games by my husband, I would probably work harder at losing the weight.

I think anyone could implement this with or without stickK, but having a third party does help you from reneging on a promise. Have you ever staked money on completing a goal? Did it work?

Average: 2 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Guest's picture

Can you say conflict of interest? Wagering money that benefits someone with close access to your food? If I were your husband, I would sabotage for the sheer kick I would get out of getting caught!

Guest's picture

I wagered $50 with a guy at work over who could lose the most % weight.
I could not stand the idea of losing my money. I ran and ran and ran. I ran on my treadmill mile after mile, looking at the same set of books on my bookshelf. In the end victory was mine and so was the apple pie that we changed the bet to in the last week, because we didn't want to cost each other the money. I ended up losing close to 20 pounds and that is a lot for a person of my stature.

Guest's picture

Hi! I'm a freelance writer and I'm working on a story about diet bets. Since you mentioned that you participated in this type of activity, would you be willing to be interviewed for the piece?

Thanks so much!


Pam Grayson

Guest's picture

My office wagers on weight loss every so often. Our rules: Everyone throws in $20 to start, and we weigh in once a week. Gaining a pound will cost you a dollar. At the end of a set period of time, whoever has lost the most wins all the money. Generally lots of fun, motivating and every looses at least a couple of pounds.

Guest's picture

I think its weird to bet on weight loss- something so out of one's control.

They frequently have wagers like this at work and contests for "The Biggest Loser." Given that so many medications and such have side effects of weight gain (almost all anti depressants), does it make more sense to be adherant to a medication regime or pick up a few bucks?

The adage of less food, more exercise might not always work- and then the person who may have actually had to work the hardest at weight loss, doesn't win.

I am SO opposed to this type of thing!!

Guest's picture

Diva you must be 500 lbs to object to this idea. Go eat your twinkee in peace and leave us weight losers to kick your ass.

Guest's picture


You're right, weight can't always be lost by reducing food intake and increasing exercise. It would be self-defeating to make a wager like this unless you knew that this formula would work for you.

But if your excess weight IS due to eating too much and exercising too little, I think this would be a terrific way to lose. Competition is a great motivator.

Guest's picture

am I the only husband out here that thinks bribing your wife with cash to lose weight seems a little harsh, if not judgmental and overly critical of her?

If the author had posed the contract in an attempt to motivate herself, that's one thing.. but this just seems wrong to me.

Guest's picture

iPosty, you are not alone. I know my husband would never do that to me. However, perhaps the author did not accurately convey how it all came about. Perhaps she initiated the topic and he was actually supporting her by making that offer?

Anyway, I'm grateful that my husband (a hunk with "love handles") has never said one hurtful thing about me being overweight. He is only supportive of my getting more healthy and only comments on it from this angle. And usually he doesn't comment on it at all.

Guest's picture

My new diet plan that I started this spring. Two simple steps: 1) Plant a big, "old fashioned" garden (9 long rows of all sorts of goodies) & commit to at least 30 minutes of workin' it every day (some days I do up to 2 hours, hoeing, planting, weeding, etc).

2) Commit to taking a lunch each day to work that is strictly from food I harvest (once the goodies started rolling in!), over the last month and a 1/2 I have been able to start feasting on huge salads full of romaine, onions, radishes, diced squash and zucchini. I am VERY MUCH READY for other stuff to start arriving (still have corn, okra, cucumbers, pumpkins, spinach, and peppers growing).

Just those two changes (everything else remained the same) have had a huge impact:

1. I have lost 25 lbs since I started the garden in March.
2. I predict that I have saved $150 on lunch items and storebought veggies in the last 1 1/2 months (when the veggies started producing).
3. I am still significantly overweight, BUT, I am much more limber, am sleeping better, my GERD has disappeared, my blood pressure is lowered, and my attitude has improved. Diggin' in the dirt is an excellent stress buster!!! I've even met some neighbors by being outside my house more.

Just my 2cents!

Guest's picture


I agree gardening is a great way for excersise and the benifits of fresh vegetables you have now and those that you prepare for later are wonderful. I also have a large garden and I use fresh fruit and veg. and can extra for the winter months. I have also struggled with my wieght loss and have found a life plan that has worked for me. It's quick, it's easy and gives you the tools to change you to a healthy weight for the rest of your life. I have been on plan since April 01, 2008 and have lost 70 lbs. It has truly changed my life and my family is eating healthier. I want to help others obtain their heathly weight. I'd be glad to talk to anyone who is serious about losing weight and becoming healthy.


Guest's picture

While having a target for weight loss is a must, there are other ways than money to get you there. Infact I recently wrote about some frugal ways to lose weight and stay in shape. Everyday activities can be turned into weight loss methods! The reward is a healthier and better looking you!


A simple piece of paper with 3-5 simple targets is enough. Keep it in your wallet/purse, stick it on the fridge or at your desk.

Guest's picture

I've tried the betting on weight loss thing before and it didn't work. The real motivation comes from wanting to lose weight. Eat sensibly and exercise more - there's nothing more to it than that.

Guest's picture

I've tried this a few times. Sometimes it worked but mostly it didn't. And, even when successful, the results were only temporary. If you need to bribe yourself to do it (whatever the carrot or stick), chances are very high it won't last.

The old "steady as she goes" method of eating healthier (but still deliciously satisfying) meals combined with regular exercise is the only way I have had any lasting results. Learning how to cook and never eating anything I don't want (this may sound strange or obvious, but when you've been raised to eat everything put in front of you and all of it, those habits die hard) has helped a lot. I have also fasted to detox my body for 10 days and that was great for losing weight, too. I write about it in "5 Simple Ways to Lose Weight and Keep It Off." But, no method works for long if you return to old habits.

Guest's picture

I am a firm believer that weight loss is not a competition, there fore I remember hating Biggest Loser. Also just to win the three week office competition starving yourself to lose 10 lbs and putting it right back on as 15lbs does not sound healthy at all, since you know you try to lose weight to be healthy, it sort of conflicts with itself.

I am supportive of setting goals and rewarding yourself. As an individual who has lost 60lbs and kept it off almost three years, I got rewards for my weight loss.