|There's No "I" in Frugal|
Submitted by: Kira @ Tip Hero 06/08/2010 6:11 PM
In many aspects of life, motivation is the key to success. Motivation is key in maintaining a frugal lifestyle. Without effort and that little push we sometimes need to make the frugal choice instead of the easy choice, many of us would find ourselves choosing the easy way out. But where does motivation come from? While this is debatable, and of course varies from person to person, I believe motivation comes from being held accountable to someone for your own actions. And who better to be held accountable to than a friend who shares your goals and aims? Thus, what I'd like to talk about this week: the importance of having a frugal friend.
The article that truly inspired my train of thinking was a Simple Dollar article about a man named Drew Magary who lost a significant amount of weight on his self-proclaimed "Public Humiliation Diet." One of the main reasons that the diet was succecssful was because he posted his weight daily on Twitter. Therefore, people could see if he was losing or gaining weight, and how quickly he was doing so.
Now this diet may not be for everyone. I will definitely not be posting my weight on Facebook anytime soon. But it got me thinking. This man was able to lose weight mostly because he was having his entire social network hold him accountable for what he was doing. He wouldn't have as much incentive to lose weight if he didn't have people to openly view the progress he was making.
And so, I'd like to apply the same principal to frugality. Just as it is easier to go on a diet with a friend so that you have someone to hold you accountable for what you eat (or share your weight with a social community), it may be easier to stick to a frugal lifestyle if you have a partner in crime; a frugal friend that you can take a frugal vow with. Isn't that what Tip Hero is really about in the end? It's a place where we can share money-saving ideas, tell others about how we saved money in the past, and update the community about our frugal pursuits. A frugal friend is just a more personalized method of this kind of motivation.
Below, you'll see that this friend may truly be able to aid you in all aspects of your life. Now, of course it doesn't have to be one friend. It could be one friend for each area of your life. It could be several friends. The point is to have at least someone to help keep you on track. And you can do the same for them.
Entertainment on a Budget
How much more difficult is it to be on a no-carb diet when someone is around you eating pasta all the time? The same principal holds true for trying to be frugal. If you have friends that constantly want to go out and spend a ton of money, it's going to be difficult to resist the peer pressure (even if you're not in high school anymore). This article from Punny Money outlines some of the difficulties of having rich friends, or at least friends that act rich, when you're trying to be frugal. Here are some of the ways that you'll benefit in your social life from having a frugal buddy.
A frugal buddy can help keep your spending in check, and you can do the same for them. If you're not opposed to the idea, bringing a frugal buddy with you on a grocery shopping trip may help prevent you from impulse buying. Having an audience with shared aims can help keep you on track.
Shopping for clothing is the same. Tell each other your goals before you enter the store. What is it that you absolutely need? Make a list if it helps. I do this all the time with my friends. I tell them not to let me leave the store with more than what I say I need. A pair of shoes or sunglasses for example. That way, I'm being held accountable for my actions. You can both do this to help curb the urge to splurge.
Also, buying things that you can share can be very helpful and save you both a significant amount of money. Great things to buy are high ticket items that you don't need on a daily basis. If this person is a neighbor, you can share lawn care items like lawnmowers, snow blowers, ladders, shovels, etc.
How about sharing a Netflix account if you both watch a lot of movies? Pass the movies between each other and only pay for one account. You could also share the cost of a membership to a wholesale club like BJ's, Costco, or Sam's Club if you like to buy some things in bulk. You could shop together or pass the card off after you've done your bulk shopping trip.
Share a Ride
Sharing a ride is great way to save on fuel. If you can find a buddy from work that lives close enough to you, you can share rides to work throughout the week. Find someone to drive to the mall, grocery store, etc. with. Carpool each other's kids to school, activities or sports.
It's hard to motivate to work out for a lot of people. That's one way a friend could be helpful in this area. Is a membership to the gym out of your budget? Find a friend to go jogging with on a normal basis. I know I prefer the gym and dance classes to working out alone, because alone I have no one to hold me accountable and witness the work I'm doing. You can keep each other on track and there's no need to go to the gym. Go to a local park (since it's nearly summertime!) and do your work out there. Abs, legs, arms, etc. You'll have someone to chat with and keep your mind off of your work out.
If you must use the gym, you don't want that membership money to go to waste. Sign up for the same gym as a friend and go together a certain amount of times a week. You'll be less likely to ditch the gym because you're "tired" or "don't feel like it."
You could also just find a walking buddy. Walking is great exercise and is also something free to do during the warmer months. You won't be wasting electricity inside and you won't be out somewhere spending money. Instead, you'll be passing the time in a free, productive way.
Make an agreement with frugal friends to not spend a dime on them. Make presents for each other. Cook an amazing dinner or dessert for them. Find something fun and free that you can surprise them with - like a concert or Shakespeare in the Park. You've created one less person to have to buy something for.
It all comes down to being held accountable for what you do. This is why things like weight watchers, support groups, etc. work so well. Apply the same principals to frugality. Find a frugal friend to provide reinforcement, motivation, encouragement, and support. Pay this person back by doing the same for them. Celebrate your victories in frugality together.
Do you have any stories about how a friend helps you with your frugal lifestyle? Please share with us!
Photo credit: joaquinuy
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