Sticking to a budget is hard when you are on your own. It’s easy to slip into impulse buys or bad spending habits, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to help yourself or if you’re looking to help a friend (without having to bail them out with your own cash), then it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
Today, we’re going to talk about ways in which you and one or more of your friends can develop better spending habits. Working together encourages old-school community values. It can make all of the difference when it comes to saving instead of spending.
Let’s talk about how to help a friend go frugal so that you can both start saving money as a team!
Make a Competition of It
Making a friendly competition out of budgeting is a good way to help to keep each other on track. If you start by making an actual budget together, you can get some ideas that either of you might not have had on your own. The most important part of making the game fair is that everyone must follow the same essential budget rules.
If you want to make it competitive, then put up a scoreboard and make it official. Agree upon budget disciplines that you both what to learn and assign points to each. Examples include:
- Daily expense report = 1 point each
- Waiting 1 week for an impulse buy I didn’t get = 5 points
Assign point-loss penalties for failing to document daily costs and for things like impulse buys. Just use your imagination to keep things practical and interesting.
As far as the prize, make it something that incorporates a useful skill. Maybe the loser would host a potluck. Here are a few examples of prizes that both of you will want to work for:
- The loser mows your lawn once a week for a month.
- The loser hosts a potluck where everyone brings food, but they provide the main dish.
- If someone has a marketable skill, the loser offers services at a discount for a month.
You get the idea! Making a competition out of saving is not only fun, but it encourages a sense of community. When friends work together, there’s almost nothing that they can’t do.
So, consider making a competition out of sticking to a budget. Sometimes a little peer pressure is a good thing.
Payday Potluck Lets Everyone Celebrate and Save
One of the biggest killers is the bi-weekly celebration when paychecks arrive. It’s kind of a vicious cycle when you think about it. We get paid and we want to reward ourselves and accidentally spend too much—read more from Simple Life of a Country Wife.
An excellent tradition that can make friendships tighter and encourage a strong sense of community is to start taking turns hosting “Payday Potluck” events. Whoever is hosting provides the main dish and some basic drinks, while guests each bring a dish and some beverages.
While it’s fun to hit a local bar or restaurant on payday, it is an enormous drain on your budget. Potluck celebrations like this can save you and your friends a small fortune.
You might even get everyone to pitch in to convert someone’s garage into a cool hangout and take this money-saving habit to the next level!
Buy in Bulk Together
Stores like Sams and Costco can save huge amounts of money if you take advantage of them, especially if you all have families to support.
Buying bulk is a good idea. Some people shy away and use membership fees as an excuse when the simple fact is that they are worried about buying too much of the wrong thing.
So, get together with your friends and get a card for a bulk-purchase grocery and simply shop together. This makes things quite a bit easier and having someone there with you to bounce ideas off of helps to make sure that you don’t buy too much of something.
By splitting the membership costs and the bills, then divvying up your grocery “loot” at the end of the shopping trip, everyone can get what they need at a fraction of the cost of retail grocery stores.
Give it a try and you’ll see for yourself. It just makes good, solid sense that you can tangibly see in your wallets and your bank accounts.
Ask About Group Discounts
Group discounts can save you a lot of money. While you can often find discounts online, they aren’t always going to be there. In that case, call the business ahead of time and ask if they’ve got group discounts.
You’ll have to get a few of your friends together and do a little wheeling and dealing, but you might just be surprised how often you’ll find that a vendor is willing to give you a discount to ensure your business. Ask about the days that you want first, but consider targeting days when they do less business, too.
You’ll be more likely to be able to get a group discount on these “off days” and then you can have your celebration without breaking the bank.
Don’t be afraid to check out the possibilities. It never hurts to ask and you might just save yourself and your friends a bundle!
Share Subscriptions When You Can
A sneaky way to save (and to get more entertainment for everyone) is sharing subscriptions with your closest friends. Many modern subscription plans are tied to devices, so for instance a ‘2-device’ subscription may be viewed on 2 computers at a time.
So, if you’ve got a subscription to one service and your friend has targeted another, instead of both paying for the same services, check out the rules regarding your subscriptions. You might be able to work something out where you share subscriptions.
With special pay-per-view sporting events or movies that you and your friends want to see, consider hosting viewing parties where expenses are divvied up among the attendees. It’s much more fun than watching it alone and you’ll save money at the same time that you are strengthening the friendships that really matter in life.
Swap Meets Can Save You Money
Another idea that makes good sense requires a minimal amount of planning and a commitment from a group of solid friends. Why not set up a monthly swap meet?
Your friend may have old speakers you can use, while you may have furniture you no longer want. Voila!
A community becomes a strong thing indeed when neighbors and friends are helping each other to succeed. Something as simple as a monthly party, where everyone brings a second-hand item to sell, trade, or even barter helps everyone.
While it seems like swap meets are becoming a thing of the past, it doesn’t have to. Consider a monthly swap meet with just a handful of your closest friends, some secondhand goods, and some yummy food and drink.
Support Each Other’s Skill Sets
Everyone has a skill that they excel at and it’s kind of funny, but sometimes we forget to take advantage of that. When you and your friend both have skills that can be of use to each other, then bartering or offering discount services can be a good fit for everyone involved.
Often your friends have some pretty useful skills, too, like polishing resumes, fixing cars, refinishing furniture… so why not take a tally of everyone’s skills and make a pact with one or more friends to save money by hiring each other or trading work whenever it’s needed.
Furthermore, having a list of skills can often spark some very lucrative business plans.
If one person is an artist and another is good at woodworking, some impressive and unique furniture can be produced. If one person knows landscaping while the other person has a green thumb when it comes to gardens, then these are skills that go together too.
Now you know how to help a friend go frugal—which can lead to both of you saving money! The trick is learning to save money as a team, whether that’s by making it a competition, potluck parties, or simply shopping together and buying in bulk.
There’s strength in numbers, folks, and good friends are always there for each other. So, work together to meet your financial goals and to take advantage of mutual support.
Image by zimmytws via Shutterstock.com.