This post previously published on September 1, 2015.
Miser. Scrooge. Cheapskate. If you’re someone who counts her pennies and keeps a close eye on her spending, you might bear the stigma as living a joyless existence while nagging others on their poor saving habits. The truth is that not only is it perfectly okay to be the money-minded friend in your social circle, but it’s actually pretty cool. Here are five reasons why it’s great to be the frugal friend and how you can put your skills to use and help benefit others:
- You open the lines of communication on money talks. They can shoot the hay to no end about sports, work, or about your favorite bands, but when it comes to talking about money, your friends may avoid the topic altogether to avoid potentially awkward moments. By being the person who loves to save and enjoys talking to others about it, you can serve as a facilitator of sorts to open the pathways to honest, non-judgmental discussions about finances. You can help build trust, which ultimately helps everyone stay true to their money situation and personal goals.
- You make it okay to say “no.” It’s easy to cave in to peer pressure, and with so many temptations to pay for things you can’t afford at the moment, you don’t want to miss out. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to be upfront about not being able to afford something for everyone else to feel comfortable enough to do the same. Don’t be afraid to be vocal in expressing what you’re willing or able to pay for, and offer creative suggestions you’ve discovered on your own for workarounds or tools to help save. You can use an app such as Sprig or Venmo to help split the costs on dinners or weekend trips with pals.
- You help keep things in perspective. “All my friends come to me for financial advice,” explains Tiffany “the Budgetnista” Aliche, bestselling author of “ Live Richer Challenge. “I don’t know how to do this, I don’t have enough money. What should I do? They can come see you as a resource.” Ask your friends, “Is spending money on X or Y really worth it?” Aliche adds, “You can keep people who are afraid of public opinion on what they can and can’t spend in check, so they’re not alone.” By helping your friends keep things in perspective, you’ll be able to ease any qualms they feel about going against the grain when it comes to making decisions on spending.
- You are a resource for what’s fun and free. If you are devoted to living a simple, frugal life, chances are that you’ll have a trick or two up your sleeve on how to save a buck on everyday expenses. Whether it’s hacks on how to save money on eating out or on free happenings about town, you can serve as a resource for less-expensive alternatives. An added bonus: being the go-to person for frugal fun can be empowering and reinforce what you are already a pro at.
- You can be their accountability partner. “Ninety-nine percent of us could benefit from saving money or spending less and a frugal friend helps us make those smart money choices,” explains Shannon McLay of Financially Blonde. “Frugal friends not only support us emotionally but financially as well.” Accountability apps such as StickK and can help you and your friends stay true to your goals. By being the cheerleader with your pal’s personal money goals, you can go from being a pesky know-it-all to someone who is genuinely there to help.
There’s really no better time to come out of the frugal closet. By embracing your role as being a frugal friend, you’ll help others save money, set boundaries on spending, and be that much closer to reaching their goals.